How 'Gilmore Girls' Made Me & My Mom Even Closer

by Mary Grace Garis

After lamenting my mom’s resistance to watching Gilmore Girls , I finally got her on board with the series... and it only took a plane ticket. Netflix invited us to attend the Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life premiere, and I figured a vacation in Stars Hollow would be enough to sway Mama Garis. On this episode of Garis Girls, Mary Grace and Denise take a coffee-fueled trip to a quaint Connecticut town (in California). Will it strengthen their relationship or have them bickering loudly in front of a make-shift Luke’s Diner? (Spoiler Alert: there was a little bit of both)

But why did I fight for my mom to watch the Gilmore Girls revival, beyond the appeal of being an episode ahead of my fellow marathon-watching girlfriends? It goes back to the point I made during Luke’s Diner Day: sometimes I miss my mom. More than that, though, sometimes (always) my mom misses me, as I’m the one who ran away to Greenpoint and broke her heart. No matter how much I’ve covered and discussed Gilmore Girls, I’ve desperately wanted her to experience the mother-daughter themed series. My mom and I have never shared great pop culture passions like the Gilmores, and a recent Netflix survey shows that 62 percent of mother-daughter pairings report that sharing a TV show helps build a stronger relationship.

So we’re definitely at a point in our relationship where needed to share this experience, whether she wanted or not. The result? Well, Mom and I learned quite a few things from hanging out with the Gilmores.

We Are No Lorelai And Rory

Mom and I did a Netflix pre-game with the Gilmore Girls pilot, and, after Rory and Lorelai's big argument about Chilton, Sookie remarks that it's just a fight, mothers and daughters fight. "No, we don't fight. We never fight," Lorelai stresses. Meanwhile, mom and I are still cooling off from a blow-up involving personal space and which purple clutch to bring to the premiere.

I love my mother, apparently from LA to Newark and back again, but we did not spend my youth sharing toasted marshmallow lip gloss and Macy Gray CDs. My teen years had a Emily-Lorelai dynamic with more eyeliner and less teen pregnancy. We mostly moved past it once I moved into my 20s, becoming actual friends, friends who can have open and honest adult discussions over Starbucks. Still, that'll never change the fact that my mom is an entire generation and a half older than me, and therein lies the disconnect in pop culture references and lifestyle decisions. Lorelai is so proud that Rory is "On The Road-ing it," while if I added homelessness on top of health insurancenessless, my mom would flip the Friday night dinner table over.

So, leading up to the premiere, I built up significant frustration. And that frustration manifested into a chorus of "Mom, plz," "Mom, stahp," and of course, "Oh my God, Mom," punctuated by the most stressed out sigh in Los Angeles — probably the only sign of stress Los Angeles has seen since 1908.

And Our Tastes In Snacks Is Very Different

No Donna Reed Night or Stars Hollow town meeting is complete without popcorn and Red Vines, and Netflix was sweet enough to bring those snacks to the showing. The latter definitely perplexed Mama Garis, who appraised the candy with, "Oh, and they have Twizzlers."

No, no, no, mom. That's like calling Pepsi Coca Cola. These packs of red licorice are Red Vines, the Gilmore Girls are a Red Vines family. It's a lifestyle. It's a religion. And I do believe that you need the right junk food on hand (and in mouth) to appreciate this revival.

Luckily, There's Always Coffee

I was mainlining caffeine like it was about to be criminalized, because how else does one prepare to watch the Gilmore Girls revival and wake up for a flight at 6 a.m.? My mother, likewise, recognized the importance of coffee by buying me a "Chug Life" sleep t-shirt for the trip (bless). Yet when I saw her pass on the beverage mid-flight, I grew concerned.

Not that you were worried, but, a decade later, Rory and Lorelai haven't given up their java addiction. More than that, they haven't given up mother-daughter bonding time over their drink-of-choice. That jolt of energy definitely fuels their chatter, and it comes across as late-night comfort, especially at a pivotal scene in the heart of "Winter."

Post-premiere and mid-after-party, mom finally got the relevance of the drink. When I half-heartedly mentioned we could maybe stop by the make-shift Luke's and get coffee, even though the energy-injection could keep us up wildly late, she became adamant: "We HAVE to get coffee, let's get coffee." From the screen to real life, another mother-daughter pairing is brought together by the sacred drink.

And The Lessons Gilmore Girls Taught Us

Just to reiterate, I don't know if either of us have the skin or passion for Lifetime films like Rory and Lorelai. We're also, despite my adolescent resistance and mother's fierce love of Kelly Bishop, not exactly Emily and Lorelai either. Truthfully, I think we have more of a Marge-and-Lisa-Simpson thing going on, but that's a whole different article.

Regardless of your relationship though, I'd absolutely vouch that making a having a Gilmore Girls date night with your mom is the perfect way to top off the holiday season, even if she's never seen the show before. Why? Because, as much as the show is gratuitous in delivering fan service, it's transcendent in telling one more story about three generations of mothers and daughters, three women, three relationships. It hasn't lost the brilliant and inherently feminist storytelling that every girl, young and old, can appreciate.

Sometimes I worry that my mother doesn't get my passion for entertainment journalism, or that she takes my moving to New York as a personal offense. But I think Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life helped massage her insecurities about my growing up, if only a little bit. Witnessing Lorelai supporting Rory's story-chasing lifestyle, and witnessing me as a quasi pop culture professional, helped her accept who I am. The importance and heart of the show finally translated as we giggled in line to get our photos taken and she Mom Joked, "We're like the Garis Girls!" She still doesn't really get the whole Hep Alien thing, but, you know, baby steps.

We loved our trip to Stars Hollow, and I would recommend that you bring your mom along for the ride when Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life hits Netflix November 25. Brew some coffee, get the Red Vines and Mallomars, and come hang with your favorite girls... fictional and otherwise.

Images: The Bosco/Mary Grace Garis (2); Mary Grace Garis (3); Giphy (4)