Hey World, You’ve Been Gilmored: Tips for Binge-Watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix

*Starting today, July 1st, the rest of the world will be able to experience what us Americans have been able to enjoy for the past two years – the entirety of Gilmore Girls on Netflix Instant.

Obviously this is a smart move for Netflix ahead of Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life premiering later this year, but now I feel like the show’s going to have an even larger global fan base than ever before. So if you happen to be watching the show for the first time this weekend, international readers, here’s a handy guide to making it through the entire series. I made this in 2014 when GG first hit Netflix in America, so I’ve made a few updates throughout. Copperboom!*


It’s happening you guys. IT’S ALL HAPPENING. Sorry I yelled at you. Let’s make up. I’m just super excited for the recent news coming out of Netflix HQ: All seven seasons of Gilmore Girls are coming to Netflix Instant. That’s right – 153 episodes, about 6,732 minutes, and an unlimited number of pop culture references that will be available at your beck and call any time of day!

For Gilmore Girls fanatics like me, this doesn’t *seem* like it should be as important as it is. Like, I have all seven seasons on DVD and watch repeats of them on ABC Family everyday before I go to work, but still, Netflix Instant is next level. This means it’s possible to watch Dean build a car for Rory, watch Luke and Lorelai’s first kiss, and skip all the April episodes all in one fell swoop!

If you didn’t get any of those references, then you probably need to binge watch GG the moment it becomes available on October 1st. Why? Well let me tell you the brief history I have with this show. I was a late bloomer to GG, catching the repeats the first year they went on syndication right after season 5 aired in the summer of 2005. I remember becoming obsessed and even taped (yes, with VHS tapes) every single episode from TV. I eventually bought the DVDs and watched every episode multiple times, memorized lines, daydreamed about being BFF with Lorelai, or just daydreamed about being Lorelai. It was a show I watched with my group of friends that I studied abroad with, illegally streaming eps that aired in the U.S. so we could be caught up with the current season. It’s a show that I related to, where I could see myself in Lorelai, in Rory, in Lane, where sarcasm and witty quips were a fluent language and coffee is the drink of choice. It’s a show that romanticizes small town America, but still deals with realistic problems (for the most part). It’s a show that’s not just for teen girls like most assume, but for both adult women AND men. It’s a show, that at its heart, is about family, friendship and community. Most importantly, it’s a show you should be watching in its entirety come October 1st.

For the new citizens of Stars Hollow, or those who haven’t seen the show in a while and are in the mood for a good ol’ binge watch, here are some helpful tips (in no particular order) to get you through seven full seasons of one of the greatest TV shows of all time*.

*Number 43, according to Entertainment Weekly

Tip #1: Have snacks

The gals’ relationship to food is probably the longest relationship both Lorelai and Rory have ever had. They take it seriously. During Rory’s first night at college, Lorelai even organized a taste test for all the fast food places in the area so they could rate them. Also, one of the cardinal rules of the Gilmore girls is that if they’re sitting down to watch a movie or TV show, they have to have snacks. And not just one kind of snack. Like you can’t just have popcorn. You also have to have candy and pizza and Chinese take out from Al’s Pancake World. Make sure you have all your bases covered when binge watching.

Tip #2: Don’t eat all the snacks

lorelaiparadoxDon’t let these adorable Gilmore Girls fool you, they’ve trained years to eat as much as they do and still wear a size 2. That and the fact that they’re actors and probably have spit buckets at the ready. There have actually been in-depth studies on how Lor and Rory manage to eat all the crap they eat and still look thin. One person at The Huffington Post even calculated how many calories they intake in a day. It’s not pretty. So as much as you want to eat like a champion, leave it to the professionals actors.

Tip #3 Brew up some coffee coffee coffee

In addition to all the food consumption, these gals drink coffee like they breathe in air. It’s their oxygen. It’s lit’rally one of the first things Lorelai says/begs for in the pilot. Points if you get Luke’s coffee with a touch of nutmeg.

Tip #4: Be ready to pick a favorite boyfriend of Rory’s

For those who have never seen GG: yes, that’s the brother from Supernatural. Yes, that’s the dude from Heroes. Yes, that’s the lawyer from The Good Wife. Now that that’s over, Rory’s love life goes through three main boyfriends from her time in high school to the end of college. Dean (Jared Padalecki) was the first love, Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) was the bad boy boyfriend, and Logan (Matt Czuchry) was the one she didn’t see coming. All three have their own pros and cons, but for me, the one who always wins out in the end is Jess. Not just because he and Alexis Bledel dated IRL, either. Because they were *meant 2 be*. And once you’re done with the series, read this super hilarious – and accurate – roundtable discussion of Rory’s BFs.

Tip #5: Same goes for Lorelai

Listen, you’ll see throughout the course of the show that Lor has more boyfriends than local diner owner Luke and baby daddy Christopher. If you’ve watched it and for some reason pick neither (or even worse pick Jason) as your fave, your points are invalid. For Lorelai, she was always torn between who she should be with and who she wanted to be with, and really, there’s no wrong answer here. Except there is a wrong answer. Read on…

Tip #6: Pick a ship and sail with it

Sam and Diane. Rachel and Ross. Jim and Pam. Luke and Lorelai. As far as TV couples go, Luke and Lorelai are probably my favorite of all time. They’re one of the most epic ‘will they or won’t they’ couples in TV history and *spoiler alert* waiting nearly five seasons for them to get together is totally worth it. From the beginning, you could tell the man who provided the crazed woman with a constant coffee IV drip had been pining for her, and she loved him without even knowing it. Their subtle glances to each other, their inability to admit jealousy of significant others, the way they cared for each other as if they had been in a relationship all along – is what makes them the ultimate ship of all ships on this show.

Tip #7: Keep an eye out for guest stars

If you can believe it, Gilmore Girls started in the year 2000. That’s 14 years ago. Approximately the age of a current high school freshman. That means that during the show’s seven season run, a lot of actors who had cameo roles have since become much bigger stars. Take for example, the man above. You may recognize his mustache as seen on Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation, but on GG, he plays Beau Belville, a creepy relative of Jackson. Everyone from Jon Hamm to Seth MacFarlane to the guy who played Duncan Kane on Veronica Mars all show up to Stars Hollow at some point.

Tip #8: Paris Geller takes some getting used to

In the beginning, Rory’s classmate is a snobby, malicious, Heather-type bitch. It’s easy to hate on her. But trust, she will become one of your favorite characters on the show as the series goes on.

Tip #9: Soak in the magic that is Melissa McCarthy

Long before Melissa McCarthy was “Oscar nominee/Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy”, she was the lovable, bumbling Sookie St. James, BFOTB (Best Friend of the Bride). Any GG fan can tell you that Melissa was a standout on the show. Her comedic skills were beyond and I’m so happy that she finally gets to showcase it in all its glory.

Tip #10: You can visit Stars Hollow

wbtour

Yes, that’s right folks. You can actually visit the fictional town that is Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Well, okay, kind of. Two options: 1 go on a Warner Brothers tour in sunny Burbank, California, just minutes from my humble abode (Come over after, I’ll provide coffee). It depends on whether the area is being used for filming or not, but you’ll get to see the town square on said tour! Since it’s been seven years since the show ended, WB has gotten rid of the Luke’s and Doose’s signs, but the facades still stand (and are used for shows like Pretty Little Liars and Hart of Dixie). You’ll be able to see Miss Patty’s, Stars Hollow High, the church with the bells, and maybe even the gazebo! I will say that I’ve been on the WB tour THRICE and it wasn’t until the final time that I got to see the town square. Probs because I begged our tour guide and we were essentially the only Americans people paying attention.

*** Earlier this year, just before GG went into production for A Year in the Life, I took the WB tour again and managed to see Stars Hollow coming to life! Check out pix of Luke’s, the Gilmore house and Doose’s here!!!***

If you want a tour of the real Stars Hollow, the closest you can get is Washington Depot, Connecticut, where GG creator Amy Sherman-Palladino stayed and was inspired to write the show. A complete guide can be find here, and also gives details on surrounding towns that have that SH feel.

Tip #11: Question Michel’s sexuality

He’s the unfriendly concierge for the Independence Inn/Dragonfly and he never uses pronouns when it comes to significant others. He is always dressed impeccably, watches his weight to a fault, and loves Destiny’s Child and Celine Dion. You decide.

Tip #12: The fast-talking doesn’t slow down

There’s nothing wrong with your TV, those girls talk fast. Most hour-long ‘dramas’ have scripts that, on average, are 40 to 50 pages long, but the fast-paced dialogue that GG is known for would spawn across 75 to 80 pages!

Tip #13: Celebrate June 3rd

**If you haven’t seen the show and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t watch that video! But I’m about to talk about some stuff that happens, so skip ahead if you don’t want to know!

June 3rd was supposed to be the date of Luke and Lorelai’s wedding until April and subsequently Lorelai herself screwed it all up. June 3rd is also the date Rory had a date in court, and my friends and I have unofficially deemed June 3rd Gilmore Girls day. It usually includes good food, coffee coffee coffee and maybe an episode or two. Luckily, you have plenty of time to watch the entire series (a few times, probs) before the next GG holiday.

***Celebrate June 3rd next year and every year!***

Tip #14: Don’t worry if you don’t get all the pop culture references

The witty banter and references made in the show are sometimes thrown in there that you miss most of them. I love that I can watch the show to this day and still find a ref I missed before. In the DVDs (IDK if they still do this now), each box set used to come with a lexicon guide to help you understand what the characters were talking about. Even the cast admitted they didn’t get all of the references – apparently Alexis had to ask Lauren who The Waltons were at some point…

Tip #15: The finale wasn’t a real finale

When you reach the very last episode of the series, you’ll be left with a feeling of unfinished business. Like it was fine, but you also want more. This is mainly because the finale wasn’t actually meant to be a series finale. When the WB turned into the CW during the show’s last season, a lot of things got fucked up, including the fact that Amy Sherman-Palladino left at the end of season 6, which is also the reason why season 7 was kind of weird in general. Anyways, when they shot the season 7 finale, they weren’t sure if they were going to get picked up or not, so they wrote the season finale as if it could be a series finale, but also left room for the possibility of going somewhere in season 8. Because of this, fans have been clamoring for more, which is why you hear about those movie rumors from time to time. BTW, those are rumors, nothing’s happening with that. However, AS-P has said in the past that she had planned the final line of the entire series since the beginning, but because she left, we never got to find out what that was. So here’s hoping she’ll maybe spill the beans or there will be a random 2 hour TV movie that will satisfied GG fans around the world.

***Fast forward to two years later aND OH MY GOD I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE WE’RE GETTING MORE EPISODES. FIVE NEW HOURS OF LORELAI AND RORY AND I DON’T THINK MY BODY IS OR WILL EVER BE READY. What are our thoughts on the Netflix revival?? Here’s how we felt back in October, 2015 when the news broke and changed our lives forever.***

Alright kids, I think that’s enough to get you ready to binge watch one of the best shows ever. Hopefully it will live up to all the hype. And now that Dawson’s Creek is off Instant (RIP), this should probably be your go to show moving forward.

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When Binge-Watching Isn’t a Choice

The third season of House of Cards was plopped into millions of Netflix accounts on Friday, and many people began a weekend of binge-watching the Underwoods as they

*SPOILER ALERT FOR SEASON 2 FINALE*

…prepared to become the President and First Lady of the United States.

As I begun my travels to this messed up version of DC, I could only remember two things about what happened last season – that Frank became President, and Stamper got beat up. You can attribute this lack of memory to the fact that I can barely remember what I did yesterday or that sometimes I tend to not pay attention to what’s happening, but mostly, I think you can blame it on the fact that I wanted to watch the second season as fast as possible as to not get any spoilers.

I hate spoilers. Spoilers are the worst. I’ve had arguments IRL about this, and while I understand why people who like to get spoiled (e.g. will this person get killed? I need to mentally prepare), I am 100 percent on the side of not getting spoiled at all. For me, television is an escape. Escape from my daily, boring life, into places like corrupt D.C., or Pawnee or Scranton or 1960s New York City, or Stars Hollow. I treat the characters in the shows as if they’re real, and like real life, I don’t want to know what’s going to happen next. That’s the half the excitement. If I know I’m going to get fired on Friday, I will be worried every single second waiting for that moment where my boss takes me into his office and gives me the bad news. If someone is going to be unexpectedly proposed to at the end of a Halloween episode, I would much rather be surprised than anticipate the moment where he gets down on one knee, because, romance.

I watched Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time on Saturday (I know), and I had seen the GIFs of dancing baby Groot on Tumblr, and was expecting him to show up at any minute. So when the thing happens towards the end and then later dancing Groot appears, it didn’t have the same impact on me as I imagine it did for a lot of people. This is why I hate spoilers.

But with a Netflix show like House of Cards, everyone is watching it at a different pace. There’s no one episode a week, like traditional television. It’s 13 episodes put at your fingertips and watch at your own will.

Last year, I went to the ATX Festival in Austin, which is a weekend-long event for TV fans (we’re going together this June, so look out for that!). I went to a panel called #SpoilerAlert, and among the panelists were executive producer Beau Willimon from House of Cards and Netflix social media rep Eric Pallotta.

*ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT FOR EPISODE 1 OF SEASON 2 OF HOC**

Eric talked about how when season 2 dropped at 12am, they were tracking what was happening on social media in regards to the show – what topics fans were talking about, and what they were responding to. He said that around the 12:10am/10 minute mark (or whatever time The Train Incident happened), they noticed a huge spike in viewers’ tweets, reacting to Zoe’s sudden demise. However, most of the tweets didn’t read, “Z0MG FRANK JUST PUSHED ZOE IN FRONT OF A MOVING TRAIN AND THEN WALK AWAY RULLL CASUAL”, it was more like, “OMG” or “DID THAT JUST HAPPEN” or “emoji of a train #HouseOfCards”. There’s an unspoken language amongst binge-watchers, especially among the Netflix community, that lets other people know something big just happened, but also to show you’re in the know and hip because you’re watching HOC.

So, here we are. It’s been a few days since season three was available to view, and there are some who finished on Saturday, some who are close to finishing, and some who probably won’t get to it until the next free weekend they’re not doing brunch. According to Variety, two percent of all Netflix subscribers binge-watched House of Cards in the first weekend season two was released. That doesn’t seem like a big number, but that’s still a lot of folks who did nothing but watch HoC all weekend.

At what point is it socially acceptable to start talking about the monsters and aliens that take over Frank’s body and the White House (JK that doesn’t happen. OR DOES IT). Is two weeks enough time to even start talking about the first half? I’m always in awe of the folks who manage to avoid spoilers. I mean, it’s nearly impossible to not get spoiled these days. Merely watching other programs leads to getting spoiled on other shows (see: SNL sketch from Saturday about being Brave and the Breaking Bad finale). For me, with the nature of my job, I have to be on top of everything that happens in entertainment the minute it occurs, so usually, waiting to see a movie or watch a series finale months later is not an option. Bless the people who can live their lives without even the threat of being spoiled. But also, I am torn with the option of making season three last as long as possible. If I timed it as if I was watching a regular TV show, this experience could last me the next four-ish months! Maybe I’ll actually remember more details of what happens come season four when I can’t decide to binge or not to binge.

But right now, I am already more than halfway through this season of HOC, so I’m clearly opting to go the binge route and not be spoiled. I’ve backed myself into a corner of fitting as many HOC episodes I can in a day in order to beat the clock of spoils. Mr. Underwood has given me no choice BUT to binge – I guess television is like real life, isn’t it Frank?

Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Last-Minute Binge Watching Edition

The long, lazy days of summer are winding down, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it – because it means TV season is upon us! However, there’s enough summer left before premiere week to squeeze in a couple kayaking trips, or finally go on that weekend-long hike, or throw a big outdoor barbeque for all of your friends. Or – better idea! – you can binge watch all of these great shows and be caught up by the time the next season begins. With 1-3 seasons under their belt, these are shows you should be watching – and with a proper binge watching technique, we think they’re shows you can be watching. Let’s make those last weeks of summer count, kids.

 Traci’s Suggestions

For beginner binge-watchers looking for a laughcry: About a Boy

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Tuesday, October 14th on NBC

Why you should be watching:

This NBC sitcom was a mid-season replacement earlier this year (and we also talked about it then too) and only has 13 episodes that are 22 minutes long! About a Boy is based off the 2002 movie starring Hugh Grant, which was based on the 1998 novel by Nick Hornby, but the pilot is the only episode that is like the movie. After that, it’s about the boy, brilliantly played by Benjamin Stockham,, his mom, brilliantly played by Minnie Driver, and the bachelor neighbor who turns out to be the best father figure in the boy’s life, brilliantly played by David Walton. If you like your comedies with a side of crying and a handful of heart, this show’s for you. This show’s also for you if you are a fan of Parenthood or Friday Night Lights, as it has the same tone as those shows, except with a few more jokes. Also it’s by creator/executive producer Jason Katims, who helmed said shows. He really can do nothing wrong.

For the rom-com loving semi-professional TV watchers: The Mindy Project

Seasons to catch up on: 2

Next season begins: Tuesday, September 16th on FOX

Why you should be watching:

Just like a fine wine or Mindy’s alma mater, The Office, this show only gets better with time. With every episode, the writers and actors found their true voice, and by the end of season two, it became not only one of my favorite shows, but it was hard to believe that such a strong series was only in its second season. As the creator, executive producer and star of the show, there’s no doubt that Mindy Kaling’s own voice is all over the series, which is a good thing. To be clear, Mindy doesn’t play herself, she plays a woman named Mindy who is a gynecologist with her own practice. I can’t think of a female in television who is like her – there’s Tina Fey, but she and Mindy have such different comedic styles which are both great in their own ways. While Tina used 30 Rock as an offbeat showcase for her humor, Mindy takes the nuances of her friendships and romances and amplifies them to create a fairly accurate portrait of life as a working single woman in 2014. And for gals like me, I greatly appreciate that there is a minority woman representin’ in a sea of (for lack of a better term) white men in comedy. There are 46 half hour (22 minute) episodes to catch up on before September 16th, but I promise they will go faster than you can say Beyonce Pad Thai (you’ll eventually get that reference).

For the dramatically inclined hardcore TV addicts: Scandal

Seasons to catch up on: 3

Next season begins: Thursday, September 25th on ABC

Why you should be watching:

My friends know I’m insane about television, so when they ask me for suggestions as for what to watch next, I always say Scandal. Always. This is mainly for selfish reasons so I can have other people to freak out with when shit goes down on the show. But really, the show itself is really good you guys. If for some reason you don’t know what Scandal’s about (where have you been), the basic plot centers around Olivia Pope (played by the gorgeous and talented Kerry Washington), who is a Washington D.C. fixer. She makes bad situations better, or even makes them go away completely. Oh, small side note is that she’s having an affair with the President. Who’s married. With kids. AND YOU STILL FIND YOURSELF ROOTING FOR THE PEOPLE HAVING THE AFFAIR. But that’s one of the best aspects of the show – the line of right and wrong is always blurred and you don’t know whose side to be on.

Plus the show moves QUICKLY. There are 47 hour-long episodes but they go by super fast (if you binge-watched Grey’s Anatomy like me, I’m convinced Shonda Rhimes puts crack in her eps to make you want to watch one right after the other). Not only time wise, but plot wise too – I have never seen so many things happen in an hour than in Scandal. People die, people lie, people have family members you never knew existed – it’s a lot to take in, but it’s so worth it. Also, you want to catch up (all three seasons are on Netflix instant!) so you can watch live come September. Another great part about watching the show live is live tweeting. Most of the cast tweets live from both coasts every Thursday, which is takes the viewing experience to a whole new level. And if you’re concerned about watching 47 episodes in a month – just know that I watched seasons 1 and 2 of Scandal in 8 days. What’s even more impressive is that that’s not even my best record for binge-watching a series. Side note: I just remembered there’s a site where you can calculate how many hours of your life you’ve spent watching TV, and it’s scary. Unrelatedly, I’m gonna go play outside for the next year.

Molly’s Suggestions

For displaced comedy nerds: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Sunday, September 28 on FOX

Why you should be watching:

The Golden Globes got this one right – Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an ensemble workplace comedy with clever writing and a hilarious cast. Despite TV’s love affair with police procedurals and sitcoms about coworkers, it’s also the only combination of the two currently on the small screen. With comedy vets  Andy Samberg, Chelsea Peretti and Joe Lo Truglio, cop show vet Andre Braugher, talented (relative) newcomers Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero, and a former football player just because (Terry Crews), this is a cast with a rapport like people you’d find at an actual workplace. Except, you know, funnier.

If you are a sitcom lover still reeling over the loss of The Office and 30 Rock, and bracing for the end of Parks And Recreation, and kind of confused about what’s going on with Community, this show will fill the hole in your heart and also the one in your TV schedule.

For insomniacs and horror fans who aren’t afraid of the dark: American Horror Story

 Seasons to catch up on: 3 – or zero. We’ll explain.

Next season begins: Wednesday, October 8th on FX

Why you should be watching:

Look. I’m not a horror movie person, really, but this is just good television. Let’s talk about the cast: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Zachary Quinto, Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Gabourey Sidibe – although not all of them appear in all seasons, some of the best actors of today are on AHS. The whole thing is headed up by Ryan Murphy after he jumped ship from Glee (can you blame him?). And the format – AHS functions like a reperatory company, with actors taking different roles in the different seasons. That means each season tells an entirely different story. They can all be watched independently of each other, so you only have to catch up on as much as you want to.

The seasons are themed. In the past we’ve had Murder House (ghosts!), Asylum (psychological torture!), and Coven (witches!), but the upcoming season will be scariest of all: Freak Show (clowns!). Such is my fear of the circus that I was terrified of my sister’s clown doll for my whole childhood, and one of my brothers would swing open my bedroom door and smile a giant, frozen clown smile while singing that awful circus calliope song. This is going to be full-on spooky.

For escapists with time to spare: Once Upon A Time

Seasons to catch up on: 3

Next season begins: Sunday, September 28 on ABC

Why you should be watching:

I think we all have those people who we trust implicitly when it comes to TV recommendations. Traci is one of mine, by the way, so you should probably watch what she tells you to watch because she always nails it. Another is my sister-in-law. A couple years ago she told me about Once Upon A Time, and I was like “girl … fairy tales? Not sure.”

I started watching a few weeks ago and I am sold. Once Upon A Time is set in Storybrooke, Maine, a town populated by fairy tale characters. The evil queen levied a curse (do you levy curses or did law school just ruin me as a person?) and everybody forgot about their fairy tale past and lived as normal people – until Snow White’s daughter shows up on her 28th birthday and sets the wheels a-turning. Each episode contains a plot line in the present day as the townspeople try to figure out what’s up, and a fairy tale backstory of one of the characters in their former life.

Remember in the TGIF days when each of the ABC shows had an episode set at Disney every year? Once Upon A Time is like the ultimate ABC-Disney tie-in. I mean, don’t worry, Anna and Elsa have already been cast. But it’s not all fluff. Once Upon A Time is the brainchild of the creators of Lost, so there’s a lot of crazy theories you can keep track of, plus a bunch of Lost references.

I just finished season one and I’m not sure if I’ll get through two more in the next month. It’s certainly doable. But if you don’t mind spoiling yourself, you could probably watch season one, select random episodes of the other season to watch, and use Wikipedia for the rest.