On Watching Gilmore Girls

I suspect Gilmore Girls meant more to my mother than it will ever mean to me. It’s what resurrected her biggest fear in life – that I’d leave her and run away one day. The anxiety-ridden myth in my family has been that girls who watch Hindi movies, especially Shah Rukh Khan films, elope one day. And so we weren’t allowed anywhere near Dil Toh Pagal Hai because my cousin apparently watched it, fell in love with some guy, and ran away.

My piece on The Ladies Finger.

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Lot’s Wife

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Image Credits: http://www.bollywoodlife.com

I like watching women walk away. I realized this first when I was watching Piku. Piku and her friend, Syed are arguing and she has had enough. She holds the door open and wonders if she should sit in the car when suddenly, she announces, “You know what? I need a break” and then she just walks off. She walks off and doesn’t return to work for days after that. She cleans her home, arranges books, goes out for a party and does other things.

Season 3 Episode 8 of Gilmore girls: Lorelai, Rory and Emily all walk away. Richard has fixed an appointment with the Dean of Yale University without checking with either Lorelai or Rory. When he ambushes Rory outside the Dean’s office, Lorelai charges towards them and speaks to Rory.

When Richard interrupts, she says, “Rory – the only person I am speaking to. You don’t have to go in there if you don’t want to.” When Rory says she will go in, Lorelai walks away without saying a word. This isn’t a pissed off walking away. This is a – “I’m here for you and I won’t let them bully you so just say the word and we’ll go” – walking away.

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Image Credits: http://www.crushable.com

I am always amazed when Lorelai walks away. She doesn’t want Rory to go in but she is gracious when Rory decides to. That’s the kind of walking away that comes from respecting people and their freedom. The kind that I hope I’ll be able to do one day.

Scenes later, Rory walks away from Richard and so does Emily. Except that when Emily walks away, I’m both amused and frightened. ‘Don’t you even look at me’, she says to Richard before storming off. It took me years to admit this but I never get tired of watching her on screen.

Someday I want to walk away like that. I want to walk away without wanting to look back. Often I look back because I feel like I have left something back and without it I cannot do anything. Often, it is nothing. Just my frightened self, sitting and staring at nothing.

Romedying at 7:00 AM

This morning I sat in front of the TV with a glass of hot water and watched a bit of Gilmore Girls on Romedy Now. If I haven’t already said this, I am saying it now — Romedy Now is the best thing to have happened on television. Season 5, episode 14 was on — Luke and Lorelai have split because of Emily. Lorelai is broken and in bed with lots of junk food and chocolates and magazines, and Rory is being Rory – bringing tray full of more junk. When Lorelai is finally left alone, she can’t take it any longer. She calls Luke and leaves a long message. When she realizes what she’s done, she hangs up and runs over to Luke’s to get the tape. On her way back — she sees him, apologizes and hands over the tape.

When I first started watching Gilmore Girls, I was so much in awe of Lorelai that she quickly became somebody I could never become–she was that incredible. I think this is a mistake. I am always in such a tearing hurry to put women in lists and brackets that beyond a point they stop being human and become people I can never hope to be like. Of late I have been thinking about Feminism and how my understanding of it has changed over the years. There are too many women I want to be like but every time something dreadful happens, I forget about these women and just whine. When I watched Lorelai Gilmore today, she was a woman with flaws – who messed up and cried and apologized. Yes she was a woman with flaws even before this morning but something about watching this today put things in perspective. IMG_20160204_101520

Some days, all I need is perspective. ‘I am not that girl – I don’t break and call my ex-boyfriend to come save me’, she says. And then, even though she is hurting and pissed – she walks away a more believable Lorelai Gilmore. That was my moment today. And for sometime after that, I gloriously believed that nothing will ever go wrong if I spend some time getting perspective like this every morning.

 

Clem & Clem

I don’t know if the faint light behind curtains is going to make me smile everyday, and maybe it shouldn’t.

Even as I am looking at them morosely and wondering why all mornings cannot be the same, the day begins to yawn quickly into nights and I have nothing accomplished to show you.

The lightness in my smiles weighs the thoughts within me in measured interruptions.

In short, Lorelai Gilmore calls the voices in her head Clem & Clem.

If I could be that funny to the voices in my head, they would shrink and become dust.

But they have serious names, one is yousuck and the other is seriously.

They are both talking to me now.

Tomorrow I will come up with better names, I promise.

The women

Robin Scherbatsky came into my life like much needed bacon on mornings that eggs aren’t allowed to be eaten at home, like Saturdays. My bacon reference is because she was fresh from what I had been stalking until then. Lorelai Gilmore, Rachel Green blah blah blah… I like these women because they brought to me more than just whom they were dating. I don’t mean the strong, rounded characters and other such bull here, speaking of which what the fuck is a rounded character? What does it mean? That they are round? Heard too much of that. Anyhow, for a long time those were the women I wanted to be like.

I liked Rachel Green because she snapped out of her secure world of daddy’s yacht and credit cards and being rich orthodontist’s wife and became her own person much like Lorelai Gilmore. These women stepped out of a rich world to see if they could survive and they did. Naïve, I know. There are 100 different scenarios doing kathak in my head right now. Don’t get me wrong, I know that these are plastic women and white. But that doesn’t stop pampered spoilt girls like me from dreaming about breaking out of our own shells and becoming independent.

Robin I grew fond of,  because she had the courage to turn down what could have been the perfect love life for her because it got in the way of who she was and her work. No matter how deep the promise of romance was – stability, faithfulness, consistency and all that crap. She still said no. It takes not just courage but an immense understanding and respect for the self to do that. And that is the woman I want to be like. Why am I still appreciating women who are able to do that? Because I’m still not able to do that and I don’t know how long it is going to be before I can.

Finding self can be a pain in the ass. And I couldn’t be in a better position to tell you why. There are so many things to choose from, so many things that define you. It’s crazy. Do I want to be the girl who found true love at 16 and got married to him happily ever after? Do I want to be the girl who has an hour of brilliant love making session and then leaves immediately after? Am I strong enough to be in an open relationship? What the fuck does open mean anyway?  

I do know that I cannot get physically intimate with somebody without falling head over heels madly in love with them. That also means I do not want to marry them and have their kids. That also means I cannot casually date them. That also means I cannot see them once a week, make love and then go off. I value connections. I value relationships so what the fuck am I?

Right when I was in the middle of this horseshit, I met Jessica day. She didn’t change my life and all that but I stopped taking myself all too seriously. I think it had something to do with the fact that Jess is far different from any of the characters I usually look up to. She isn’t in the least bit independent, cannot do one night stands, wants love and care, gives people blankets and homemade cup cakes before starting a conversation with them; likes ribbons and adores pink, doesn’t think it’s necessary to stand up to herself at all, smiles her way out of difficult situations and is very touchy-feely.

For somebody who has been mesmerised with Robin’s non touchy feely diktat, Jessica may come off as blah… but that’s the great thing about New Girl. It acknowledges the need for creating strong and independent women characters but also gives you a taste of Jess who is real and independent in her own weird ways. She’s flesh and bones and believable. She reinstates certain girly things in ways that you will not want to question because, so what?

She likes pink, she likes blanket-cupcake during conversations, she likes passing around what is called a ‘feel-stick’ to allow people to share their feelings (remember she is a teacher) and she’s not ashamed. In some ways, she seems to be asking you the question ‘does revolution have to come only by hating pink’? She can be touchy feely and still be the most amazingly in touch with herself.

This is what I have picked up from watching 14 episodes of New Girl. That it’s ok to not have everything figured out yet, that I don’t have to be like just one of these characters. I can choose to be who I want to be each day. There are so many to pick from. I owe this person a huge thank you for making me see that I don’t have to take myself so seriously. I can just chill for now.

 

More GG Madness

More GG Madness

Season 1 – Rory’s Dance

This is probably one of those few episodes where Lorelai and Emily bond for like a minute before something comes along and screws it up. Oh no wait, that’s actually all the episodes. But I find this episode to be particularly interesting because this is the first time on the show we see Lorelai caught in between 2 horrendous roles. She is both mother and daughter in this episode. In most other episodes, Lorelai is hardly either mother or daughter. I have never actually looked at her as either one of those because she has always been Lorelai Gilmore to me.

There are about a dozen moments that I really liked in this episode.  The one where Emily and Lorelai are watching TV together and they talk about Rory and mash banana toast and the legendary Monkey lamp. After all this, Emily puts her to sleep and then when they wake up in the morning to find that Rory never returned; all hell breaks loose. Here Lorelai is trapped between what she calls the worst nightmare for a parent and if we know her well enough, the worst nightmare for a daughter – screwing up in front of a parent.

There’s that chaotic moment between Lorelai screaming at her mother, defending Rory and Rory getting screamed at by Lorelai soon after Emily leaves. Well, Emily leaves and then Rory leaves and Lorelai feels screwed. That’s why this scene is beautiful on so many different levels, everyone feels screwed because of too much love. And I couldn’t be in a better position in life to know that kind of screwy love.

Season 1 – Forgiveness and stuff

Richard is in the hospital. He has just been brought to the ward. Lorelai is trying hard to find all kinds of excuses to not go in, yet. And finally when she does go in – Silence. Deep breathing. More silence. Focus on Lorelai. Focus on Richard and the 1000 different wires sticking out from his worn out body. They look at each other, Lorelai opens her mouth to say something, Richard opens his mouth to say something – Doctor, Emily and Rory enter – talk gibberish – Richard and Lorelai look at each other. Lorelai stammers, runs out and cries.

Some would say over done and it probably is. But it’s still ok because it is easy to overlook the overdone if you have survived one too many Gilmorie-ish communication blocks with parents. And that is why for a long time I will keep coming back to the scene whenever I think of my father.

 

 

 

 

Lorelai Gilmore

I don’t know if there is any sense to watching same old episodes from Gilmore Girls over and over again, every day in fact. I do it when I have pressing deadlines to meet, when I am sick, when I am low, when I need inspiration, when I feel that I want to leave the planet and interestingly, even when I am really happy. Lorelai Gilmore takes me back to the show again and again. And this has very little to do with the color of her eyes and her cute tops.

I want to be this woman. This incredibly independent, sensitive yet gutsy, committed not to fall back into the comfortable life that her parents promise and striving hard to make the most of wherever it is that life has got her to -kind of woman.

I didn’t like watching her when she was miserable. Like when Luke kept her away from a part of his life and she went nuts. But that’s only because she reminded me that she is human after all. She may have the bluest eyes, a humongous capacity to consume coffee, the ability to come up with a dozen comebacks even when you are trying to figure out the first one, the strength to give her daughter the space and the right to make her own mistakes, the courage to stand up to her parents even when they are at their most vulnerable point. She can be all of these and still be believable to me.

I was 16 when I first watched it. I don’t remember much of what I watched back then but when I finally learned how to download stuff off the internet, which was when I was 20, Gilmore Girls was the first thing I downloaded. Watching Lorelai Gilmore on screen after 4 years brought me a sense of direction. I have always taken dumb things like these seriously; movies, characters, their relationships, their desires and tragedies.

What Gilmore Girls provides me with apart from direction is some kind of choice to be either like Lorelai or Rory (Lorelai’s daughter) or both. Rory’s relationship with academia always appealed to me. Lorelai’s relationship with herself and how she always knows what she wants thrilled me to bits. So there are days when I choose to be Rory and days when I whine about why I am not like Lorelai Gilmore.

It’s the crazy things that the woman does that crack me up and also get me to seriously think. Like when Rory was frantically looking for her bracelet and Lorelai is helping her. She finds her grandmother’s pen under the sofa. But Lorelai insists on letting the pen lie there simply because it ‘makes life interesting’.

Lorelai’s now there- now gone relationship with her mother is also something that I relate to, at a very beautiful level. She tries half heartedly to repair this ugliness but as she puts it, when she talks, all her mother hears is ‘blah blah blah, ginger’.

I have fallen awfully behind sometimes with the show’s pace and have felt miserable when I couldn’t catch the pop culture references that both Lorelai and Rory throw at each other. Much of my watching this show therefore was constantly interrupted by pausing and then googling to find out who some singer is or what the word ‘schnickelfritz’ means and other weird things like that.

Needless to say I did learn a great deal from the show. Things I’ve obviously forgotten now but after a point the whole pausing and googling thing became really interesting and has only made me more curious.

The show also has characters that will become your mortal enemies simply because they are that irritating. Taylor, the town mayor for instance is a conventional man whose interests in developing the town don’t just stop at its infrastructure. He is also bothered by the people and their lifestyles and the kinds of songs that the town troubadour sings and the shapes and sizes of fruits that grow in the town.

Along with him there are other characters who have challenged my abilities as a watcher. There was a time when I had no patience to deal with Taylor and the Town Troubadour’s songs so I would just forward them. It took me 5 years of watching and watching again to appreciate the carnivalesque setting that is ‘Star’s hollow’ (fictional town near Connecticut, U.S where the show is based)

I’m not sure if I like this show a lot because it has helped me discover myself. Not because I discover myself every evening and then forget it in 2 hours. But because everytime something changes in my life and I get all nervous, ‘Gilmore girls’ does not soothe me. It makes me look at the characters differently, which brings me to look at things in a whole new perspective. There was a time when I simply could not understand Rory’s feelings for Jess but now I do.

The only complaint I have about this show is that it makes a very vague attempt at bringing Lorelai’s past to the audience. There has only been one episode and that too in bits of 2 min footage on Lorelai’s life before she got pregnant and right after she does. It left me with more questions than anything else. How did Lorelai finally leave her parents’ for instance?

Maybe it’s good that some part of this woman’s adolescence still remains a mystery. Maybe that’s also why I keep going back to the show. To learn more about Lorelai Gilmore.