Gilmore Girls Saved My Day 2

(In case you haven’t read it, here’s part 1.)

The girls were actually very nice to me when I said to them, “Daddy’s sick today, so can you quietly do your homework and let me just sit and watch TV?” They were quiet, but they did not do their homework. Parents understand the problems in that, but I only cared about laying down and maybe closing my eyes. They burned when I blinked.

I set up the vaporizer and started on a Gilmore Girls marathon that lasted until 11 at night. By that time, M. and I were finishing up disc 5 together, with episode 20, “How Many Kropogs to Cape Cod?” in which Rory starts her internship. Actually, I fell asleep during that episode. I love season 5.

Actually I love all the seasons, even season 4. While watching season 4, I find myself frequently saying, “Ooh! This is a classic episode!” where classic here means “a memorable episode I find myself thinking about and wanting to watch.” Season 5 has fewer of these episodes but more “classic” storylines, like the romance between Luke and Lorelai, the breakup, and then the reunion. Sigh. Of course, I always knew they’d get back together, or else they’d die apart.

I knew this because each one acts toward the other differently than they act toward anyone else, especially in a crisis. I love Lorelai’s “Please, stay and yell at me” line in episode 10, “But Not As Cute As Pushkin.” That’s completely out of character for her, except toward Luke. And the way Luke acts out in episode 15, “Jews and Chinese Food”— It’s obvious even if you haven’t been paying attention that he storms into Lorelai’s garage to yell at her, not because anyone tripped, but because he misses the woman he loves.

Beginning writers sometimes think that you have to write in first-person or omniscient viewpoint to know what a character’s thinking. That you have to get inside his head. Not so! Characters reveal what they’re thinking by how they behave. In fact, if they have to tell you what they’re thinking, they’re not very good characters.

Of course, I wish Luke and Lorelai would just say it, “I love you. More than anything else in the world, I love you.” And I wish they would just trust each other already, conclusively and unconditionally trust that the other person is not going to leave. But the very fact that they can’t keeps the story going.

If you want to tell a good story, instill a wish in your audience, then make sure it can’t be fulfilled. Have the characters fall in love but be unable to express this love except through outbursts of pent-up emotion. Create a villian so evil that the audience calls for blood, and then make it impossible for him to die. Think of the thing you would most want your character to do, something that would solve his problems and make his life perfect, and then make it impossible for him to do anything but the exact opposite.

Before I fell asleep, I happened to go downstairs to my office-slash-den-slash-laundry-room. This is where the girls had been occupying themselves while I vegged in the livingroom. The room smelled of perfume— No, it smelled like baby. Actually, it was a little of each. They had clearly been using a bottle of skin lotion. But more of note, there was a thin film of white powder everywhere, talc, baby powder. I saw the bottle on the washing machine. I turned on the air filter and walked back upstairs. I didn’t clean up. I didn’t get upset. I barely acknowledged that anything had happened. I’m good at ignoring problems when I have no energy for them. M. later found a quarter-inch thick pile of the substance all over the dryer, too. It’s times like this that I know I love my kids, ’cause if I didn’t…

Well, I have to get going now. I need to watch this week’s episode of Gilmore Girls, which was on this evening (Tuesday). I fully expect things are not actually resolved between Rory and Lorelai, or Luke and Lorelai, and that Logan will eventually get Rory or die in his loneliness. He’s clearly crazy about her, hopelessly in love, because if he weren’t he’d have already gone back to the long line of girls ready to sleep with him.


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