Why You Hated Rory Gilmore in the Revival
Okay, Internet. I’ve read your statuses and heard your complaints about Rory Gilmore in the Gilmore Girls Revival, and I’d like to ask you one question: What was your post grad life like?
Before we get into that, let me admit, I’m completely biased. Gilmore has helped me through every transition since 2009. (Emily in high school was way too cool for TV when the series actually aired). I’ve watched the show solely for Luke and Lorelai, for Paris and Rory, for Emily I Freaking Love Her Gilmore. I couldn’t believe I had to work fifteen hours to make it to my couch post Thanksgiving. It felt like eternity, like waiting for summer break. And I teared up at the opening scene, blubbering as I sat in my sweat pants and wool socks, not knowing how to feel that they were back.
If I had to imagine what each character would be doing ten years later, I confess, I hoped Rory would be living as a writer, accepting assignments, and telling us stories about going on Obama’s campaign. I imagined her staying in DC and starting her own political quarterly with her specific Rory version of truth telling – some blend of seeing the humanity in people mixed with calling people on their crap. I expected her to nerd out about elections and retreat to Stars Hollow when she needed balance in her life while Lorelai forgot to register to vote. I expected a Senator boyfriend and Jess wooing her back. I expected Paris to be jealous and run for office while being a doctor and a lawyer. I expected Rory to come back to Stars Hollow with her life together, because that’s what I want for myself.
Paris won me over with her bathroom scene at Chilton, opening her brief case to reveal nothing. “I brought this so they would think I’m important,” she said.
“YES,” I yelled out loud. Because I’m thirty, which means I just graduated from my twenties with a mortgage, still having no idea how to make my answers list sound right. You know, the answers list – all of those questions you get asked at family gatherings by well meaning relatives. I still don’t make enough money. My next book isn’t written yet. We don’t have children.
There was so much more on my answers list at twenty. Who are you dating? Will you marry him? When will you have a normal job? I couldn’t make my answers list sound right then, which is exactly where we find Rory Gilmore – trying to make work happen, love happen, a semblance of a life happen. Rory was far more realistic in the revival then she ever was in the original series, because she didn’t have any real answers for her answers list.
I love that that awful website hated her and she thought she had the job in the bag. My pride was hurt when she stooped to working for free at the Stars Hollow Gazette. I totally got why she was still with Logan, the boy she couldn’t quit, because he was some reminder of normalcy disguised as a bad decision. I think adulthood can be described as figuring out why our bad decisions were bad decisions and how said decisions costumed themselves. I certainly remember mine and they all presented themselves with the sparkle of “this is familiar and easy.”
I see myself in Rory so much because I struggled to figure out life. I learned the hard way. I didn’t get jobs I wanted. Relationships didn’t work out. A lot of it didn’t make sense until a long time later, certainly longer than a year. This is why I will defend Amy Sherman Palladino’s character decisions when it comes to Rory because a lot of my twenties were beautiful, but a lot of them were sucky. Emily at 25 is pretty close to Rory at 32.
The revival still reminded me of all the universal Gilmore truths: people will always be there to walk with you in life, there will still be pigs running through town, your best friends move away, and of course Stars Hollow has a musical.
The revival reminded me of my favorite truth when I read/watch anything – that some things change. Emily Gilmore houses a maid’s family indefinitely when she couldn’t keep a maid employed for a day. Lorelai gets married to Luke and he doesn’t passively stand by while it happens. Emily gives the DAR the middle finger and creates her own life.
Rory running around with the Life and Death Brigade made me tear up because I remember my own friends that kidnapped me and whisked me away to weird adventures. I remember those moments being the bridges that got me from season to season when I didn’t know how to make decisions, when I was still trying to learn how to be an adult. And I certainly cried when Rory wanted to write a book, because I found my own voice and discipline through writing. It’s Rory’s time to tell the story, which is another way of describing adulthood.
If I’m writing this blog from a writer’s perspective, leaving the show without answers for what happens next in Rory’s life means another series, selling that book she’s writing on actual shelves, leaving the fandom on a hook waiting to spend money and time on the brand later. You have to pay attention to all the trap doors, all the possible secret tunnels. TV is stretched out on our belief that we will finally get answers.
In conclusion, Rory Gilmore forever. Reality vs. everything working out forever. Messy decisions forever. GILMORE GIRLS AND THE SHERMAN PALLADINOS FOREVER.