It began innocently enough: As I sat down to edit Paste’s gargantuan lists of Gilmore Girls’ greatest moments and greatest quotations, not to mention our ranking of every single one of the 153 episodes preceding Netflix’s recent revival, I realized that I’d seen no more than a few minutes of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s beloved WB dramedy. (I’m not exactly sure why, though I suspect I was focused on Alias until it was too late to catch up.) “Why not?” I thought. “I’ll throw it on in the background. It’ll help me know who’s who as I edit.”
The project, as is my wont, soon became something else: an investigation, an obsession, a post-election salve. Though the questions and notes I tweeted along the way are mostly comic (or supposed to be), it turns out that I was also in the process of figuring out why it is that Gilmore Girls has earned such loyalty and affection from its fans. My early reference to Elena Ferrante, at least in part, was no joke at all: No TV series I’ve seen has depicted the relationship between best friends, or between mothers and daughters, in such novelistic detail. Whimsical, funny, romantic, frustrating, deliberate, often blind to its own flaws, Gilmore Girls was—is—more like me than I ever expected. And for that I am—will be—forever grateful.
1. Where’s the cute boy who’ll notice me reading Madame Bovary and Moby Dick under a tree?
2. How did no one tell Amy Sherman-Palladino that Michel’s accent is a war crime?
3. [Sees Liza Weil as Paris Geller] Wanna feel old?
4. Does Tristan get murdered? (I hope Tristan gets murdered.)
5. How long until Luke takes his shirt off?
5a. Luke is the diner guy, right?
6. Has anyone written the thinkpiece comparing Gilmore Girls to Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels?
7. Am I wrong, or is “Rory’s Birthday Parties” a damn solid episode?
7b. Do I like this show now?
8. Rory and Dean’s first fight is about The Donna Reed Show? WTF?
9. How long until I want to slap that beautiful smile off Christopher’s beautiful face?
10. How many Emmys did Kelly Bishop win for “Emily in Wonderland”? (Answer: Not enough.)
11. Did I watch “Sadie, Sadie…” twice? And if so, how come I didn’t notice until 29 minutes into the episode?
12. Is Paris Gellar the original Nasty Woman? Is that why I like her so much? Even though she’s not “likable”?
Note 1: If Lorelai doesn’t end up with Luke after 153 episodes of this, I’m going to be so pissed.
Note 2: After editing seven pieces and binge-watching the series, I’ll be offering “Gilmore Girls 101” in the fall.
13. When (if?) I ever get hitched, can I have my bachelor party at the Queen Victoria?
14. What was Emily, Lorelai, and Rory’s relationship like before the events of the series?
15. HOW ADORABLE IS RORY’S FIRST COLLEGE CLASS?
16. Jessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. (Not a question, I know. But still.)
17. Jess smokes?! (Commentary: lolololololololololol)
18. Is anyone thirstier than Miss Patty?
Note 3: Me. The answer to question 18 is me.
Note 4: Lorelai and Emily Gilmore. Matching red blazers. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” I AM SCREAMING.
19. Are they seriously having a town meeting about running Jess out of town? Is this episode inspired by M?
20. What even is the Bracebridge Dinner?
21. Can this chick Christopher’s dating take, like, three steps back? She’s stressing me out.
Note 5: The little bit of chest hair visible above the V of Christopher’s shirt is exquisite.
22. Jesssssssssssssssssssssss. (I know. Still not a question. But I, like Rory, dig his pretty bad boy vibe.)
Note 6: Dean sucks.
23. Where can I get an RX-2002?
24. How many times did your film school classmates make something as ludicrous as a film by kirk?
25. Is the appeal of Gilmore Girls that Stars Hollow is so much kinder and gentler than our own fallen world?
Note 7: I’ve watched the Season One and Season Two in 10 days, and this project is giving me life right now.
26. Does Paris ever loosen up, even a little bit? I want so much for this girl to get into edibles and Enya.
27. What is the Harvard alumnus’ estranged daughter in “Application Anxiety” up to, I wonder?
Note 8: “Waitress and birthday bunny” is both a better and more rapid answer than I expected.
28. Have I ever loved any boy, real or fictional, more than Gilmore Girls/The O.C.-era Adam Brody?
29. For the love of God, can someone sew Taylor’s mouth shut so I don’t have to hear him for four more seasons?
30. Why did the Bush Administration feel the need to use torture when they already had Sherry’s baby shower?
31. Are Gilmore Girls, Heroes, and This Is Us part of the same cinematic universe, linked by Milo Ventimiglia’s hotness?
Note 9: I am deliriously tired.
32. When I die, will you please ensure that my epitaph reads, “I already wrote his name in my revenge notebook”?
33. They shoot Gilmores, don’t they?
Note 10 [from Nov. 23]: In a feat of immaculate timing, I have arrived at “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving.”
Note 11: In related news, I only peeled off two of my knuckles along with the six pounds of Yukon Golds.
Note 12: I knew I liked Paris: “Watch Choate get Joan Didion while we’re being read Eloise at the Plaza.”
34. Have you ever been prouder of a TV teen than when Rory explains why she hasn’t had sex with Dean or Jess?
Note 13: I am still 94 episodes away from A Year in the Life.
Note 14 [from Nov. 25]: One measure of how hungover I am is me weeping at Paris’ meltdown in “The Big One.”
35. “I saw an open can of cream of mushroom soup. Nothing good can come of that”: Emily Gilmore’s my soul mate?
36. Could Jess and Dean’s fight be any lamer? It somehow feels both stakes-free and over-staged.
Note 15: Dave’s monologue in “Say Goodnight, Gracie” is almost Bull Durham-level romantic.
37. What do I recognize the guy who plays Jess’s dad from? [Answer: Rob Estes, Melrose Place]
38. Can I skip the Jess-in-California backdoor pilot? And how did anyone ever think this was a good idea?
Note 16: Rory’s Chilton graduation speech: I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying.
39. Are there any depictions of Yale in film / on TV that don’t make it seem completely insufferable?
40. How does Emily Gilmore know about Sex and the City?
Note 17: She’s such a Charlotte.
Note 18: Actually, Charlotte is such an Emily Gilmore.
41. What water-fluoridation conspiracy theory explains the popularity of sweatpants with “Juicy” on the ass?
Note 19: A man named Digger Stiles calling waltzing “embarrassing and a little gay” is pretty rich, in my humble opinion.
42. Was that a Vincent Gallo / Brown Bunny jab Lorelai just made? God, remember him? He’s garbage.
43. Paris and the professor?! Oh, come the fuck on.
44. When I complained about Michel’s accent 3.5 seasons ago, how come none of you told me he was ripped?
Note 20: This show has a women-journalists-sleeping-with-sources problem. (See: Paris in Season Four, Rory in the Netflix revival.)
Note 21: Screw Digger Stiles, and screw Lorelai, too (sorry, not sorry), for agreeing to stay in the guest room.
45. Rami Malek was on Gilmore Girls?
46. Where can I purchase the spring 2004 line of Resort Wear by Paris Geller?
47. Will you forgive me if I insult you by saying your car “looks just like Barbie’s!” à la Emily Gilmore?
48. Jesssssssssssssssssssss. (I know. Not a question. But still.)
49. After all that, Rory lost it to Dean?! Who writes this show, Satan?
50. Who would like to pay me to edit my first book, The Portable Emily Gilmore?
Note 22: LUKE SHIRTLESS ALERT LUKE SHIRTLESS ALERT LUKE SHIRTLESS ALERT LUKE SHIRTLESS ALERT LUKE SHIRTLESS ALERT LUKE SHIRTLESS ALERT
51. Rory and Dean are seeing each other again? What fresh hell is this?
52. I realize I started this project right after Election Day. Is bingeing Gilmore Girls a symptom of PTSD?
53. Norman Mailer? What is even happening?
Note 23: If Marx had included the Life and Death Brigade in Das Kapital, the revolution would’ve happened already.
54. I’m never going to stop thinking Christopher is hot, huh?
55. Who would like to pay me to edit my second book, Paris Geller’s Guide to Speed Dating?
56. Is the slim pantsuit / silver tie Rory wears to her grandparents’ wedding her best look of all?
Note 24: Yes.
57. “Yes, Damon, I know your Mommy’s a lesbian, but is she coming to the show?”
Note 25: If Rory won’t make out with you, Marty, I will.
Note 26: I regret to discover that Logan “did a year at Andover,” where I went to high school.
58-61. Logan listens to zydeco, too? Am I Logan? Am I trash, like Logan? Is this rock bottom?
Note 27: My sister, a true devotee of the show, texts me with her take, which reads, “You are a combo of Emily Gilmore and Paris in real life.” (Accurate.)
Note 28: The most outdated part of this whole thing is the fact that Logan’s dad is a newspaper magnate.
62. Who would like to pay me to edit my third book, Emily Gilmore’s Tips for Rich Girls Who Break the Law?
63. Gilmore Girls has a Pastor Tim, too? What’re the chances?
Note 29: Lane’s band plays his church in Season Six.
64. When did Lorelai get a dog?
65. Other than Logan, why do folks dislike Gilmore Girls Season Six again? Lorelai and Rory’s big fight is a long time coming.
66. Is there anything more “Emily Gilmore” than her calling Lane “Rory’s Asian friend”?
67. “So, have you seen The 40-Year-Old Virgin? Because you might like it.”
68. “What’s the D.A.R?”
69. Jessssssssssssssssssssssss. (I know. Not a question. But still.)
Note 30: Major, major bonus points for that Valerie Cherish “I don’t wanna see that” reference, Lorelai.
70. What were they thinking with this Luke-has-a-daughter plot twist?
71. Did Zack hit his head? What is with him?
72. Who does Paris’ reign of terror at the Yale Daily News remind me of?
Note 31: Me, as an editor at my college daily.
73. Is the handheld camerawork in “Friday Night’s Alright for Fighting” the show’s most interesting stylistic choice ever?
74. What is with Gilmore Girls and zydeco?
75. Abigail Spencer was on Gilmore Girls?
Note 32: The only character I hate more than Logan is his Australian friend. I hope he dies.
Fuck: Bookseller-in-a-black-blazer Jess
Marry: Dean, if he hadn’t dropped out
76. Exactly one month later, I have completed Season Six—132 episodes. What have I done?
77. Is there a more annoying Lorelai moment than her asking Christopher “Is that the special thing?” over and over?
Note 34: I would totally put out after a Funny Face drive-in date in a red convertible. (Hint, hint.)
Note 35: Lorelai and Christopher’s parents’ weekend visit to Yale was shot at my alma mater, which is definitely not Yale.
78. Where can I find a print of Wolfgirl by Kiki Smith?
Note 36: My home decor style is “Extremely Emily Gilmore.”
79. When does April leave for New Mexico?
80. Have I cried harder than Lorelai’s letter for Luke? No, I have not. Am I crying right now? Yes. Yes, I am.
81. “Mother, have you ever been in a canoe?”
82. How does Logan go so many seasons without getting stabbed in the neck?
83. I know I’m seven seasons late to this question, but what the hell is Sally Struthers doing in Gilmore Girls?
84. “So, do we all like show tunes?”
Note 37: Like April, when I got glasses in first grade, I wanted Sally Jessy Raphael-style red frames.
85. [Sees Spring Fling bulb costumes that resemble the poop emoji] Did Gilmore Girls predict every pop culture trend of the 21st century?
Note 38: Season Seven is worth it just to see Lorelai sing “I Will Always Love You” to Luke.
86. How could you not cry when Richard tells Lorelai, “It takes a remarkable person to inspire all of this”?
87. Was anyone else freaked out, watching A Year in the Life, seeing Stars Hollow and Emily Gilmore’s house in high definition?
88. And isn’t it a shame that Kelly Bishop did her best work ever on the series in this Netflix money grab?
Note 39: Paris Motherfuckin’ Geller
Note 40: Lord today, I don’t think I’ve seen Alex Kingston since she played Dr. Corday on ER, I am 400 years old.
89. Of all the TV dramas that might benefit from 90-minute episodes, are there any lower on the list than Gilmore Girls?
90. Is it not a little unrealistic, even for Gilmore Girls, for Rory and April to change exactly zero in nine years?
Note 41: I have now watched more than 150 episodes of this show and never once been amused by a Stars Hollow town meeting.
91. How in God’s name do you maintain a “secret bar” that has patio seating overlooking the town square?
92. Did Stars Hollow: The Musical make anyone else wish they’d been born without eyes or ears?
93. Once more, with feeling: Jessssssssssssssssssssss. (I know. Not a question. But still.)
Note 42: I think it says a lot, after 156 episodes, that the characters I love the most now were once my least favorite.
Note 43: “The previous owners called it the Clam Shack. I guess Vagina House was taken.” Oh my God, Emily Gilmore, I love you.
94. Does Dean have a throat cold, or did his voice get super deep since Rory dumped him?
Note 44: I know, he was like 14 then.
Note 45: I know it’s lame, and maybe it’d be different if I’d known the series longer, but this elegiac final episode of A Year in the Life is wrecking me.
95. Can you fit all your feelings about Gilmore Girls into just one tweet?
Note 46: In some strange way, this show helped me survive the past few months. Maybe that’s what it’s been for all along.
Note 47: Still, the final four words could have been THAT. ENDING. WAS. GARBAGE. Boy, was it awful.
96. I finished. Can you believe it?
Matt Brennan is the TV editor of Paste Magazine. He tweets about what he’s watching @thefilmgoer.