Allow me to lay bare my shame: I watched, in rapid succession, all four episodes of the Gilmore Girls; a year in the life. I won’t say it didn’t have its moments, (like the too-brief appearance of Jason Ritter, any appearance of whom is too brief) but all told, it was some of the worst television I have ever watched (and I have seen Mistresses [the British version, not the American remake, because what would be left for me to disdain?]). It’s a chunk of my life that I can’t get back, and what’s more, I gave it willingly.
Ten years have gone by since I bid a tearful farewell to the girls (actually, it’s been one year since I binged watched all the episodes, but the show stopped airing a decade ago). Little has changed; Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel still play too women who subsist on sugar, burgers and coffee, don’t believe in exercise or vegetables, and wear the tiniest jeans, on the tiniest bodies. At one point, Graham’s character thinks she will hike the Pacific Crest Trail, (good luck!) and she starts out in (guess what?) tiny jeans. Who hikes in fitted denim? Okay, I did once, but it was only to prove to women everywhere that American Eagle’s 360 denim is a technological marvel (it stretches in every direction, ladies!). But never mind that, back to other people and their shortcomings, namely, television characters.
Precious little irritates me more than seeing skinny actresses eat carbohydrates on film. They never, ever touch that stuff off screen. And between takes, they spit it out. These women starve themselves to within an inch of their sanity to get parts. Anyone eating the way these sugar/grease/chemical-inhaling characters do (Costco portions of candy! Donuts by the bale! Horse troughs of ice cream!) would be dead or diabetic by 30. If not, they would at least be overweight enough to exclude them from acting and possibly, from society. Don’t show me an actress pigging out, it’s twice as disgusting because it’s a lie.
I know I sound unhinged, but that’s what watching bony women gulping down Oscar Meyer does to me. I remember watching The Good Wife, with the gym-cut Juliana Margulies, who never, ever touched anything but wine. This felt equally offensive to me, but more believable. And if you think I am taking this too seriously, check out the Amanda Rodriguez piece on the Gilmore diet. See? I told you so. I am not actress-thin, (or actress-tall) but I am regular-person-fit enough to walk down the street without fear of being screamed at by fat-phobes (except in LA, where I was asked to leave). I am a reasonable weight, partly because I seldom touch junk food (like Graham, I am no longer young, and can’t afford to). How then does an actress maintain her ridiculous body? By never touching any food,ever.
In a More magazine interview featuring one of the best dresses I have ever seen, Graham said, “I have been on a diet for 35 years.” Thank you, I thought so. I think the GG revival would have been 6% better if mother and daughter had experienced tandem health scares with resulting wisdom and weight gain. They find themselves wheezing like asthmatic oxen when they attempt to traverse couch to fridge for chilled ho-hos, or they realize they no longer possess the muscle tone required to lift a straightening iron, or due to atherosclerosis, they are unable to engage in rapid fire repartee without suffering minor strokes. Now that would scare you to the salad bar.
All my yammering making you hungry? Reach for this salad. Binge on bad telly if you must, but never on bad food.
Not Your Mother’s Salad
Mixed salad greenery (romaine, baby leaves, green or red leaf lettuces)
A golden beet, cut into matchsticks
Shavings of parmesan, or other strong cheese
An avocado, cubed or in hunks
A sliced apple OR a ripe tomato (not both)
A handful of toasted walnuts
Dressing for this is a simple vinaigrette: one part rice vinegar to four parts olive oil, pepper and salt. A little lemon or orange juice in place of some of the vinegar is good, especially if you use the apple. A half teaspoon of Dijon mustard goes well in this dressing, as could a little garlic.