I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Gilmore Girls on Netflix for a few reasons. For one thing, I selfishly wanted to revisit Stars Hollow, the fictional town in Connecticut in which the show was based. I missed its eccentric residents and I certainly missed Loralai and Rory. From Miss Patty’s Dance School to Luke’s Diner to Kim’s Antiques to Weston’s Bakery, I was eager to revisit parts of the show that remain etched in my memory. I have often wondered how I would perceive these characters and places today, as a mother and resident of a place not that dissimilar. I live in a small town in Westchester, New York – not that far from the border of Connecticut, where we have our own slate of unique places, characters and circumstances.
Since the show aired (2000-2007), my life has changed considerably, and I am now married and the mother of a tween just a few years younger than Rory was when the show started. She and I have recently taken to watching shows together, mostly on ABC Family, and I have always wanted to watch GG with her. She is usually resistant to watching my old favorites, even though she has enjoyed all of the John Hughes films I’ve introduced her (thank god!), too, so I have yet to understand her hesitation. This time I told her to give the show a chance, secretly knowing and hoping she would love it as much as me. She insisted on multi-tasking through the first episode but that has decreased considerably since episode two, so we are on a roll.
To be honest, watching it again as a more “mature” (oy vey) adult, I’m able to keep up with the girls’ banter, which I’ve always loved, better than ever before. There are so many nuances and references to pop culture history that I probably get now, and may not have then. While we were watching the pilot, I found myself explaining things to her that I’m quite sure I didn’t understand then. Or perhaps I didn’t watch the show as intensely, and that’s a skill that’s come with age. Whatever the case, it’s making the experience all the more enjoyable.
As a mother, watching Loraai and Rory’s bond is also more meaningful to me now that it was back then. Then I watched it comparing myself to my own relationship with my mother, which has always been close, but it wasn’t as similar. By that point, I was in college, living away from home, and much of what transgressed between the young mother and teenage daughter was unrelatable.
But now I have a 11 year-old daughter and though I was double Loralai’s age when I had her, I have the same ambitions for her. Loralai wants Rory to go to Harvard. She wants her to do the things she was unable to do in life. She wants her not to fall into the same traps that may have held her back and stopped her from becoming more successful. I’m already a good ten years older than Loralai on the show but I feel the same way in many respects. I’m sure that every mother sees her daughter as her “what if I’d done that/what if I’d done this” – it’s hard not to. It was their significant mother-daughter relationship that helped Rory navigate the waters and not feel pressured. She truly wanted to go to Harvard, and Loralai was skillful at not making her feel obligated to fulfill her lost dreams for herself.
There is so much for me to learn about raising a tween from this show.
Disclosure: I’m a member of the #StreamTeam and receive complimentary Netflix as a member, yet all opinions are my own.