Arts and Culture

Rory Gilmore: Why?


By Kaleigh Steigman


Rory Gilmore has always been one of my idols. I, like many others, turn to her in times of sadness, happiness, and every emotion in between. The date of the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the Netflix revival of the show that ended in 2007, had been on my calendar for the six months before November 25th. I watched the trailer at least thirty times and memorized every line. I am a modest fan in the world of the Gilmore Girls.

To say that Rory’s action in the revival disappointed me would be a major understatement. I saw the face of Rory (Alexis Bledel) aged ten years, but acting as though she had gone back in time. Rory repeated actions that she had long-ago learned were mistakes. She seemed to have both lost self respect and gained an ego not fit for a girl known far and wide for her generosity and unyielding kindness.

The scene is set: it is the beginning of ‘Winter,’ and Rory is back to her home in Stars Hollow that now not only includes her mother, but Luke, the diner owner and long-time lover of Lorelai Gilmore. We learn that Rory has a boyfriend, Paul, whom everyone forgets upon meeting him. It is comical until it is revealed that they have been dating for two years, and the only reason they are still dating is because Rory keeps “forgetting” to break up with him.

Half-way through the episode “Winter”, the tables are turned again. Rory is sitting in a room not recognized by the viewers, talking to a person outside the view of the camera. Then, the camera turns and Logan, Rory’s most controversial boyfriend of the original series, walks into the frame. For a moment, there is only joy: he is a returned character, and after he and Rory ended abruptly at the end of season 7, it is nice to see that they are now friends.

A moment later, it is revealed that they are not just friends. Rory says something that sounds remarkably like “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” and the scene ends with a text from Paul appearing on her phone, which she promptly ignores.

It is later revealed that Logan is engaged, and Rory is fully aware. Any onlooker will be reminded of an affair of the past: between a married Dean and a naive Rory. One remembers  that Rory spent countless hours crying in her regret, and never wanted to do anything treacherous in the name of love again. To say it was heartbreaking to see her forget her past promises would be a lie. It was beyond infuriating. It seemed as though she had not only lost self-respect, but also a moral compass. This time, her naivety could not take the blame for her actions.

The Rory Gilmore of the revival was not only a disappointment in her personal affairs, but also in her career.

It is mentioned that, in the nearly ten years since we last saw her, Rory has published a famous piece in the New Yorker, but is currently a freelance journalist struggling to find work.

She endeavors to write a piece about the culture of ‘lines’ in New York; about the people waiting in them and their aspirations, but ends up falling asleep in the middle of one interview, and sleeping with the focus of another. She never writes the piece, and cries in her hotel room.

The website “SandeeSays” has been following Rory after her publication in the New Yorker, and the owner, Sandee, is seen calling her several times until Rory agrees to come for an interview near the end of the episode “Spring.”  During the interview for this publication that she deems below her, she presents no new ideas, and seems speculative of every aspect of the company presented to her. She is not the Rory Gilmore of Chilton who passionately wrote about a parking lot to prove her worthiness to the newspaper. She is angry when she doesn’t get the job, and throws her “work” phone in the garbage as she leaves.  

Later, she accepts a non-paying job to be the editor of the Stars Hollow Gazette that would of stopped production without her help. She attempts to be innovative, removing the seasonal poem, traditionally placed on the front cover  for her first edition, but ultimately resorts to the original version after discontentment expressed by the town. We are once again left wondering what happened to the Rory of the past who knew when she deserved more, and hunted for it.

It is in the notorious “last four words” that Rory Gilmore hits peak non-Rory Gilmore. “I’m pregnant,” she tells her mother who gave birth to her at sixteen, as the screen goes black. We might never know Lorelai’s reaction, but I am positive it would not be to jump in joy.

The original Gilmore Girls series centered around Lorelai’s love for her daughter, and her desire for her to have the best future possible. She regrew ties with her difficult parents to get a loan for Rory to go to private school. She suppressed personal relationships to put Rory first. In her every action, she thought of how Rory would be affected. It seems like the greatest injustice that Lorelai, a women who did everything in her power to make Rory someone different than her, will have to live with the one thing she never wanted: a full circle.

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