I never thought I’d see the day when TIME Magazine was weighing in on the great Rory Gilmore boyfriend debate…much less running an article that’s telling me, a la Scream Hello, to “forget about Jess and Dean” and focus on Rory Gilmore’s life and career.
A little mind boggling to be honest… The fact that this is in TIME Magazine (or at least an article posted on their website).
The fact that our fandom has hit the jackpot, getting this revival, hitting mainstream news after all this time, gathering scores of new fans, IS. FABULOUS.
But, the thing that struck me about this article is…it feels like Amy is telling us, as fans, that we are being shallow. And, I can understand where that perception could come from. After all, she presented two indomitable women to the world, who needed a man like a fish needs a bicycle. So… Naturally, the end all, be all of a woman’s life, is not getting a man. She is so much more than that, so much richer, so much more complex.
True. I’m with you. All the way.
And, if Amy isn’t aware of the fact that there are many of us who have spent tremendous amounts of time discussing, debating, writing about, blogging about where Rory’s career would or would not have gone, and why…then she hasn’t delved very far into her own fandom.
But, the fact is…no matter how much Amy created all of these other characters to serve as a backdrop, or as a way to explore Lorelai and Rory and their relationship with one another…they are characters in their own right. And you can’t dictate whether fans are going to be more invested in Paris’ storyline than Rory’s… Perhaps they’ll relate more to Max Medina. Maybe they particularly love Babbette Dell. Maybe, like myself, they delve deeply into the background and future of one of the least popular characters of all time…April Nardini.
Or perhaps they were most compelled by Dean Forrester, Jess Mariano, or Logan Huntzberger.
Personally…the most important relationship in the show to me, isn’t a romantic one. Nor is it Lorelai and Rory, no matter how much their relationship reminds me of me and my mom. The relationship that I would watch the show for, more than any other, is between Luke Danes and Jess Mariano. I’m not going to take the time to go into why; because I have filled a very large portion of a blog with the answer to that question.
But, the point is, as the creator of anything…a story of any kind…you don’t get to dictate which characters people will love and which they will hate; or which relationship between characters will resonate with them. As a writer, I know, that kind of stinks, in a way. Because you invented them. You gave them their relationships. If anybody gets to decide things about them, it’s you, right? Sort of. You don’t control the places those characters go in your audience’s imaginations…what place they occupy in their hearts.
And we, the audience, the world and the individuals in it that consume books and movies and television, and by our love, keep these things alive… We have this funny habit of adopting characters into our hearts. Conflating their happiness and fulfillment with our own. Their heartbreak breaking our hearts.
In Forgiveness and Stuff I’m transported back to the time my Grandmother was in the hospital, and I was sick and couldn’t be there. I went with the Gilmores to the hospital, as a way to stay connected. To be there with my Mom and my Grandma, if only in my heart.
When I watched Lorelai and Luke break up for the first time, I’d spent years trying to overcome the heartbreak I’d felt when my own first relationship shattered, and seeing Lorelai breaking onscreen–thank goodness I was watching on DVD at this point, because I emotionally could not stop watching until Lorelai was no longer heartbroken. Because…she was Lorelai Gilmore. And if Lorelai Gilmore was doomed to be as broken as I was…if she and Luke couldn’t make this work…then what hope was there for me?
I’ve heard a hundred stories from fellow fans about the ways in which these characters have affected their lives. Through tragedy, through love and celebration, through struggle…through everything. And they really have for me, too. Above were two of many, many, many instances in which this show and the characters in it have had a profound effect on my life (played a part in my husband’s proposal, our wedding, coping with the loss of family members, dear friends, the destruction of our home, etc.)
My point is…it’s easy to look at people who are invested in the relationships of fictional characters, and think of it as something extraordinarily trivial. As something shallow, meaningless, unintelligent… But these are the things lives are made of. Stories are how weexplainourselvesto ourselves. They’re one of the ways we cope with the world around us, and heal from whatever we’ve had to go through.
I am in no way ungrateful to Amy Sherman-Palladino. She’s wonderful. And she has created something which has truly changed people’s lives.
I just… please don’t tell me… tell us… I wish this aspect of my story wasn’t so important to you.
You… any YOU who has told me a story…you have no idea what my life has been. Or what aspect of the thing you wrote connected to that life. And, yes, you get to dictate where the story goes. But I get to have my hopes, my dreams, my expectations, my fears, my disappointments…my life.
Okay, when I first watched Cinnamon’s Wake, I’ll admit, I thought it was a little corny and silly when Babbette said with almost a sob, “Oh! that’s Cinnamon’s song!” I didn’t have cats yet. Now I have two. Aaaaaaand, yeah. Each of them has their own song.