Gilmore Girls. The very name conjures up images of a lily–white, pigtail–wearing, plaid–skirt clad Rory with the whole wide world open to her and Lorelai holding the door. But—hot take alert—Rory Gilmore is actually kind of the worst.
Evidence? Glad you asked. We can start from the most egregious examples and work our way backwards. Logan’s father disses her, like, one time, and she quits. Not just journalism, but Yale, all on a whim. She sleeps with her married ex. She shuns Logan for his privilege and refuses to acknowledge her own.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love about Rory. She’s quick–witted, charismatic, and (mostly) means well. But it’s time we stop pretending she’s perfect—a fact the show sometimes seems aware of until it stumbles back into the bubble.
In earlier seasons, there are a few red flags, one being her relationship with Laine, which is one of the least equitable BFFships I’ve seen on television. But the majority of these issues come to light in later seasons, which we can possibly attribute to Amy Sherman Palladino’s decision to leave the show. And, to quote Hannah Montana, nobody’s perfect. But still, things just seem to fall into place for Rory. Clear skin, rich grandparents, dueling boyfriends, college acceptances.
In season five, Logan and Rory go for broke and steal a yacht. There’s acting out, and then there’s…whatever the hell that was. And in a continued feat of uneven characterization, Rory quits Yale soon after and moves in with her grandmother to joining the Daughters of the American Revolution. While this fuckup is corrected soon after, it’s pretty much what ruined Rory for me—the fact that she doesn’t seem to deal with the consequences of her actions, or grow from them.
Which brings us to Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, a.k.a., “Wow, Rory got even worse.” You don’t have to take Journalism 101 to know that you shouldn’t sleep with a source (especially not if the source is dressed as a Wookie, but I digress). And that you really shouldn’t fall asleep while interviewing someone. And while there are complicated factors that go into her relationship with her engaged ex Logan, it was objectively not the best series of choices that led her there.
And her foray into the job market, while fundamentally relatable to any aspiring journalist, it’s such a uniquely Rory move to think that one Talk of the Town piece in the New Yorker makes her too good to work at Sandee Says, that xoJane knockoff who courts her obsessively and then—shocker—doesn’t give her the job after Rory makes it perfectly clear that the position isn’t up to par with her skill set.
Now, I get the argument that making quarter–life–crisis Rory, well, kind of shitty, constitutes a deconstruction of the “perfect Rory” trope. But that argument presupposes that she was ever a real role model. She, like me, is a flawed college girl. But she oscillates between being perfect and insufferable: it’s a dialectic that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. We’re all a little like Rory Gilmore—sometimes we suck, and sometimes we’re great. But we don’t cycle back and forth on a confusing loop—we can suck and be amazing at the same time. That’s what makes us, like, actual people.
And let the record show that, if I stole a yacht, I would still be grounded at my funeral. Love you, Mom!