The night I didn’t become a Gilmore Girl
(aka Why you should never meet a celebrity you admire)
In the early 2000’s, I could not understand why most of my friends, all of whom are intelligent people from all different cultures, mostly New Yorkers, were watching a show called the Gilmore Girls. I had never seen an episode but it aired on the WB network as did Dawson’s Creek, Seventh Heaven, Buffy, and Charmed. All shows that in my opinion were childish, riddled with contrived drama, or just too unreal.
I was just graduating college and had no interest in watching a show about a small town in “who knows where” and watch an unrealistic portrayal of the relationship between a mother and a daughter. These were the facts about the Gilmore Girls I had acquired without even watching one episode. I really couldn’t, for the life of me, understand why I or my other New York born and raised friends would be interested in watching this nonsense and I could not comprehend the fascination.
In 2006, while living in Holland, I fell in love, from one day to the next with the most wonderful, magical, adorable, and gorgeous German boy. We met at a mutual friend’s birthday party and after one night of talking and kissing, it was clear that we had both met the person we were meant to be with forever and ever. I really cannot recount our meeting in a less corny manner, because this is precisely how it happened. It was as if we had truly met our soulmate and it felt like a fairy tale. We became inseparable immediately and traveled to either Holland or Germany every single weekend so that we could be together and began living together one year later.
David, the love of my life, had three favorite TV shows when I met him. All American shows. The King of Queens, Becker, and the Gilmore Girls. He introduced me to these shows that I had never watched before.
The King Of Queens I could totally understand being a favorite because Kevin James and Leah Remini are hilarious, as is the adorable Jerry Stiller. I lived in Queens for the first seven years of my life and have always felt warmly towards the borough, so it thrilled me that David, this German dude, loved this show so much. It was as if his love for this show helped fate bring us together. He had found his big mouthed Carrie in me, even though he is in almost every way the opposite of Doug.
The show Becker, starring Ted Danson as a doctor in the Bronx, didn’t do it for me. The show is not special, it doesn’t feel at all like you are in NYC from the set design and also the pace. I watched a few episodes to give the show a chance, but after that I was out.
Then we have the Gilmore Girls. Taking place in Stars Hollow, Connecticut, which is supposed to resemble the small town of Washington Depot, Connecticut. Why was this German man, 6’3”, 200lbs, watching this show? The main characters are both female, the town is full of so-called quirky characters, the plots often deal with silly events such as the town’s 24 hour dance-a-thon, the town’s knit-a-thon, and the town’s general constant need to repair, repaint, or cover a bridge that doesn’t seem to even be necessary in order to travel to or from or within the town. Why would I care if Rory is with Dean, Jess, or Logan? Why are we tolerating the fact that Lorelai is having inappropriate relations with Rory’s high school English teacher at a fancy private school? Why is it so awesome that coffee plays such a major part of the show.
It’s now about 10 years since I watched my first Gilmore Girl’s episode and I am still watching. David and I have watched the entire show at least 7 times in its entirety and this year alone we are watching it for the second time. How did this happen? Well, it’s easy. The first year I watched the Gilmore Girls, the year I met my beloved David, my father committed suicide by blowing up the house in which I grew up in Manhattan. He blew up the house and died 5 days later. The President had to declare that this was not a terrorist attack. Paparazzi hounded my mother and sister and their photos were all over the media. It was a nightmare. That year, we needed a show like the Gilmore Girls.
After that, there were more dramatic family events, there were dramatic events that involved friends, there were horrific and gruesome things that happened in the world. And this year is no exception with an election that has turned into a “The Nazis are back in town.” style nightmare.
Since election night, I personally know people who can’t sleep, can’t eat, have broken out in mysterious rashes, who feel terrified, who have become depressed, who are trying to move to Canada. I am included in that group (apart from the rashes and the moving to Canada part). The unknown future of America is frightening to people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, Muslims, handicapped people and more. I am doing what I can to contribute to the fight; signing up to volunteer, attending protests, signing every petition that comes my way, being even more neighborly to the people in my direct community. But when I need a break from this, when I need to get my mind off of that scary, orange man and his ugly pals, I watch the Gilmore Girls.
This past weekend, my lovely sister was able to get me an invitation to a holiday party. Lauren Graham aka Lorelei from the Gilmore Girls was going to be at this party. My sister knows about my relationship to the Gilmore Girls. She knows that I have a mug that says, “Luke’s”, a key chain from the “Dragonfly Inn”, a shopping tote from Doose’s Market. She also knows that my husband and I stopped at the Loreley rock on the Rhein River on one of our last trips to Germany because of its name relation to the character from the show.
My heart raced at an unhealthy pace when I thought about the fact that I would be in the same quarters as this human being who has been in my home for years and years and whose words, actions, and behavior I have studied and analyzed profusely for years, as an escape from real life. (Why, oh, why did she sleep with Christopher instead of helping Luke paint the diner!) During the week leading up to the party I thought about what I could/would/should say to Lauren Graham when I met her. Would I tell her how much we love watching her on the Gilmore Girls. Or ask her a question about her work? How does she memorize all those lines? Or ask her how she is feeling during these unstable political times? I decided I would play it by ear.
David, my sister, and I arrived at the party and Lauren Graham was not yet there. So we got ourselves drinks and started mingling with the rest of the people at the party. The hostess was very welcoming. We chatted with really sweet and interesting people. A precious rescue Chihuahua hunted the floor for any crumbs that may have been dropped. It seemed as if we were in the party scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. People were happy and lively. A small NYC apartment with a colorful group of people and a sparkly hostess.
And then she arrived. She was taller than I imaged she would be, even though I had googled her height and should have known what to expect. She had the aura of a famous person. I don’t know how to explain the aura, but if you’ve seen a famous person in real life before, you know what I mean. They are different than “regular” people. It’s inevitable that one acquires this aura after years in the spotlight and after many years of being adored by countless fans.
I was introduced to Lauren Graham a few minutes after she arrived, but my mind has blacked that moment out. I guess it was too overwhelming for my brain. I tried hard to focus on having a good time, instead of thinking about the fact that I was in the vicinity of this human who brought so much joy to me every day, but who could not know I existed on this earth. I succeeded in enjoying myself, it was a really great party, but it was not easy.
After about an hour and a half, I decided after seeing Lauren Graham talking to several other party goers, that I too, would try to talk to her. I made my way to the kitchen where she had holed herself up and was talking to another woman. I casually poured myself another drink, adding ice and lemon and lime, trying to take my time and looked for an opportunity to join their conversation. There was no chance. My drink was made and there wasn’t anything left to do in the kitchen. I left and joined another group for a chat instead.
After half an hour, knowing that my time was limited since I had just had the flu all week and this was my first venture into the outside world in five days and staying out until the wee hours was not an option, I tried again. Again, Lauren Graham had herself hidden in the kitchen, this time she was looking through the kitchen drawers and cabinets. Ah ha, here was my chance. I figured that since she’s a famous person, she must simply have no idea where things in a normal person’s kitchen might be stored, also her character on the Gilmore Girls, Lorelei, had absolutely no kitchen skills, so I would be the one to help her, and I would be the hero, and this would naturally start a conversation between us. So I said, “Whatcha looking for?” and hesitantly, Lauren Graham said, “Um, a cookie tray or something like that.” And so I started to help her by opening drawers and cabinets, one hundred percent sure that I would find this for her in an instant and then we could finally start our friendship. I did not find a cookie sheet or anything resembling one. Though the hostess is a foodie, she obviously was not a home chef. So, I conceded and said, “Shall I go ask our hostess where one might be?” Again, hesitantly, Lauren Graham said, “Sure, if you see her.”
The conversation was not exactly going as I had planned and it was not the bonding experience I was hoping it would be. I left the kitchen, made my way through the apartment, found the hostess, and told her that Lauren Graham was looking for a baking sheet. And then I was done. Done hoping that Lauren Graham and I would have a short conversation, done trying to get her to be my best friend. I was a bit hurt because I guess I had fantasized that Lauren Graham and I could have at least a few minutes of fun back and forth banter and that I would be able to cherish those moments for ever and ever, but I couldn’t get that to happen. Because I was overwhelmed with nervousness and this must have been seeping out of my pores, because you can’t force a person to talk to you, and because celebrities are different than “regular” people, whether we want to believe this or not.
Shortly after the “cookie tray incident”, David and I left the party, we drove home, we heated up some soup, and we watched some Netflix. We watched Parenthood, the latest series to star Lauren Graham. I was so happy to be on the couch with my sweet and loving husband, who took care of me when my father blew up our house and who nursed me back to health this past week when I had the flu. There is an excitement to being in the presence of fame that I don’t think I’ll be able to completely shake off even as a native New Yorker, but I am so grateful that I can appreciate the real things in life and there really is nothing better than sitting cozily on the couch with my husband, with my teeny tiny dog, Henry, and watching any old crap.