Tonight, for the very last time, I will spend my Tuesday night with Gilmore Girls.
I remember the first time I watched Gilmore--it was after college but before Maggie and I moved into the cottage; I went over to her parents' house and we watched the season-three premiere together. The episode is "Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer," and it opens with a dream sequence: Lorelai wakes up surrounded by alarm clocks, and when she goes downstairs, Luke is there--he set all of the alarm clocks, and he's hidden her coffee. He talks to her tummy (Sid & Nancy/Leopold & Loeb), kisses her goodbye, and leaves. She wakes up and calls Rory in a panic. I didn't know who Luke was or why he should or should not be the father of Lorelai's kids, but I knew with the Connie Chung joke and Barbara Boxer's name in the credits that THESE WERE MY PEOPLE.
Is it weird to say that a TV show has changed my life? I'm not saying I want to be a single parent, move to a quirky town in rural Connecticut, feud with my parents, and/or fall in love with a guy who owns a diner. I can also live without going to Yale, sleeping with my married ex-boyfriend, jumping off a tower, stealing a yacht, taking a sulky trip to Europe, and living in my grandparents' poolhouse. But there are books I might not have read, songs I might not have heard, and movies I might not have watched without the Gilmores around. There are friends--real people, good friends--I wouldn't know if I'd never started watching. And wouldn't I be a different person without The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath? Wouldn't I be different without the Shins? Wouldn't I be different without The Philadelphia Story and Grey Gardens? I can't even say what a different place my world would be without my Gilmore friends. They're not even my Gilmore friends anymore; they're just...friends.
There's a technical side of this show that's been important to me. I've spent a lot of time with the Gilmores over the years, and I think I've learned things about story and structure, about character and arc and relationship--Amy Sherman-Palladino (not to disrespect David S. Rosenthal for the brave and interesting things he's done this season; they are legion) showed me about making the big things little and the little things big, and how giving viewers what they want can also mean breaking their hearts, and how that's not always even a bad thing. I haven't agreed 100% with every writing decision she ever made, but I've usually been able to see her reasons, and I can respect that. Most of what I'll miss about the Gilmores, though, isn't about what I've learned from it. What I'll miss are Tuesday nights on the couch. I'll miss Birthday Week and the Firelight Festival, town meetings and Friday Night Dinner. I'll miss painting songs, fuzzy Certs that taste like keys, and "Luke? Can WALTZ," which sounds more like "I'm surprised I still have my clothes on." I'll miss watching The Donna Reed Show on mute and using a Bop-It to dissolve social tension. I'll miss the Troubadour. I'll miss Paris the person, "What's up, quippy? Why so silent?," and packing your chastity belt because you're going to Harvard. I'll miss non-crazy Sookie. I'll miss Madeleine Albright cuddling with Rory in her red power suit. I'll miss Mrs. Kim and "this Bible belongs to God but is being used by Dave Rygalski." I'll miss Zach and Lane and Steve and Kwan, and whichever of them is all over growing in the torso. I'll miss Blake Edwards night at the Dragonfly, Cletus in the dining room, and Michel counting blueberries. I'll miss stealing an answering-machine tape, selling the old boat and buying a new one, and apologizing in a hay-bale maze. I'll miss Kirk's pedi-cab. I'll miss Richard humming classical music to drown out the Czech teenagers, letting Lorelai climb out the window, and telling her to relax for a moment and enjoy Rory's graduation. I'll miss the two-steps-forward-three-steps-back of Lorelai and Emily. I'll miss the Crap Shack. I'll miss that whole corner of the world, because seven years is a long time to exist, even fictionally.
So tonight is the end, and I'm okay with it, sort of. I knew the actors' contracts were up after this season, and I'm always a fan of TV shows quitting while they're more or less ahead. I'm excited to sit down with some knowledgeable friends, some frozen pizza, some Mallomars, and some pudding (not in crystal bowls) to watch it all wrap up. It'll be fun, seeing the Girls finally find true love, or march off to become Christiane Amanpour, or whatever it is that happens in the forty-two minutes we've got left.
I'm ready. And anyway, there's always DVD.