Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Gilmore Girls Night

Lauren Graham as Loralai and Alexis Bidel as Rory

(I wrote and posted this five years ago. In light of the stupendous news about four new Gilmore Girls episodes (!!!!), I thought it would be fun to revisit. Maddie and I are already planning the GG Revival Nights.)

About once a month, sometimes more, my niece Maddie comes over for a Gilmore Girls Night. She brings her complete DVD set of the show's seven seasons. We usually go for a walk, make dinner, get in our jammies, and eat a ton of junk food while we watch as many shows as we can before passing out in a sugarfied stupor.

Maddie is eleven. She's my husband's sister's daughter, and she was born into this family right about the  time her Uncle Stan and I started dating. She gave me the nickname Ree Ree when she was little because she couldn't say Seré, and now I'm Ree to the whole family.

So Maddie calls me whenever she gets the inkling and says, "Ree, how about a Gilmore Girls Night?" Or if we're leaving a family party, she'll raise her eyebrows and hold her pinkie and thumb to her ear in the Call Me sign. I'm always a little surprised and thrilled that my sweet, smart, and fun niece still actually enjoys hanging out with her fairly-old-and-sometimes-less-than-cool aunt. I know these nights with her are totally numbered, but still I allow myself to hope they're not. I hope, against all odds, we keep having Gilmore Girls Nights even when she's a teenager.

Oh, to be eleven again!

If you have no idea what I'm talking about when I say Gilmore Girls, let me give you a little context. The show aired from 2000 to 2007 and starred Lauren Graham as Lorelai, a young, mostly cool, single mom, and Alexis Bidel as Rory, her smart, mostly responsible, teenage daughter. They live in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, surrounded by a bunch of quirky characters. The show is extremely well-written, with dialogue that's a constant rapid-fire of witty word play and pop-cultural references, and at the same time, plenty of poignant teary-eyed moments for us softies.

Plus, Lorelai and Rory hate to cook, eat ridiculous amounts of junk food and of course, never get fat. Maddie and I eat lots of crappy food on Gilmore Girls Nights. We say we're doing it in honor of the Gilmore Girls. However, we understand that Stars Hollow is a fictional world and that the actresses would each weigh upwards of 300 pounds if they really ate like that.

We start with a walk in the woods before we take a dive into the junk food.

So most of the time we try to eat the healthy stuff. But never on Gilmore Girls Night. To eat tempeh spring rolls and quinoa salad while watching Lorelai and Rory eat cheeseburgers and fries at Luke's? Downright blasphemy.

I'm going somewhere with all this, really I am.

One night last year, Maddie's cousin, Kelsey, also my niece, joined us for Gilmore Girls Night. The nieces were lounging on the couches in their jammies, getting ready to start the DVD, and I was acting kind of goofy in my fairly-old-and-sometimes-less-than-cool aunt sort of way and said, "Hey, I just thought of something! I read that Lauren Graham is going to be in a new show called Parenthood with Peter Krause. And Peter has a home somewhere around here. You know what that means?"

"What?" Maddie asked.

"Lauren could become friends with Peter. Maybe they'll even start dating, who knows? They'd make a cute couple. (I swear I'm not making this up now, even though I was completely winging it at the time.) We'll be at Safeway, picking out treats for Gilmore Girls Night. And there she'll be. And we'll say, "Hey Lauren," and we'll tell her what we're up to and see if she wants to come over and watch it with us."

Kelsey said, "Ooooh, can I be there, too?"

"Sure," I said. Call me the Generous Psychic.

"Um," Maddie said, "Ree?"

"Yeah?" I thought she might say, I'm so there! and fist-bump me or add her own little details to the whole celebrity fantasy thing I had going.

"How about you get back to, you know," (the eye roll came right about here, I believe) reality?"

Uh oh. I'd blown my cover and now she'd realized what I was hoping to put off for a few more years -- that I really was very, very old and sort of dorky and well, kind of embarrassing.

But I laughed it off and said, "Hey, it could happen!" and handed her a huge bowl of popcorn and some Peanut M&Ms and hit play on the remote.

Then Parenthood premiered last season and I loved it. Lauren Graham was amazing, as was her soon-to-be-as-predicted-by-me beau, Peter Krause.

So one afternoon a few months ago I got a call from Maddie, talking so fast I couldn't even understand her. I picked out the words Mackenzie (Maddie's 15-year old sister) and Lorelai. I got Maddie to slow down until I figured out she was saying Mac and her friend Valerie saw Lauren Graham.

In town.

When they were buying ice cream.

I know.

At first I didn't believe her. (Call me the Reluctant Psychic.) But this didn't happen at Safeway, although the ice cream store does start with an S. And then there's the pesky little detail that the whole thing happened to two people who weren't actually us. People who were almost us didn't quite cut it. (Call me the Almost Psychic.)

Maddie wanted me to hurry and pick her up immediately so we go could run into Lauren/Lorelai, too. I explained to Maddie that now that I lived in the boonies, it would take me a half-hour to pick her up and another 20 minutes to get to the ice cream store, and since Lauren Graham was leaving the ice cream store when Mac saw her an hour or so before, the odds were not in our favor. Maddie took this news like a champ, but I could hear the massive disappointment in her sweet voice, trying so hard to sound upbeat.

I asked Mac, "Did you tell Lauren about your little sister Maddie and your Aunt Ree, and our Gilmore Girls Nights?"

"No. I just told her how much I loved the show and that we had the whole DVD set."

"So, you didn't mention Maddie's name, or my name, maybe once?"

"Ah...no? But this guy she was with took our picture."

Val and Mac (Stand-ins for Maddie and Ree) with Lauren

I know.

This would be a much more exciting story if I could say that since then, Maddie and I have run into Lauren numerous times, had her over for Swedish Fish and ice cream and Hazelnut Ritter Bars, had our own pictures taken with her, all three of us wearing really cute matching robes and bunny slippers.  Okay, matching, Maddie would tell me, is a little creepy. Maybe just coordinating...

But, alas, my psychic abilities are somewhat off-kilter. It's like my intuitive GPS system stands for Gone Psychic Sideways. Still, it was kind of...something. At the very least, I think I may have postponed any more eye rolls from Maddie for a while. The next time I make a nerdy prediction, the kid'll be all ears and awe.

I must tell you that Maddie went from feeling majorly bummed that it didn't happen to us, The Gilmore Girls' Truest Fans, to now saying, "Hey, I'm okay with it. If it happens, that'd be great. But it's not, you know, my life's goal to meet a celebrity. There are much, much more important things."

It is so good for me to hang out with such a mature person.

Still, I'm thinking that if my copywriting work dries up and I don't sell the novel I'm finishing, I might just hang out a shingle. Something like: Ree's Readings or Not-Quite-Right-But-Pretty-Damn-Close Psychic to the Stars

Because it's now official. Lauren Graham and Peter Krause are dating.

A little formally dressed for GG Night.
I know!