Hello everyone! I finished three shows recently and I figured I should talk about them! Specifically, I’ve watched Gilmore Girls, The Queen’s Gambit, and On Pointe.
If you’ve followed me for awhile, you’ll know that I watch shows very, very slowly. I rarely binge watch and due to this, I don’t watch many shows. However, it’s been so cold and dreary out that all I’ve been able to do is stay in bed having cozy days, and watching shows. I have so many thoughts about them, so I had to talk about them!
The three shows I’ll share today are Gilmore Girls, The Queen’s Gambit, and On Pointe. I won’t avoid spoilers completely, since I’ve finished all these shows but I’ll try to keep it mainly spoiler free at least to start and then try to warn you before I really spoil anything.
The first show I finished recently is Gilmore Girls and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I kind of consider them to be the same because I watched them together even though I know they are usually considered somewhat separate. This show was available to me on Netflix. I know, I’m super late to the game on this one. One of the most telling signs of that is that the characters start out dependent on home phones, pay phones, and office/business phones because cell phones aren’t really a thing yet at the start. Eventually they do start getting cell phones but are clearly a luxury and eventually it is expected to have cell phones but not until the end of the series.
Enough about the technology though, you are probably wondering why on earth I missed this show to begin with and why I chose to watch it now. Well I never was a big tv person. I’ve never even seen a single episode of that Friends show. Again, I watch shows really slowly so it takes a lot to get me to commit to watching several seasons of one. My friend Erin told me to watch it though, I think back in December, so I told her I’d watch it. I think it came because I had told her that I got Hulu, so she gave me suggestions on that platform and I got excited that Bunheads was on there. The main writer on that show was the same as Gilmore Girls and Erin had been watching that one so she said I’d probably enjoy it because it’s such a cute show. I started it back then too I think, but then got distracted. Then I started it up again and couldn’t stop until I finished watching the series!
I adored this show. Lorelei and Rory were instantly some of my favorite characters that I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. I don’t think I’ve ever adored characters as quickly as I did these two. I loved their relationship to each other and to the people closest to them, Rory’s love of books was something I fully understood, and Lorelei was too funny!
Now, before I get into spoilers, I wanted to say something else as to why I suspect I really enjoyed this show. For many years now, I expected that I’d eventually move to a city or at least closer to one. I’m about an hour and a half outside of Chicago, and another hour and a half to Milwaukee. I’m pretty close to the cities I suppose but I always thought I’d be trying to move closer to Chicago or even moving down to Texas to San Antonio or Houston if I ever did finally have a breakdown due to the winters here. But since the pandemic began, I’ve grown really attached to my parent’s house. They’ve been talking more and more of moving south themselves and I’ve found myself wanting to stay in the family home more and more. While my suburban hometown is nowhere near as cool as Stars Hollow, I have been getting more involved in it and it is quite charming so I’ve been growing attached to it too. As I consider if I do want to stay here or not, I think the charm of Stars Hollow just hit a little close to home.
Okay some slight spoilers now with some more thoughts, so if you don’t want to be spoiled then look away now! First off, I have to proudly claim that I totally called that Luke would be Lorelei’s ultimate love interest from the start. Literally, within the first couple episodes I just knew it would end with those two together. And I was right! I don’t know how early I was supposed to realize that, so maybe I’m not special in pointing that out, but I’m still proud of myself for that LOL. I was so thrilled when I realized Lorelei’s career was in hospitality, and I loved that she got her own inn after all. Also, her dog was too precious!
I really enjoyed Lorelei’s complicated relationship with her parents. They just could never understand each other and it was so interesting to see how different their relationship was compared to Lorelei and Rory’s relationship. Even though they never really got along, I loved that ultimately they were family and there for each other when they needed it most. Also, it made me appreciate my relationship with my parents even more, because we have a really good one!
As for Rory, I adored her character. Rory was smart, sweet, but not without her faults. As much as I wish I was more like Lorelei, I’m totally most like Rory for better and for worse. I think the most difficult parts to watch of Rory were when she fell apart during her time off from Yale and after she graduated. I found myself drawing a lot of comparisons to her then. It’s hard for the people around high-achievers to prepare them for inevitable failure, so I saw a lot of parallels for how Rory and I both handle setbacks and it was such a believable response to see from her. I did find myself annoyed at how no one really gave her advice to prepare her but no one really seemed to be capable of doing so. Lorelei certainly tried her best but her best was to just tell Rory that everyone has hard times and Rory was bound to get her fair share eventually. I couldn’t blame her character though, because Lorelei didn’t go to college so she didn’t have the insight to be able to help Rory more. I found myself mentally thanking my dad for giving me advice that helped prevent a major Rory-like meltdown for me in college years ago. I suppose I should thank him in person too LOL.
Something else that I found myself reflecting on was Rory’s intense fixation on Harvard in the early seasons. Everything she and Lorelei did was to get Rory to Harvard. That got me thinking on back when I was in school and I just assumed I would go to college, so I did everything to get myself to college. I studied hard for good grades, took up different student activities, volunteered, and even played sports that I was dreadful at to show dedication and commitment in effort to show colleges that I should be accepted. And that got me wondering on why I just assumed I’d go to college. My parents aren’t wealthy, they didn’t go to college, and plenty of people in my high school circles never considered going to college either. (Plenty did though, so there was a balance of the two.) I was talking to my mom about it and she kind of just laughed and said that it was because she would tell me all the time that I was going to go to college and learn a lot and do big things so I guess she influenced it all! I suppose I should thank her for being so Lorelei-like but she’d be super confused if I said that.
Oh, side note, I binged this show so hard that I started having dreams about being accepted into Harvard and later Yale. I have never in my life had any desire to go to either one of those schools and then all of sudden, I’m having dreams about them and pulling up the Yale Ph.D. programs on my phone. (I’d never get in, btw.) That was just kind of a silly side note so you fully understand how obsessed I got into this show. Also, in the revival there was the “thirty-somethings club” of thirty-somethings that had moved back in with their parents after being unable to support themselves. I know they were supposed to be something repulsive, and to Rory they were, but if there was a thirty-something club in my area, I would join that in a heartbeat LOL.
As for the other characters, I loved those too. Lane was super fun to watch, Dean was weird to watch because I was a big Supernatural fan and could only see him as Sam for awhile, Jess was frustrating but he turned out okay, Logan was fun, Luke was adorable, Babette and Patty made me laugh, I hated April, Paris was hilarious and I was relieved when she also picked Yale, I hated Kirk’s guts, Taylor was insane, Michel was too relatable and so funny, Sookie was such a great friend, Christopher sucked, and I could go on and on. Every character was so special though and I appreciated them all.
This show has become very special to me even though I’ve only watched it through once. I just fell in love with it so completely and so strongly! It’s probably my second favorite show of all time, right after Parks and Recreation. I was so sorry to see it end, but so grateful for the journey that the show gave me.
The Queen’s Gambit
I know I’m behind of this one too, but at least I’m not years behind, just a month or so I think. I started watching this show last month and finished up after my Gilmore Girls binge. This one is a Netflix original, and I wasn’t going to watch it because I know nothing about chess but I figured I’d give it a shot.
I actually did enjoy it. I still know nothing about chess, but I appreciated the character of Beth all the same. She had so much confidence and dedication to chess that I really admired! I also loved that she had such a strong sense of self that once she set her mind to something she would just do it and figure out a way. I think Beth could have used a better support system at various times, but overall she did characters supporting her that tried their best. Beth also was just trying her best, with the tools she’d been given.
Slight spoilers now. One thing I was confused about was why Beth still went by Harmon instead of switching to her adoptive parent’s name? I don’t recall if that was explained but my best guess was because she was older maybe? Something that shocked me was how Beth was just able to buy the house from her adoptive father. I know this was set in the past so money had a different value then, but the father saying he’d sell the house to her for $7,000… What a world to be able to buy a house for that amount! I did like most of the characters but I was super creeped out by the Jolene character. I’m not sure why but just how she talked made me cringe. The chess players were all cool though, although I wish we’d learned more about that first girl that Beth played and later met again. It was too bad that Beth didn’t pay her more attention or anything when they met again years later. Although I did appreciate that Beth tried to give the little Russian kid that played against her some perspective on his goals.
This wasn’t my favorite show ever but I still found a lot to appreciate in it. I’m glad I watched this one.
As a ballet lover, I knew I had to watch On Pointe, which is on Disney+. This documentary follows a group of children of various ages and at various levels of dance through a season at SAB in NYC. Some of the kids are teens, almost adults and getting ready to start careers in ballet. Others are young pre-teens, trying to juggle school and dance. And others are tiny kids! I loved watching them all.
The kids were all so sweet and seemed genuinely grateful for the opportunity to learn at SAB and so passionate for ballet! I also really appreciated how real they came across. Sometimes it feels so manufactured in this stuff, especially because of the kids and wanting to protect them but they were all so charming and exciting to watch their growth. And I loved seeing how caring the teachers were for the students, particularly the little kids. During the additions they were so careful with how they treated the kids who didn’t get a part and were quick to remind the kids who did get cast to be courteous to their peers who weren’t.
Of course, not all of the moments in the documentary were good. There was the one kid who was injured did share his frustrations and worries but he was respectful and still dedicated to ballet, and that was recognized. There were the kids who were nearing the end of their time as students and addressed their competitiveness. The kids recognized that they were each others competition to get spots as apprentices to the company, spots for intensives and summer programs, or even spots to get cast for the performances for the Nutcracker. But it was nice to see that they all recognized that they were friends first and competition second. As one kid put it, dance is a small world and at the end of the day you need the connections and the friends.
Also, can I just say how crazy and beautiful those Nutcracker performances looked? I have to admit, when the kids started rehearsing I was thinking “um, this looks like absolute chaos!” but it all looked so beautiful and perfect by the time they got on stage. Also, I watched Kathryn Morgan address what one kid said about the music being so much louder for the show because of the orchestra and she clarified that up until opening night the company and kids rehearse only to the piano music, not the full orchestra. I remember the kid saying that, and I had sort of assumed they did maybe one final rehearsal with the orchestra so that’s why the kid was so surprised by it but I was super surprised when Kathryn Morgan, who was at SAB herself as a teen, revealed they never rehearse with the orchestra! Crazy!
I also loved the diversity in the documentary! Right away the kids that are interviewed are a really diverse group. There was a kid who’s family only gave interviews in Spanish, kids who came from wealthy families, kids who were from families that weren’t so well off, and from many different racial backgrounds. There was a kid who openly admitted their families couldn’t afford more than two pairs of pointe shoes a week when she could easily go through four, another kid who’s stepfather revealed that they had never seen her dance on stage because buying tickets for the ballet for the family would be the same amount as their bills for the month, and more. The teachers of SAB who held auditions for new students did so around various areas in New York City so that they could try to see kids from all sorts of backgrounds to give them the chance to get in and specifically said it was because they wanted a diverse school of dancers.
I also loved that the parents did so many interviews too. They talked about how hard it was to balance their kid’s dance life with everything else such as family gatherings, their admiration for their kids’ dedication and love for ballet, and some talked about how hard it was to let their kid go and live at SAB because the family lived across the country. But it was so heartwarming to see the parents support their kids so completely.
Of course, the parents also made it quite clear that the kids were students too, always asking about homework. The documentary showed kids doing their homework outside of their studios before classes, and the teachers said that all kids had to be doing well in school. Some kids took online classes to begin with and others went to a special school specifically set up for working children (lots of kids who work on Broadway attend there according to the documentary), and others go to regular school, rushing to ballet after the school day ends. It was nice to see that academics were still heavily featured as the kids are students after all!
At the end of the documentary we were greeted with images of empty dance studios. With the pandemic, the kids were all sent home for a five week spring break instead of one. There was even a clip of one girl who said she wasn’t packing too much because she was going to be back eventually. Then, we saw the school scrambling to set up virtual classes because the pandemic continued on and students couldn’t go back. The final interviews were done online, with parents acknowledging that their kids missed the studio and kids also admitting that it was hard to keep up their strength from home. I’m not sure if they did do the Nutcracker for the 2020 holiday season, but it was just another reminder of how affected dancers, and kids in general, are affected by this.
I really enjoyed this documentary series. With ballet, it can be tough to find a good, fair perspective on it. Oftentimes people only want to see the dance world as cutthroat, dangerous, and fake, but it’s a beautiful world too. It reminded me more of the reality show Breaking Pointe from a few years ago that followed dancers of the Salt Lake City Ballet Company but this time with kids. I thought this documentary was beautifully done and so sweet to watch.
So those are three shows I’ve recently watched! I don’t often share TV shows I watched outside of my Lively posts, but maybe I should!
Thanks for reading!
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