While watching the cult TV show I once loved as a teenager, I've realized one crucial thing most people seem to forget about Rory Gilmore: She sucks real bad.
Illustration by Xavier Lalanne-Tauzia
In my post-election blues, I've been turning to things that comfort me, like ordering a week's worth of takeout in one night and binge-watching all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls in anticipation of the series revival, A Year in the Life, coming out Friday on Netflix. But, while watching the cult TV show I once loved as a teenager, I've realized one crucial thing most people seem to forget about Rory Gilmore, daughter of Lorelai and the younger of the titular Girls: She fucking sucks.
I'm sorry—I know it hurts. I struggled to come to terms with it myself while I powered through episode after episode. Alexis Bledel's character was an easy heroine to look up to in the early 2000s for those of us who also loved books, pizza, and concerning amounts of coffee in an era before those things were personality traits to attach to your Twitter bio or Bumble profile. And watching her leave her small town of Stars Hollow to pursue her Ivy League aspirations at Yale was inspiring. But once you step out of the fever dream of nostalgia and shitty viral listicles praising her, you realize Rory is terrible. Let's count the ways:
WATCH: Meet the Animator Behind 'Star Wars' and 'Jurassic Park'
She's a Shitty Daughter to Lorelai
We all know Lorelai (Lauren Graham) isn't just any mom—she's a cool mom. But the friend/parent dynamic often gets blurred, and Rory takes advantage of their relationship. Whether she's inviting her grandparents to Lorelai's graduation or going to Anna Nardini's store after being asked not to, Rory's like, Boundaries? What are those? Not only does she not respect Lorelai's limits, but she's selfish and hypocritical. She throws tantrums when her mom doesn't take her dating advice—remember when she told Lorelai to slow down with Christopher (David Sutcliffe) in season seven, then got mad when they married in Paris?—yet freezes Lorelai out when she voices concerns about the many, many questionable decisions Rory makes with her own love life.
Rory's Known for Her Love of Books, yet Weirdly She Picks the Worst Ones to Read
Ayn Rand? The Da Vinci Code ? George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President?? For someone who's supposedly such a book nerd, you'd think she'd explore literature outside of the standard high-school reading list that doesn't include the musings of the erstwhile Decider-in-Chief.
Not Only Does She Have Bad Taste in Books, She Also Has Mediocre-at-Best Taste in Men
The Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) thing I kind of get. But Dean (Jared Padalecki)? Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry)?? Her first mistake was dating a guy whose last name sounds like an overpriced ketchup brand you'd find at Whole Foods. Her other mistakes involve sleeping with a married man (see below) and continually having drawn-out relationships with flighty guys who continuously hurt her.
She Got Mad at Her Grandfather for Setting Up a Special Meeting with the Dean of Admissions at Yale Because She Wasn't Wearing the Right Outfit
I understand wanting to be prepared for a meeting of this kind, but also, can you just shut the fuck up and be happy your grandfather went out of his way to do this for you? I never related to Rory and Lorelai less than when they stormed off Yale's campus because they just "couldn't believe" Richard would have the audacity to do such a terrible thing like making sure she got into an Ivy League school.
She Went All the Way Back to Stars Hollow to Have Sex with Her Married Ex
Really? She couldn't find anyone in college? She had to settle for Dean, her slightly remedial married high-school ex with a bad haircut, to lose her virginity to? And then she played "The Candy Man Can" from Willy Wonka afterward. Because, "What is more hot than candy?"
Also, a rich Yale student who sleeps with a married townie and fucks up his life in the process may be an appropriate heroine for an Ayn Rand novel, but an odd choice for a feel-good TV show.
She Stole a Yacht and Dropped Out of College Just Because Her Boyfriend's Dad Told Her She Was a Crappy Journalist
Being told you suck at your dream job is a bummer for sure, but let's be real—Mitchum (Gregg Henry) was right. While all her friends were making moves to score internships over summer, Rory headed off to Europe with her grandmother. When she finally did land a gig (and only because of her boyfriend), she spent the whole time playing personal assistant and brown-nosing the staff, instead of going out in the field and actually finding original stories to write about.
She's the Poster Child of White Privilege
One of the most infuriating aspects of Rory's character is her inability to recognize just how privileged she is. Both Rory and Lorelai like to believe they're more connected to the working class because of Lorelai's effort to distance themselves from Richard and Emily's money through the years, but they have no problem taking family money when it's needed or given— like paying for prep school, getting a new car, tuition at Yale, trips to Europe—the list goes on.
When we left Rory at the end of the series, she was taking off on the campaign trail to cover then Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign, but only after she disappointedly had to tell her grandparents she couldn't take them up on their offer for a free apartment in New York City when she was rejected for the New York Times fellowship. Both her and the Gilmores were so blinded by entitlement they didn't even consider the idea Rory wouldn't receive the prestigious fellowship, they just assumed she would get it "because she's Rory."
This time around, will Mitchum's intuition about Rory "not having what it takes" to be a notable journalist reveal itself to be true? Will Rory have worked hard to make it on a traditional journalist's low income over the past decade, or will she have relied on her grandparent's money to bankroll her along the way? Rory turned down Logan's proposal at the end of the show in favor of independence, yet it seems unlikely she'd ever divorce herself of similar privileges she has received from her grandparents, or her also-incredibly-rich father.
It's like when Logan reminded Rory in season seven: "Wake up, Rory, whether you like it or not, you're one of us. You went to prep school. You go to Yale. Your grandparents are building a whole damn astronomy building in your name." The privileged lifestyle Rory feels so uncomfortable identifying with is the very thing that's made her who she is. She is a hypocritical, ungrateful, spoiled, mediocre journalist with lame taste in men and bad taste in books.
Follow Koty Neelis on Twitter.