In Defense of Rory Gilmore (Generic Spoiler Warning)

Having landed in Paris, we…got sick. Very sick. So we spent the morning sleeping and moving slowly, although we did slip down and get some pastries from the bakery down the street. Our window opens nearly all the way, and although it’s freezing, we popped open the window to de-stuff once our roommates headed out.

And now I’m done with sleeping but still sick, so some commentary on the Gilmore Girls revival with no Paris commentary (since, well, the best we’ve gotten is down two doors and that we can see the very top of the Eiffel Tower from our room). So I’m taking a break from writing about Paris (which is beautiful) because someone out there needs to defend Rory (and we’re sick. In Paris.). What has prompted this is a string of articles which have magically appeared on my Facebook. If you haven’t bothered to read them, the basic idea is Rory is a whining malcontent who isn’t willing to work her way up the ladder and wants everything handed to her on a silver platter and then cries when it isn’t. And I suppose that is true. But get this: that’s why we love her. 

Gilmore Girls is, surprisingly enough, fiction. Fiction does not thrive without conflict, and I’d much rather have the conflict of Rory than the main conflict in the current book I’m reading, which is a Kathy Reichs novel, and which I keep wanting to throw across the wall because EVEN AN IDIOT KNOWS IF AN EVIL SERIAL KILLER IS STALKING YOU AND HAS ENTERED YOUR HOUSE AND MADE THREATS AGAINST YOU YOU TALK TO THE COPS (who you also happen to work with) INSTEAD OF GOING OUT AND TRYING TO STALK HIS MAYBE PSEUDO GIRLFRIEND TO FIND HIM.  It was cute when Nancy Drew did it at sixteen. It’s not cute when a woman with a doctorate who is old enough to be my mother does it. But back to Rory. 

Yes, Rory makes a lot of bad decisions. But that is why we love her. 40% of the time spent watching Gilmore Girls is spent identifying with Lorelei, 40% identifying with Rory, and the remaining 20% is the time spent being Luke’s facial expressions (often coinciding with an intense hatred of Taylor Doese). Either we have made Rory’s mistakes, or we have had that friend that accidentally hooked up with a Wookiee and refuses to tell us if the costume was involved or not. We’ve had the mother that reacted irrationally just as much as we’ve guilt tripped someone in an attempt to avoid admitting we’re wrong. We’ve told the bad story at the funeral and regretted it for the rest of our days. We look down on the local 30somethings gang all while moving back home. 

We watch Gilmore Girls because we identify. But if Rory was not the mess she is, we couldn’t identify with aspects of her problems. If she wasn’t the mess she is, we couldn’t identify with her mother’s responses…or even wish our moms were like that. We love Rory because she’s more human than us, just like we can forgive her relationship with Logan because what’s her name never shows up and thus is entirely unhuman. If she did show up, then we would hate Logan and shake our heads at Rory (and if you don’t believe me I have one word for you: Dean). But that’s what (good) fiction does: it pokes fun at us in just the right ways so we see the point but aren’t offended, and we can learn from it.

So let up on Rory. She is, at times, a viewer control devise: either we identify with her, or we identify with dealing with someone like her–usually someone we care about (or at least tolerate). But we don’t hate her, not even in the weird way we love to hate Paris but still root for her anyway. And if you do hate her, you may need to look and find where that raw nerve is and get it treated. 

And with that, I’m out of coffee, so I’m going back to bed. 

(If you’re wondering which Reichs novel I’m reading, it’s Déjà Dead.)

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One Response to In Defense of Rory Gilmore (Generic Spoiler Warning)

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    I enjoyed some of the Gilmore Girl TV shows back when they first came out – not much for teenage angst but enjoyed the quirky family dynamics. Always “cheered” for Lorelei to succeed – not sure why… 🙂

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