Writing as fast as I can.

For the last week, I’ve been carpooling to work with Lauren Graham.*

*I wish.

But I have been listening to her audiobook,”Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between” on my tedious daily commute.

Normally when I read a book or listen to an audio recording, I try to keep a pen and paper nearby to write down quotes or moments I don’t want to forget. Because of the craziness of this semester at school and work, I’ve had very little time to read, which has been crushing my spirit little by little. I thrive on stories, and when I can’t read them, I force myself to at least listen to them whenever I can squeeze them in.

I couldn’t exactly jot down her words of wisdom on the steering wheel. But I would plug in the orange auxiliary cable my sister left on her last trip home, and Lauren’s voice would fill my car, telling me stories of her time as a struggling actress and how it felt playing some of her favorite roles.

Each day when I pulled into the driveway at 7 p.m. after almost 10 straight hours of classes and work, I turned off the car, pressed rewind and quickly scribbled down as much as I could. I didn’t want to forget her words of comfort, her funny stories and lessons.

Her first book, “Someday, Someday Maybe” had the same effect on me when I read it a few summers ago. I remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom and proudly editing my favorite quotes on colorful squares for this blog post (squares that I realize now are not nearly as cool-looking as I thought they were at the time).

Now that I’m done with her wonderful second book, I want to share some of her messages with you. These are words that made me laugh out loud on highways and made my eyes well up at red lights. Even out of context, I hope they provide the same encouragement to you that they did to me.

P.S. The quotes still aren’t cool-looking. Some things never change.

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Graham has taken many detours as an actor, but she always somehow ended up where she was meant to be, even when the path didn’t wind the way she expected it to. She reminds us to never take our plans too seriously, because they can change in an instant. Always trust that you’re headed in the right direction, even when the road isn’t how you pictured it.

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We can all relate to feeling like we’ve failed, but it is so important to see the humor in our struggles. I try to live by this, and I was happy to hear that one of my favorite storytellers does, too.

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It’s been a semester of self-doubt for me. This short line in a book full of great sound bites felt like it was a godsend, directed straight at me to stop doubting myself and have faith.

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Graham describes the surreal feeling of returning to “Gilmore Girls” after 10 years of being away. Watching it felt the same way – I still can’t really believe that at 21 years old, I got to see the Gilmores again. But I think this quote can be universally applied – there are times in your life you can’t fully believe a moment when you’re in it, and your brain doesn’t fully process just how blessed you are. I live for moments like that.

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Even if you don’t watch “Gilmore Girls,” you can probably understand the emotions that come with returning to a place or person you thought you’d never get to see again. It’s indescribable, surreal and incredibly emotional. This was one of those blubbering-at-a-red-light moments for me.

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Some context: Graham picked a random blouse off of a rack to wear on her first day back playing Lorelai Gilmore. At the end of the day when she went to change, she saw that the name brand on the shirt’s tag read, “Lorelai 2.” Small miracles, little coincidences, happy accidents – these are the things I tack to my wall and screen-shot on my phone. It’s important to be reminded of the fact that there’s something bigger than us, a force at work, no matter what you call it.

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I love the idea of taking mental pictures, because nowadays, everything is documented. But sometimes, it’s impossible for even a photo to capture the true feeling of a moment, let alone a thousand words.

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This is the last line of the acknowledgements in “Talking As Fast As I Can,” and – shocker – it brought me to tears. I wasn’t just sad that the book was ending and my car rides would soon become how they always were, with Taylor Swift and Adele’s voices filling the air instead of Lauren’s. But I was also incredibly moved by this line in general. I write a lot about how much stories mean to me, and until Lauren said this, I hadn’t reflected much on the fact that it began with my parents. They instilled in me a love for reading, writing and people that I can’t even begin to explain, a love that has shaped who I am. They are easily the greatest people in my life, and I don’t thank them enough. My only hope is that one day I can write something like this, and the last line will be thanking them for all the  incredible stories they’ve given me so far.

My advice: Keep a pen nearby. You never know when you might need to go back to your scribbles for inspiration. [Also, if you expected me to move on from the topic of “Gilmore Girls” after three blog posts about it, I’m sorry. It’ll be a while before I get over this.]

 

 

My final four words.

In “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” Luke Danes stands in the middle of his small-town diner and asks Lorelai Gilmore mid-argument, “Can we talk about this at home?” She looks around the diner, a pivotal setting for the show’s beloved characters, shrugs and replies, “This is home.”

For millions of Gilmore fans who have been waiting a decade for new episodes, “A Year in the Life” feels the same way.

I grew up with Lorelai and Rory when the original series aired on the WB from 2000-2007. As they grew and learned, I grew and learned along with them – and laughed a whole lot, too.

My personal attachment to this series and what it has meant to me in my life makes it impossible for me to be objective – so this is a tribute, not a review. There are plenty of those online already, mostly from binge-watchers who discovered the series on Netflix, or others who are concerned with plot and the controversial “final four words” series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has had in mind since the show’s conception. But to quote the prolific screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, “plot is a necessary intrusion.” I don’t begrudge the fans who care about conflict and want the story to play out exactly as they see fit, but they are not the people “A Year in the Life” was made for.

For most of us, the mere presence of these characters after going so long without hearing their voices is enough. These four 90-minute installments will remind people why they fell in love with these fast-talking, coffee-drinking girls in the first place. In “A Year in the Life,” we travel through winter, spring, summer and fall with Lorelai, Rory and their quirky, hilarious supporting cast as they deal with heavier themes that suit the darker, technology-obsessed world we live in now.

Loss is prevalent in all four episodes – the loss of Gilmore patriarch Edward Hermann, who died in 2015, plays poignantly into where the girls are today and how they deal with the loss of a husband, father and grandfather; the loss of Rory’s youthful certainty that she would achieve her journalistic dreams; and the loss of Lorelai’s perpetual optimism as she faces middle-age.

But as they often do in life, the losses lead to immense, beautiful and fitting gains – not only for the Gilmores, but for the viewers. For all they have lost, these characters still bring their signature joy and wit to the screen, something that modern television lacks – a hopeful quirkiness, a light in the dark.

All the show’s signature tropes are there – the coffee-drinking and junk-food-eating, the speed-talking and the small-town charm. And while it’s comforting to see that some things will always be the same, “A Year in the Life” beautifully acknowledges that things do change. We get older. We lose our loved ones, we lose our dreams and, sometimes, we lose our way. That’s reality. But other times? We get the gift of re-entering a world whose door we thought had been sealed forever. We get to take a dusty old book down from the shelf and finally make sense of its last chapter.

For that reason, it’s hard to criticize and even harder to feel anything but gratitude. For that reason, fans watched until the sun rose on Nov. 25. For that reason, a lot of us feel like Lorelai looking around Luke’s diner: “this is home.”

So to Sherman-Palladino and her husband, co-writer and executive producer Daniel Palladino, these are my final four words: Thank you for everything.

 

My perpetually-full DVR.

I’m not completely living in the past  – while most of my favorite shows aired in previous eras, there are some current series that keep my love for TV alive. Here are my five go-to shows on weeknights when I’m looking for entertainment, laughs and even profound lessons.

This Is Us – NBC, Tues., 8 p.m.

This show is about a family. That’s literally it. How rare it is to have a series that is just about human beings living their lives. Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia (voices from my childhood, BRB crying) lead the impeccable cast, playing characters that are like us – hence the title. Only seven episodes in, I’m already in love with the Pearson family. It feels comforting to be in their world every Tuesday night. If you want to be genuinely moved and to reflect on your own life and relationships, tune in.

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Look how cute they are.

The Crown – Netflix

Is it cool to say “YAS QUEEN” about an actual queen? This 10-part Netflix series follows the early years of England’s current monarch, Queen Elizabeth. It delves into her personal history and the challenges that come with being queen at such a young age. I am addicted. From John Lithgow’s portrayal of the prolific Winston Churchill to the intricate set design and meticulous historical accuracy, this one’s definitely filling the Downton Abbey void.

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#likeaboss

The Vampire Diaries – The CW, Fri., 7 p.m.

Its eighth and final season began on the CW in October, and while last year was less than stellar, I am completely back on board with this supernatural drama. Starring Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder as undead brothers with a complex bond, The Vampire Diaries has managed to create an entirely new set of twists that pays homage to all of its previous seasons. Beautifully-developed friendships and complicated histories between these characters make up for the sometimes-corny vampire lore, and I’ll be sad to see it go. I can’t believe this many years later, I’m still so invested. (Bonus: there’s a new character named Georgie and she rules.)

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In case you needed another reason to watch this show.

Dancing with the Stars – ABC, Mon., 7 p.m.

Judge me. I got really into DWTS during my freshman year of college when I was looking for a way to avoid the massive amount of work that would pile up on Monday nights. It started out as the perfect background distraction and has grown into a legitimately great way to examine human stories. For example, Final Five gymnast Laurie Hernandez now has the chance to tell her family’s story of achieving the American dream, striving for Olympic gold, and losing her grandmother: all through dance. You get to know the contestants on a fascinating level that is entirely separate from the fact that they’re “stars.” This season, NASCAR driver James Hinchcliffe has my vote because of his enthusiasm, sense of humor and willingness to just have fun with the experience of learning something completely foreign to him. Watch this and tell me you don’t agree.

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I’m not jealous of Sharna, YOU’RE jealous of Sharna….

The Middle – ABC, Weds., 7 p.m.

The Hecks are my family. This is not an exaggeration: my dad is stoic and loving like Mike; my mom is hilarious and outspoken like Frankie. My brother should change his name to Axl because this character’s lovable narcissism and laugh-out-loud quips are identical to his own – he pretends he’s too cool for school but is just as dorky as the rest of us. Sue’s zest for life and genuine outlook are freakishly similar to my sister’s.

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Uncanny depiction of my siblings and me.

Which I guess leaves Brick…who loves reading books and hates socializing. Sounds about right. This sitcom continues to make me laugh and shake my head every week, saying, “yep. That’s us. That’s my family.” The writing remains consistently excellent, but I’ll always cherish it for its real representation of how a weird, loving family gets along in life.

Bartlet still has my vote.

There are times when fiction feels pretty unimportant, and waking up on Wednesday morning was one of those times.

I had to face the fact that I’m surrounded by many people who support Donald Trump’s ideals, and chose to elect him president.

Let me preface this by saying that I’m not very political. I don’t deign to think that my opinions about legislation are better than yours. I actually don’t really care what you believe or whether you agree with me – all I know is what I have learned in my short 21 years. I believe in trying to be decent and doing right by the people around me. My spirituality and my sense of self aren’t necessarily tied to one political party.

Because of this, I was never interested in government until I happened upon an award-winning show called The West Wing.

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This is the only picture I have in my Sam Seaborn for Congress sweatshirt, mid-M&M binge. Judge me.

I’ve written about it before. Few shows have taught me as much, or inspired me more. On Wednesday, I looked around at my little corner of the world, so many of us wondering what went wrong and what happens next. I wanted words of comfort from the show’s fictional president, Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen). I wanted a smart, capable, funny, kind-hearted person behind the oval office desk. Reflecting on all of this, it dawned on me that this kind of man can probably only be written in a fictional context.

And that got me thinking – why is that? Why can’t we aspire to an Aaron Sorkin-style government in which our officials are highly intelligent, motivated and dedicated to public service?

When my family watches Blue Bloods on Friday nights, why does my mom think it’s impossible to believe that someone as morally sound as Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) could be the police commissioner of New York City? Because our real-life examples are too far-gone for us to believe in that kind of leadership? I honestly don’t know.

The entire day after Election Day, I was in a fog, feeling like the fictional characters I love couldn’t really bring me solace in this very real situation. It felt like something had shifted, and I couldn’t even count on my favorite fictional stories to take my mind off of it.

And that’s when Aaron Sorkin’s letter to his daughter was published on Vanity Fair’s website.

I didn’t hear from Bartlet. Fake Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) didn’t offer me his two cents. I couldn’t ask Allison Janney’s impeccable CJ Cregg to break this down for me in its simplest terms.

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Of course I had to take an awkward picture with press secretary CJ Cregg’s podium from the series. 

But the man who created those characters wrote something down. He wrote dialogue that was delivered by endearing and intelligent characters for years, and made sense of what I was feeling. While he is clearly liberal-minded, he never makes Republicans look the fool. He even said in June that many Trump supporters, while likely not The West Wing fans, “believe that [he] is their Jed Bartlet and any crisis that comes up, we can take care of it by the end of the hour.” I respect him for that, and for his unmatchable ability to write about pretty awful things with such beauty and ease.

Wednesday night, I read this with Martin Sheen’s voice in my head and started to cry:

“America didn’t stop being America last night and we didn’t stop being Americans. And here’s the thing about Americans: Our darkest days have always—always—been followed by our finest hours.”

I was transported to the time when The West Wing made me want to be a more dedicated, driven person in every facet of my life. Who the president is doesn’t change that and can’t change what’s in my heart.

I believe in those words almost as much as I believe in fiction and its ability to make people see things differently. No matter what happens in the next few years, I’ll never stop having faith in art’s capacity to comfort, educate and inspire. To quote Barlet yet again, “that capacity may well be limitless.”

Thanks, Aaron. What’s next? 

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Leftover props from The West Wing remain on display on the Warner Brothers lot.

Sweeter than fiction.

When I need 40 minutes of peace, I go to the creek. Dawson’s Creek, to be exact. The WB drama is always a welcome reprieve from my schoolwork, my job, my responsibilities for my college newspaper and the ever-present and ever-distracting pull of social media. In this particular episode, Dawson (James van der Beek) writes Joey (Katie Holmes) a character reference for her college application.

I’ve seen every episode a hundred times, but this one hit me hard because it’s when I realized – these characters are a lot younger than me. I’m getting older, but they’re perpetually in this young adult limbo, and always will be. I’m graduating college in May. Many of the stories I love are either for teenagers or older adults, and there’s not much in between.

So Dawson and Joey are about to graduate on my computer screen, and here I am, ignoring all of the nostalgic adolescent feels because I’m totally distracted. I’m sitting there with Kit-Kat wrappers, an empty Diet Coke can and my untouched Persuasion Theory and Campaigns study guide strewn around me, having a bit of an identity crisis. Dawson and Joey are 18 here? WHAT? I remember watching this and thinking how OLD they were, how far away college seemed. It still does, in a way.

I’m 21, but I haven’t met my soulmate like Joey Potter. I haven’t solved any murders like Veronica Mars. I haven’t saved any planets from impending doom like Clark Kent or, on a somewhat more realistic scale, even gotten any of my writing published like Lucas Scott.

I’ve never been to Europe like Rory Gilmore. I don’t have any immediate plans to become a doctor like Felicity Porter. I’ve never slayed anything like Buffy Summers could or really helped people like Brandon Walsh did.

And then as Hulu automatically played the beginning of the next episode, I realized something. “Written by Gina Fattore” played in the opening credits. Written by…

I haven’t done all those things because they belong in someone else’s story – stories that are sped up or altered by ratings or network notes, not by real life. That’s not to say they haven’t taught me a lot – they have, and they’ve been there for me in a way only fictional worlds really can. But they’ve also opened my eyes to all that I’ve been blessed to do already.

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 11.31.42 AM.pngI’ve seen the Grand Canyon and sat in the audience of “The Tonight Show.” I’ve resolved to read 100 books in a year, I’ve fallen asleep on beaches from Malibu to Charleston to Negril. I’ve conquered my fear of roller coasters. I’ve changed crummy part-time jobs and transferred schools. I have an Emmy-worthy supporting cast in my incredible parents, fiercely loyal brother and hilarious sister. I live in a neighborhood straight out of The Wonder Years and have classmates and friends whose daily dialogue would give Aaron Sorkin a run for his money. I have a lot to be thankful for, no matter how old I am or how beyond my age I might feel sometimes.

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I don’t say all of this to brag about my accomplishments – far from it. (If I ever get to be that person, remind me to listen to this song.) There’s a lot to the teen drama version of my life that certainly wouldn’t be envied. But if you ever feel like you’ll never amount to as much as your role models – some of whom might just happen to be fictional – don’t underestimate what you have done so far. And it’s just the beginning. Remember that Joey Potter chose Pacey (gag), Veronica Mars was often lonely and Clark Kent faced his fair share of Kryptonite.

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Doesn’t mean I can’t rock the “Dawson’s Creek” Capeside shirt while I try to make my own memorable episodes.

Yeah, I’m still talking about ‘Gilmore Girls.’

The promo for the four-part “Gilmore Girls” revival was released on Tuesday, Oct. 25, and it already has more than four million views on the U.S. YouTube account alone.

After only two minutes and 27 seconds, I already feel great about the upcoming episodes, which will be released on Nov. 25.

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A decade later, still goals. Both of ’em.

This isn’t my first blog about “Gilmore Girls.” I attended the cast reunion panel in Austin in 2015 and could’ve written a freaking manifesto about that experience. And it likely won’t be my last. Ask any of my close friends or family members, or even the suckers who were stupid enough to friend me on social media – it’s one of my “things.”

Why? It was just one of those shows for me growing up – the kind I recorded on VHS when I had homework or basketball practice, with the little transparent WB logo in the bottom right hand corner. I had such an incredible childhood, and the stories that I loved were part of that. That’s what I’ll always associate with this show, and the fact that it will be back for more in four short weeks still feels like a miraculous mystery to me.

I was in 7th grade when it ended on a somewhat sour note, with showrunners Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino having exited after a lackluster sixth season. I was just a kid then. I’m so much older now. Lorelai, Rory and Emily Gilmore are all older now, too. And that’s somehow comforting to me, as a person who looks to fictional stories for guidance and metaphor.

So I already feel thankful, just after this small taste of the 90-minute episodes to come.

Here’s what I needed to hear from the Palladinos after almost ten years of missing the world they created for me as a kid.

 

  1. The town I’ll never forget is still standing.

 

I think we could all use a little Stars Hollow, Connecticut in our lives right about now. This election season, social media and the news in general are so filled with hatred and chaos. It will be incredibly comforting to return to the small New England town that the promo says “you’ll never forget.” I still haven’t forgotten. And if you ask me, 2016 needs a little bit of Luke’s coffee, Patty’s dancing, and neighbors who actually care about each other and the community in which they live.

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Growing up, I watched so much happen in this home while I was in my own home. Maybe it’s the communications major in me thinking about symbolism and theory, but they’ll always be inextricably linked in my memory.

 

  1. I’m not the only one who is insanely excited about this.

 

Fifteen million Facebook views on the promo, just two days after being released? Not bad. A lot of people have waited a really long time to see the ending Sherman-Palladino envisioned for her girls, and it’s amazing that everything lined up in order to make this happen. This is for all the people who watched with their moms, moms who may not be here anymore. This is for all the people who lined up at Luke’s Diner pop-up shops in all 50 states. This is for people who just started watching the original show on Netflix, who didn’t know it was possible for such a simple, unique series to exist. This is for me and the 1,200 other people who waited for hours in 100-degree Texas heat outside the State Theater just to hear the Palladinos and the cast talk about the lightning in a bottle they created with “Gilmore Girls” all those years ago.

 

  1. It’s OK to feel a little lost.

 

Rory Gilmore had it together. Valedictorian, Yale graduate and Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Daily News with aspirations of becoming a foreign correspondent were some of her most notable titles as a character. And yet, when we see her in 2016, she says she feels “lost” in her life, with no job, no credit and “no underwear.” Even a character with such potential, who had so many labels assigned to her and such high hopes for her future, isn’t sure where to go from here. I grew up loving Rory and wanting to be like her, so to see that she’s still a little bit like me? A gift.

 

  1. I’m still a contender.

 

Jess Mariano telling Rory Gilmore that no matter how rootless she feels, she’s still got a lot of heart left in her. Enough said.

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No matter what “team” you’re on when it comes to Rory’s suitors, what I love about Jess is that he was his own solid character outside of his romantic relationship with a Gilmore girl. I’m so excited to see him again, as weird as that sounds.
  1. All you have to do is call their name.

 

That theme song. I’ve been listening to it on DVDs and in reruns for almost a decade now, but it somehow sounds fresh and new when cut with clips of the grown-up Gilmore girls getting an actual ending. Where the Palladinos lead, I will follow. And I’m glad they brought all of us here.

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Don’t make Chuck stay in the car.

Netflix is removing “Chuck” from its streaming options on Nov. 1. Series star Zachary Levi started a hashtag campaign on Twitter, urging fans to tweet to Netflix and Warner Brothers to keep the show available to the masses. #SaveChuckAgain became a mantra for fans, which was brought back from the abyss of potential cancellation after every season of its five-year run on NBC.

zachary-levi-heroes-reborn-star.gifQuick plot summary: Chuck Bartowski is a nerd. No, really – he is working as a tech guy for the Nerd Herd when his old college roommate sends him an email. SparkNotes version: his brain downloads the Intersect, a computer database that holds hundreds of classified government secrets. He quickly becomes a hot commodity for the NCA and CIA. Hilarity, action, drama and romance ensue.

I love TV. We already know this. But no TV show has ever impacted my life or taught me more than “Chuck” did from 2007 to 2012. Netflix should save Chuck because, through these eight lessons and countless others, Chuck saved me.

Don’t freak out.

Chuck’s early-series mantra became “don’t freak out.” No matter what crazy, dangerous situation he was pushed into because of the Intersect, he rose to the occasion by just trying not to freak out. The year this show found its way into my life, I really needed to be reminded not to freak out. On a daily basis, I needed Chuck’s every-man bravery for inspiration.

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“Trust me, Chuck.” 

At the end of the pilot, a spy Chuck barely knows asks him to trust her. Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) needs him to stick with her and have faith that it’ll all be OK – she’ll be there in this crazy new spy world he must face. He has every reason to doubt, but he doesn’t – and it leads to five more years of great stories. Chuck and Sarah reminded me to trust – in God, in the path I’m on and in the people around me.

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Real ballerinas are tall.

Chuck tells a lanky young girl in the Buy More who is feeling discouraged about being in the back of her ballet class that “real ballerinas are tall.” This clip encapsulates the essence of Chuck Bartowski and his compadres: no matter what it seems like or what people think of you, the reality is likely very different. Sometimes you just need a nerd at the Buy More to remind you of that. 

Stay in the car, Chuck.

Another repeated line on the show was Chuck’s spy handlers prompting him to “stay in the car” and let them handle the bad guys. Spoiler alert: he never does. And if he had, Chuck would have never grown as a character, a spy or a man. The show would be a lot less interesting – just as life would be if we chose to just stay in the car all the time.

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If we use our brains, then we’re gonna be OK.  

Chuck’s friendship with Buy More bud Morgan (Josh Gomez) was a staple over the show’s five seasons. In one scene, Chuck tells his friend, “There’s always going to be someone who’s stronger, cooler or more athletic than us but there’s one thing we have that they don’t – brains. And if we use our brains, then we’re gonna be OK.”  These are two funny, charming, outgoing and quirky characters, but just like I do sometimes, they feel insecure about being nerds. But they were always there to remind each other that being a nerd has its perks, and that things would turn out OK for them. And they always did.

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Be the comic relief.

I attended a “Chuck” cast panel at C2E2 in Chicago in 2011, and was amazed at just how many fans were there to see “Jeffster,” the Buy More’s hilarious musical duo (played by Vik Sahay and Scott Krinsky). People wore Jeffster t-shirts, and half of the audience Q & A was directed at Sahay and Krinsky. If you ever feel like a silly side character in your own life, know that someone is paying attention and laughing at your jokes. It’s just as important as the starring role.

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Don’t take everything so seriously.

Action-packed, serious storylines are part of the DNA of “Chuck,” but I remember its funny moments the most. Predominantly a comedy, it somehow made life-or-death situations hilarious and quirky in its own unmatchable way. “Chuck” was a weekly reminder to keep being my weird self and never stop laughing at how nuts life can be.

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You can be more than just one thing. 

You can be a nerd and a spy. You can be a comedy, drama, romance and action show all at once. You can be more than just one thing.

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 Netflix, please don’t make Chuck stay in the car.

 

It’s different for ‘Girls.’

My favorite show on the air right now is “Girls,” created by Lena Dunham and produced by Judd Apatow.

Entering its final season on HBO, the half-hour dramedy follows four quirky friends who are finding their feet in New York City.

“Girls” makes me laugh really hard. It makes me look at each individual character and see part of myself. I think, “Yep. That’s how it is. That’s how I am. That’s how life goes.”

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But when I tell people this – even people who know me well – they’re almost always surprised.

“Wow. I am shocked that you like that show.”

Why? Because I’m a 21-year-old Irish Catholic, I must immediately shun any stories that drop the occasional F bomb or show the occasional butt shot?

Sure, the show is known for its risqué plot lines and can venture into some pretty bizarre and inappropriate territory at times. But all of that fades into the background for me. See above reasons why.

And maybe it’s true that I tend to be mild-mannered and I don’t swear every day – with the exception of when I’m watching a particularly bad White Sox game or frustrating episode of “Dawson’s Creek.” (That’s a whole other story for a whole different post. #DawsonForever)

So no, I can’t really relate to Dunham’s Hannah Horvath on every level – her sex-scapades or style choices, for example.

But she’s a slightly chunky 20-something who aspires to write. Check.

She’s all at once confident in herself but worried about her choices and how others see her. Double check.

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She’s in love with Adam Driver, which is probably the quality in her to which I most relate. The man is bae, I don’t care what my mom says. #KyloWho?

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Hannah makes mistakes, she loves her friends, and still isn’t sure what she wants to be when she grows up.

There’s more to her and “Girls” than the nudity and profanity they’re saddled with. Those are labels, which I’ve grown to hate in my wise old age. While they do play a role in the show’s unique tone and identity, they’re only a very small part of a larger whole.

Just like there’s more to “Girls” than crude humor, there’s a lot more to me and my faith than the “judge-y prude” label that’s sometimes slapped on us.

So next time someone tells you they like something that might not fit exactly with the personality traits you’ve projected onto them, don’t act surprised. Don’t insult them by implying they can’t or shouldn’t like something based on what you expect from them.

Get to know a show – and a person – before you question whether or not they fit into a category. Trust that someone can love an HBO show and pray in the same day. Trust that “The Spectacular Now” author Tim Tharp was right when he wrote, “I’d like to think there’s more to a person than just one thing.”

Better yet, find something on TV or Netflix you wouldn’t normally watch and see what you take away from it. Maybe there’s something there you’re missing because of your assumptions. 

They say that assuming makes an ass out of you and me. “Girls” has enough asses in it already.

Dear Netflix, we need to talk.

Dear Netflix,

We need to talk.

You’re great. You’re always there when I need you, always up for a great laugh or a good cry. The variety of trips we’ve taken to different worlds is pretty amazing.

Remember the high school days when you used to mail me DVDs of “Chuck” season 2 and I had to wait patiently by the mailbox for the next disc? That was fun. We go way back.

But still. You’ve taken up a lot of m
y time lately, and I need to start paying attention to other things. Books. Fresh air. My homework. Actual human beings.

You’re a blessing and a curse, a frenemy, a double-edged sword – whatever cliché you want to call it, that describes our relationship.

Let me put it in terms you can understand: You’re not quite at Regina George level – let’s call you a Gretchen Weiners. You’re the Jack to my Jen, the Will to my Grace…why I keep comparing you to fictional gay best friends, I don’t know.

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Remember these? *sings “Used To” by Daughtry*

But for every hour of joy you’ve given me, laughing at “Cheers” and “Friends,” there’s all these other people around messing it up. It’s not you…and hey, it’s not me either. It’s them.

Do you know how annoying it was to want to talk to someone about Luke and Lorelai’s traumatic breakup in 2006? Safe to say no one on the playground of my Catholic grade school was into talking about that with me, and now, thanks to you, those same annoying girls are asking me if I’ve ever seen “Gilmore Girls.” The only difference is they aren’t wearing jumpers and passing notes anymore.

Or now, 10 years later, friends recommending I binge-watch “One Tree Hill,” with no knowledge that I DVRed Nathan and Haley’s second wedding because I had to go ride the bench at my 6th grade basketball game.

Not to mention that you came along way too late. If I’d known you were going to show up, I wouldn’t have wasted my baby-sitting money on “How I Met Your Mother” and “Felicity” DVD box sets. I just can’t have friends who aren’t punctual.

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I guess I can use these as coasters now.

It’s been fun, though. For bringing back “Fuller House” and finally adding the “Back to the Future” franchise, you’re the real MVP. That dude Hulu has nothing on you. And you’re pretty cool for introducing me to “The West Wing.” And “Breaking Bad.” Oh, and “Mad Men,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Lost.” But whatever, I’m still annoyed.

Oh yeah, I should probably say thanks for bringing back “Gilmore Girls” for one last round. Just to be polite.

Plus, I’ve heard “Twin Peaks” is supposed to be good. I still haven’t finished “The Ranch…”

OK, fine. I can’t stay mad at you. What are we doing tonight?

Xoxo,

Georgi

‘This is us.’ It really is.

NBC drama “This Is Us” premiered Tuesday, Sept. 20 to 10 million viewers, the highest rating in that timeslot for the network since 2010.

With a weekly lineup that relies heavily on Dick Wolf’s growing “Chicago” franchise, fairly new comedies and reality singing competition “The Voice,” the family drama seems an unlikely pickup for a network like NBC.

“It’s hard to explain what the show is about,” creator Dan Fogelman told the Television Critics Association over the summer. “It’s really kind of ambitious and, I think, for network TV, a really bold and hopefully somewhat groundbreaking attempt to explore the condition of the human family.”

Audiences are clearly eager to find out – more than 100 million people viewed the show’s first promo online, proving that viewers don’t need another procedural detective drama, but are instead looking for a show to which they can relate.

The series follows four individuals with the same birthday, all at various crossroads. From pregnancy to new romance to bold career moves, these characters lives’ are just that – lives.

The cast is a delightful mix of familiar faces and new talent. Mandy Moore (“A Walk to Remember”), Justin Hartley (“Smallville”) and lesser-known Chrissy Metz are believable and enjoyable to watch. Sterling K. Brown rounds out the main cast, fresh from his Sept. 18 Emmy win for “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story.”

Though their stories overlap, no performance tramples over another. Milo Ventimiglia of “Gilmore Girls” and “Heroes” is arguably the standout of the series pilot as an emotional expectant father who says little, but evokes a lot. His character will likely carry the show forward because of Ventimiglia’s ability to communicate so much with just a look or a single word.

Viewers came to realize that these characters are connected by more than a birthday through a last-minute twist that unites them all with a subtle surprise. Fogelman has called the series “the dramedy version of ‘Lost,’” hinting at the narrative’s ability to connect its characters on a deeper level.

Despite NBC’s aggressive marketing of the show during the summer Olympics, the true, quiet essence of “This Is Us” wasn’t revealed until the pilot aired. It’s a rare feat in today’s competitive television climate, in which most network TV shows use edgy, fast-paced marketing strategies to draw people in – who likely won’t stick around when the novelty and drama fizzle out.

The true appeal is not in its great cast and subtle plot connections. It is in the somehow both sweet and daring attempt to create a story that portrays nothing more than people’s lives, as “Parenthood” did on NBC from 2009-2015. These living, breathing characters felt more developed in 42 minutes than most do over several seasons.

The characters in “This Is Us” aren’t travelling in time, using superpowers and donning capes. They’re just people. They’re us.

They aren’t saving the world, but they may just be saving network TV.