As humans, we like to have opinions. We value and trust our own opinions. But things change, and we often find ourselves realising that the opinions we once held no longer stand. Sometimes, our view on something – on a film, or a song, or a book – starts to alter, or dwindle, or degenerate. We grow out of things. We start to think differently. We realise that the thing in question may never have been particularly good to begin with (hi, low-rise jeans). Three writers talk about how their appreciation for particular pieces of media has changed – or, in some cases, declined – over time.
They’ve made generations of little boys and girls dream of crimson capes, super speed and saving the world… Even fully-grown adults idolize and collect artefacts related to those fictional – not really ‘human’ – beings. I am, of course, talking about superheroes. It was at the not-so-young age of 16 that the existence of those ‘super-humans’ first reached me. I was sitting on the sofa, watching Thor for the first time, being utterly transported in this odd fairytale-esque world – and, obviously, swooning over both Chris Hemsworth as the golden hero and Tom Hiddleston as the detestable, yet oh-so-charming villain.
Simultaneously, as I was discovering the universe of superheroes, it seemed like the world itself had had also re-opened its eyes and wished to rediscover the comics in a different light – this time through a camera and enhanced by special effects, rather than through drawings in a magazine. Marvel and DC movies started to flow by the dozen, and, at first, I was completely head over heels in happiness – looking forward to each and every movie, from The Avengers to Guardians of the Galaxy, passing through the ever so famous Batman and X-Men movies.
However, it is only recently, when hearing about the newest Marvel blockbusters, that I realized how the hype had faded out for me. I was no longer excited about the prospect of a new movie – in which increasingly famous actors disguised as heroes would save the city while destroying one another, over and over again in an endless loop, each movie trying to be more grandiose than the one before. Even though one might argue that these films have now become crucial to our society, and that representation through superheroes is one of the ways we have found to fight inequality, I personally like to choose quality over quantity. I do believe that we should give our all-timey heroes a bit of a rest, until we feel the need to dream of them saving the world, again.
I don’t cry at gigs anymore
I’m not sure how to describe the moment I fell in love with music, except that I probably felt a lot like Carrie Bradshaw did when Big unveiled her new super-size closet. Placing a pair of blue Manolos on one of her shelves, she gasps, “Now I believe this is all really happening”. “Happening” for me didn’t mean that I had finally found ample storage space for my $400 shoes, or that I had nabbed a man who was sort of (LOLZ) ready for commitment. “Happening” meant that I had found the very thing that would sustain me throughout the ups and downs of adolescence. “Happening” meant I had found something to fixate on and obsess over and indulge in. When I “discovered” music I practically slapped myself on the forehead because dude, duh!! This is what you’ve been missing!
My musical epiphany happened when I was fourteen. Back then, music could set my soul on fire. I’d hear a song once and think about it non-stop. I’d stand in the crowd at a mid-sized gig and sob my heart out because that’s just what felt right at the time. “Wow, this is so good it kind of makes me want to throw up”, I once said of an album my dad had given me, and I meant it. I loved the final track so much it practically gave me a stomachache. The crackle of a record player; the whirring of a CD in the car; the sound of an auxiliary cable successfully connecting to an iPod… All of it just made sense.
I thought my insatiable appetite for music would be one of my enduring traits. Then I read a book that told me this wouldn’t be the case; one day you realise that those songs, your favourite songs, don’t send your pulse racing quite as fast anymore. It’s possible you’ll feel less inclined to join a band. The music will always be with you – you’ll always love it with all your heart – but there will be a subtle change in your attitude towards it. That’s just life. As an adult with responsibilities abounds, it seems harder to find music that will really, really move you.
The subtle change happened for me. My gig tears dried up. I somehow forgot to seek out new music, opting instead to listen to the same tired playlist. Boys I went on dates with asked me to name my favourite song of a particular album, and I realised I couldn’t. Hadn’t heard the album. Didn’t even realise the album existed. But I would’ve known, had it not been for the subtle change. Had things stayed the same, I would’ve had my answer ready.
Let’s make one thing clear: I still love music. It’s still one of the most important aspects of my life. But I’m not the same person I was when I was fourteen. I’m too busy, and possibly too tired, to obsess over songs with the same intensity I used to. This might change. I hope it will.
Gilmore Girls Isn’t Flawless
“If you are gonna throw your life away, he’d better have a motorcycle!”
This is only one of the many wise quotes from Gilmore Girls that I decided to adopt as my life motto, and that I still remember after all the years I’ve spent away from my beloved Stars Hollow. I remember I used to watch two episodes of the show every day after school with my mom; we laughed at the witty dialogues, religiously followed the love triangles and envied the beautiful mother-daughter relationship that Lorelai and Rory shared. I used to admire Lorelai’s sarcasm and her snappy comebacks and Rory used to be my role model for almost everything: she was smart, pretty, loved books, and attended an Ivy League university. When the show ended in 2007 I was left with a hollow place inside my heart that could only be filled by naming several different stuffed dogs “Paul Anka”, and that’s why I was completely over the moon for the Netflix Gilmore Girls revival.
4 brand new episodes! I could finally live more of the crazy Stars Hollow festivals, more coffees at Luke’s, more of Michel’s cynicism and more of Kirk’s unpredictable jobs! I was determined not to miss a single second of the brand-new information on my favourite two people of the TV world, and a re-watch was the only way to be sure to completely understand what would happen. And that’s when it hit me. After watching 7 seasons in less than a week (damn you, Netflix!) everything was different. Maybe attending a Film & TV class made me overanalyse things, or maybe I’ve just grown up, but I realized I felt completely different about most of the characters, and I didn’t feel the same magic. There is so much I could say, but I’ll focus on how my conception of the three “Gilmore Girls” changed.
Rory: When I first started watching it, I was way younger than Rory’s character in the show. Now that we are almost the same age, I feel like if I ever met Rory Gilmore in real life, I probably wouldn’t like her. Rory had it all: beauty, intelligence, a loving family. And that’s it. For most of the time, her most looming problem was choosing between two hot guys who both loved her (#TeamJess). Her close relationship with her mother and the interest of her grandparents made Rory turn into some sort of a spoiled girl who couldn’t possibly accept the idea that people had feelings more complicated than simply love or hate. And so, after 5 seasons of Rory’s perfection, the producers found themselves at a point where one of their main characters was way less interesting than the secondary ones (One example is Lane, whose relationship with her mother is a very interesting portrait of a tough love that goes beyond culture, religion and personal beliefs). And then finally a sudden change: during the sixth season Rory decides to drop out of Yale against her mother’s will to reflect on her future and what she wants to do. The only problem is that this moment didn’t get the time it needed; it was just portrayed as an innocent youthful mistake rather than a huge existential doubt in the life of a girl who was always told she had to be perfect and successful. It is only during the revival that we found ourselves with a Rory overwhelmed by a world that is not what she expected it to be, and who desperately tries to hold on to the things of the past that remind her of better times. In the end, the book she decides to write could serve as a sort of catharsis, a way to finally let her past go and start a new chapter (no pun intended) of her life.
Lorelai: I always envied Lorelai’s sarcasm, until I realised that it was mostly a way to cope with everything that went wrong in her life. Unlike Rory, Lorelai tries very hard to detach from a past that she feels never really belonged to her. She considers her parents and the world she was born in the main reason for all her problems, and always refused her the chance to forgive, deciding that simply not allowing anyone else in (except for Rory) was the best way to never get hurt. In the end, after her father’s death and the uncertainty of her relationship with Luke, on the verge of huge changes in her life, she decides to take a hiking trip alone to sort things out, and finally understands that people can love and be loved in different ways.
Emily: Last but not least, my new favourite character of the show, Emily Gilmore. Presented to us as a cold uncompromising woman, Emily has never been “just Emily”. She was Richard’s wife, Rory’s grandmother, Lorelai’s mother… but never fully herself. As I kept watching the original series Emily seemed less and less like a monster and more like a person who’s full of regrets for her relationship with her daughter but is just too proud to keep trying. After Richard’s death, she finally has her moment of redemption, rediscovering her individuality and finally enjoying a loneliness she never really experienced.
In the end, this show will always have a special place in my heart, but now I don’t see the characters as something to aspire to, but just a beautiful depiction of humanity, with their flaws, their struggles, and their broken/different ways to love.
[Maria Elena Roselli]