Author’s note: Gilmore Girls spoilers are ahead.
The books you read and the movies you watch are all bound to influence the way you think.
Lots of people blame Disney for giving them “false perceptions of love,” but of course, I have to talk about this phenomenon in the context of Gilmore Girls. The show is confirmed to return on Netflix, and the only character I’m really looking forward to seeing is Jess. Among many other things, Jess is known for chasing Rory around Stars Hollow, crashing the car that Dean made for her, and spending over $100 to have a picnic with her.
The common misconception that most people have about Jess is that the extent to which he pursued Rory is overly passionate and way out of proportion. The idea of being “overly passionate” is often equated to the idea of straying from notions of order and convention that surround romantic relationships. My theory in response to this is that people are just afraid of this particular type of love (or even any display of emotion) that seems even remotely extreme or overblown.
The extreme manner with which Jess pursued Rory all throughout Gilmore Girls led me to think about the lack of “extremity” that surrounds high school relationships nowadays. Where I come from, adolescents are so afraid of showing that they care about someone. The norm is to be distant and detached, and people who open up are often ridiculed or passed off as idealistic. My exposure to characters like Jess made me question why anything that deviates from “distant” or “detached” is perceived as abnormal.
The displays of emotion that I have been exposed to in literature and art (apart from Gilmore Girls) have encouraged me to be less cynical about people who show others that they care or are passionate about something. Instead of cringing at displays of emotion or passion not limited to those surrounding romantic relationships, I have been more open and receptive of situations that are often passed off as “too much.” If someone wanted to spend 30 minutes telling me about how much they love biology, or 10 minutes about how much they fed their dog last night, I would not distance myself from them or give them the impression that they’re being overly passionate or excited. As Jess and several other “extreme” characters have shown me, there’s nothing abnormal about going to extreme lengths to show that you care about something.
The values you are exposed to in art can ultimately translate to the attitudes you hold towards the people around you, and these attitudes don’t always have to conform to what others perceive to be normal or acceptable.