I first watched Gilmore Girls when it premiered on The WB in 2000. I was 16-years-old. Rory and I happen to be born in the same year, only 6 months apart, and her journey became my journey: traversing high school and boys and colleges and deciding what we both wanted out of the future. I grew up with Gilmore Girls, and it will always be one of those defining television shows in my life.
Despite its importance, I never rewatched an episode after the show ended in 2007. Stars Hollow was frozen in time for me, marking the end of high school and my college years. But when I heard that Netflix is bringing back Rory, Lorelai and the gang for four 90-minute episodes (internal me: eeeeek!), I knew it was time to revisit my favorite small town. I watched all seven seasons of the iconic show in about a month. It might be a record, even for me.
It turns out, watching a show when you’re an adult is a lot different from watching it as a teenager. Some of my opinions stayed the same: Luke and Lorelai are meant to be; Luke’s unknown daughter and Lorelai eloping with Christopher are still the worst storylines EVER. But a lot of the things I strongly felt about the show drastically changed. So here are five new opinions I formed while rewatching Gilmore Girls in my 30s:
- Lorelai Gilmore is Not the World’s Best Mom
Back when I was a teen, I was extremely jealous of the relationship between Rory and her mom. Most of my friends were too. It seemed pretty unattainable to have a young, hip mom who knew pop culture references, let you only eat candy and pizza, encouraged you to drink ten cups of coffee a day, and was the one you confided your deepest secrets to.
But maybe she should have made Rory eat a vegetable once or twice? And maybe it’s not actually that healthy to have a mom who pries into your life so often? My opinion of Lorelai’s parenting skills took a hard left turn during my rewatch of “Kill Me Now,” an early episode from season 1. “I’m talking about that you take my sweaters and you wear them and you stretch them out,” Lorelai yells at her daughter, referencing her larger bra size. Not only is she negatively commenting on her teenage daughter’s body (which: no.), the whole conversation started because Lorelai pettily wouldn’t confront Rory about a real issue that was bothering her. It’s the parent’s job to be the parent and not pick fights, particularly over their children’s bodies. The whole scene was supposed to be cute, but it left me with a nasty taste in my mouth. As a grown up, I understand Lorelai’s actions and feelings on a deeper level, but I’m less than impressed with her parenting skills.
- Season 3 Jess Wasn’t Actually that Great
As a teenager, I thought Jess was the best. Sexy, dangerous and the perfect antidote to boring, steadfast Dean. I still think that, but on my rewatch I had a slightly different read on early-years Jess: he also kind of sucked. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal of Jess. I had a Jess (I think most teen girls do) who was smart but damaged, and who I thought I could change if I just tried hard enough. Of course I couldn’t, and so rewatching Jess’s broody, moody and often cruel reactions felt exhausting. Rory deserves better than to be at the whim of some guy’s confusing and volatile love. Jess definitely improves and at the end of the show is a full-on catch, but by the time he shipped off to California near the end of season 3, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. This does not mean that I didn’t scream out loud when I heard Jess (and Milo Ventimiglia) is returning for the reboot, FYI. #swoon
- Logan Was an Important Life Experience
I remember really not liking Logan when I was younger. He was arrogant, too rich to feel relatable, and the way he toyed with Rory’s emotions by treating her like a casual-hookup bothered me a lot. They ended up becoming a pretty stable couple, but I never fully got on board. On my rewatch, Logan suddenly made a lot more sense to me. He’s that fun college relationship where you’re just starting to explore the limits of your sexuality. Can you handle a casual relationship? Do you need commitment to fall in love? Sometimes growing up is all about learning where our boundaries are. For Rory, Logan was the boy who pushed her limitations, and it turned out pretty well in the end. Still, turning down his proposal in the finale was 100% the right decision.
- I Still Don’t Like the Dean Storyline, But I Kind of Get It
In maybe one of her worst decisions ever, Rory sleeps with married Dean and tries to rekindle their first love. It predictably goes south, and is awkward, uncomfortable, and not sexy at all. When it first aired, I wanted to scream at my television. Now, I get it. We all have that first relationship we put on a pedestal, wondering how our life would be different if it had worked out. We glorify it and revel in the fantasy of that easy, simple love. But reality and fantasy rarely go hand in hand. Rory needed to try with Dean again, and I totally sympathize with the desire to run from what’s difficult back to what’s familiar. It didn’t paint anyone in the best light, but it was an understandable decision.
- I’m Worried About Lane
I used to think Lane and Zack were the cutest rock & roll couple ever, married in their early 20s, with 2 kids and living with their best friends in a cool apartment. Now, as a grown up, I’m realizing that she was married in her early 20s with 2 kids and living in a shoebox with 2 other roommates. Not great. What about Lane’s dreams? Or Lane’s needs? Even her sex life seems to take a major hit, as she hates sex with Zack, gets immediately knocked up, and then the whole thing gets swept under the rug. I’m really hoping we see an older Lane living a kickass life, happy with her decisions, but right now I’m pretty worried about her choices.
Regardless of all these new revelations, I can’t wait to see how the revival plays out when it finally airs on Netflix. Luke and Lorelai better be super happy with a new baby or two, and I fully expect an emotionally mature Jess to show up and sweep Rory off her feet. And also, Amy Sherman-Palladino, I NEED those four little words you’ve been teasing us with for YEARS! In the meantime, I’ll just check out A.S. Berman’s The Gilmore Girls Companion (January 2014, Bear Manor Media), and wait impatiently for the world of Stars Hollow to grace my television set once again.