Friday, October 4, 2013

Crossover Bonanza: Where you lead, I will follow...but not to a dark place

Around this time last year, my friend Bad Shakespeare and I decided to periodically switch blogs to try new things and reach new audiences. We both share a love of Gilmore Girls so enjoy Bad Shakespeare's take on my favorite show of all time. I'm over on his blog writing about Breaking Bad. Your regularly scheduled Island post will return on Monday (I know it's crazy) with a look a how to make a purse out of legos for a formal event. Enjoy!

Hi, I’m not your usual blogger. I usually blog over at Bad Shakespeare (tell your friends... if you hate it, tell your enemies) and today, Erin and I have decided to cross over for a very special episode of the Island and Bad Shakespeare. For those of you who don’t follow my blog, I’ve been discussing a little television show called Breaking Bad within the context of it as a Shakespearean Tragedy It’s a very obscure show. You may not have heard of it). Today, Erin is discussing it, and I’m going to talk about a show called Gilmore Girls in the context of it being a Shakespearean Tragedy. Wait... what? It’s funny? Maybe I should rewatch a little bit of it before I type this up...

I was first introduced to Gilmore Girls towards the end of it’s first season. At that point I’d heard about the show, but at the time I was more interested in not watching a show about a mother/daughter relationship because it didn’t appeal to me. It just didn’t at the time, what can I say? I’m glad I eventually did, because it turned out to be one of the best shows on television, and gone way before it’s time. But I digress. My first memory of the show was watching how a deer hit Rory’s car on the way to her finals. Then I met the people who made up Stars Hallow, and I never really wanted to leave.

It was difficult catching up on Gilmore Girls at the time of it’s first viewing, mostly because Netflix wasn’t readily available or yet invented. (on that note, why isn’t this and Smallville not yet on Netflix streaming? I can watch all of Rules of Engagement, but God forbid I want to watch Gilmore Girls. **ahem**) Yes, this was a dark time in American History, kids. I had to watch the first season of the show in reruns... RERUNS, like an animal, or someone who only has dial up and rabbit ears.

What appealed to me most about Gilmore Girls was the writing. Not just the rapid fire/pop culture reference machine that a lot of people have made it famous for. It was the fact that for the most part, these people acted like real people. Yes, Lorelai was all cute, but people got annoyed with her antics from time to time. Rory was a brain, but she didn’t always get it right, and she has the same rebellious streak as her mother (she just shows it different ways. Like when she chooses a college. Or a boyfriend. Or steals a yacht. Wow. I guess Rory was a bad girl.) But the show, while entertaining really sucked you in with it’s relationships.

Too often with television series they tend to focus on the wrong things. Maybe it’s making sure a character has enough lines, or the breakout character gets the right storylines, even if it is him acting out of character. (I’m looking at YOU New Girl.) But Gilmore Girls focused on the core relationships of the characters, not just the family you have, but the family you develop along the way. Stars Hollow was a family like that... whether it was Sookie (pre-famous Melissa McCarthy... real quick show of hands, who thought she would be the breakout on that show? If I see any, I know you’re lying.) or Jackson, or even Taylor, the insane... sorta mayor slash grocer slash the closest thing the show really had to an antagonist.

Yes, it reveled in the drama. The will they or won’t they of Luke and Lorelai. Dean and Rory, then Jess and Rory, then married Dean and Rory... (she got around.) but the stakes were never so high. No one was going to get shot. The world wasn’t going to be destroyed. (No Dean would go on to avoid all that in his next series. Supernatural reference. Nailed it!)

So, why, in a week that a show ended that I referred to as modern literature showed us it’s final act, did I want to talk about the Gilmore Girls? Sort of as a reminder. Yeah. Breaking Bad was pretty freaking awesome. (You can read all about it in my series break down: Breaking Bad Shakespeare over at Shameless plug. Nailed it!) But it’s important that we don’t forget about the other things along the way. Yeah, the darkest Gilmore Girls ever really got was the dreaded feud between Rory and Lorelai that lasted a few episodes. (And sometimes with the reminder that Lorelai, for all her pluckiness and self assuredness, was a pregnant teenage runaway.) But not all shows have to be dark to include some great writing.

I think, in our quest to classify the next great TV Show, “Dark and disturbed” has become the shorthand for great writing. The doctor is only intriguing if he manages to kill a few people along the way. Hey, this Chemistry Teacher... once he has Cancer, let’s have him cook meth and then kill a few people, that oughta darken him up a little bit. And while those are good examples (the first one I just made up. I was going with a House reference, then lost it. My bad.) it’s important that we remember that good, intriguing characters can pop up anywhere. Hey, Shakespeare did it. One of his most famous, so famous that he got written into the plot of another play, was the very comedic John Falstaff (the fat knight!)

So let’s fondly remember the Gilmore Girls, and their relationships, their quips. Let’s remember that sometimes, good writing and literature is a place that we can call home, a place that we’d want to walk through. Let’s remember that if you lead... I will follow... anywhere.

Quick PS - I couldn’t fit this in anywhere organically, but the character of Kirk is a character the likes of which will not be seen on television. He was just awesome, and perfect. He had “big storylines” but never really anything that overwhelmed the show. He showed up, did something Kirk-like, then left. He filled any role that the show needed. Shakespeare... Shakespeare would be proud at this character.

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