Spring Released

April 11, 2006 at 3:34 am (Uncategorized)

“That’s sweet that you keep your sister’s DVD’s for her.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Very funny.

She’s sort of the new girl (woman? Probably more appropriate at my age…) in my life, and this is the all-important first visit to the apartment. She’s glancing over my DVD collection, and standing out there are seasons one through five of “The Gilmore Girls”.

I explain to her that there’s no better show on TV if you’re a music fan. I mumble geeky music things about how brilliant Sam Phillips is, and how she’s sort of Aimee Mann crossed with Jeff Tweedy and I’m getting blank looks. I mention that Grant Lee Phillips is a recurring character as town troubador…still nothing.

She hasn’t actually ever watched “The Gilmore Girls”, so over the past week and weekend, we packed in the first seven episodes of season one. She seems to be loving the show.

She still can’t understand my affection for it.

“The dialogue is amazing,” I try.

In reality, both the music thing and the dialogue thing are both partly true. It was the music hook that originally got me to watch the series, after a buddy on a listserv (remember those?) mentioned that XTC, Nick Drake, and The Sugarplastic got namechecked on early episodes of the show. When I saw Sam Phillips’ name on the credits, it was me who began threatening friends with bodily harm if they didn’t give a fair listen to Mrs. Phillips (her husband is noted music genius T-Bone Burnett) brilliant solo albums Indescribable Wow and Martinis And Bikinis. When Grant Lee Phillips showed up in season two in a recurring role, I was hooked.

The dialogue, too, is fantastic. The characters in “The Gilmore Girls” say phenomenally interesting things to one another, and say them in quirky, odd, believable ways. They say them in a rapidfire, Mamet-like cadence that grabs the ear and seems realistic even if it isn’t. I love the dialogue in this show.

But that really isn’t the whole story, and watching episodes from season one that I’ve not seen in a while shows even more to love about this wonderful TV program. I love that there are no “throwaway” characters here. The characters are all three-dimensional, complex, and quirky. If they made a show about Luke, the lunch-counter guy, or Sookie, or Emily, or whomever…I’d watch. These are interesting characters who say interesting things and frequently confound expectations with what they do.

And yet that still isn’t all. If you were to watch casually, you might miss grand, bravura flourishes of directing acumen that pepper the show. For example: in season one, Rory gets kissed for the first time. Hey, I get that this is a special thing for a 16-year-old girl. What’s great is that poor Rory flees the scene of her first kiss and we follow her in a wonderful long, unbroken tracking shot that helps convey all the excitement of the moment. It’s a tremendous shot, one that reminds me (favorably) of the scene in That Thing You Do! when the kids all hear their song on the radio and go running up and down the street before converging on the appliance store.

Finally though, there’s one last thing that attracts me to this show like no other right now. No, it isn’t Lauren Graham (but good heavenly days, she is amazingly sexy, I’m just sayin’.) What I’ve discovered in my advancing years is that I’m curious about stuff I don’t know anything about. I saw a documentary on The History Channel about the fall of the Shah of Iran, and a friend of Iranian descent loaned me Persepolis to read, and I was entertained, moved, and learned a lot. And so but I’ll admit that as a guy who grew up in a guy household, the secret stuff that girls do, the interplay and conflict between mother and daughter…that all fascinates me. I still don’t think I understand women any more or less after watching five seasons of Gilmore Girls, but it doesn’t hurt, you know?

Plus, did I mention the Sugarplastic references?

3 Comments

  1. Lynnie said,

    You either “get” Gilmore Girls or you don’t. Take this season’s finale. The guest bands might draw in some indie fans, but unless they fall in love with the characters of Stars Hollow, they won’t be around next season. And they won’t be watching Veronica Mars either. Because some people just don’t get it.

  2. Chris H. said,

    No spoilers about this season! (Or the end of Season 5. I’m way behind right now, but they’re all TIVO’d and waiting for me.)I get that people don’t “get” Gilmore Girls. I’m cool with that. What I don’t get, I guess, is that people don’t get my reasons for digging it so much. I’m a guy. I love baseball. I love Die Hard movies. I do guy stuff. I just like this show a lot because the characters are dorks like I am. They’re much better looking dorks than me or anyone I know, but that’s TV for ya.BTW, admitting you like “The Gilmore Girls” has one unfortunate side-effect: I was forced to sit through Pride & Prejudice the other night. Ugh.Hey Lynnie! Hope you’re well!

  3. lynnie said,

    Didn’t mean to give away any spoilers…assumed you’d seen the promos for future episodes or read Entertainment Weekly. A thousand apologies. But look at the bright side, you probably don’t have to worry about your co-workers giving away what happened in the last episode. At least if you stay around the menfolk.And speaking of menfolk, my friend’s husband “can’t” watch Gilmore Girls. “They talk too much. It makes my head hurt.” And Mike Teller says he just has no interest in watching the dynamics between a grown woman and her daughter – he sees enough of that at home (with my own mother). But he will come in to see what all the laughter is about, usually when Kirk is involved. And speaking of EW, I just read a blurb about the Daniel Johnston movie. I’ll be the first to admit that I just don’t get it. I think my cats could put out better music. And speaking of good tv, if you aren’t already watching, you really should check out Veronica Mars. Renting the DVDs is a good way to spend a weekend. The writing is similar to GG; very sharp, very smart. And it’s not a “girl” show despite appearances. So hopefully if you admit you like it, you won’t be subjected to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. In other news, Debbie just had a baby last week. A baby girl named Alexandria Paige, her first.PS: Please please lose the “The”. It’s just “Gilmore Girls”. For a show that’s all about pop culture references, it’s important.

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