Let’s talk about Netflix: the phenomenon that has recently joined the likes of cell phones, modern medicine, and Chipotle at the top of our “WHAT DID WE EVER DO WITHOUT THEM?” list. I was skeptical at first. I mean why would I want to subscribe to a service that randomly sent me DVDs in the mail that I may or may not even be in the mood to watch when they finally arrived? I understood that there was an element of surprise to it… the suspense of not knowing whether you were going to open the envelope and find that documentary you put on your wishlist just to look smart or that 90’s RomCom you ACTUALLY wanted to watch on a Friday night. I get it... but I’ve never been that kind of girl. I like stability. I like to be in control. I’m the kind of girl that would rather go to Blockbuster and wander the aisles for 30 minutes even though I know exactly where everything is and will ultimately end up renting one of the same 5 movies I always rent. Blockbuster. Man I just dated myself.
What finally sold me (and ultimately everyone else in the freethinking world) on the Netflix thing was the instant streaming option. From the comfort of your own home you could sit and flip through countless titles handpicked for you BY Netflix based on an algorithm that deciphers your viewing preferences. Netflix suddenly stopped being that unpredictable guy who toyed with your emotions and always left you wondering and became this dependable, thoughtful, and emotionally available man who was there, day or night, to give you exactly what you needed at any given moment.
My name is Mary Lane Haskell and I have been in a serious relationship with Netflix for 2 years. It is my longest and healthiest relationship to date and I have never been happier. He is always there when I need him. He makes me laugh. He makes me cry. I turn him on when I’m in the mood, and turn him off when I’d rather read. He knows me better than I know myself. I really am so lucky.
All of that said, no boyfriend is perfect, and Netflix is no different. He can be a touch judgmental now and then. For instance, when I watch several episodes of the same television show in a row, I will often get the following message from him:
“Are you still watching ______________?”
I only ask because no normal human could possibly watch as much television as you have in one sitting so you must not be watching anymore. Perhaps you fell asleep? Or maybe you stepped out of your apartment to meet a friend and forgot to turn me off? Because, and really my dear this is only because I love you, it isn’t healthy for one to sit in front of a television for as many consecutive hours as you have. Go to the gym.
We got in our first fight when I binge watched Season 2 of “House of Cards” in one day. We had to go to couple’s therapy after a particularly strenuous “Say Yes to the Dress” marathon. “Are you still watching Say Yes to the Dress?” SO WHAT IF I AM NETFLIX?!? SO WHAT IF I AM?!? Not my finest moment. Turns out he thought that by playing nothing but "Say Yes To The Dress" for a whole week I was pressuring him to commit, which wasn’t the case at all! I’m fully aware that to lockdown Netflix it’ll take a hell of a lot more that $7.99 a month.
However, Netflix has more than made up for his judgmental shortcomings this month by granting my heart’s desire without my even having to ask for it:
Yes. The entire series of "Gilmore Girls" is now on Netflix for your instant streaming pleasure. The small town charm, the life lessons, the obscure pop culture references and the endless witty banter are now just one click away. I had to think for a moment - is it my birthday? No. Christmas is still two months away. Did I forget our anniversary? No... Netflix is just that good to me.
It should come as no surprise to you that I am a "Gilmore Girls" fan. Fictional as it may be, the world of Stars Hollow was a place for me to escape all the things that came with being a teenager in Los Angeles. It was the New England equivalent of Oxford, MS – Town Square and all – and it fulfilled a longing in me that I wasn’t quite old enough to fully understand. I just knew that I felt immediately at peace when Carole King’s dulcet tones washed over me. Where you lead I will follow… I will follow where you lead.
In honor of the Netflix release, BuzzFeed (as they are wont to do) released a quiz – “Which Gilmore Girls Character Are You?” I took a breath. This was a big one. BuzzFeed quizzes tend to have high stakes (Where should you ACTUALLY be living? What Disney Princess are you? Which character from classical literature are you most like?) but these stakes were astronomical. What if I got a bad result? Like what if, for instance, I got Michele? Or Paris? OR JESS? What would that say about my life? But I had to know. So I dove in. My result?
You are Rory Gilmore
“You’re intelligent, conscientious, and extremely sensitive to people around you. Although you tend to be a bit reserved and a bookworm, you still know how to cut loose with the best of ‘em. Though some people may see you as the “goody goody”, there’s more to you than that.”
… and I didn’t even cheat!
I have always loved Rory Gilmore. She made being a “goody goody” a good thing. She made intelligence attractive. She made reading classic lit trendy. She made loving your mom cool. Every girl in school wanted to be like Rory Gilmore… luckily for me I didn’t have to try. I was Rory Gilmore. I actually did work in Study Hall. I read at lunchtime. I never partied. I wasn’t promiscuous. My mother was my best friend, and my grandmother was the Southern equivalent of Emily Gilmore. In any other time these truths would have made me “square” or a loser, which would have perhaps translated to a very difficult 4 years of high school. But thanks to Rory and the success of Gilmore Girls in the 2000s, I wasn’t alone.
As you can see I connect with Rory on many levels, and the list just keeps growing. We were both debutantes – in fact it was watching the debutante episode of "Gilmore Girls" that first made my debut seem like more than just a family obligation, it became something I was actually looking forward to. It was a brilliantly written episode and was executed to a T but for ONE TINY THING. All debs have to wear full length white kid leather gloves with their gowns, and this requirement is mentioned in the episode which I very much appreciated, but in re-watching the series this time I noticed that the gloves she’s wearing are nylon!! The costume department should have known better! But I forgive them because of all the Marc Jacobs and Nanette Lepore pieces she put Alexis Bledel in over the course of the show... pieces that were also staples in MY closet which meant Rory and I even DRESSED the same. Another connection: I found out two years ago that by birth I am a Colonial Dame of America, should I choose to claim my space, and I couldn’t help but think of Rory’s brief stint with The Daughters of The American Revolution (DAR) in Season 6. I’m only on Season 3 right now but I’m sure when I get there I’ll be taking copious notes.
But one of the things I loved most about Rory, especially early Rory, was that she could make a boy fall in love with her just by sitting on a bench and reading. Rory Gilmore could make a boy fall in love with her just by answering a question intelligently. She didn’t have to flirt, she didn’t have to play at being "sexy", and she didn’t have to dumb herself down as to not intimidate the boys. She was herself, her wonderful self, and the men in her life loved her and appreciated her just as she was. She proved to teen girls everywhere that you didn't have to hem your prep school skirts all the way up to Christmas just to get a guy to notice you. And as a girl whose mother was a firm believer in the "one hand above the knee" rule, I appreciated that.
I had a "Dean" in high school... a first love... and in true Rory fashion I freaked out when he first told me he loved me. We broke up, got back together, and spent over a year going to movies and talking all night on the phone as 16 year olds in love do before ultimately going our separate ways. He taught me a lot about myself and that relationship was a huge part of my coming of age. Unlike Rory though, *spoiler alert*, I would not go on to later have an affair with my "Dean" once he was married. That wasn't one of her best moments.
I also had a "Logan"... well not quite because I didn't get a Birkin Bag out of the relationship, but in the sense that he was my first serious adult love I had a "Logan". I loved him deeply for over a year. We had plans to move in together and then marry. But it didn't work out. People change, feelings change, minds change. I was heartbroken, but I've come to understand it was for absolutely for the best. A lesson I learned from Rory was that more important than anyone's love for a woman should be her love for herself.
Because she loved herself so fully and completely she didn’t need Dean or Logan (and she sure as hell didn't need Jess but that's a different blog all together). She loved them, and she wanted them in her life, but she didn’t NEED them to function. She didn’t NEED them to survive. In fact, *BIG SPOILER ALERT*, at the end of the series she chooses to decline Logan’s marriage proposal and instead go off on her own as a political journalist. It wasn't necessarily the feel good ending I think everyone was hoping for, but it set an example for girls everywhere who feel as though their lives are defined by whether or not there is a man there with them. It has been a LONG time since we’ve had a young female character like that on television for girls to look up to, and as if me getting to binge watch the whole series again wasn’t enough, I am glad that Netflix has released the series because it will introduce these characters and the world of Stars Hollow to a new generation of kids and young adults. I think they need it.
And as for binge watching the series, Netflix hasn’t asked me ONCE if I am still watching Gilmore Girls. He knows better than that. He knows that the answer to that question will never not be “yes”. I used a double negative there for emphasis. Regardless, I’m so lucky to have such a considerate boyfriend who understands me so well. It’s Saturday and we have a hot date tonight. I can’t imagine what we’ll do, can you?
With Grace and Good Humor,