Much to my detriment, I have always been the type of person who feels a bit too much. It is a gift and a curse to empathise too quickly, to feel emotions too deeply, to wear your heart on your sleeve.
It borders on ridiculous when I feel too much about fictional characters that are.. fictional. They are not real but to my mind’s eye, they’re flesh and blood.
All my favourite characters die.
Yes, that is an overstatement. But a good many die and I feel way too much over them. I cannot separate fact from fiction when I immerse myself in an art-form, be it books or stage or TV or movies. I feel for the characters a bit too much. It’s unhealthy, that’s for sure.
The Fox and the Hound was particularly scarring. Matthew Cuthbert dying on paper made me cry for a good hour. I actually use his death as a ‘tool for crying’ when I needed to be devastated on stage- which works because I do get teary. Dobby died. Fred Weasley died. Tibby Rollins died. Alternate Timeline Lincoln Lee died. Allison Argent died. Michael Cordero died.
And it’s not like I cry only when I watch the show. There’s a mourning period I go through, much like if I lost someone I loved in real life. I take it to the extreme.
While being part of a fandom on Tumblr does exacerbate this ‘condition’, it’s something I’ve ‘gone through’ even before I joined the damn site.
I hate that I cry so much over people who are not real. If I should psychoanalyse myself, maybe it does stem from something a vocal teacher told my mom once- that I could not sing with emotion because I was too young and I did not know how to feel the same sadness, or longing, or joy that the song required. So, maybe, to make up for my own lack of experience, I live vicariously through characters that are not real. I make their pain, the joy, their anger.. I make them all mine.
And that is very screwed up.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. Why can’t I just have ‘regular’ emotional ranges and not feel as much?
I just finished watching the episodes for the Gilmore Girls revival and my heart is so full, and my eyes have just finished crying. I need to write this out because this has to go somewhere.
Be warned, spoilers abound. And this is a rant, basically.
Gilmore Girls and I have a strange history. I was not allowed to watch it on TV when it was on TV here in Malaysia. It was always on a school night, way past my bedtime. My mother didn’t like it because she felt that Alexis Bledel didn’t enunciate enough. I watched a few episodes here and there, some I would be able to find online. I followed it through clips on YouTube when it was still airing, but I mostly watched it on my own via the wonders of the Internet, once it stopped airing. I have gotten much closer to the show since reliving the episodes while listening to the Gilmore Guys Podcast- it got me through many quiet days, bus and train rides in Melbourne.
I was always Team Luke from the start, maybe because I didn’t start at the beginning so the Lorelai-Luke thing was a thing already. I was Team Jess mostly because Milo Ventimiglia looked the way he did (and still does) and because they connected over the same things I loved. While I can fully acknowledge he was a terrible boyfriend for a lot of their younger years, he was a three-dimensional character. And that fondness for Jess never quite left and grew more so when he came back with his life sorted, and straightened out Rory’s life in Season 6. I was always Team Grandparents because who doesn’t love Richard and Emily? Believe me, a lot of my tears for the revival were scenes involving Richard not being there.
Between Rory and Lorelai, I was always in favour of Rory. When I was younger all I wanted to be was Rory Gilmore. I actually looked up ‘How To Be Like Rory Gilmore’ and stuck that list in my diary when I was 14 because of how much I was obsessed with that character. She read books, she knew pop culture, she was smart, she wanted to go to an Ivy League school. I shared so much of that with her, I genuinely wanted to learn to drink coffee just so I could be more like her. That’s practically insane.
I always saw myself in Rory and I always rooted for her, even when she screwed up big time (cheating with Dean, stealing a boat, DROPPING OUT OF YALE). I understand that feeling of being lost and uncertain now more so than back then because that is generally what my 20’s have been so far. In Seasons 6 and 7, Rory was in a place quite similar to me right now- that liminal space between becoming an adult and transitioning out of childhood. When she got her act together, of sorts, I cheered for her. I was proud of Rory heading off to follow the Obama campaign back in 2007.
Now that Amy Sherman-Palladino (and her husband, Daniel Palladino) have graced the world with four new episodes that are to act as closure for us fans, I was excited to dive in head first back into Stars Hollow. I was given another round to cheer on Rory Gilmore, and maybe see her end up with Jess or someone that made her happy.
Instead, we are taken on this journey that we’ve kinda seen before. Rory is a bit of a mess; she’s cheating with Logan, who is engaged, and once again, she has no direction. My first reaction to this news was to get so mad. (Note that I didn’t get to watch the episodes when they came out yesterday because I don’t have a Netflix account, so I was reading the recaps on TVLine) Number One, she’s CHEATING with Logan- that was a huge deal for her back in Season 4 and 6. And now she’s cheating again. The words disappointed didn’t even cut it for how I felt. Number Two, she has no direction? Again? It felt like a repeated storyline that we have seen before and I was just ‘done’ with it. Not to mention the fact that I was personally miffed that Milo Ventimiglia was only in two episodes, but that’s beside the point.
Also, the final four words. Really? REALLY?
After calming down a bit and watching the episodes properly, I get it. Kinda. Well, I realised that I still ‘get’ Rory. She’s a mess, there’s no denying that. She’s not lost it all completely, but there is some floundering around. The more I thought about it, the more I realise that Rory and I have something in common, maybe something we’ve always had in common.
We thought we were Leslie Knope, but we are Rory Gilmore. Or at least she is, and that’s okay.
No, I do not condone cheating in any form. I do not applaud the fact that she got ‘lost’ again. But she’s an extremely ‘human’ character, she’s terribly flawed. And so am I. Who am I to be disappointed in a fictional character who’s making mistakes (that I agree she’s consciously making, so I’m not pardoning that) when I am doing the same thing. I’m floundering too.
She’s 32 in the revival. I’m 24 right now. She’s lost. I’m kinda lost, too.
I think the reason they wrote her this way was to reflect the ’30-somethings’ that have been chewed up and spat out by the world. The ones that are floundering and swam back home, despite being over 30. Maybe it was to remind us that no one truly has it all figured out. No one has a binder full of ‘life goals’ that work out perfectly. We just go from experience to experience, bounce from one place to another on this messy journey of life, and that we are simply figuring out everything as we go. We make horrific mistakes through our own choices and we have to figure our way through the mess.
That sounds cheesy, but gosh, it is how life works, isn’t it? The whole revival was about that: the transitions in life, whether it be for Rory, Lorelai or Emily. All three of them flounder a little and they managed to figure it out; on to the next stepping stone across the river.
I am kinda irked that the revival did not give me complete closure on Rory but in some ways, the final four words left things so open that there is a possibility for future episodes, or just really well thought out fan fiction. It’s not a full stop, it’s an ellipsis. And isn’t that what life is, all the way to the end, and even beyond that, depending on whether you’re into the ‘afterlife’ or not?
Rory Gilmore is a mess. She’s not a perfect princess although Stars Hollow treats her as such. Rory Gilmore is flawed and while I cringe at some things because GOD DAMMIT RORY GILMORE, I still love the character. She’s like the best friend I cannot truly fault because I get where she’s coming from.
Yes, Rory Gilmore is still a contender. And so am I.
p.s. I am thankful that ASP did not mess up Jess as a character. He’s weirdly the most mature one out of everyone in the show and is the personification of ‘character progression’. I am glad that the revival did not make me want to take off my #TeamJess backwards baseball cap anytime soon.
p.p.s. I am mad about Paris and Doyle. I refuse to be over that.