This is a guest post written by Katy. Guests are always welcome to submit commentary or specific articles, contact information here.
I have a confession to make: I cannot bring myself to watch Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life again. My entire family LOVES Gilmore Girls and watched it the day it came out. I also watched it a few times to prepare a review of it, but that’s been it. I found Lauren Graham’s acting was more powerful than ever, Ed Hermann’s Richard Gilmore had a strong presence even in his absence, and the town was right where we left it. The revival felt like going back to your hometown after being gone for years, but it was as wonderful as you remembered. However, it felt oddly distorted at times. My family used to watch Gilmore Girls for entire weekends, but we had to take a break from watching the revival. This has to do with Richard’s passing, but also the disappointment in Rory’s storyline.
Even though I’m close to Rory’s age, I actually didn’t look up to her growing up with the show. I watched Gilmore Girls because the show was hilarious with wonderful characters and great writing. Sure, Rory seemed a little spoiled, but she wasn’t unpleasant. She was smart, driven, and loved by her family. I wanted the revival to be an opportunity to dive in-depth with all of the characters. For Rory, I just wanted to see how far she’d come since being assigned to the Barack Obama campaign. She was bound to have some great experiences and networking through that lucky assignment. I didn’t have the expectation that Rory needed to be wonderful like some fans were hoping for.
Unfortunately, Rory came across as the worst stereotype of a privileged youth. She was arrogant, aimless, and condescending. She doodled when she was interviewing Naomi, falls asleep on the street, blows off a job interview she believes is beneath her, drowns her sorrows at work in booze, believes her career is over at 32, and assumes she came move back home without letting anyone know. If anyone acted like she did in a job interview, they would become the latest office anecdote you tell everyone you work with. She did not act like a journalist who had been published in any of the names they dropped in the revival.
These complaints have been all over the internet. Everyone has seen an article arguing why Rory Gilmore is the worst ever (it’s even discussed on GilmoreNews here). I think the problem is more complicated than that. I don’t think Rory is terrible at all. Over the past several weeks, I’ve tried to figure out what went wrong with Rory’s story. I’ve concluded that the revival had a structure problem with Rory’s storyline. Lorelai and Emily were given a full story arc, but, with Rory, we’re only given Act One of her story.
Let’s compare Lorelai to Rory. In Winter, Lorelai is shown very comfortable in her life with Luke, but Richard’s passing has caused her to re-examine her life. This was also complicated by her estrangement from Emily. During the revival, Lorelai explores having a child with Luke, fights against changing the Inn even though Sookie is long gone, tries to make things right with Emily, and finally realizes she needs to figure out what she wants. The Wild trip might have seemed out of character, but it forced Lorelai to stop being so selfish. She finally made her commitment to Luke permanent and admitted to her mom she needed help with the Inn.
With Rory, she’s still with Logan and struggling with her career. There’s no explanation why she had so much success up to this point. We’re supposed to believe either she’s suddenly terrible at journalism or has always been terrible without anyone noticing. It’s also hard to point to the Stars Hallow Gazette as forward movement in Rory’s story because of her dismissive attitude towards the job and her habitual desk drinking. On top of that, it wasn’t even Rory’s idea to write a book when we get the “Jess ex machina” plot again.
The relationship with Logan is confusing since she rejected him before the end of the original series. Why would he continue with her when he said it was all or nothing? Why is she cheating again? Every single guy Rory is with is either a result of her cheating or she participated in the guy’s cheating. Logan cut her off when she said no. It’s hard to believe he would allow her back in, even as his mistress.
These are the only two plot points for Rory. If everything we’ve been told about her in Winter was true, then she just quit a successful 10 year career because of a bad year. This goes against everything we knew about Rory going all the way back to Season 1 when she refused to give up on Chilton. I didn’t find the book ending satisfying because it’s still unfinished. We also have no idea if she will complete it since she has that huge change coming up in her life. If we look back at the original run, Mitchum had one talk with her and she quit Yale. Maybe the baby will be her next excuse. Unless Jess is there to push her towards publishing, I’m not sure Rory would do it on her own. It’s very disappointing since Rory has the talent to come up with the novel all on her own and seemed to have plenty of publishing credits to her name to warrant a meeting with a publisher. While her journalism skills could be questioned, her skill as a creative writer wasn’t.
Everyone had high hopes for the revival, but we received an incomplete version of a main character’s story. I’ve loved the work the Palladinos have produced in the past, but they should have watched season 7 before writing A Year in the Life. Rory already learned the lessons in the revival when she rejected a job for a pie-in-the-sky New York Times position. She broke up with Logan because she loved that her life was wide open. They could have given us a satisfying Rory storyline and still made her a single mom like Lorelai. Now, Rory is penniless, jobless, and pregnant like Lorelai was at 16. The fans deserved more, Rory deserved more, and this story is far from over. I hope we get another glimpse into the world of Gilmore so Rory can show us what we know she can achieve.