Gilmore Girls

This is a departure from the usual dentistry focused articles you typically see on here! Come back another day for the usual content. Today, it is time for Gilmore Girls.

Yes, it is Fall and along with a PSL, pumpkin carving and sweet treats, it is time for a Gilmore Girls rerun. 

First things first. 

I never grew up watching Gilmore Girls and by no means am an expert. I’m also currently only on season 5 and am yet to watch it until the end. I know the gist of what happens though and have watched the revival already! 

I started watching this iconic show in my late 20s. The first time I tried watching it, I lost interest midway and stopped. My husband did not enjoy the show so I had never had company. Due to work and time commitments, I did not seem to have the time to watch the show by myself.  

Now that I’m done with residency and have a better work schedule, I finally began re-watching it from the beginning! 

Yes, I know it’s just a TV show but I can’t help myself. Everytime I watch the show, I’m lost for hours analyzing the characters. Instead of using my time productively and editing the manuscript of my next book, I browse reddit forums and begin reading what people thought of Rory, Lorelai and Emily. 

Let’s explore some of the themes of the show that have perplexed me and several of this show’s fans. 

Rory and her behavior towards money

Rory grew up in Stars Hollow, away from the riches of her grandparents. Yet she came to accept her new reality- of having a trust fund and being rich, easily. I don’t remember her ever being surprised or confused. She went from ‘my mom is paying for private school’ to ‘my grandparents are paying for private school and college’ without so much as a thought. 

Rory was also obnoxious about it and wasn’t at all careful with money. She let her grandma buy her a TV and furniture for her new dorm in Yale. She never worked to support herself while in school or in Yale, or even suggested it. This is despite seeing her then boyfriend, Dean work three jobs. What viewers most remember about her was her shock after the treatment she received from the Huntzbergers. Not realizing that there may be others who are richer than her, and who think her family is not good enough. ‘But, I’m a Gilmore!’. 

I wish that part of her character could have been clarified a little bit by the creators. I just never understood it. 

Lorelai trying too hard to be a ‘friend’ rather than ‘parent’ to Rory

Granted Lorelai was only 16 when she had Rory and that may have stalled her emotional maturity in some ways. You would think an incident like that would have matured her quickly but the opposite happens. We see time and again how Lorelai fails her daughter. 

She dropped Rory off in a pink crop top and short shorts on her first day at Chilton. Meeting the principal in that attire. C’mon Lorelai! 

Lorelai froze Rory out when Rory got together with Dean even though he was married. We can’t blame Lorelai completely for this, but Lorelai not demonstrating an example of a successful relationship to Rory could have been a cause for Rory’s naivete. The only successful and happy relationship in Rory’s life could have been that of her grandparents who Lorelai always seemed to antagonize. In all of this it is sad to see that Rory never fully understands what she was responsible for when it came to breaking Dean’s marriage. 

She was never made to understand the pain she may have caused Dean and Lindsay’s family. Rory goes on to commit adultery even in her 30s with Logan, never learning her lesson and always playing the victim card. It is also interesting how when she discovers Logan was with other women during their ‘break’, she gets upset with him. How is it OK for you to do it and not OK for your partners to do it too, Rory? 

Lorelai sending a letter to Dean, on behalf of Rory, is another wrong step in this scenario. Her sending her off to Europe with her grandmother was another weird decision. And why did Rory even go to Europe when she had just started a relationship (sort of) with Dean? As you can tell, the Rory- Dean situation makes me very uncomfortable and is probably the lowest point in the whole show. This also hints at how Rory was easily manipulated and bullied into doing things she didn’t want to. This happens throughout the show. Rory= no backbone. 

Rory becomes the most pitiable character in Gilmore Girls. Yet another classic example of the valedictorian that never ends up achieving anything significant. 

I love how GG creators leave us little hints throughout the show that foreshadow what their characters end up becoming. For example, when Paris rightfully tells Rory she was glad Rory beat her as valedictorian. Think about it, what happened to your class valedictorian? 

Even though it was upsetting to see Rory’s downfall throughout the show, it was at times, funny and poignant. It was in stark contrast to Lorelai who because of the struggles she faced earlier in life became a woman of steel. Yes, Lorelai made a lot of horrible decisions too but for the most part was emotionally strong. Criticism tended to make her even stronger and ignited a fight response. 

Rory was just the opposite. Even though she was bullied in Chilton initially, and was always overwhelmed by her studies, her character does not demonstrate a ‘backbone’ or strong emotional development. Getting involved in sports, team activities or other extracurriculars may have helped her develop some grit or perseverance. Failure is just as important as success in your childhood. This again would have been possible with better parenting. 

Rory graduated top of her class, went to Yale, got a B, freaked out about it, went on an internship and did exactly nothing interesting except fetch people coffee. Why would you do that in an internship? Aren’t you there to DO SOMETHING and make your mark? 

It is true what Mitchum Huntzberger said, Rory would have made a ‘great assistant’. Also a great party planner based on her short DAR stint. After receiving this critique, Rory was completely crushed and dropped out of Yale! 

How do you let someone affect you so much that you DROPOUT of school? Dropping it out is a serious move. You would think Rory, who is supposedly well read and thoughtful, would be better at assessing her own situation. Then again, she was young and it is easy to feel you are not good enough after you’ve been told that by your role model. It would have crushed me too. 

However, this is when parental support (again) becomes critical. Lorelai (yet again) chose to freeze Rory out after Rory announced her decision of dropping out. I think here, Richard’s suggestion of cutting Rory off of her trust fund on the condition that she returns to Yale may have actually worked. 

Admiring the villainous Emily

There have been times that I was upset with the way Emily talked. Especially to her household staff or with Lorelai and Luke. She can be very blunt and disrespectful. However she always cared for and had the best intentions for her daughter and granddaughter. This is true all the way to the revival when she negotiates a week during christmas and 2 weeks in the summer only to spend more time with Lorelai and Luke. 

Many readers have labeled her relationship with her daughter as toxic, and downright abusive. I wouldn’t call it toxic or abusive. Sure, she was not the perfect parent and her comments more often than not, would hurt people around her. However, she was a PARENT, which is more than I can say about Lorelai’s style of parenting. Parenting can be hard sometimes. Given the rebellious nature of Lorelai- icing people out, having a baby by herself at age 16, coming to her parents only when she needed money, all of this behavior demanded some level of harshness from Emily. 

Sometimes Emily misunderstood things and made the wrong decision but I’ve found myself justifying her actions throughout the show. When she punched back at Shira for her behavior towards Rory, I was cheering in the living room. When she went to Christopher and told him to get back together with Lorelai, I didn’t find it odd at all. She was correct in assuming that both Christopher and Lorelai still loved each other and needed a shot together. This gets proven later when they end up marrying and realize they were never meant to be.

Was it sad to see Luke and Lorelai split up because of Emily’s actions? Yes, as one of Luke’s biggest cheerleaders, of course it was heartbreaking. However, come to think of it, if I were in Emily’s position and knew my daughter was with someone who did not have her potential I would be concerned too. I’d be thinking my daughter is throwing her life away and is being tied down to a man who may never amount to anything. However when Emily realizes Luke wouldn’t tie her down to anything, how good he is for her daughter and that Lorelai prefers the small town life, she backs off and lets them be happy together. 

Gaining respect for Paris

When we were first introduced to Paris in Chilton, I never liked her. I felt exactly what the show was trying to convey. She was smart and intelligent but ultimately lonely and insecure. After some time, she and Rory become best friends while maintaining their competitive streak. They were good for each other. 

However, in Yale, when I saw how committed she was to her own self development, the paper and later to Doyle, we are shown what a hard worker she is. Full of grit, fiercely loyal and emotionally more mature than Rory. She was never afraid to stand up for herself, and come to think of it, would have made a fantastic journalist. Do you think Mitchum would have said the same things to Paris, what he did to Rory? No way in hell. 

Paris would have never settled for just smiling at everyone, getting to know their names and getting Mitchum coffee during an internship. She would have tried to submit articles, given her opinions at meetings and SAT at the table! 

Becoming Luke’s cheerleader

When I first met Luke, I also did not like him. He seemed rude to customers, a little disheveled and very unkempt. Again I think that was all a ploy of the creators to make it seem like appearances are deceptive, which they are. Luke, is one of the few characters in the show that had a heart of gold. 

He was patient with his sister, despite how irritating her and her husband could be. He was kind to Jess, and tried to be a good father figure despite how difficult it was. And lastly he gave Lorelai so many chances!! Lorelai continued to take Luke for granted for so long, broke his heart several times and yet he still took her back because he understood her and her weaknesses. It is true love and a very rare one at that. 

Now, if I were Luke’s mom and saw him with a flight case like Lorelai I would have totally Emily’d him! Luke deserved better than Lorelai and her unstable family.  

Mrs. Kim was a great mom 

Sure Mrs. Kim was very strict and told her daughter ‘lies’ to make her believe TV was bad, but she instilled good values in Lane and had her daughter’s respect throughout the series. Lane waited till she was married to take the next step with her then boyfriend. She wanted approval from her mom to go to the dance with her first boyfriend. She also dated nice boys who tried their best to gain Mrs. Kim’s approval. If you contrast this with the boys Rory dated, you can see how different her boyfriends were with Lorelai. Many of them were disrespectful, or aloof towards Lorelai. Logan had some manners but the other boyfriends had barely any. Even Dean, who when picking Rory up for the school dance honked outside her house to get Rory to come out. C’mon, Dean! 

The worst of them all- Dean

Don’t even get me started on Dean! I hate his character so much I almost cannot write about it. 

A manipulative monster from hell, I don’t know why Rory in the revival would be so nice and tell him that she would mention him as the ‘greatest first boyfriend ever’ in her book. Has she forgotten that she was about to not attend Chilton because of Dean, he was horrible towards her after he said I love you and it went unreciprocated, how he publicly broke up with her twice, and lastly how he slept with her WHILE HE WAS MARRIED. 

Dean’s character may have been poorly developed because in the later seasons all we see are his bad bits. Rory was the girl he never got over. It does appear that he eventually moves on when he gets married a second time and has children. 

During the show, he is terribly insecure and annoying. What is more upsetting however is Rory not recognizing his flaws and only seeing the nice parts. Again this is more of a Rory character flaw than a Dean one. If Rory had only identified the serious personality issues that Dean had during the show and labeled her relationship with him a mistake, I think I wouldn’t continue to hate Dean so much. The forced elevation of a character, by both Rory and Lorelai, who is so obviously despicable, is annoying to me. 

Jess- I am passive about 

Jess was a troubled youth who loved Rory. His role in the show was leaving Rory with good ideas. Such as getting back to Yale, and writing a book about her mom and her. He does grow up to become a better man towards the end. Which is nice to see, but we didn’t have him on the show long enough for me to develop a fondness or love for him. The chemistry between Rory and Jess is very palpable though. Unlike Logan and Rory. 

What I learned watching this show

I learned that parenting is hard. And even if you have the perfect kid, there are times when you feel like you don’t know who they are becoming. Providing your children with good values is critical from the start. If you are a single parent or come from a broken family, it may be important to show your ward what successful and healthy relationships look like. Getting the kids involved in sports, especially team sports, is important, apart from academia. Sports can teach you more quickly about failure and perseverance than academics. Encourage your child to believe in themselves and trust their gut. However don’t lose sight of the fact that you are their parent and must call the shots too. 

The show also taught me about ego and how damaging it can be when it comes to relationships. Contrary to what most viewers think, I actually found Lorelai to have the bigger ego than her mother. Her mother was always willing to give her a call and drive to her house to make things work. She never stopped caring for her daughter, whereas Lorelai continued to be a difficult, emotionally immature person till the very end. 

I’ve also learned that life does not pan out the way you thought it would and you have to be willing to pivot. The dream you had as a 12 year old may not be the dream you have as a 30 year old and that’s okay. As parents we should not encourage our kids to have a career goal during middle and high school. We should instead help them become well rounded and well adjusted kids, who are able to weather any storm in college. During the 4 years of college they should try to figure out what they like, what they are good at and what the world needs. Find an intersection of that and base your career upon it. We should also encourage our kids to make friends and be good at building relationships with others. I noticed that throughout the show Rory always had just one friend and one boyfriend. She never had a group of friends to hang out with. If she didn’t have plans in Yale with Paris or Logan, she would go to Stars Hollow to meet her mom. That’s also not healthy. Having a healthier friend circle may have prevented her from dropping out. She would have had other friends to bounce ideas off of. 

Do you watch Gilmore Girls? Or does my rant make you feel like watching it? Let me know what you think! 

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