If you pay very close attention to the Asian Persuasion and I, you may have noticed something: We love Gilmore Girls. Ever since The Boyfriend moved in over at the Asian’s Palace, they’ve had DVR. What’s the one thing she records? You got it: re-runs of Gilmore Girls. This doesn’t make sense, even to me, but considering I own three seasons of the show on DVD, I suppose I’m not in a position to judge.
What you probably don’t know is the show is based loosely on our lives. We’re not sure how this is possible as we’ve never met the show’s creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, but nonetheless it seems to be true.
I came to the GG party a little late, after realizing the show takes place in a sleepy Connecticut town called Stars Hollow. I consider it my duty to give any show set in our state a chance — though Judging Amy never made it into my regular viewing schedule — but soon found that I loved this show. Many people complain that the characters talk too fast, which I take to mean the person complaining is stupid and can’t keep up. As I once told a co-worker whose girlfriend was also obsessed with the show, “You have to talk that fast to pack all that wit into an hour.” And Slate agrees with me that this was a show for smarty-pantses. Dana Stevens called it “the most bookish show on television.” Over the years Lorelai and Rory counted Norman Mailer, Madeleine Albright, and Christiane Amanpour among their special guest stars.
I’ve always been one of those people who takes in references I don’t understand, internalizes them, and either figures it out via the context or looks it up — and then it sticks with me. I’d say about 65% of the trivia rolling around in my brain came from book and TV references that I retained. Gilmore Girls is probably responsible for 35% of that info. But it isn’t the Faulkner and Tolstoy references in Rory’s valedictorian speech that make me cry (perhaps blubber is the more accurate term) every time I see the episode. No, it’s what she says about her mother and grandparents because, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this show is a sanitized version of life.
(FYI I couldn’t actually watch this clip all the way through because I’m at work and it was making me cry.)
You see, much like Rory Gilmore I grew up with a single mother and my grandparents. We weren’t rich like the Gilmores, and my blue eyes come from my father’s side of the family, my mother never ran an inn, and my step-father can’t cook to save his life — so he’s no Luke Danes — but I did drive a Prius (like Rory) and grew up to become a journalist (like Rory). I mean, I didn’t get to cover the Obama campaign right out of college and I do not want to be Christiane Amanpour–that’s too much traveling for me — but you get the idea.
And then there’s Lane Kim, Rory’s best-friend. Much like the Asian Persuasion, Lane came from a religious household where she couldn’t watch TV or eat junk food, and had to hide her music in the floorboards of her house. Throw in some hymns, Bible camp, and a penchant for dying her hair and you’ve pretty much described the Asian Persuasion. As far as I know, she doesn’t drum and never dated the adorable Adam Brody. Oh…and AP is Chinese, not Korean.
I’m not sure the Asian Persuasion gets as choked up as I do about this show (though Whale Rider really seems to get to her). She does, however, occasionally send me a text that says something like “Paris is learning Krav Maga” or “I hate Jess.” We forgive what the show gets wrong: Hartford is where rich people live, but New Haven is a cess pool; Stars Hollow seems to be an half-an-hour from New York, New Haven, Hartford, and Boston but is also likely part of Litchfield County (Sherman-Palladino was allegedly inspired by a trip to the Mayflower Inn in Washington). What is important is that our friendship more or less exists because of this show. Back when we were first hanging out Dr. Gold and I insisted that we have a Season 1 marathon because it was, well, unthinkable that the Asian Persuasion hadn’t seen the show. She soon became addicted and over the next year or two we got her all caught up via DVD so that by the last season she was able to watch in real-time as one of our favorite fictional worlds came to an end. This is how we bonded.
So next time you’re reading this site and wondering who is responsible for this abomination, blame the Gilmores–they made this all possible.