Sunday, June 16

UCLA brings Stars Hollow to campus in anticipation of ‘Gilmore Girls’ revival

The Sunken Gardens at UCLA transformed into Stars Hollow, the fictional town from the "Gilmore Girls" television series. Saturday and Sunday's "Gilmore Girls" festival coincided with the Westwood premiere of Netflix's revival of the early 2000s show. (Laura Uzes/Daily Bruin)

The Sunken Gardens at UCLA transformed into Stars Hollow, the fictional town from the "Gilmore Girls" television series. Saturday and Sunday's "Gilmore Girls" festival coincided with the Westwood premiere of Netflix's revival of the early 2000s show. (Laura Uzes/Daily Bruin)

Get home, make tea, curl up on the couch and watch “Gilmore Girls.” This was Anne Wasserman’s after-school routine during her junior year of high school.

Wasserman is now a second-year sociology student, but her love for the TV show has been reinvigorated in anticipation for the show’s upcoming revival episodes, Wasserman said.

“Gilmore Girls” will return on Netflix on Friday after a seven-season run from 2000 to 2007. “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” will air in the form of four 90-minute episodes – one for each season of the year. The first episode premiered in Westwood at the Fox Bruin Theater on Friday, and Dickson Court was converted into the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, for a Gilmore Girls festival on Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to its physical ties to UCLA, the “Gilmore Girls” revival season has allowed passionate student fans to gear up for one last nostalgic stroll down the make-believe streets of Stars Hollow.

“Gilmore Girls” chronicles the lives of young, quirky single mother Lorelai Gilmore and her studious daughter Rory Gilmore. The series follows the pair’s tight-knit relationship as they navigate life in their small town of Stars Hollow.

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Second-year communications studies student Sara Zaghi has been watching “Gilmore Girls” re-runs on ABC Family, now Freeform, for as long as she can remember.

“They still do re-runs,” Zaghi said. “It’s always the same time – 11 a.m. It’s amazing how they still have that time block after, like, seven years.”

Zaghi bonded with her mom over watching the show together, Zaghi said. Though not as close in age to her mom as Rory is to Lorelai, Zaghi found that the show brought the two of them together, she said.

When the revival comes out on Netflix, Zaghi will likely be watching with her mother to continue the tradition, she said.

First-year political science student Sabrina Tawfik also admires Rory and Lorelai’s relationship and found her relationship with her mother to be similar, she said. Tawfik calls her mom for an hour every day just to chat, Tawfik said.

“In the show, Lorelai and Rory are super close, they’re best friends, and (Rory) tells her mom everything,” Tawfik said. “That’s basically how it is with my mom.”

Tawfik is newer to the “Gilmore Girls” fandom; she began watching the show in July and just finished in October, she said.

Tawfik considers herself an avid binge-watcher, and when she heard about the “Gilmore Girls” reboot, she decided to binge-watch the original series so she could watch the new episodes right when they come out.

The homey nature of the show resonates with fans, Tawfik said. Set in the quaint town of Stars Hollow, the show carries a small-town charm different from typical, glamorous young adult TV shows, Wasserman said. The more realistic portrayal of average life makes the show easier to connect with, Wasserman said.

“A lot of shows, like ‘Gossip Girl,’ try to make you want that elite life,” Wasserman said. “(‘Gilmore Girls’) definitely mocks that elite life.”

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For Malika Kumar, a fourth-year psychology student from Mumbai, said “Gilmore Girls” was her first impression of America.

“I came here expecting Los Angeles to be Stars Hollow – it was not,” Kumar said. “Since then, I’ve always wanted to go to a diner and get coffee.”

Despite growing up in a different country, Kumar was able to relate to some aspects of the show, such as Rory’s disappointment when her dreams of being a journalist are dashed after a newspaper magnate tells her she doesn’t have what it takes, Kumar said.

“I think that everyone goes through that,” Kumar said. “It’s realistic to not just show this linear line to success, but to have those sort of downfall moments of self-doubt.”

Though Lorelai’s parents are wealthy, Lorelai raises her daughter on her own at a middle-class level. Wasserman likes how the show deals with relatable, real-life struggles, like living without an abundance of money and applying to colleges, she said.

“Gilmore Girls” is especially relatable to youth because it makes school central to the plot of the show, making educational advancement and the college admissions process one of its main themes, Wasserman said.

“I like how (Gilmore Girls) says that it’s awesome to be a smart girl, which a lot of shows don’t do,” Wasserman said.

Wasserman, Zaghi and Tawfik found themselves relating to Rory’s college admissions process when they were going through their own, and the show helped alleviate some of their stress, they said.

Tawfik found the show lined up with important events in her life, like moving away to go to college, she said. Once she started college, Tawfik got homesick and missed her mom just like Rory did in season four, Tawfik said. The show comforted Tawfik, who was reminded of her mom every time she watched, she said.

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Second-year student Jessica Esmeralda Alvarez got a taste of what it is like to be a resident of Stars Hollow when she attended the “Festival of the Four Seasons” on Sunday. The Sunken Gardens felt like a different world, partly because of the replica of the Stars Hollow gazebo, Alvarez said.

The festival featured booths portraying significant locations in Stars Hollow, like Taylor’s Old Fashioned Soda Shoppe, Kim’s Antiques, Kirk’s Button Emporium and Luke’s Diner, Alvarez said.

Taylor’s shop provided candy to guests, Kirk’s provided Gilmore Girls-themed buttons and Luke’s served fans free coffee, Alvarez said. The actors who played Lane, Michele and Gypsy made an appearance on Saturday, though they were not there on Sunday, Alvarez said.

Alvarez already has plans to binge-watch the show with her mom over Thanksgiving break, she said.

Wasserman will be watching with her sister and a friend, though she’s also planning a bigger viewing party, she said.

“I think I’m going to make a Facebook event – it’ll be a potluck,” Wasserman said. “Food, friends and ‘Gilmore Girls.’ That’s all you need in life.”

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