Spoilers for Gilmore Girls & Buffy, both season 4 onwards.
I'm at home sick and I'm watching Gilmore Girls season 4 (a.k.a. Rory goes to Yale!) and I realised that I love Rory's years at college - especially her freshman year. And then I realised that I also love Buffy's time at college. Maybe it's because I loved my time at university and I'm nostalgic, or maybe it's because I'm just a contrarian, because this is apparently an unpopular opinion according to the parts of the internet where I normally hang out. But does anyone else share my love?
First up, Gilmore Girls. This is perfect autumn watching - I mean the entire show feels like it's set in a New England of eternal autumn, with chilly nights and sun-dappled days, right from the title card to the wardrobe to the DVD covers. Pair that with an ivy league university and you've got the quintessential fall show! And I'm kind of a secret Rory/Paris shipper, mostly because their time at college gives them some great moments together. Plus I like Rory best when she's the new kid, rising to a challenge, like she does when she's settling in to the tough workload at Yale.
Now, I can't deny that there are some problems with the GG college years. Logan (ugh, he's the worst), Marty (what ever happened to poor Marty?), Rory/Dean Part Deux (let's not speak of it), Paris and the professor (brain bleach) - not to mention the whole dropping out/lost months and how ridiculously easy it was for Rory to get back on track when they were over. But overall, I love the college years and I can just about smell the crisp leaves and freshly sharpened pencils in every episode.
And I know it's stupid, but I freaking love that spring break episode with Rory and Paris watching The Power of Myth.
Okay, now Buffy. Southern California isn't quite as fall-appropriate as Stars Hollow, and Buffy is only really a college student for a little more than a year, but the show still manages to encapsulate the excitement of going to a new school (even if it is a college located just across town from the high school in that magical metropolis of Sunnydale, which despite only having "one Starbucks" manages to support a pretty massive UC campus and an international aiport).
Yeah, Adam as the big bad is kinda dumb. But season four has some hilarious episodes (awful roommate, Buffy and Spike getting engaged) and some really great ones (Hush, of course, but also the Faith/Buffy body switch and Restless). And I actually liked the Initiative. I think they fit in well with the anti-authoritarian themes of Buffy - the respected professor and the upstanding fraternity are really part of a shady government agency doing weird experiments on monsters and college kids alike? Don't trust anyone over 30. Except Giles, 'cause he's pretty cool.
Is it inevitable that teenage-focused shows will have a difficult transition to college? It can be hard to split up a cast and move to new locations, and there's always an element of needing to recapture the magic and chemistry of the early years. But for me, part of what I liked about both of these shows was that going to college allowed me to see a different side of the characters, to watch them grow up a little. And even though that was sometimes sad and sometimes messy, it was also wonderful to see them find themselves and become women in the same way that I did - haltingly, with lots of fuck-ups and missteps.
What do you think?