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Revisiting one of my favorites this fall: 'Gilmore Girls', by Allison Krivda

As the changing leaves approached in Oxford this fall, I found myself feeling nostalgic. Why, I’m not exactly sure, but certainly being a senior has something to do with it. This nostalgic feeling compelled me to revisit one of my favorite shows of all time: Gilmore Girls.

While I like exploring new shows, the experience of rewatching an old favorite is unmatched. I love the comfort of knowing what happens in a show and looking forward to favorite milestones in the show. This way, I can watch the show while doing homework. It provides me a sense of familiarity and “company” even when I’m alone. Revisiting a show also provides the opportunity to find new details and quirks that I hadn’t previously noticed. Despite my familiarity with the show, the new ways in which I relate to the show as a 21-year-old have grown my love for it.

As I watched, I found myself constantly thinking about how much Gilmore Girls truly does embody the idea of a fall show. It brings a certain comforting feeling that feels right at home with falling leaves, pumpkins, flannels and a warm cup of coffee. Cold, but not too cold — a perfect amount of crisp chill in the air to be refreshing. Serious, but not too serious — the right amount of seriousness that creates real character development. And along with all that, just funny enough that I feel some lightness on a stressful day without the show turning into just a comedy.

Let’s take a look at all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls and how each one contributes to the perfect fall feeling. While it’s not all warm and fuzzy, every single season provides comfort, realness and hope.

Warning: If you have not seen the show, some spoilers will be given.

Season one: The first sign of crisper air

I remember the first time I watched Gilmore Girls in high school. Even though the first season came out before I was born, I was immediately hooked and wanted to know all about Rory and Lorelai’s lives. These introductory episodes embody the first signs of the fall season coming as we meet the cast and get an idea of the show’s general plot. We see Rory experience many firsts as she starts a new school, her first relationship and more. As many can relate to, Rory struggles acclimating to a new school, and she navigates the exciting yet scary aspects of a first relationship. These beginnings immediately created a sense of community and relatability that sucked me in.

Gilmore Girls is immediately captivatingly unique as the audience gets to know the town of Stars Hollow and the unique mother-daughter yet best friends dynamic of Rory and Lorelai. The small bite of small town life provides the warmth of a cozy blanket while the beginnings of character stories make the show relatable. Though charming, every character shows flaws and real issues that make me feel less alone in my own struggles while still giving me a chuckle.

Season two: The leaves start turning

As the second season begins, I am reminded of the nostalgic feeling that fall often brings to me — the return of burnt orange and red leaves, the anticipation of Halloween, and chilly air in the morning. By this point, I am already well-acquainted with the show and look forward to the cheesy-yet-welcome tunes that play between scenes. The fantasy-like feeling of the perfect small town setting is balanced by Rory and Lorelai’s own hectic lives. The combination and the comfortable familiarity of it always brings me back to watch more.

To me, season two represents the leaves starting to change. I remember the previous season, but seeing the current change brings a familiar and exciting feeling as I slowly notice details that I never would have caught last time. As I already know major plot points, I now notice details that clued into these points that first-time watchers would not look for. For instance, I noticed details that led to the fall of Rory and Dean’s relationship and details that show how Rory and Jess’ budding relationship indicated a time of risk and change.

Season three: The bittersweet change from warm to cold

While still staying light and warm enough to be comforting after a long day, the third season introduces new conflict in each of the characters’ lives. Rory begins the process of college searching, and Lorelai continues to navigate relationship and family issues. As I watched this for the first time in high school, I related to Rory’s college search. Now, as I watch again, I reminisce about this time in my life and relate to different aspects of Rory’s journey. As I rewatched, I reminisced on how it felt to start college and felt sad that this time is coming to an end soon for me. While I still don’t completely relate to Lorelai’s role as a mother in this situation, I understand her on a much deeper level than before.

While this season certainly brings more serious matters, it still maintains a light mood thanks to a playful cast of supporting characters like Luke, Sookie, Lane and Paris — a secondary cast that perfectly complements the crazy personalities of Rory and Lorelai. Luke is the softie with a hard exterior. Sookie has crazy energy that can only be matched by Lorelai. Lane is the ultimate best friend to Rory, and Paris is the exact antithesis of this (for now).

This all brings about the bittersweet feelings experienced when it gets a little too cold outside, but it is still a welcome and comforting change, even if that comfort only comes from the reds and oranges that counteract the cold.

Season four: A cool but beautiful day of sun and warm colors

As we enter season four, we shift to an exciting time for Rory as she starts college at Yale — the moment anticipated since the start of the show. While I feel nervous for her, I look forward to seeing everything she experiences and comparing it with my own college experience. As she moves onto campus, it feels like we’ve finally reached a milestone in Rory’s life that’s been building up for three whole seasons

The beautiful part of Gilmore Girls is how the audience feels invested in Rory and Lorelai’s lives. While, yes, we can say this of many shows, the combination of drama, comedy, romance and all the in-between undoubtedly makes me want more. The dynamics between characters make me want to know how things will turn out.

As I watch, I feel like part of the story. Seeing Rory leave her secluded small-town life and dive into the “real world” of college is like a crisp fall day surrounded by vibrant fall colors. The season provides some unfamiliarity, yet a large sense of content at the same time.

Season five: A cold morning mixed with warm coffee

The fifth season shows a mix of everything. Viewers finally get the love story that they’ve been waiting for with Lorelai and Luke, which I personally was rooting for from day one. We see some struggles in the relationship between Lorelai and her parents. We see Rory enter an unknown and different relationship.

I had always thought Lorelai and Luke would be perfect for each other, and I felt heard and understood when it finally happened. Rory’s struggles with her parents were nothing new, but they hit new heights this season — ones that felt like they may never be resolved. And on top of all that, Rory explores a relationship with Logan, who changes her whole world.

This mix of events makes me think of a cold morning in the fall. At first, it’s a little too cold and I find myself wondering why I even got out of bed. But once I’ve had a warm cup of coffee and acclimated to the conditions, I feel happy, comforted and am okay with the chill in the air.

Season six: The random winter day in the middle of fall

I often feel myself bracing for impact as I approach the sixth season. While I love it just as much as the others, my heart struggles to handle the events that unfold: Rory leaves Yale, and she stops talking to Lorelai completely. The one thing I never thought could happen does happen, and it takes months of in-show time to even begin to fix it.

While not necessarily as enjoyable or comforting as other warm moments in the show, it seems completely necessary. One of the reasons I love the show is for how I relate to it. I couldn't relate to a completely issue-free narrative, and that is not what Gilmore Girls is. If the characters didn’t face any problems, then it wouldn’t be a show worth watching. While it still has its charm, season six represents the random winter-feeling of late fall days that are unexpected and almost always unwelcome.

Season seven: The leaves fall, and the season changes

We’ve unfortunately arrived at the final season. It is the ending to a perfect fall season packed with beautiful, yet at times incredibly tough, moments. I actually paused finishing the last season my first time watching the show in an attempt to avoid it being over. That’s how I knew I loved this show more than any others. I felt so devastated about its end that I temporarily stopped watching.

I’m not going to provide many spoilers, but I will say that I was not completely satisfied with all aspects of the end. Would I ever be, though? Most likely not. In true Gilmore Girls fashion, Rory crosses the finish line and graduates Yale. Things look a bit more rocky for Lorelai, though.

If you want to know more about this and have not watched, I command you to go begin now. Maybe it’s because Gilmore Girls is my favorite show, but I firmly believe everyone should watch it at least once. Go dive in and experience all the feelings of fall.

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