Sweet meaninglessness in “Gilmore Girls”
I’m a white woman from Connecticut, so watching “Gilmore Girls” is a bit like seeing myself in a Snapchat filter: horrifying and narcissistically compelling. Do I… sound like that? Do people… perceive me this way? As I’ve mentioned before, the show and I are in a bit of an S&M relationship; I hate virtually everything about it, and continue coming back for more. Which is why I watched all four 90-minute episodes of Netflix’s reboot when they dropped this past weekend.
Sure, the new installments have things like dialogue and character development, but what felt most familiar to me (and what I was most surprised to find comfort in) were all of the minor technical problems that carried over from the original series. There are definitely some particular weirdnesses the show asks you to not pay attention to in order to enjoy the universe they’ve built, and while little things like “the blue on the fake Connecticut license plates makes them look more like Minnesota plates,” are easy to notice once and then never think of again, there are others I love to announce and review like a football referee.
Take, for instance, the issue of “winter.” “Gilmore Girls” has always been filmed on a lot in Los Angeles, and in the original TV series, there’d often be palm trees visible in the background as people were, say, walking up the front paths to their houses, or strolling past windows. They were often quick shots, little three-second establishing angles where the directors probably assumed we’d be reading a sign or paying attention to dialogue, but where I was playing a regional equivalent of the game from the back of Highlights magazine: something about this picture is off. Can you spot it?
“Hehe,” my brain would say every time I caught a desert plant jutting out from behind a New England colonial home. “There are no trees like that in Connecticut. This show is pretend!” Good for you, Christine. So smart.
While I didn’t spot any palm trees in the reboot, I did find a related game to play right in the very first episode. It starts about five minutes in.
“I smell snow,” Lorelai wistfully announces to Rory. And then fluffy TV flakes begin to romantically drift by while the camera pans out to reveal… a verdant-ass oak tree behind them.
“Hey,” you might be saying. “Don’t leaves change colors in the fall and then die, signifying the turn of the seasons?” Yes! That’s true. Which means that anytime there is an outdoor leaf in a scene in this episode, and anytime that leaf is green, it is a continuity error.
Granted, the earth isn’t perfect. Sometimes it snows before it’s been cold long enough for the leaves to drop, and in that case, the living leaves get shocked pretty quickly and turn brown, clinging to the branches like haunted mummies. Then they fall when the wind blows them hard enough. From the looks of it, Stars Hollow already has an inch of two or snow on the ground to begin with, so what I’m saying here is that Stars Hollow trees aren’t like regular trees. They’re different.
Doesn’t matter if you’re at a diner seething at your customers:
Or catching up with old friends:
And if you think petitioning your constituents to invest in a new sewer system will save you, think again:
The leaves are even able to withstand the sound of you playing your acoustic guitar in the street at night:
And that is what I love most about Gilmore Girls, I think. It makes no sense and it doesn’t care if you like it. Inspiring.