Hellooooooooo, ladies and gents (and all you lovely folk who don’t subscribe to a binary gender). It’s ya girl Nikkie, and I’m back at it again with that blog life. In case post titles mean nothing to you, today I’ll be talking about my experience watching the early aughts’ TV “hit,” Gilmore Girls, for the first time.
The decision to watch this show was a purposeful accident. Basically, I was looking for a new show to watch because I was in a reading slump. I brought this up to my bestie, who suggested Gilmore Girls because she considered it “mindless” TV that I could just throw on while going about my life. I was on the fence because the very minimal deets I knew about the show did not interest me in any way—and I have an irrational hatred of Jared Padelecki, a main player in the first five or six seasons—so I wasn’t prepared to take her advice. But then I took several “What should I watch next on Netflix” quizzes, and the majority offered up the same selection. It was clear the universe wanted me to get acquainted with Lorelai and Rory Gilmore and their quirky ilk over in Stars Hollow. Having completed the series, I have one question for the universe:
DEAR GOD, WHY?!
From the very beginning, I was not a fan. Have you ever rage-watched an entire show? That was my experience here. I just couldn’t believe that this show had been so popular and apparently worthy of seven full seasons, so I kept watching because I naively believed that it HAD to get better. No, no. It got worse.
It was obvious that I had to write a blog post about this experience. But I have so many thoughts not just about the show but about the art of TV in general that there’s no way I can fit it all into one post. So for today, I will be focusing on my likes (yes, there were a few) and dislikes about the show.
To the friends of mine who are currently watching the show for the first time: Don’t go beyond this point! SPOILERS ABOUND, so if you care about that kind of thing, geeeeet ooouuuutttaaa heeeeeere.
To fans of the show: If you choose to read any further, you are opening yourself up to potential hurt feelings. I will not go easy on this show, and I will not apologize for that. If this is your absolute favorite show in the whole entire world . . . I will wonder if you’ve been trapped in a bunker with only this as your option for entertainment, but my intent in writing this is not to try and change your mind or make you feel bad. These are just my thoughts. So if you dive into these murky, hate-filled waters, that’s on you.
Everyone else: . . . Are y’all ready for this?
I will, of course, start with the things I liked about the show because it is an arguably short list, and I should reward fans of the show with SOMETHING. But, on the off chance that anyone is here with absolutely no knowledge of the show, I will give you the tiniest of crash courses.
For seven seasons, Gilmore Girls follows Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, a mother and daughter who live in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Rory (whose full name is also Lorelai) was born when Lorelai was 17, pushing the rebellious youth to finally separate herself from the high-class society life that she grew up in—much to the chagrin of her parents, Richard and Emily.
When the show starts, the two sets of Gilmores tentatively reconcile because Rory, a very smart cookie and high school sophomore, has been accepted to a fancy private high school that Lorelai can’t afford. She turned to her parents only after exhausting all other options, and they agree to pay for Rory’s education on the condition that the girls come by for Friday night dinners for eternity. (This contract ostensibly ends when Rory graduates . . . Until she’s given no financial aid to attend Yale and reinstates it.)
Throughout the show, we watch the Gilmore girls (arguably) grow up. There are love interests (three and a half for Rory, and slightly more for Lorelai), best friends (Lane and eventually Paris for Rory, Sookie St. James for Lorelai), and coffee . . . lots and lots of coffee. The relationship between the four Gilmores is a major focus, along with Rory’s teetering between two cultures: her mother’s self-sufficient, quirky-yet-struggling life in Stars Hollow and her grandparents’ high-society life in Hartford.
Now, when it comes to things that I like about the show . . . It is occasionally funny. Not uproariously funny or anything—I never got more than a bit of a chuckle out of the things that amused me—but at least there were a few moments that made me think “Okay, someone in the writers’ room had their shit together.” I think every character said or did something at some point that made me giggle (especially Richard . . . I inexplicably love that guy), so kudos!
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Another thing I liked about the show was how Lorelai and her bestie Sookie’s dream of opening their own inn gets realized about halfway through the show. I definitely thought it was going to be one of those things where they struggle to get the funds together, to find the right place, to take the leap to achieve this goal—but we actually get to see them do it! Lorelai needed something actually positive to happen in her life. I know that it should be enough that she managed to rise through the ranks at the Independence Inn (the job she starts the show with) from the maid job she got when she was a new mom with nowhere to go. But watching her and Sookie build something that manages to succeed was really satisfying.
Beyond that, all my other likes are brought about by the characters that populate the show. Here’s a breakdown, in no particular order.
- Sookie St. James and her eventual-husband Jackson: How could you not love Sookie? A baby-faced Melissa McCarthy, in what I believe was her first huge acting role, plays a slightly klutzy, definitely perfectionist, definitely adorable chef who adds the smallest dose of rationality to the otherwise INSANE events of the show. Obviously she can’t be too rational because she’s a perfectionist—which means she does things like obsess over a food critic who described her risotto as “perfectly fine” and get her staff to sneak her food when Lorelai’s OTP, Luke, takes over her kitchen while she’s on bed rest—but she also has the most stable relationship in the entire show. Jackson is the guy who supplies the vegetables to the inn(s) that Lorelai and Sookie work at/run, and their endless bickering (which is always adorable and never the kind that makes me think “How could these two possibly end up together”) grows into a very solid relationship. They have three babies (one more than they planned, which is a bit of a sticky point), and I love their family. They are perfect for each other, which is really the only time that happens in the show. The only times I couldn’t deal with Sookie were when she’s going extra-hard in her perfectionism, and that’s because she reminded me of me, and I can’t deal with myself.
- Kirk: Kirk is this crazy dude who has a million jobs for reasons that are unclear (near the end of the show, it’s revealed that he’s got enough dough to make a cash offer of nearly a quarter-mil on a house). He is everywhere, he has no idea of personal boundaries, and he’s nearly always speaking in a dead-pan voice . . . except for when he’s suffering from his night terrors and running around nakedly. If I met someone like Kirk in person, I would probably run in the opposite direection. But in the context of this show, his presence is the perfect dose of levity. I needed his obvious insanity to balance out all the insanity that the show was trying to pass off as normal behavior.
- Christopher: My enjoyment of Chris is only partially relevant now because he started to suck around season 4 or 5. But up until then, I 100 percent shipped Lorelai and her baby daddy. Chris was fully prepared to marry “Lore” when she got pregnant, something their rich parents were definitely rooting for, but she chose to raise Rory on her own. He is kind of forced into the deadbeat dad/occasional hook-up role, but he really starts stepping things up before long. Plus he’s not so bad on the eyes! Unfortunately, this gets ruined when the show writers decided to have him impregnate the girlfriend he was going to leave for Lorelai, and then, when that relationship tanks, he falls prey to the machinations of Emily Gilmore, who could never get over the perfect picture idea of Lorelai, Rory, and Chris being a family. His behavior is questionable at best, very unsettling at worst. But I still really, really liked him at the beginning.
- Richard Gilmore: Why do I love Grandpa Gilmore so much? I’m seriously asking. He willingly adheres to all the ridiculous society rules that rich people think make them better than everyone else. He makes harsh judgments and almost always thinks he knows best. But I also LOVE HIM. Before watching the first episode, I just assumed he would treat Rory like a “stain” on his sterling reputation. But he loves her so much. He’s always so proud of her, and even though he occasionally goes too far in terms of trying to ensure the best future for her, I could always see the love at the foundation of it. His relationship with Lorelai is definitely strained, but it’s better than the one between her and Emily. I don’t know. I just weirdly love him. He was also really good at verbal side eye. Too good, considering he is an old, rich white man.
That’s kind of the end of my positives list; telling, right? I do have a bit of a neutral comment though.
There has never been another show that has caused me to both side with and against any character at any given time. No matter how much I hated a character, there’d come an instance where I would find myself agreeing with some point they were making. This mainly happened if they were arguing against Rory, whose perfect child role was something I could not get on board with. (She was a mess who often made insanely stupid decisions, and when someone voiced how stupid it was, I would be like “YAAAAS QUEEN! Destroy her!!”)
These instances never made my opinion of anyone do a 180, but at least there was one time when I gave them a mental high five.
So maybe that was a positive? I don’t know . . . but I’m in a rope-throwing mood. Grab it while you can because this ride is ’bout to be bumpy as all hell.
Now for the meat of this post: my dislikes. They are substantial.
Much like my likes list, this is going to be kind of randomly organized. I did type up some notes, and those notes did end up being put into a loose structure, but everything you read from this point on will mostly be in the random order it occurred to me.
I could not stand the “drama” in this show. Things are so obviously set up to indicate that they are dire, but (and I hate to use this phrase) pretty much everything in this show is a blown-out-of-proportion example of #WhitePeopleProblems. Whenever I recounted events to Super Hubs (who you may recall is white), he would shake his head and say “White people,” and it’s literally the truest thing I’ve ever heard.
I think my issue is that the lack of ambiguity in the drama. Either someone is very obviously wrong or all the parties involved are equally wrong and are being disgustingly stubborn about it. However, when I say “obviously wrong,” I mean it’s obvious out here in the real world. Because within the show’s universe, Lorelai and Rory are always in the right. When Lorelai breaks off her (first) engagement by running away in the middle of the night with Rory, she’s “in the right” because a secret phone call with Christopher made her realize she didn’t want to be with her fiance (whom she’d already broken up with once). When Rory and her first boyfriend Dean are arguing about her priorities, she’s “in the right” because she’s going places and no one, not even her boyfriend, should think they matter to her in the face of her bright future. (Are you catching all my sarcasm?)
It was EXHAUSTING to live through all the ways the show tried to manipulate me into siding with one or more of the Stars Hollow Gilmores because they were our “perfectly flawed protagonists.” No. Their flaws were annoying, and while the show writers were obviously going for the “Don’t my flaws make me so endearing and relatable?” effect, they failed in the most abominable way in my opinion.
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Which leads to my issue with character development within the show.
Basically no one grows up at all. Despite the years that pass in the series, personalities remain unchanged throughout the series.I understand that everyone has their thing that makes them special, but that doesn’t mean they stay the same forever! Specific examples will get their own sections in this post, so I won’t go into too much detail right now, but I just felt disappointed by most of the characters as the show went on. By the final seasons, most of the drama was just a repackaging of something from earlier—Lorelai bailing on a relationship, Rory facing some arbitrary academic or professional upset to prove that her life isn’t perfect (except that, 98 percent of the time, these things still end with her coming out on top), Rory’s best friend Lane finding new ways to rebel against her extremely Christian mother, blah blah blah. The predictability of the drama just led to characters who never learned their fucking lesson from the first time . . . yet I was supposed to be rooting for them? Please.
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Beyond that, the show did not handle time jumps well. No one minds when a time jump happens between seasons. But between episodes? Within a SINGLE episode? There were countless instances of me being put off by the passing of time.
For an non-specifically specific example: There were many times when there were multiple characters in a scene and one left to do a task that would require at least a full minute to complete, like getting a cup of coffee or locating a book or changing their outfit. While they’re gone, the remaining characters carry on the conversation. Before even two full sentences had been uttered, the person who left the scene returned having completed their task. It made no sense! That is not how time works! I wish I had written down a specific instance of this so you could go find it on your own, but I didn’t, so you’re just going to have to trust me—it’s really unsettling. I can’t decide if I hate that more than when a month of time goes by without any real explanation . . .
I fully understand that not every single second of life can be shown in a show. But I also feel like huge time jumps need to be addressed. One could argue that the weekly airing of episodes means that each episode should depict one full week at most. Clearly the passing of time in the real world is semi-relevant because shows try to time their holiday/seasonal episodes’ air dates with the appropriate months; most shows aren’t putting out their Christmas episode in October. So if that’s the case, why jump around wildly with time?
Maybe this is something I wouldn’t have noticed if I had watched the show as it was being aired. It’s possible that these offensive jumps occurred when there was a bigger break between episodes airing or something . . . but I don’t believe that’s the case. I think it’s just lazy writing.
And on that note, let’s get into some real specific terrible things about the show.
Rory is the Worst
Let’s talk about golden child Rory Gilmore. Studious, fair-skinned, apple of not only her family’s eye but the eye of an entire town.
And a garbage person. (Spoiler alert: I pretty much thought everyone was garbage.)
To start, Rory is the dumbest smart person I’ve ever seen.
This is mostly showcased in her near-complete inability to be a good girlfriend. With Dean, she frequently put everything else in her life before him and expected him to follow along dutifully (which he often did, and that was also annoying). She constantly tried to turn him into a reader, even though it clearly wasn’t going to happen—HE WAS NEVER GOING TO LIKE AYN RAND, RORY—and she frequently failed to consider his feelings if they didn’t coincide with her idea of a relationship was. When Jess shows up and she starts openly falling for him, because Dean broke up with her in a public space, he’s automatically made out to be the bad guy (even though she was the one making an ass of herself immediately preceding the break-up).
Once Rory and Jess started officially dating, she couldn’t keep herself from comparing his behavior with Dean’s, as if carrying the title of “Rory’s boyfriend” meant a uniform personality. Does she not remember kindergarten? A square peg doesn’t fit a circular hole. Additionally, she never trusted Jess, which is the one thing a boy with questionably intentions needs, otherwise he just continues with the behavior that makes him a shitty person. (Oh, and she also tries to manipulate him so she can cheat on Logan . . . But more on that later.)
As for Logan—I feel like their relationship is the epitome of her issues with love and dating. See, Rory simultaneously expects too much and too little from her boyfriends. She had a very poor opinion of Logan when they met, so she goes into the eventual relationship with low expectations; so low that she foolishly thinks she can handle a no-strings arrangement. But once they start dating, she seems to frequently forget that this is the first time he’s ever been exclusive with someone. Rory constantly blames Logan for not knowing how to be a boyfriend, she doesn’t even try to see his point of view when Jess shows up and the boys start acting horribly to each other, and she passive-aggressively punishes him for his (admittedly shitty) behavior when she thinks they’re on a break. While the terrible nature of their relationship is a hat I lay at both their doors, I constantly found myself wondering “What does this girl want?!”
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Her cluelessness, though, I believe to be a symptom of Mary Sue syndrome. Rory is SUCH a Mary Sue.
If you don’t know what means, a Mary Sue is a common trope of a seemingly perfect, idealized female character (for guys, it’s called Gary/Marty Stu). The Mary Sue often downplays her amazingness, considering herself to be normal or uninteresting, leaving her surprised when she gets attention—Twilight‘s Bella Swan is the epitome of a Mary Sue.
Just like a Mary Sue, Rory is seemingly incapable of figuring out when male attention she receives is a thinly veiled indication of said male’s romantic interest. It takes her an embarrassing amount of time to realize that her first male Yale buddy, Marty, is super into her. In fact, she still doesn’t pick up on it despite his obviously jealous/pissy tone when he lets her in on the fact that Logan likes her. Ugh.
Also like a Mary Sue, everything works out for her. Amazing opportunities fall into her lap ALL THE TIME, and in the few instances where she stumbles, the turnaround is almost instantaneous. Her longest falter is when she briefly drops out of Yale, and that was honestly so stupid that the writers should’ve been flogged for such an obvious attempt at trying to make her more interesting. You can’t just make your Mary Sue a college dropout; it’s not realistic.
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It also doesn’t line up with another one of my Rory pet peeves: her insane morals/ideals. You’ll recall from the previous paragraph how amazing things just sort of happen to her. Yet she constantly fights them because, according to her self-set rules, she needs to properly earn everything before it happens. It’s ridiculous! I understand that Lorelai likely instilled a “Get by on your own” mentality when she raised Rory, but considering the linchpin to Rory’s education (the grandparents’ endless flow of cash) is a dressed-up bribe, you’d think she’d realize that sometimes you have to endure a less-than-ideal scenario to get to the greater outcome.
Take, for instance, Rory extending that dressed-up bribe to pay for Yale. She knew damn well her grandparents would’ve just given her that money. But she insists that it is simply a loan, one she intends to pay with interest. Bish, they are LOADED; wtf else were they going to do with that money? Take it with a smile and GTFO.
Then, consider how Logan’s father, to make up for a horribly awkward dinner she had at his home, offers her an internship at one of the newspapers he’d recently acquired. This foolish girl actually turns it down just because she wouldn’t have gotten it on merit. BISH. Take that damn internship; if anyone gives you lip about it, prove them wrong by kicking that job’s ass. It’s not like he was offering her the job to keep her quiet about a murder she’d watched him commit! I mean, she ends up taking the job because he’s like “Uhhh this is a great opportunity regardless, you dumb idiot,” but the fact that that wasn’t her immediate reaction made me (and Super Hubs) boil with rage.
This is a constant thing with her. If it’s not on the Rory scale of behavior that’s “on the up and up,” then it’s wrong and she wants nothing to do with it. I understand the importance of hard work—I do—but if someone’s willingly offering you a shortcut that could generate an amazing opportunity for you, FUCKING TAKE THAT SHIT.
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Finally, there’s how emotionally stunted Rory is. Once again, for how smart she is, she’s stupid as hell. In addition to her relationship issues, she also doesn’t know how to cope with anything. When something doesn’t go exactly the way she envisioned, she either shuts down or enters an extended period of mania where righting the wrong (or burying the wrong in her subconscious) is her sole focus.
This is the clearest, as I’m sure you could guess, during her break from Yale. At the end of the internship with Logan’s dad, he says that he doesn’t see a future in journalism for her. His reasoning is fairly sound—Rory was so focused on being the perfect intern that she never stuck her neck out to display her understanding of the field. What frustrates me the most is that he leaves a clear window in this conversation for her to prove him wrong. Instead, she crumbles and decides to drop out of Yale because clearly her career is over before it could begin. COME. ON. I can withdraw from life with the best of them, but this is such a horrible overreaction that I can’t sympathize with her at all.
This lack of coping skills is obviously Lorelai’s fault. She too doesn’t know how to cope, and being Rory’s main sounding board and example, it was bound to rub off. And boy does it. It amazes that me that, despite how much the Gilmore girls run their mouths, they still manage to get into juvenile fights because they start withholding information from people or holding onto grudges instead of just talking out their issues.
But don’t let me get ahead of myself. There’s a stop I have to make before I can get to Lorelai Gilmore.
Rory’s Boyfriends are the Worst
Would it have killed the writers to give Rory a boyfriend who wasn’t a fucking douchebag? Let us count the assholes, displayed and discussed in order of their appearance.
He was the sneaky douchebag. With those all-American looks (which were not working for me) and New-Boy-Next-Door charms, he was the perfect first boyfriend for Rory. Except for all the times he wasn’t.
Dean and Rory were terribly ill-matched. They had nothing in common but a mutual attraction, and whenever they tried to get the other one to see things from their point of view, it usually went up in flames. A perfect example is when Rory and Dean are at an outdoor used book fair. Rory manages to wander for an absurd amount of hours, and Dean is pouting on the outskirts. When she finally takes a break to check on him, he wants to go spend some time together, but she still have book-browsing energy to burn. So then it’s this awkward verbal tag where she apologizes and says they can go and then he apologizes and says they can stay and it takes forever to end.
This also points to a larger point of how needy he is.
I’m the first to admit that Super Hubs and I are needy as hell; my new job is set to DESTROY the amount of hours we spend together, and we’re insanely crushed by this. But the way Dean whines about Rory choosing to spend a weekend without her mom by herself, I just want to smack him across the face with something heavy and blunt! Give the girl some space, dude. As annoying as I find Rory and her inability to consider other people’s feelings and desires, it’s equally annoying how Dean constantly forgets that that’s just how she is! It was obvious to everyone how important school was to Rory, so Dean was always going to come second (or third, or sometimes fourth) for her. He needed to be okay with that without throwing a bitch fit first.
The multiple break-ups were so ridiculous, but I won’t waste my breath on them because only one related incident matters: DEAN GETS MARRIED.
After Rory and Jess get together, Dean starts dating some rando girl we’ve never seen before. Then, suddenly, they’re engaged. On the night of his bachelor party, he drunkenly reveals to Luke that he is still in love with Rory and thinks she’s the one. Marriage happens anyway; then things start getting weird. He starts working construction at the inn Lorelai and Sookie are renovating, so he starts seeing Rory a lot more. At this point, Jess has abandoned her. Blah blah blah—Dean and Rory sleep together. Not only is the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed in a TV show besides the travesty that became “How I Met Your Mother,” but this is how Rory loses her virgnity . . .
Did the writers WANT me to smash my TV? Because I came very close. Out of all the things I hate about the show, this is in my Top 5. It is the stupidest choice possible, much more stupid than Rory believably could be because she has SOME sense in her head, so the fact that I had to endure more than one sexual encounter between them was almost vomit inducing. Naturally, this leads to the dissolution of Dean’s marriage and a brief stint of Rory and Dean being back together in a non-extramarital fashion. ICK.
I did think it was weird how, after that break-up, he just drops off the face of the earth. Are we sure he didn’t throw himself into a lake or something? Wherever you are, Dean: She wasn’t worth it! But you also shouldn’t have gotten married, you idiot.
The obvious bad-boy love interest—so obvious that it was instantly insanely boring. He’s the “My daddy bailed on my mommy, and my mommy is a flake, so I trust no one” bad boy; he’s Shawn Hunter if Shawn never had Cory to teach him how to love.
Jess is the most attractive of Rory’s boyfriends in my book, but that didn’t stop me from hating his guts. He’s SOOOOOOOO broody, SOOOOOOOO tortured, and SOOOOOOOOO huge of an asshole. He takes the “I’m going to torture the girl I want because I can’t have her” approach because as an only child, he never learned to share. It’s not cute. Plus his shitty attitude toward Luke, who is his uncle and takes him in after Jess’s mom decides she just can’t handle him, is such typical ungrateful garbage that I almost can’t get mad at him for being so unoriginal—almost being the operative word.
While he was a better match for Rory because they connect on an intellectual level, their temperaments were poorly matched. He lashes out and then withdraws; she reaches out and then burns bridges. They are both emotionally stunted, so they’re perfectly matched in that sense as well . . . too bad it also made them incapable of lasting. The whole thing was exhausting. I was almost happy when his “I just flunked out of senior year” freak out caused him to run out on Rory because I couldn’t deal with any more of their shitty roller-coaster.
I will say that, at show’s end, Jess gets redeemed. He manages to actually make something of himself, reaching whatever potential he was actively trying to bury back in Stars Hollow. And how does Rory react? She tries to use him to get back at Logan (for reasons to be detailed). Wow. As shitty as he is, he did not deserve to be treated that way, and she barely apologizes for it.
So, all in all, on my “Rory’s Terrible Boyfriend” list, he comes in third. He’s still terrible, but he’s the least terrible.
This blond-haired crap bag.
WHY WAS HE ALWAYS CALLING HER “ACE”?!?!?!?!?!?!?! This was the most annoying thing about him. Every time he said it, I cringed. It was fucking ridiculous. I understand why he gave her the nickname (journalist biz), but WHY keep it up once they became an item? That is not a romantic nickname. It’s stupid.
SO, why do I hate Logan? Let me count the ways.
- He’s arrogant because of his wealth, despite constantly complaining about how he is trapped in this life set up for him by his parents.
- He is a shit-heel to Marty, who bartended some of Logan’s soirees.
- He’s constantly complaining about how he is trapped in the life set up for him by his parents.
- He never sees his “planned future” as an opportunity to find ways to pursue and enhance his own goals.
- He doesn’t even have goals for most of the time he’s in the show.
- He is a perpetual thrill-seeking child.
- He is a low-key alcoholic—an issue that is never properly addressed.
- He FORCED me to side with Rory after they fight over Jess because Logan was being super aggro about Jess’s existence, and instead of talking things out with Rory, he just assumes that they’re broken up and proceeds to fuck most of his sister’s friends.
- Dude. I know you’ve never been a full-fledged boyfriend before, but that is some annoying Ross and Rachel shit, and I’m not here for it.
- His marriage ultimatum is a bit much.
- I would’ve liked a little more exploration on that, but I will freely admit that it was an extreme reaction to her decision to reject his proposal. They’d just gotten over a rough patch; it was not the time.
- His stupid face
- Everything about his face is squinty. It’s not cute.
Of all Rory’s boyfriends, I would hate him the most . . . But at least he didn’t cheat on anyone with Rory. He’s tied with Dean for first while also being a strong second.
Honrary Mention: Tristan
Tristan was a Chad Michael Murray-portrayed douche-nozzle who went to Rory’s fancy high school. He called her Mary (as in Virgin Mary) and, much like Jess, tormented her because he had a crush on her. This caused drama between Rory and her on-again, off-again friend Paris, who had a useless crush on Tristan, and it caused many of my face’s eye-rolls. Our littlest Gilmore never actually dates Tristan. They kiss at a party after she and Dean break up, but no dating. He becomes a bigger douche after she and Dean get back together (mainly because they do it in the middle of Tristan asking her out), but then he gets sent away to military school or something because his dad was like “Oh wait, my son is terrible and needs greater discipline.” Or maybe his family just moved.
Lorelai is The Worst (but not the Worst Mom)
We now move on to Mama Gilmore, who is even worse than her dumb-ass daughter because SHE’S A FUCKING ADULT and should know better. Handle your shit, Lorelai. Handle. Your. Shit.
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I’m starting with the obvious: her horrible relationship with her parents.
I know how hard it can be to maintain a relationship with your parents when there are things you just fundamentally don’t agree on. But in this case, blame is a two-way street. Lorelai can’t get over her parents’ initial shock in the face of her pregnancy. She uses the fact that they wanted her and Chris to get married as fuel for her hate fire, and she holds onto the idea that she is a huge disappointment to them without letting them try and make up for that. And sure, those are scars that run deep. But she’s also in her goddamn 30s; at some point, she needs to put some work into being okay with her past. Running away to Stars Hollow and trying to act like your parents don’t exist isn’t the same as moving on. Being obviously shady around them any time anything happens in your life is not avoiding drama; it’s just the first step in creating it. Trust me. I know.
That being said . . . Her mom IS also the worst. Like . . . I know she wants a relationship with her daughter, and given how elusive Lorelai is, Emily thinks the only way to do it is to go behind her back and scheme and all that shit. That has never worked out for her, and it’s ridiculous that she never learned.
Repressed white people bullshit.
But Lorelai’s relationship with her parents is just the icing on the terrible relationship cake because she is bad at all relationships. Even her relationship with Rory isn’t great. It’s far too dependent, she sets herself up for failure when she tries on her authoritative hat, and she often fails to realize that she’s just as invasive as her own mother. But that’s not my focus here. I want to talk about her terrible romantic life.
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Watching Lorelai date was exhausting. She had a very obvious pattern: Refuse to let anyone in, and then blame them when the relationship doesn’t work out. I feel like this is the basis for the “Chris-as-deadbeat-dad” dynamic that I was supposed to choke down during the first season. She acts like he left her, even though several discussions of their past mention it was her decision not to stay together. So he was just following her wishes by trying to make something of himself—her main argument was that Chris could never grow up—yet we’re supposed to view him as the asshole who didn’t stick around.
This is how Lorelai operates. She looks for (or just invents) a reason to not be invested in the relationship so that she can back out of it, then she acts like no one is trustworthy. It’s mind-boggling. Does she think she’s doing people some huge favor by dating them, and the second it’s not in the honeymoon phase, that means it’s doomed? That is some adolescent-ass shit, and no wonder Rory doesn’t know how to date.
Let’s explore the main two examples outside of her relationship with Chris (which implodes in such a lackluster way that I don’t even want to bother addressing it, despite their reconciliation being the one thing I wanted out of the show).
This is the fiance that Lorelai bails on shortly before they’re supposed to get married. He was one of Rory’s teachers at Chilton, and their relationship has several ups and downs. At first, they’re keeping it on the DL because it’s not entirely appropriate for a teacher and a parent to hook up. Then, Paris (back when she hated Rory) spots the pair kissing and tells everyone. So Lorelai breaks things off because she doesn’t want her relationship to lead to Rory having a hard time at school. While that is a fair and selfless thing to be concerned about, I also feel like, given the circumstance, it really wouldn’t have harmed Rory all that much.
This becomes clear when Lorelai and Max start things up again, though she is hesitant to call it dating. It’s mostly a lot of long talks about whether they can even pursue a relationship, until finally, during a fight, Max says that they should get married. So the engagement starts, and Lorelai seems fairly invested. (Or perhaps I’m just imagining that.) But the cracks start to form almost immediately. She barely wants Max in her space. She refuses to move out of her house (a trend with all her potential husbands), and she doesn’t really want him to bring his stuff with him. Talk about beating us over the head with foreshadowing.
At her bachelorette party, hearing her mother talk about how nervous but excited she was before her marriage, and talking to Chris (under the guise of telling him that she was getting married), led Lorelai to believe she actually wasn’t in love with Max. Which is fine. Sometimes you realize you let yourself get caught up in something just because it was easiest. But to just run away from her problems (are you picking up on the pattern?) is just childish, and that was the final nail in the coffin for me to literally never root for her.
I was never shipping Luke and Lorelai. Luke bugged me, and I didn’t think their “platonic” relationship was cute. But that being said, she kinda treated him like crap once they became a couple. Then again . . . He’s, like, ridiculously fragile during their relationship. They break up because he feels threatened by Chris (who causes a drunken scene after being manipulated by Emily to go after Lorelai). I hate to use this kind of aggro rhetoric, but FUCKING CLAIM YOUR TERRITORY, DUDE. You wanna be Lorelai’s man? Then show up. He even said at the beginning of their relationship that he was in it to win it. Bailing because her old boyfriend showed up and says he wants her back? That’s not being in it to win it. That’s being a fucking baby about things.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
When they get back together and eventually get engaged. Once again, Lorelai is reticent to move out of her home (even though Luke buys them a house!), so they renovate hers. She finds herself getting excited for the wedding, even though it takes forever for her to tell her mother. Things seem like they might actually progress in a positive way when the writers throw yet another wrench in the cogs: Luke has a secret daughter. A middle-schooler waltzes into his diner, tells him she’s doing a science experiment to find out who her father is because she’s in a Mamma Mia! sitch, and steals his hair. He decides to keep this from Lorelai because he doesn’t know what to think about it, but Lorelai discovers the daughter (April) in the diner one day and is pissed.
Yes, it’s shocking. But she basically holds this over Luke’s head forever. It’s unfortunate that he kept the secret, but that doesn’t mean he was a bad guy who was going to lie to her forever. Being that he is not a man who is quick to action (it takes him five seasons to realize/admit out loud that he’s into Lorelai), what could she really have expected from him? On top of that, she actually seems jealous that he spends time with his daughter!
Let me stop for a side rant: Why do TV characters always get mad at their significant others for having children they didn’t know about? This also happens in “Cougar Town,” where Courtney Cox’s boyfriend wants kids and she doesn’t and then they find out that he’s got a two-year-old. Instead of being happy that she doesn’t have to push another kid out of her hoo-hah, she’s mad at him (despite already having a kid of her own as well). Is this how people would actually react in real life? Because it’s garbage. So your partner has a kid neither of you knew about. That shouldn’t affect how you feel about them, and the fact that TV writers clearly think it would makes me have less faith in people.
Back to Luke and Lorelai. I think it was a dick move for her to just sit and stew over April’s arrival instead of having a real conversation with Luke about it. The April thing was full of drama (there’s an eventual custody battle, post-break-up), and Lorelai thinks she has the right to cause even more? You know how she breaks up with Luke? She tells him she wants to elope, he doesn’t react (because he’s Luke and he needs more than five minutes to make a decision), she goes and has sex with Chris, Luke comes by the next day ready to elope, she tells him she had sex with Chris, and Luke leaves.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
What makes it even worse is that, in the final season, the writers have LUKE apologize for what happened! He basically tells Lorelai that he was using April to push her away, which was not at all how it came off and clearly just a ret-con so that Lorelai can once again be given the role of “Right All the Time.” GARBAGE. GARBAGE. GARBAGE.
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So yeah. I could not get behind Lorelai and her trash-heap ways. She is one of the few positive depictions of a teen mom as far as being able to provide for her daughter, but she is also a completely shitty person. So it kind of cancels everything out. I get that her life isn’t perfect, but it also isn’t full of nearly as many problems as she likes to pretend it is. In fact, she creates 90 percent of the problems by assuming there’s going to be a problem. She is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and why did no one put an end to the madness?!
Luke is Mostly the Worst
I have to do a brief exploration of Luke, as the above was mostly a rant against Lorelai, and it’s not like he comes out of everything smelling like a rose.
As implied, I hated him in the beginning. His anger was off-putting with no real explanation for it, and he had a conspiracy-theorist vibe that kinda drops off at some point during the show’s run. I couldn’t get behind it. Despite the obvious set-up from day 1 for him and Lorelai to be together (plus the fact that I already knew they were the OTP), I was horribly put off by how he treated her. He was so rude. It felt like “The Mindy Project,” when Danny calls Mindy fat in the first episode; how was I supposed to root for the two of them after that?! That’s how I felt about Luke and Lorelai. He was a major dick who barely lightened up around her. The only redeemable thing about him was how much he cared about Rory, but even that is creepy. Who cares that much about the child of a frequent customer? It’s unsettling.
Then, it happened. The breastfeeding incident.
It was after the arrival of Jess. An episode opened in Luke’s diner, where a woman in a group begins breastfeeding. Luke FREAKS OUT. He has a conniption in front of Lorelai and Rory, going on and on about how inappropriate it is for her to do that in his place of business. Yet he’s too afraid to go up to her, so he asks Lorelai to do it for him. She doesn’t, thankfully. BUT she also doesn’t get offended on behalf of that woman. Neither does Rory. They are both mum in the face of Luke’s misogynistic behavior, and it’s infuriating. To put a shit cherry on this crapfest sundae, Jess comes downstairs (Luke, and Jess by extension, live above the diner), sees the woman, throws his hands up over his face while exclaiming in disgust, and runs back upstairs.
Are you kidding me? How can anyone think Luke is a nice guy after a display like that?! I tend not to take sides on issues like this because I like to avoid confrontation, but fuck that noise. I was horrified. Thankfully, SH assured me that other people were also horrified, as he Googled the offensive scene and found a bunch of angry posts about it. But the fact that it was even written and filmed and aired is just too much for me. As someone who plans to have children and has no idea whether she’ll be breastfeeding, I take offense to the thought that I would be seen as a bad person for FEEDING MY CHILD. It’s not my fault their food comes out of boobs; take that up with science or whichever Higher Power you believe in.
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He eventually got better—mostly because of how often he would drop everything to help Lorelai and Rory when they were in a fix—but he was never my favorite. And I never appreciated how his future relationship with Lorelai was forced on me. The show’s idea of foreshadowing was not subtle.
This Show is the Worst
This leads me to my final section of thoughts. Starting with the whole thing about subtlety, or the lack of it.
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Nothing about this show was subtle. Every decision, every event, every argument that ever happened in the show was obvious as hell. The set-up for Luke and Lorelai? Obvious. Lorelai dumping Max? Obvious. The Dean-Rory-Jess love triangle and outcome? Obvious. Sookie’s pregnancies? Clear as day. The only thing that I didn’t anticipate was Luke’s surprise kid, but once she showed up, she was an obvious attempt to generate some Luke-central drama once Jess was gone. The overuse of foreshadowing (which basically hit you over the head every time it Kool-Aid Manned itself into a scene) was clunky, and I didn’t appreciate being spoon-fed.
Even more upsetting about the show’s subtlety is the fact that EVERY SINGLE PROPOSAL IN THE SHOW IS GARBAGE. No one puts any kind of effort into any proposal (there is one exception, but I’ll get to that). I understand that not every proposal can or should be this huge production, but they sure as shit shouldn’t be the result of a fight. Which is how THREE of the show’s proposals come about. I already talked about how Max proposed to Lorelai during a fight—he basically said that getting married was the only thing he could think of to solve their problems—and sadly that was not the only time it happened. Jackson proposes to Sookie after they had an argument about her being oblivious to him wanting to move in with her. Lorelai, fresh from the huge fight she has with Rory and her parents after Rory decides to drop out of Yale, walks into Luke’s diner and asks him to marry her for reasons that are still unclear to me; if I had to guess, it was that she wanted to show that she could make a huge, ill-conceived decision that she didn’t run past anyone with the best of them. When Chris and Lorelai get married in the final season, his proposal was more or less “Isn’t it about time we do this?” The elusive baby daddy and his flighty baby mama finally tie the knot, and not only do we get a proposal that’s just thrown into the atmosphere, we don’t even get to see the wedding! Ugh.
The one small exception to this rule is when Logan decides to propose to Rory. He asks Lorelai for Rory’s hand, which is always a classy move (if a bit outdated and not wholly necessary), and then he pops the question at Rory’s Yale graduation dinner. But his speech isn’t particularly romantic, and he doesn’t even get on one knee. So the show’s most elaborate engagement, and it’s boring as fuck. That about sums it up, wouldn’t you say?
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But it doesn’t. Because then there’s the stuff with Lane, Rory’s Korean-American best friend.
Her mother is extremely Christian and overbearing, so naturally, Lane is sneaky, rebellious, and into rock ‘n’ roll. In season one, Lane is hellbent against dating all the future doctors (all Korean, of course) that her mother sets her up with. Then, she meets a nice Korean boy that Rory goes to school with at a party and finds herself falling for him. However, she hides him from her mother because she both does and doesn’t want her approval. This leads to a lot of sneaky secret phone calls, but no actual dates. Their relationship hits a snag when the boy wants to take Lane to prom and doesn’t want to have to jump through hoops to hide it from her mother, so he tells Lane that he’s inviting someone else. To me, this is clearly the opportunity for her to tell her mother. And she does, after being super depressed and crying in bed all day and night. Her mom is shocked that Lane likes a Korean boy, so I’m over here thinking that things will work out . . . He’s never heard from again. I find this to be ridiculous.
Then, Lane’s next boyfriend is portrayed by the ever-adorable Adam Brody. They meet after Lane starts learning the drums and wants a band to play with; he’s in a band with two other dudes. We get to see the development of their relationship, and Lane thinks of the perfect cover for having him around her mother: Christian guitarist. This is a step up from her relationship with the last guy because at least we see them together. But it’s still annoying to have to deal with her thinking of all the ways she can pull the wool over her mom’s eyes instead of just owning up to things and showing her mom that she can be responsible. Even so, it seems like things are looking up, until a new season starts and he’s just gone . . . I think this was when Brody was cast in “The O.C.,” so I can’t get too mad. But his character is just said to be in California, and the word break-up is never uttered. At any point.
To make matters worse, the other guitarist in the band, Zach, becomes Lane’s next and last relationship. Yeah. She marries, loses her virginity to, and has twins with this dude. And I hate him! If I’m remembering correctly, he was initially skeptical of having a girl join the band. Then he was all “tortured artist who refuses to sell out,” which was annoying as shit (I don’t believe in the concept of selling out; people have bills to pay!). And to top it off, he was horribly untalented yet everyone acted like he was a musical genius. No. His songs were terrible and his voice was terrible too. Ugh. I hated that they ended up together. His one redeeming quality was that he started to step up when Lane was super pregnant and unhappy about becoming a mother.
I was also very disappointed with the following: After Lane returns from her honeymoon, she pulls Rory aside and goes into a rant about how sex is terrible and how she’s impressed that women have kept up the campaign to imply that it’s this wonderful experience . . . and it’s never brought up again! Because the next thing you know, she’s pregnant. That could’ve been such an interesting avenue to pursue—Lane refusing to have sex with Zach again until she finally breaks down and tells him what’s wrong, and then they work together to find the right level of sexual intimacy—and the writers just use it as a segue into her pregnancy reveal. Horrible disappointing.
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Then, there’s the final nail in the “Gilmore Girls” coffin: Taylor fucking Doose.
What is there to say except fuck this guy. He’s the selectman of Stars Hollow, whatever the hell that means, and he is the literal worst. He has all these insane rules that he refuses to change with the times, he is constantly fucking with Luke, and he is just a dumpster fire of a human-shaped assbag. I don’t even care if that doesn’t make sense! He is horrible. He’s overbearing and he doesn’t care about how his actions affect other people. At one point in a later season, he tries to fuck over Lorelai and Sookie’s inn opening just because he wants Lorelai to convince Luke to let Taylor put a carriage partially in front of Luke’s diner . . . AND HE HADN’T EVEN ASKED LUKE YET. What human being does this and thinks that it’s morally sound? I can’t think of an apt metaphor for this behavior; that’s how blindingly infuriated he makes me. I can’t even think.
So, there you have it. A semi-comprehensive collection of my thoughts post-“Gilmore Girls.”
I didn’t expect to like the show, so that part of it all wasn’t surprising, but I honestly have no idea why this show was/is so popular. Perhaps a nearly late-20s married black chick from Texas watching it in 2016 was not a perfect cross-section of the show’s target demographics. Maybe it’s just a super shitty show that managed to trick a whole bunch of people. I have some thoughts on that, but those will have to wait until my next post, wherein I discuss how “Gilmore Girls” makes me feel about TV in general.
Thank you for sticking around for over 9,000 words of ranting. I hope it was at least semi-coherent and didn’t come off as me complaining without any hint of rhyme or reason. I really DID try to give examples to prove my points; I just also seem to have blocked a lot of things out, and diving too deeply into Wikipedia for research just felt wrong. “Gilmore Girls” took up enough of my time when I was watching it—I refused to let it swallow up any more of my free time!
And I honestly hope any fans who have made it to this point aren’t just frothing at the mouths with an uncontrollable eye-twitch. I meant you no harm. I just really didn’t like the show. It wasn’t for me.
I’m gonna go watch “Happy Endings” to cleanse my soul.
May your commercial breaks be skippable,