The leaves are turning yellow and brown, the air is getting cooler, and fashion is increasing in layers…it must be time for our millionth rewatch of “Gilmore Girls.”
If you have not been so lucky as to divulge in this masterpiece of a television show, airing from October 2000 to May 2007, let me set the scene. Lorelai (Lauren Graham) is a chatterbox best friend and single mother of Rory (Alexis Bledel), the result of an accidental 16-year-old pregnancy. Lorelai’s parents Richard (Edward Herrmann) and Emily (Kelly Bishop) were not-so-thrilled about this development, causing Lorelai to build her own life working at an inn amidst a small town in Connecticut by the name of Stars Hollow. The show begins with Rory entering a private high school in her pursuit of an ivy league degree in journalism. Additionally, a multitude of vivacious neighbors in the town inhabits each pleasant episode.
“Gilmore Girls” is renowned for its fall aesthetics due to the near postcard level of beauty for the town as it enters autumn. Stars Hollow hosts a myriad of festivals and quirky occurrences that add to the charm. Additionally, the early-2000s era produces a level of nostalgia, with VHS tapes, CDs, flip phones, answering machines and older cars. I myself had Rory’s exact light blue 2001 Prius for five years, and playing my “Wide Open Spaces” CD in the comforting cloth seats felt just like entering the setting of the show.
So how can we maximize this pairing of fall and town meetings, autumn and Yale libraries, or cooler weather and Dragonfly Inn solace? Here is your to-do list for the perfect “Gilmore Girls” fall.
1. Drink lots of coffee.
To quote Lorelai: “Coffee, coffee, coffee!” Now, be careful when you are enthusiastically ordering your “coffee, coffee, coffee,” because your local Weston employees may just bring out three cups due to their lack of knowledge regarding your quirky bits. Hot coffee mugs and to-go cups populate nearly every episode of all seven seasons of “Gilmore Girls.” So, this fall, your first task is to curl up by the fire sipping some coffee, or plop down on a diner stool and insist that you, once again like Lorelai, “need coffee in an IV.”
2. Assemble the perfect picnic basket for that special someone.
One of my favorite episodes occurs in Season 2 during the early romance of Rory and Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) when Stars Hollow hosts a picnic auction in which men bid on the women’s baskets. Now, you should of course modernize this rather antiquated practice and produce a basket for your partner of choice, regardless of gender. They may be a Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) picnic person, in which case you should be prepared to make “four kinds of pesto and three different desserts.” Or, you could go the Gilmore gal route, with inedible mystery items that have likely expired. Your picnic location might be the serene lake where Rory and Jess dangle their legs over the bridge, or the romantic gazebo Lorelai and Luke (Scott Patterson) find themselves in. You could seat yourself on the floor, or you could heed Luke’s advice and, “spring for some beach chairs, ya cheapskates.”
3. Throw your friends an autumn-themed party!
Episode 7 of Season 1 features an Autumn Festival, with decor a plenty spread across the town square. You can ditch the pilgrim costumes Rory and Lane (Keiko Agena) sport as they discuss Rory’s first kiss; instead, spring for a leaf outfit, or maybe a bulb. To quote Babette (Sally Struthers) on the topic of growing bulbs: “POW! Color coming out of your yin-yang!”
4. Pretend you know how football works.
Make your way over to a tailgate for your team of choice. Join in a chant or two. “Bulldog, Bulldog, BOW WOW WOW!” In Season 4, Richard and Emily take Lorelai and Rory along to an extravagant tailgate prior to a Yale football game, complete with bloody marys, spirited songs, Rory’s signature white sweater and “the fun flask.” If you, like Paris (Liza Weil), happen to find yourself bored out of your mind, don’t hesitate to take a “win/lose” picture on your digital camera to commemorate whatever outcome the game yields. “We won!” Smiling picture! “We lost.” Frowning picture. “We’re done.”
5. Say good morrow to the modern day and host or attend a Renaissance-inspired event.
Throughout “Gilmore Girls,” Luke’s sister Liz (Kathleen Wilhoite) takes her jewelry business across the Renaissance fair circuit, eventually resulting in a Renaissance period wedding for Liz and her himbo husband TJ (Michael DeLuise). These are without even mentioning the two feast dinners hosted at the Independence Inn and the Dragonfly Inn, both of which inspire a certain fall spirit. Bring the wintery vibes in early with a horse-drawn sleigh ride if fall is not your cup of tea. Or coffee, I should say.
6. Make an attempt at four, that’s right FOUR, Thanksgiving dinners.
In Season 3, Episode 9, Lorelai and Rory find themselves booked and busy, with plans of attending Mrs. Kim’s (Emily Kuroda), Sookie’s, Luke’s, and Emily’s Thanksgiving celebrations. Lorelai offers motivation for their undertaking, saying, “Rory, what are we if not world-champion eaters?” Whenever I find myself with a stomach ache, I recall Lorelai referring to Tums as “amateur pills.” Make sure to grab some chocolate turkeys and fall-colored flowers to bestow upon your generous hosts.
I hope these ideas and fond memories of the show have sparked creativity in you for your autumn activities. Perhaps the most important part of the perfect “Gilmore Girls” fall is embarking on a rewatch of the show itself. Remember to get funky in the spirit of Stars Hollow’s culture. Channel your inner Kirk (Sean Gunn) and consider his words in an attempt to sell Lorelai mailboxes with faces on them: “whimsy goes with everything.” Carve some whimsical pumpkins, wear a Chilton uniform this Halloween, and make sure Mrs. Kim doesn’t catch you tossing your tofurky away instead of eating it.
“Gilmore Girls” is available to stream on Netflix.
By Risa Bolash