When I started watching Gilmore Girls, I was seventeen. A couple of weeks after I graduated high school, I was looking for shows to watch. I had heard good things, so I watched it for the first time twenty-two years after the first episode premiered. The show covered Rory Gilmore’s academic career, from her sophomore year of high school to her college graduation. Throughout the seven seasons, we watch Rory go through a prestigious private school, then pursue higher education at an Ivy League school.
Like many fans, I enjoyed the fast-paced humor, which remained consistent throughout the show. Lorelai is only sixteen years older than her daughter Rory, making it easy for them to have a tight-knit relationship. For the better part of the show, they acted like sisters instead of mother and daughter. It was interesting to see how their relationship with each other changed throughout the years, as well as their relationship with other characters, such as Lorelai’s parents and the other residents of Stars Hollow, the fictional Connecticut town where they lived.
While all these things made the show very enjoyable, the main concept that I disliked was how Rory’s character changed throughout the show. At the start of the series, she was driven and motivated to do well in school and get into an Ivy League university. She’s appreciative that her grandparents are paying her tuition for high school and eventually college.
Once she enrolls at Yale, however, she starts acting irresponsibly. She gets arrested, drops out, and has a relationship with a married man. While she does end up going back to Yale, she is not as mature at this point as she was in high school. She refuses to recognize her privilege in the eighth episode of season seven, “Introducing Lorelai Planetarium,” claiming that she is not like some of her rich peers while poking fun at them. When called out by her boyfriend, she gets defensive. While she grew up poor, she should have recognized the money she had access to, even if she got it later in life.
The revival show, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, takes place in 2016, ten years after the last season of Gilmore Girls was released. There were four episodes, one for each season. There were many familiar faces, such as Rory’s old high school friends, boyfriends, and the Stars Hollow locals. Throughout this revival, Rory seems to drift around after her journalism career did not work out. She travels between London and Stars Hollow.
I was hoping that Rory would have a major character change, but she didn’t. She was cheating on her current boyfriend with a man who was also in another relationship. She didn’t have a steady job, and by the end of the show, she had gotten pregnant. While not inherently bad, this circular detail that mimics Lorelai’s arc in the original shows that Rory was thoughtless since she wasn’t confident about who the father was. The revival was mediocre overall, but Rory’s lack of character development made it worse.
As someone who is a fan of Gilmore Girls and has rewatched the show, it might be important to notice the flaws throughout the series. While popular and enjoyable to watch, Rory isn’t as good a role model as I initially thought. While she has a good work ethic and excels academically, she acted unreliably throughout the show and the revival. When I first started watching the show, I was about to start college, and it was mildly disappointing to see such a change in the character I was expecting.
~ Laila Clarke `26
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