I first discovered "Gilmore Girls" the summer before my freshman year of college, and I instantly fell in love with the nostalgic small-town setting, the warmth and comfort of the show's perpetual fall season (red leaves and pumpkins aplenty) and the dynamic duo of Lorelai and Rory, who had a mother-daughter relationship that I came to envy.
I especially connected with Rory, whose kindness, determination and love of reading and writing mirrored my own. But, as I began rewatching the series for what felt like the tenth time during quarantine, I started to notice some facets of the show that didn't quite sit right with me.
1. How does Rory attract so many guys?Giphy
Yes, Rory is very sweet and pretty. But, when Rory first meets Dean, he tells her that he first notices her because of her unbelievable concentration when it comes to reading. This just never seemed very realistic to me because if it were true I, and most other English majors I know, would have had men lining up at our doors all throughout high school and college.
Usually, the more introverted girls tend to go unnoticed and overlooked. Not to mention that Rory was extremely awkward and basically ran away from Dean every time he came into contact with her after they first met. Yet he still became obsessed with her... even years later?
When Jess first meets Rory, as the typical "bad guy," he asks Rory to bail on the party her mother is throwing with Luke. She sweetly and innocently says no and assures him the party will be fun, demonstrating a totally opposite personality from him. She is so much more childlike and carefree, while he is reckless and spontaneous, and yet, he gets into multiple fights with Dean over this girl?
Similarly, Logan, who spends most of his time drinking and partying and has a solid rotation of girls on hand, chooses the quiet, smart, dedicated one, who also becomes the ONLY girl he has ever had an actual relationship with. Throughout the series, it seems as though Rory doesn't even really have to try, these guys just appear, waiting for her to be ready for them...
2. Jess was a horrible boyfriend to Rory.Giphy
When it comes to Rory's relationships during the series, Jess tends to be the fan favorite. This is usually due to the fact that Jess visits Rory at Yale and convinces her to get her life back on track. But the thing is, they weren't a couple at that time. Yes, Jess had the best character growth and turned out to be the best overall person of Rory's boyfriends, but while they were actually together, he treated her like absolute crap.
He hardly ever made plans with her, ignored her, was rude to Lorelai and Emily, got mad at Rory for not wanting to have sex with him and then disappeared right before her graduation without a word. Then, he shows up at the end of her freshman year at Yale, conveniently while Dean is present, randomly asking her to run away with him. Yes, all of Rory's boyfriends had their faults, but Jess was by far the worst.
3. Lorelai was unnecessarily annoying and immature throughout the entire series.
Lorelai Gilmore is undeniably strong-willed, hardworking and most of the time, a great mother to Rory. But, she is often selfish, immature and sometimes, just completely oblivious to other people's needs. She also gets so caught up in her long, erratic monologues that often times it makes it difficult for other characters to have a serious conversation with her.
This includes scenes such as where Rory calls to tell her she's in the hospital, when Rory is in a bad mood over her breakup with Dean, when Luke is trying to explain why he needs time to cool off after her parents' vow renewals and so many others. So many times I wanted to yell at the screen, "just shut up and let other people get a word in, Lorelai!" Because of her immaturity, she also struggles in her relationships with others...
4. Lorelai's poor relationship with her parents is partially her fault.Giphy
A major plot point of the show is that Lorelai has an estranged relationship with her wealthy parents, who did not give her the support and freedom she needed during her childhood. However, throughout the series, Lorelai often villainizes her parents for the most minor of issues, when a lot of the time all they really want is to spend time with and get to know their daughter and granddaughter.
Lorelai fights with Rory when she learns that she enjoyed golfing with Richard. She is stubborn and childish when she refuses to let Emily help her pay for her house repairs and has no better option and becomes irritated when Emily asks her to be her maid of honor. She pushes her aside every time Emily attempts to connect with her.
Yes, not all of Emily's actions were well-intentioned, and she definitely was manipulative at times, but above all, she really just wanted to be a mother to her daughter. Instead, Lorelai hurts her by not telling her about her engagement to Max and making a scene at Thanksgiving dinner when she becomes convinced Richard and Emily went behind her back and forced Rory to apply to Yale.
5. Lorelai's relationship rules don't make sense.Giphy
At times, it feels as though she is a walking oxymoron. When Rory first starts Chilton, Lorelai says she does not want to date the attractive Chilton dad she had met, as it would make things uncomfortable for Rory. Yet, a few episodes later, she's dating her English teacher! She even goes so far as to kiss him in a classroom during the school day. She then goes on to treat Max like crap, not even bothering to give him keys to her house, and then abandoning him without warning the night before her wedding. She then rudely yells at Rory when she asks to know why.
She had told Sookie previously that she never wanted to get Rory involved in her relationships because she didn't want her to get hurt, yet she took away a potential stepfather that Rory was excited to have and wouldn't even so much as offer an explanation. Then, she kisses Max on two separate occasions a few seasons later, completely out of the blue. Just leave the poor guy alone!
6. Rory was a little too perfect, especially in the early seasons.Giphy
I get that Rory's character was built largely around the fact that she is a quiet, hardworking kid who is encouraged to pursue all the things that her mother never could. But, at times, she was portrayed as nearly angelic, someone who could do no wrong and excelled at nearly everything she wanted to. Yes, she got a "D" on her first paper at Chilton (and, coincidentally, at Yale), but she also got perfect grades for the rest of her time at Chilton, got into the top three schools in the country AND was valedictorian.
I get that the show wanted to emphasize her intelligence, but at times, it seemed a bit overdone and unrealistic. And considering how much time she spent with her boyfriends and Lorelai, it just doesn't make sense for her to achieve that level of perfection, especially when Paris literally lived and breathed Chilton. Paris absolutely should have achieved valedictorian over her - not only did Rory start Chilton a year late, but Paris worked much harder than her, and it was her competitive and driven nature that encouraged Rory to participate in clubs and events that she normally wouldn't have.
It would've made her much more human and relatable to not have been the best at absolutely everything and have gotten everything she wanted. Not to mention that her and Lorelai had almost no reaction when Rory received her three acceptance letters because they were just expecting it all along.
7. Rory loses her core values during her years at Yale.Giphy
People grow and change during college, but Rory's personality changed so drastically that she became extremely unlikeable and pretentious by the show's final season. Her immaturity and inability to deal with change begins to shine through with the study tree episode, when she yells at a random stranger for sitting at her special study place (and unnecessarily demeans him for the magazine he is reading). Like she really couldn't find one other spot on the entirety of the Yale campus that was good enough for her?
In a later episode, she not only questions her professor for giving her an "A" on a paper, but implies that he did so because of his affair with Paris. She also further dismantles the student-professor relationship by snidely commenting "the redhead has fat thighs," not only demonstrating a misogynistic arrogance, but treating her professor as a pal rather than a respected authority figure who could possibly lose his job if knowledge of his relationships with students was leaked.
By season seven, Rory develops such an elitist complex that she turns down a full-time job post-graduation because she believes she deserves to receive a better offer. High school Rory would've cringed at her resulting snobbery and pretentiousness by the end of the series.
8. Rory should've chosen Marty over LoganGiphy
For the few episodes we got to see Marty in seasons four and five, he seemed to mirror Rory in the best ways: he was more quiet and shy, family-oriented, loved movies and food and was trying to figure out who he was in college. From a plot perspective, however, Logan was the more obvious choice: he was wild, spontaneous and rich: a representation of Rory's transition into the elite, upper-class world of her grandparents that she now firmly belonged to as a student of Yale.
This is clearly demonstrated in the episode where Dean comes to pick up Rory from her grandparents' Yale alumni party. As he stands next to his pickup truck wearing a jean jacket, Rory emerges wearing her diamond necklace and tiara with Logan and his rowdy friends, signifying her newfound privilege and status that neither Dean nor Marty could compete with. However, Logan was a slacker and impulsive, relying on his father's connections to get him through life. He, himself, never had to work hard for anything, and he expected Rory to do the same with his proposal at the end of the series - move out to be with him while he focused on his career.
9. Overall, Dean was the best choice for Rory.Giphy
I know this may come as a shock to many people as Dean is one of the most hated characters on "Gilmore Girls," but hear me out. Dean fit into every aspect of Rory's life, not just the parts he wanted to be in. He was kind and loving to her, became close with her mother, hung out with Lane and eventually became begrudgingly accepted by Emily and Richard. He supported Rory and all of her goals and truly cared about her.
Yes, there were times early on when he was possessive and selfish, but he was a teenager who was in love for the first time and didn't know how to handle his emotions. As for the affair, that was a mutual mistake on both sides, and from the brief time we got to know Lindsay, it was obvious they weren't right for each other. Honestly, I wish there was a fourth option that was better suited for Rory. But, out of her three serious relationships, Dean cared for her in a way that no one else did.
10. Lorelai and Luke had better chemistry as friends.Giphy
The first time I watched the show, I couldn't wait for Lorelai and Luke to get together and was so disappointed when the series ended without a wedding (don't even get me started on A Year in the Life). But, after rewatching the series a few times, I've noticed that their relationship as a couple seems very awkward and forced, mainly from Luke. After this big build up of will they/won't they, Luke seems unable to express his emotions and feelings towards Lorelai, possibly because he had been suppressing them for so long.
Their banter and conversations remain almost the same as when they were just friends, so when the scene ends with a kiss, or them laying in bed together, it feels jarring and unnatural. There is very little flirting or gradual build up; it seems as though in one episode they are friends, and the next they kiss and are suddenly a couple. They don't really seem to have much of an attraction to each other, just compatible personalities.
In fact, the only scene I can think of where there was true flirting between the two of them was back in season one when they played cards together. I think that after dragging the potential for a relationship out for so long, it lost most of its magic along the way.
11. Rory should've better explained to Lorelai why she was dropping out of Yale.Giphy
I understand why Lorelai was upset. Rory was essentially throwing away everything she had worked so hard for all of her life. But, I think part of Lorelai's anger towards Rory in this scene was that she was acting stubborn and immature, refusing to discuss her choice or to change her mind.
However, when she later informs Richard of her decision to leave Yale, she breaks down crying, explaining that she couldn't take it anymore and no longer thought she had what it takes. If she had reacted similarly when telling this to Lorelai, especially mentioning how much what Mitchum had said to her had truly destroyed her confidence, I think Lorelai would've been much more understanding. And maybe that awful separation between the two could've been avoided...
12. Lucy and Olivia were pointless characters.Giphy
It was as if the writers just realized in season seven, "oh wait, Rory is about to graduate and doesn't really have any friends besides Paris!" It just seemed so random that she meets them at an art show out of nowhere and suddenly became best friends. I wish that she had stayed friends with the girls she had met her first night at Yale, or at least Marty. (I cringed every time Lucy referred to him as "Boyfriend.")
13. Lane deserved better.Giphy
Lane finally escaping from her mother's strict household and getting to live her dream of being a musician was a major turning point for her. But Zack was nowhere near good enough for her. He was sweet and thoughtful and won over Mrs. Kim, but she needed someone that was just as driven and passionate and intelligent as she was. And then just as her music career seemed to be picking up, she just HAS to get pregnant with twins after only the first time having sex, now confined to the life of a mother. I'm Team Dave all the way.
14. April wasn't the problem, Luke was.Giphy
A lot of people hate April because they blame her for breaking up Luke and Lorelai. But, honestly, I thought she was cute and quirky, and it was nice to see Luke in the father role that he never really got to have with Jess (or Rory). However, if Luke had handled the situation properly and had told Lorelai about her right away and realized how much choosing her over his relationship with Lorelai was hurting her, their breakup could've been avoided.
Communication goes a long way, people! However, if I have one complaint about April it's that I wish they had given her a personality trait other than being super smart - that was Rory's thing and the overly-intelligent trait seemed a bit redundant at this point (Rory, Jess, etc).
15. "Gilmore Girls" should've started with Rory in middle school and ended with Rory's Chilton graduation.Giphy
The best and most unique part of the show, in my opinion, was the close relationship between Lorelai and Rory. Naturally, once Rory went off to college, that bond weakened over time simply because they weren't in each other's lives as much. I think it would've been interesting if the show had started when Rory was in middle school, or even elementary school, and ended with her high school graduation. That way, we could've seen a lot more of the mother-daughter moments that made the show so great.
It also would've been nice to have seen Lorelai raise Rory as a baby while working at the inn. There are a lot of questions surrounding Rory's childhood that are left unanswered - who watched Rory while Lorelai worked? If Chris wasn't in the picture, why didn't he just go off to college anyway so he could later support them? Was it really safe for an infant to be living in a potting shed? And most of all, after Emily and Richard learned where Lorelai was living, why didn't they come get her, at least for Rory's sake?