Why we're so obsessed with 'Gilmore Girls'

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'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life': Season 1. Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore (left) and Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore.

I grew up with Rory Gilmore. When I was freshman in high school, she was a seasoned sophomore. She went to Yale the year before I went to NYU. She entered a tumultuous job market - in journalism, no less - just as I was about to do the same.

Rory Gilmore was one of my best friends. So was her mom, Lorelai. And neither of them ever existed outside Gilmore Girls.

Rory and Lorelai return Nov. 25 on Netflix with Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, a revival of the beloved show that ran from 2000 to 2007 on the WB and the CW networks.

You've probably heard that Gilmore Girls is coming back. A lot of women my age (I'm 31) have had this on our most-anticipated list since the revival was announced, as have our moms, who watched the show with us, and the many fans who caught the show in syndication or binged it on Netflix.

Why are we so obsessed?

The premise sounds soapy, like it could be any other CW teen drama: Rory (Alexis Bledel) was the daughter of Lorelai (Lauren Graham), who gave birth when she was only 16. To pay for Rory's expensive private school, Lorelai is forced to reconnect with her estranged, well-to-do family.

But it's not some soap, it's a sweet comedy with moments of drama that resonated. Here was an awkward teen girl having awkward teen problems, cared for by a mom who sometimes made mistakes of her own.

As the show progressed, Rory and Lorelai evolved. Rory found and lost love. So did Lorelai, most notably with gruff diner owner Luke Danes (Haddonfield's Scott Patterson), a will-they-or-won't-they that still elicits swoons from any woman who has always wanted to hear, "I'm in. I'm all in." (It's the "You had me at hello" for millennial women.)

The Netflix revival is fine, even if Gilmore Girls doesn't feel as fresh and vital as it once did.

Half the charm of the original was spending time in the world that writer Amy Sherman-Palladino created, and the new show, compressed into four 90-minute episodes, deprives us of the sweet time of a full TV season.

But for the diehard fan of a beloved property like this, quality doesn't matter so much. It's overshadowed by nostalgia.

For me, it's comforting to be back in the town of Stars Hollow, Conn., with these quirky characters I loved for so long. And I'm so glad Gilmore Girls gets the ending it deserved and never really received after the abrupt departure of Sherman-Palladino following Season Six.

Every Gilmore Girls fan knows Sherman-Palladino had already known the last four words of the series when she first pitched it. When she left, we didn't get to hear those four words. Now, we do.

And why else, while we dine on Thanksgiving leftovers, will a legion of viewers sit and hungrily binge all four new episodes of Gilmore Girls?

It's a question I've been thinking about a lot - Why am I still so attached to this show? - especially as my perspective has shifted.

Lorelai used to be the paragon of cool, but as I've grown older, I see that quirks don't always make for a good mom.

Rory's boyfriends whom I used to favor take on a different light in my 30s from when I was a teenager. I was forever #TeamJess until I rewatched the old series and noticed that the brooding bad boy (played by This is Us' Milo Ventimiglia) was actually a terrible person.

And yet when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election and I came home from my results-watching party and hid under the cover, it was Gilmore Girls I turned on and took comfort in.

That's because it felt familiar, but also because I know that Stars Hollow is place of unfailing positivity and community. Sherman-Palladino created a world I've always wanted to exist in. But most of all, I knew the problems these women faced would be surmounted, together.

Gilmore Girls was the ultimate celebration of female relationships. Men came and went, but the women were constants in one another's lives, from Lorelai's best friend, Sookie (a pre-comedy superstar Melissa McCarthy), to Gilmore uber-matriarch Emily (Kelly Bishop), who was pearls and white gloves where Lorelai was sequins and fringe.

Their relationship was complicated and fraught, but it was also elastic and able to bounce back. Emily started out a foe and became an ally for Lorelai.

Then there's the relationship between Rory and Lorelai - the heart of the show. They were best friends in a way that wasn't cloying, if only because Lorelai often seemed stuck in her former 16-year-old self who got pregnant and ran away from home. She doubled as an experienced authority figure who could dole out comfort and a gal pal who could remind Rory that she could always hem her school uniform just a tiny bit shorter.

I had a great relationship with my mom, who was nowhere close to strict, and yet I still envied this mother-daughter-best-friend bond that might exist if my mom weren't so much older than I am.

It's a relationship that is probably not as realistic as my teenage self dreamed, but Gilmore Girls had this way of making you believe.

Gilmore Girls had its own language, too, in the way that Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The West Wing had its specific rhythms. Lorelai and Rory spoke rapidly and wittily.

"Oy with the poodles already," is a phrase that means nothing to a layperson and everything to a Gilmore Girls fan, and is probably the reason you need to start with the first episode of the series rather than jump into the revival (the character Kirk alone is too perplexing without seasons worth of backstory).

The dialogue was peppered with jokes and pop culture references that made us feel, by overhearing these conversations, that we'd been invited into an exclusive club that only we understood.

I have a friend who grew up without the big-city privilege I had. She didn't have the cool older friend to tell her what bands to like and what movies to watch. She only had Gilmore Girls.

She recently told me that when Rory or Lorelai mentioned a band or a movie, she would make a mental note to check it out later.

These women became her older sister, her cool friend, the kindly record store clerk willing to give recommendations.

And for a kid like me who spoke in pop culture references, a kid who could cite The Godfather and various Lifetime original movies in one breath and who alienated other kids because of it, Rory and Lorelai were also speaking my language when no one else seemed to.

That's why it doesn't matter whether The Gilmore Girls revival is good, because when the first episode, "Winter," began, I started to smell snow.

meichel@phillynews.com

215-854-5909

@mollyeichel