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Test-Driving the ‘Gilmore Girls’ Diet

Pop-Tarts were involved, obviously.

11.25.16
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MR Diets
MR Diets

Today is a great day to be alive. Our cells are full of turkey nutrients, our shopping carts are piled high with heavily discounted items and our hearts are pumping with the giddy joy of witnessing Earth’s most beloved mother-daughter duo resurrected from the depths of television syndication. The long-awaited Gilmore Girls Netflix revival HAS ARRIVED.

Like all normal/chill fans, I challenged myself to a 72-hour Gilmore Girls lifestyle diet last weekend to achieve peak Gilmore fitness in preparation for this auspicious occasion. As my first act on the diet, I arranged to partake in a Friday night dinner with my mother and grandmother. I decked myself out in signature Rory garb: a chaste gray dress that reeked of doe-eyed innocence and a black headband. Rory loves a good headband.

I asked my mom to outfit herself in traditional Lorelai attire. Perhaps a sheer cropped cardigan? A mock turtleneck dress? To my surprise and — make no mistake — enormous pleasure, I arrived at 6:30 p.m. sharp to find her in denim cutoffs. This choice, she told me, was a nod to the disastrous outfit Lorelai wore when she dropped Rory off on her first day at Chilton (in the second episode of season 1 — which is definitely the only episode of Gilmore Girls my mom has ever seen).

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My mom asked me if I wanted something to drink. I said, “a soda.” (Rory always asks for soda at Friday night dinners because she is too wholesome for more mature liquids, I assume.)

“We don’t have soda,” my mom said. “How about a kombucha?”

I reasoned that the 2016 version of Rory Gilmore would conceivably drink kombucha at Friday night dinner. I accepted the proffered fermented beverage, and we walked into the living room where my grandmother was sitting.

My grandmother is dissimilar to Emily Gilmore in a multitude of ways, including but not limited to: her low-maintenance attitude, her Southern twang, her superior cooking skills and her affinity for wearing bedroom slippers whenever the opportunity allows. But they do have a few things in common: intolerance for poor manners, a Daughters of the American Revolution membership and a commitment to calling out family members for distasteful behavior.

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When I asked her what she thought of my mom’s denim shorts, she said, “Very inappropriate.”

Splendid.

I downloaded a metronome app on my phone to make sure my mom and I conversed at true Gilmore pace during dinner (it’s called Pro Metronome, and has a 4.5-star rating on iTunes). After three courses and infinite pop culture references exchanged at warp speed, my tongue decided to call it a night. Oy with the poodles already.

***

I woke up the next morning to a beautiful day in Stars Hollow (a.k.a. NYC’s West Village), ready to embark upon one of the most important ongoing plot threads in all of Gilmore Girls: junk-food consumption.

Does it mildly enrage me that Lorelai and Rory passionately claim to ingest large quantities of Pop-Tarts and Mallomars and pancakes while maintaining conventionally slim physiques and Neutrogena ad-worthy complexions, thereby adhering to the gross male fantasy trope of the stunning, slender woman who eats hamburgers by the dozen and never worries about her appearance? Yes. Yes it does.

Did I let this eye-rolling frustration stand in the way of my own enjoyment of these foods for the purposes of this article? Not a chance. Like Rory Gilmore herself, I am an intrepid journalist, and I will eat nothing but processed sugar for the sake of my craft — if I must.

I went to brunch at a local diner. Unfortunately, there was no counter like the one at Luke’s diner, where I would have sat and mentally undressed the owner whilst exchanging witty banter about his stubborn demeanor and my juvenile eating habits. I made do with a booth. I ordered a waffle, two scrambled eggs and coffee in an IV. My waitress asked if a mug is okay. I said, “fine.”

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Later that day, I went grocery shopping for Gilmore pantry staples: Pop-Tarts, Mallomars, red velvet Oreos, macaroni and cheese and Twix bars. I haven’t had a Pop-Tart in like 15 years. As I contemplated what flavor to get, I asked myself, What Would Lorelai Gilmore Do? Hot fudge sundae-flavored, naturally.

I returned home and immediately sampled my purchases. The hot fudge sundae-flavored Pop-Tarts tasted like a legit cavity. Who knew! The Mallomars, however, were delicious. I ate my first one straight out of the box, but heated the subsequent two in the microwave for a s’mores effect.

Finally, I could not ethically conclude my Gilmore Girls food marathon without Googling “where can I find dessert sushi in NYC?” (For the uninitiated: When Rory and Logan’s Asia trip falls through in the 2nd episode of season 7, Lorelai throws her an alarmingly un-PC “Asia party,” at which she serves dessert sushi). Twenty Google search pages and six tablespoons of my own saliva later, I gave up and ate some Swedish Fish leftover from Halloween. Close enough.

***

On the final day of my Gilmore Girls lifestyle marathon, I tried to cram in as many Gilmore-tivities as I could:

+ I sang “I Will Always Love You” to an on-again-off-again love interest: these boots. I still can’t decide if I love them or if I just want to be internet friends.
+ I ostentatiously carried a book around with me everywhere I went, including a wax appointment and a workout class.
+ I did my laundry whilst eating oversize portions of Chinese food takeout.
+ I participated in a solo dance-a-thon.
+ I received letters of acceptance from Harvard, Princeton and Yale. (JK I actually just want to take a moment to publicly acknowledge that this is easily the most annoying plot point in the entire show, including all interactions with Kirk.)
+ I printed out a June calendar and drew a heart around the third day of the month.
+ I made a mental note to exclusively refer to my parents’ dog as Paul Anke.
+ I jumped off my front stoop with an umbrella.
+ I told my roommate to “copper boom” when she was taking too long to pick a place to order dinner.

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Exhausted from the day’s events, I decided my final act would be nonchalantly asking my boyfriend to take the following Buzzfeed quiz: “Which of Rory Gilmore’s Boyfriends are You?”

Let me be crystal clear regarding Rory’s love interests: I am passionately Team Jess. Dean is a dud with no ambition beyond the perfect bowl cut. Logan is an arrogant prick with frosted tips that rival Lance Bass’s in 2002. That leaves Jess. He’s not perfect by any means, but he knows exactly how to turn Rory on (niche literary references! deliberate truancy!) and his hair is objectively excellent.

My boyfriend got “Dean” on the quiz. Nice knowing him, I guess?

I tried to take comfort in the words of Lorelai when she explains her decision to date Max Medina, Rory’s teacher: “You can’t always control who you’re attracted to, you know? I think the whole Angelina Jolie-Billy Bob Thornton thing really proves that.”

I still felt unmoored.

To avoid ending this diet on a melancholy note, I will pivot to a new pièce de résistance à la Gilmore. Allow me to confess something super casual: Melissa McCarthy (the actress who played Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls) was my babysitter IRL when I was little. Don’t worry — I have photographic evidence.

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Told you! The above photograph features me, Melissa McCarthy and my sister just hangin’ out and giggling together before she was a famous actor. I’ve actually bragged about this previously on Man Repeller, but I couldn’t write about Gilmore Girls without giving it another shoutout. The best way to end a diet is with a big bowl of dessert, and this surprise ending is appropriately sweet.

But now we need to cut to the chase and talk about the Netflix revival. Have you watched? Are you high on Gilmore newness? Meet me in the comments.

Harling is an experienced identity thief. Past targets include: Amy Schumer and Hillary Clinton.

Collage by Emily Zirimis.

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  • Erica

    This is the best piece ever (giggling here and there). I’m savouring this feeling just a little longer, waiting till Sunday to watch the Netflix revival.
    With takeout. Ahhh yes.

    • Harling Ross

      i haven’t watched yet either…i think because i don’t want it to be over. you know? but i also don’t want to accidentally see spoilers online. it’s a tricky pickle.

  • Meredith

    You are hilarious and so is your family. Also, I <3 Barre3.

    • Harling Ross

      barre3 is the best!!! although i realize it was a very un-Gilmore activity

      • Adrianna

        I go to Flex Studios, Noho. Very challenging because of the cardio aspect, but rewarding. I sweat more than when I run

  • Yvonne Dunlevie

    This is my favorite line you’ve written to date: “+ I received letters of acceptance from Harvard, Princeton and Yale. (JK I actually just want to take a moment to publicly acknowledge that this is easily the most annoying plot point in the entire show, including all interactions with Kirk.)”

    • Harling Ross

      It irks me to my core

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  • EvaAlt

    Harling, this is superb. <3

    • Harling Ross

      EVA!!!!!!

  • Adrianna

    This clip always gets me through the day:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qmBaBLXNbI

    • Harling Ross

      YES

  • Adrianna

    ps totally reading that same exact Elena Ferrante book this Thanksgiving

    • Harling Ross

      What do you think? It’s my favorite bedtime snack

      • Adrianna

        Just finished the 3rd last night. I inhaled the second book.

        I come from a poor European background, so I appreciate the realistic portrayal. It always frustrated me how romanticized European culture is in USA – it can be violent and systematically sexist. I think about American Catholicism vs European Catholicism a lot. In my experience, there is a much deeper emphasis on Mary and motherhood in Polish culture. (Think about tropes of the overbearing Italian mom.) I see those themes reflected in the Ferrante series

        • Harling Ross

          Wow that’s really, really interesting to hear. Since I’m reading it with an American’s perspective, I’ve mostly been drawn in by the completely terrifying and beautiful way Ferrante depicts relationships–between Lila and Elena, but also their relationships with men. It’s fascinating and uncomfortable in its rawness and in the way it makes me confront my own inner ugliness/jealousy/competitiveness, but also my own power, and how sometimes those two things are inextricable. Anyways! I could talk about these books for hours.

  • Amelia Diamond

    this was a delight harling.

    • Harling Ross

      TY AMELIA

  • sheismelrose

    I’m excited the show came back to
    http://sheismelrose.net/

  • Mariana

    I love your mother’s blouse!!

  • Thefullcolorlife

    This is so fun! You’re awesome for having Melissa as a babysitter. I was just telling my cousins that you like never forget your favorite babysitter…. well you really can’t. She’s like in five movies this year.

    http://www.thefullcolorlife.co

  • My birthday is on June 3rd, and only now did I realize that there was a connection to the show. Guess it’s been a very, very long time since I watched it!

  • Alison

    “including all interactions with Kirk.” I love Kirk! I also love the ridiculous town plays, too, so I must be a weirdo.

    • Harling Ross

      what did you think of the stars hollow musical in the revival?

      • Alison

        I laughed a lot. But I’m from a small town, so it felt weirdly nostalgic in spirit — and better performed! <3

        I also read in the Washington Post that not everyone was a fan, so I started the episode with low expectations. These are key.

  • KK

    UMMMMMMM way to bury the lede!
    Thoroughly enjoyed this.
    +5 for “unmoored”

    • Harling Ross

      unmoored = vastly underrated word

  • Samantha Lee

    For some reason, I agreed to wait for my friend to return from NYC to watch the revival. WHY AM I SUCH A GOOD FRIEND?! Kidding. But seriously.
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

    • Harling Ross

      wow. i hope she’s bringing you the statue of liberty as a thank you present.

  • lovekatiedid

    Really well written! My vote goes to brown sugar pop-tarts.

  • Hannah Cole

    Harling, I just want to copy this diet now…

  • Helena

    First of all, Melissa being your babysitter deserves all the shoutouts you want to give. And about your mother and grandmother, they both deserve a standing ovation.
    Finally, I wish I could complete this diet, but my stomach’s too weak. I want to try a local diner though, any recommendations?
    PS: As always, so great to read your articles!

  • Mun

    I’ve actually not watched an episode and I’m super curious to see what the fuss is all about? haha.. am i too late?!

    http://www.wllwproject.com

  • An excellent diet. also, wow she was your babysitter?

  • Sab

    Love this! I may sample this lifestyle during finals week. You know, to channel some Rory Gilmore intelligence!

  • Rosie

    Harling this is hysterical. Lol’d particularly hard at “My boyfriend got Dean on the quiz. Nice knowing him, I guess?” I WOULD HAVE THE SAME REACTION! Even tho Jess would be, like, probably the worst boyfriend of all time. Mysterious and aloof are actually terrible qualities in a partner. But… A gal can daydream, amirite?

  • Cleo Charpantier

    i still haven’t seen any of The Gilmore Girls so the references went over my head but your mother’s blouse is so beautiful and cool!!