On the Dissatisfaction of Rory Gilmore

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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. 

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17 thoughts on “On the Dissatisfaction of Rory Gilmore

  • January 17, 2017 at 10:08 am
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    And why did they make Luke so stupid?

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  • January 17, 2017 at 10:24 am
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    good article. I agree 100%.

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  • January 17, 2017 at 10:46 am
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    I agree with some points mentioned above, but my dissatisfaction goes further. I don’t think Gilmore Girls can’t be saved from here.
    I had the epiphany after two viewings of GG: A Year in the Life, and reading an interview with AS-P.
    The main point was that they ended the story as they wanted to do it 8 years ago, in season 7, but the problem is that the same story, 8 years later, doesn’t make sense.

    First, even though Lorelai’s and Emily’s stories “work” (mainly due to Richards death), the fact remains that not one of the characters in the revival (with great exceptions of Dean and Paris) moved on from the finale in season 7. What’s even more disturbing most of them just went backwards.
    Take Rory for example: Katy is right, Rory already learned some of her lessons. Why is she going back? (It would make sense though if she was around 24. Going back to ex-boyfriend that you have strong feelings for is not uncommon etc. same as career problems after first job doesn’t work out as you wanted/hoped for)

    But for me the problem is even more visible with Lorelai. Why, in the love of God, after everything she put herself and Luke through would she act as the same issues don’t matter anymore. Let me remind Amy (and the rest of us) that it was Amy who broke them up in season 6 because they were not moving forward. Lorelai wanted more kids, wanted to move on. Tried with Chris (not the best idea, but still, bravo for trying). And 9 years is a really long time. So what happened? (And again it would make sense for her 8 years ago, just after getting back with Luke, to evaluate her life goals and decide if she still wants the same things; but I hope for the sake of her character, and women everywhere, she would make up her mind sooner and not just missed on the opportunities as they passed by as she did).

    The list go further: Logan who decided to rise above his father’s expectation, working in family business, marrying some heiress simply doesn’t make sense.
    And so on, and so on.

    For me now there is no escape. Even with potential next season they can’t fix this 8 years long freeze.
    We either have to forget season 7 or “A year in the Life”. For me it’s the latter.
    Which doesn’t mean I won’t watch season 2 of the revival if it comes out. But my heart won’t be in it.

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  • January 17, 2017 at 11:00 am
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    Glad I’m not the only 1. She seemed to change when she got the ride back to her mom’s house from that party where she met her Clockwork Orange crew, when she was 16 or so. It’s so sad that I know this and made such a strong opinion.

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  • January 17, 2017 at 12:59 pm
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    You’ve contradicted yourself in the same paragraph. Either it’s out of character for her to quit or it’s not. Clearly it is, regardless of how she bounced back at Chilton the first season.

    We really have no idea how long she’s been floundering. One piece in The New Yorker and a few others (in Slate, the Atlantic, etc.) over the years do not “a successful career” as a freelance journalist make. Throughout the original series Rory’s competence as journalist was questionable. She seemed to be an excellent writer, but that’s not enough.

    “The fans deserve more” sounds an awful lot like the kind of entitlement Rory’s being criticized for.

    Look, the Sherman-Palladino vision of the story is what we asked for and it’s what we got. It’s sad that some people are disappointed with it, but some of us would have been disappointed with some other ending. There’s no pleasing everyone. The bottom line is that the person who created the show was hired (with her husband) to write the revival and she wasn’t obligated to give anyone exactly what they wanted. That’s a good thing, because what you want probably wouldn’t have been what I want.

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  • January 18, 2017 at 7:33 am
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    I have mixed feelings about these episodes. I agree that Rory feels unfinished and out of place. I would like to know what she has been doing with her life for 10 years. It doesn’t seem like the work she has put out should be enough to live off of even while staying with Logan while in London. The last episode was suppose to return us back to the start of the series. Rory is now going to have a kid and deal with wither she should tell Logan about it or not and living in Stars Hollow.
    Lorelei has to go back to her Mom for money for the Inn and is forced to spend time with her again. Ok this bit is odd to me. Why do neither for them have money? The Inn seems to be doing well. We were told in the show that they were both getting money from their Grandma when she passed. I know Rory was to use hers for college, but what did Lorelei do with hers. Also if Richard left all this money for Luke to open up new locations you think he would have left Rory and her some cash as well. I know it is a small thing but it is a plot hole that has been bugging me.

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  • January 18, 2017 at 11:01 am
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    I agree with you and the biggest problem with the revival is the Palladinos stubbornness towards season seven. They didn’t write it so there for to them it didn’t happen. If you watch the revival like it happened a year after the end of season six it makes more sense. Ten years have passed and no one but Sookie (because they didn’t think they could get her) moved on. Everyone was in the exact same place. Rory’s actions fit more with a young twenty something not a 32 year old woman. They ruined Rory the most with their stubbornness and honestly I hope they stop there and don’t do anymore.

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  • January 18, 2017 at 2:17 pm
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    They need to do more. Let Rory and Logan get married and raise their baby : )

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    • January 18, 2017 at 7:12 pm
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      Yes! This would be perfect :)

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  • January 18, 2017 at 3:25 pm
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    So I’m I the only one who is disgusted that Rory is someone’s mistress? I could have done without Gilmore a year in the life. I’ll stick with reruns.

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    • January 20, 2017 at 5:02 am
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      Amen, sister friend.

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  • January 18, 2017 at 11:34 pm
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    In all the time between the end of season 7 to the ATX reunion and finally AYITL the topic that generated the most interest on this blog concerned any and all aspects of some sort of revival or succeeding season to continue/finish the Gilmore saga. When would it happen? What could be the trigger to make it happen? And of course what would the story be that unifies all the principals in revisiting these wonderful characters?

    While we were waiting, a particularly cogent step-off to these discussions began with a simple enough question in November of 2012…..Would Rory Gilmore have a Kindle? This followed up very quickly to the inevitable…What would you want in a Gilmore Girls movie? And from there the ideas and fun flowed from many in the peanut gallery for months. Of course that was four years ago so it would/should be missing chapters provided by AYITL that would naturally focus on the last half decade. However, because these site musing were set just after the re-election, they could go at the characters development from decidedly different angles [case in point: Rory’s career path].

    So for the adventurous seeking alternate POVs: Check out the site archives with the monthly search and remember that we are a gregarious bunch who love to go off on tangents having nothing to do with the initial post topic. You might even find some unexpected ideas or content that potentially fills in some perceived gaps in AYITL.

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  • January 19, 2017 at 8:37 am
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    Totally bring back more!!!! so we can all see Rory bring up the baby :) and I want to see a proper full on wedding so can see luke and lorelei do this secret dance :) :o o and also see more of sookie didn’t like that she was only in the end a little bit what that all about :( sookie the best <3

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  • January 21, 2017 at 6:34 pm
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    Totally agree Diana!
    I find it VERY hard to believe that Rory would become “the other woman” again after what she experienced with Dean.
    Not to mention that Rory was also two timing her forgettable boyfriend (another ridiculous storyline)
    I was completely disappointed with the revival and only continued watching after the first episode due to a sense of having to finish after watching the entire series from start to finish (several times)

    The revival was a complete disaster for me, how about Lorelai taking Luke to look at having a surrogate have their baby without even discussing it with him first?? Weird……..and without even attempting to have a baby naturally first, if there was some reason why she knew she couldn’t it should have been referred to in the dialogue (such as early menopause!?)

    The weird scene when the life and death brigade appear……WTF was that!!???

    How about how Mr Kim appeared for a couple of seconds for the first time ever with no explanation of where he had been in the past 7 seasons???

    Just about every character was “out of character”, Rory and that weird stress relieving tap dancing, The only way she would have done that would be as a joke…..Emily letting people overtake her house, she never would have allowed that.

    I’m sorry but I think as much as everybody was disappointed with season 7, it was award winning compared to the revival. I think we need to bring the season 7 writers back to fix what was done in the revival (which was supposed to be a fix for season 7😂👎🏼)

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  • January 26, 2017 at 6:07 pm
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    I agree completely! I have been a huge Gilmore fan since the very beginning. But this was absolutely disappointing. First, it takes Lorelai like 10 years to FINALLY marry Luke??? At the end of the series, Luke and Lorelai seemed incredibly happy after months of heartaches (yey!), and then we pick up with the two of them…still dating, still in her house/his apartment, still stuck. And Rory was the biggest disappointment of all. Obviously the cheating and one night stands I thought were so beneath her. I mean for crying out loud she’s 32, sleeping around, lost in her professional life and apparently pregnant…what an ending! As a fan of the show, I’m sad to say that this Year in the life revival was such a waste and it should have left it at the wonderful ending of season 7.

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  • April 7, 2017 at 6:54 pm
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    I agree that the revival was written as if season 7 never happened. Almost like a another version of a series finale but how is this a bad thing? I’m confused as to how people actually enjoy season 7?

    I loved the ending. definitely think Rory announcing her pregnancy in a direct parallel to Lorelei is the absolute only way to end this show which is about a mother trying to give her daughter the life she never got. The reality is the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I loved how realistic and open ended the ending was and how Rory basically turned into another version of Lorelai…maybe some traits and mistakes were different but Rory is her mother’s daughter. When you grow up being influenced by one person your choices inevitably lead you down the same path.

    It saddens me to see fans hating Rory and the ending because the revival undoes everything wrong with season 7 and that alone is a tough thing to do because season 7 is horrible. I doubt there will be more since Lauren is busy and even if they do a spin-off with Alexis they’ll still need Lauren on board. So I for one will continually bask in the sunshine of how dedicated Amy was to finally get the ending the network prevented her from having.

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