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Gilmore Girls: “We need to talk about Rory”

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Disclaimer: SPOILERS


Forget Kevin, we need to talk about Rory. I was excited, but had reservations about the ‘A Year in the Life’ revival because it’s hard to resurrect a show successfully, especially one as gorgeous as Gilmore Girls.

While I liked the revival, I had a lot of problems with it. The long episodes felt self-indulgent, rather than exploiting an opportunity to write longer rich storylines; the original 44-minute episodes had more in-depth narratives. Old characters were shoe-horned in in sometimes awkward cameos, and yet, this was to be expected and it still felt like Stars Hollow.

But my main beef is with Rory. By season 7 I seriously disliked her superiority, denial of her privilege, her pathetic breakdowns and tantrums, and how mean she could sometimes be, and despite all this still be considered the town angel. This article sums up a lot of my feelings.

I seriously disliked her superiority, denial of her privilege, her pathetic breakdowns and tantrums, and how mean she could sometimes be, and despite all this still be considered the town angel.

In the revival I positively hated her and every episode tainted by my frustration. I wrote my immediate reactions down as I watched and 90% of them are a tirade against Rory. She was always imperfect, but the things I didn’t like in her youth are abhorrent now.

Her breakdown when she hits a rut in her work-life, her subsequent move home, and abandonment of her journalistic career to write a book she pressures Lorelai (whose discomfort with the idea is uncomfortable to watch) to agreeing to, is tragic. Plus she has no respect for Lorelai’s feelings and is self-centred: “Give me this”, she wails.

The Paul storyline wasn’t funny. Quite frankly, it made Rory look like a b*tch who doesn’t consider anyone but herself. We should also talk about how the show won’t let her move on from Dean/Jess/Logan. Her soppy scene with Dean and the “corn-starch” line epitomises her lack of maturation.

The Logan storyline is nauseating. She is mistress to an engaged man who is clearly paying for her international travel (how else could she fly to London almost daily?). Her emotional dependence is disappointing as she’s never grown to rely on herself, and while support systems are great, this dynamic is unhealthy.

Rory’s emotional dependence is disappointing as she’s never grown to rely on herself, and while support systems are great, this dynamic is unhealthy

And the ending! The last 10 minutes include a longing look from Jess and the pregnancy bombshell. These are frustrating because they set the show up for more (currently non-existent) episodes, and leave Rory’s story unsatisfyingly inconclusive. She’s left flailing in a rut she may never overcome if she moves back home to raise a baby and maybe reconnect with an old boyfriend (probably Jess). Additionally, Rory has been lumped with a weird retelling of Lorelai’s story rather than getting her own. What happened to the, albeit imperfect, but driven, hardworking, bookworm?

Ultimately, Rory has not grown but regressed. I’m not bashing her for her failures, I’m simply disappointed with the adult Rory we see: lost, entitled, dependent on men for ideas and happiness, no longer determined and driven but defeated when things are no longer handed to her.

Rory has been lumped with a weird retelling of Lorelai’s story rather than getting her own

If this was Palladino’s great chance to write the ending she never got to, I’m disappointed. Emily’s story is perfect and genuine, and we all needed to see Lorelai and Luke FINALLY done right.

But I preferred Rory’s original conclusion – ditching the guy asking her to sacrifice her own goals to marry him, and carving out her own path. I’m just sorry Palladino felt Rory didn’t deserve that path too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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