**Warning: Spoilers Ahead!!! If you’re not finished with the Gilmore Girls revival, click your back button immediately**
Like 90% of women aged 25-40, I cannot stop thinking about, talking about, and Tweeting about the Gilmore Girls revival. From the death of Grandpa Gilmore to the lack of Sookie to the need for more Jess and less Logan, I once again felt all the Stars Hollow feels.
On the weekend of the release of the four episodes I gathered my core group of girls to share in the momentous occasion. We laughed. We cried. We hit pause a lot to remind each other of what had happened nine years prior. And, naturally, we ate three large pizzas.
But in all of our conversation, one theme kept recurring: what. In. the. Literal. Fuck. is. Rory. Doing?
My friends were appalled by the mess that had become of Rory Gilmore. No home, no job, no boyfriend save for an old flame who was otherwise engaged. What happened to our Yale graduate with the promising future as a journalist with the New York Times?
While everyone wrung their hands with worry over Rory’s future, I was more concerned about Lorelai embodying Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Emily Gilmore wearing jeans. Rory’s life didn’t seem so worrisome to me. In fact, it seemed oddly comforting.
In the days following our watch party, I scoured Twitter and Facebook reading every hypothesis and reaction to the four episodes, and again I realized I am very much in the minority when it comes to not caring about Rory’s loose ends. Why is everyone so worried about her?
I’m a late Gilmore Girl bloomer. I never got into the show during its original airing. Something about it just never spoke to me. However, this summer, with the long days off that seasonal employment provides ahead of me, I decided to give the Stars Hollow clan another try. I was hooked. I spent the remainder of my summer talking about Lorelai and Rory as if they were my best friends, texting my husband when Rory and Dean finally slept together, and calling him with tears in my eyes with Lorelai dumped Luke. But I also realized what prevented me from liking the show in its original airing: Rory.
Rory is way too perfect. As an adult, I appreciate and love her quirks including her wit, her morals, and her intelligence, but when the show first aired, I was close in age to Rory, and I just could not connect. Sure, I was smart, I did well in school, and I was quirky and witty…but not in that way. I wasn’t as driven or given the privilege extended to Rory thanks to private schools and millionaire grandparents.
Rory dreamt of Harvard since she was three. I dreamt of a state school in Louisiana and then settled for one in my home state after realizing what the phrase “out of state tuition” meant. Rory attended Chilton where she read Shakespeare, participated in a young entrepreneurs project, learned fencing, and was puffed. I went to a public high school where I read Sarah Dessen books, was in Spanish Club only because we got to go out to eat once a month, learned “mat ball” and lied to my parents about where I was and who I was with. I couldn’t have been less like Rory if Amy Sherman Palladino tried.
Rory went on to have to make the difficult choice between Harvard and Yale in her senior year. I toured state schools in the Midwest and ultimately only applied to one because I wasn’t encouraged not to put all the eggs in one basket. When Rory ended up at Yale she excelled. She made friends easily and relied on a strong bond forged with Paris during their days at Chilton. She joined the school newspaper posturing herself for career success. She took a gap year and eventually negotiated her way onto a paper showing her tenacity and stubbornness.
Ya’ll. Rory Gilmore got a job at a newspaper by showing up every day and waiting for over a week to speak to the editor in chief. A newspaper job in 2007. Print media is a dying industry! HOW and WHY is Rory Gilmore applying for and getting jobs in print media?! It makes no sense. It’s completely preposterous.
And it’s damn good TV.
As an adult, I can appreciate the entertainment value of this show in a way I couldn’t before. Rory is completely unrelatable, and that’s okay because she makes for great television.
Until she became relatable.
When we meet Rory again nine years after the show’s finale, we see her life isn’t as charmed as we always thought it would be. Rory’s dreams don’t pan out the way they were supposed to. She’s lost and seemingly directionless, searching for her inspiration, her passion. Meanwhile she’s confronted with the failures of past relationships, moving home with her mom at 30, and essentially interning at her hometown newspaper. She’s not the Rory Gilmore we all thought she would be, and she’s definitely not the Rory Gilmore she thought she would be, but that’s television magic.
Rory is all of us. She is the unexpected life path. She’s the bumps in the road you never see coming when graduating from high school and college. She’s the decision to get a master’s degree and settle for a safe career or to pursue her dream regardless of the consequences. She’s the relationship that is so unhealthy and going nowhere, but it’s safe and familiar and the last remnant of a time when you really felt you had a handle on life. She’s the epitome of the idea that life doesn’t care if you’re valedictorian or editor of your college newspaper, your degree is in a dying field because you know, “Major in something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life….because that field isn’t hiring.”
Rory’s year in the life is a year in all of our lives. It’s like looking into the mirror, and that truth really fucking hurts. Yes, she’s a mess, but it’s okay because, you know what? We all are.