Google+ YA Romantics: Dear Gilmore Girls AYITL: Please Bring Back the Real Rory Gilmore

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dear Gilmore Girls AYITL: Please Bring Back the Real Rory Gilmore



I'm a huge Gilmore Girls fan. HUGE. I can't even tell you how eagerly I was anticipating the new Netflix miniseries Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. And, okay, I didn't hate every single part of it.  I really enjoyed being back in Stars Hollow and seeing all its weird and wacky residents again. But I also think this revival did something unforgivable. It took one of the best smart, bookish heroines in the history of smart, bookish heroines and turned her into someone who was completely unrecognizable to me. 



Old Rory Gilmore was amazing. How often do you see a smart girl on TV? Not a Big Bang Theory-style nerd girl, just a normal girl who really loves books and school and learning? Rory was smart and idealistic and principled. Not perfect, but real. And GG: AYITL took away every one of those qualities away from her.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

WINTER:
The first episode starts with Rory making a quick visit to Stars Hollow to see her mom. - yay! She's impeccably dressed in a little black dress, camel hair coat and boots. She's written a piece for the New Yorker. She tells her mom that she's given up her Brooklyn apartment to free herself up to "travel wherever there's a story to write." She seems like a more polished version of old Rory, but still one who is pursuing her dreams of being a writer.

But ... she's misplaced her underwear. All of it. (Um, how does that even happen, exactly?) And instead of buying more, she come to Stars Hollow hoping to locate it. 

Yes, Gilmore Girls has always loved the running joke. Lorelai can smell snow, yada yada. But many of the new running jokes in GG: AYITL were also real danger signs. Take Paul, Rory's new (well, not so new to her but new to viewers) boyfriend. Yes, in the past, teenaged Rory made some questionable romantic choices. But poor Paul was possibly the worst running joke in GG:AYITL and evidence of the complete ruination of the Rory Gilmore character. She's "settled" by dating Paul: he's nice, bland, and completely forgettable. As in the fact that she constantly forgets that he exists. And knows she needs to break up with him but repeatedly "forgets" to do it. THIS IS NOT MY RORY. Old Rory was occasionally foolhardy or impulsive, but never this callous and cruel.

SPRING:
More bad Rory omens in the Spring. The cracks in her polish are beginning to show, which in theory is fine. I don't like when women pretend that they never struggle with career, romance, family. But Rory is long past pretending and well into denial. She attends a Chilton reunion (yay, Paris is back in all her prickly, neurotic glory!) But when Headmaster Charlton says to Rory "I've always thought the world of you" (aw...) and suggests that Rory might like to consider a teaching job at Chilton, she recoils as if he suggested a career as a pole dancer. "I don't think teaching is my future." What? Rory, you're a snob.

It gets worse. We think Rory has been jetting back and forth from London for work, but the reality is far more disappointing:


So ... I'm not completely anti-Logan. In the regular series, I thought Logan represented all the things that Lorelai rejected in her former life, a life that Rory was understandably curious about. And I don't think Logan is a bad person, he's just a person who isn't willing to reject his easy life of wealth and privilege. I think that, in his own way, he does love and support Rory.

But... he's unavailable. He's engaged to someone else. In this episode, we learn that Rory is basically his mistress, a kept woman whom he flies back and forth from Connecticut to London and sends cars for and sleeps with behind his fiancee's back. Ugh. Yes, Rory cheated with the married Dean, but I sort of thought she might have learned from that experience.

This all felt very icky to me. At the very least, could Logan please buy her some new underwear?

SUMMER:
Rory's character takes another turn for the worse in summer. She and her mom are suddenly hanging around the Stars Hollow Community Pool. (Who knew there was such a thing?)

At the pool, Rory and Lorelai hire children to stand there, holding parasols over them (huh? - this was just extremely weird.) And Rory and Lorelai have become a pair of mean girls who repeatedly fat shame a neighbor of theirs who has the gall to show up at the pool even though he's overweight. This was beyond disappointing to me. Lorelai has always been immature, but I expected more from Rory. If someone at Chilton had been fat-shamed, she would have delivered a blistering lecture to the culprit and then written a op-ed for the Franklin.


There was a really great scene in the summer between Rory and April (Luke's daughter). April, a college student, is over for dinner and pretending like her life is Instagram-perfect. Then, when she and Rory are alone, she admits that she's not as perfect as she pretends, and just trying to figure everything out. Like all of us are. This was a great piece of writing. But sadly, it reflected well on April, not Rory.

FALL:
There may be some other nice moments in fall, but they don't involve Rory. In fact all the Gilmore Girls except Rory exhibit some admirable moments of personal growth. Lorelai is finally able to tell her mother how much her father meant to her (I found this scene extremely moving and well-acted.) Emily Gilmore freed herself from her empty mansion and the judge-y passiveeagressiveness of the her fellow DAR biddies and made a new life for herself. (I never really got the whole Gypsy-in-glasses-and-a-wig-pretending-to-be-a-housekeeper-who-spoke-an-imaginary-language, but whatevs.) Go Emily!

Rory. (Deep sigh). Rory took over the Stars Hollow Gazette. She was "rescued" from her boredom by the Life and Death Brigade (another really weird sequence). Oh, and she had some farewell sex with Logan and got pregnant. 

A bit of backstory: Gilmore Girls ran from 2000-2007. Series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her writer-director husband, Daniel Palladino, decided to leave the series in 2006 when they had a contract dispute with the network, so they weren't involved in the show's final season. Sherman-Palladino had long said she'd planned the series to end with "The Final Four Words." And that she planned to use them -- nine years later -- in this revival miniseries.

Saving those final four words for so long was kind of like saving your most awesome outfit for nine years and then pulling it out of your closet. Outfits do have an expiration date. And apparently, so do final four words. 

Hello, 2006!
tl;tr: I am totally fine with having a Rory who isn't perfect and hasn't figured her life out. In fact, yay for that. But Rory went from Best Smart Bookish Heroine Ever to an underwear-losing, cheating, fat shaming snob. This is all kinds of tragic...

If you watched GG: AYITL. Tell me what you thought. If you liked it, please tell me about it!

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15 comments:

  1. Yessssssss ... I completely agree with you. Completely!
    I adore Rory -- original Rory -- and was looking forward to seeing where she is now. We're practically the same age, and while I didn't discover GG until last summer (I know, I know, very late to the show), I was instantly hooked. I got seriously involved with these people and their stories -- this can be verified by friends who got intense IMs late at night during viewing binges, ha. I wanted to know if Rory and I were in the same place in life now -- and was horrified to discover they made her a brat. That's not Rory -- she looks like Rory, she may sound like Rory sometimes, but she's not Rory. Her principles and passion and all the things that made her her ... they're gone. Maybe she's finally doing that teenage rebellion/angst thing? I don't know. But I was saddened by the treatment of Rory ... and don't even get me started on Logan. Ugh.
    I had a hunch what the final 4 words would be -- so I wasn't completely surprised. But I was perturbed and disappointed ... and it made me ache all the more over that scene just before, where Jess peeks into the house after Luke gives him some gentle ribbing about whether he's over her or not? Yeah. All the feels.
    Sigh. All that said, there were pieces-parts of the series as a whole I thoroughly appreciated. I just can't say I *loved* it the way I did the original ... because Rory.

    ps: YES. That Life & Death Brigade scene had me seriously confused and a little weirded out for a minute -- like "what the heck? This is soooo weird"

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    1. I guess maybe (in theory) she ends up raising Logan's baby with Jess, but if this is the Rory he gets, he deserves better!!!!!

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  2. Completely agree with you 100%. That wasn't Rory

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  3. For real. They went out of the way to make her flawed I feel but didn't keep it completely true to who she was. I still enjoyed it though.

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    1. There were aspects of it I enjoyed. But watching this new Rory made me sad!

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  4. The last two seasons of the show before it got cut Rory was totally just like this. She dropped out of school, lived with her grandparents and goofed around. This actually reminds me of who Rory was even until the end. Also the whole Logan thing Rory had a boyfriend the whole time and kept HIM a secret from her family. She wanted it more private then he did. It actually reminds me of Dean when Rory cheated with him and was the other woman. It definitely is up her alley. I felt over the years she changed from that book worm to a girl who is just trying to figure it out. I have to admit I had a hard time with this year of show follow ups and fall was my favorite but with her mom being so wishy washy with men it's not surprising for Rory to be the same way.

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    1. You have a point - she did have that streak of bad behavior where she stole the boat, cheated on Dean, etc. But she was still a teenager. Now she's 32 and I expected more.

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  5. I agree with Rachael. Rory was horrible in the new series. But she was almost equally terrible in the later seasons of the original series. I'd say ever since she had sex with Dean. The difference now, however, is that she appears to have no redeeming qualities

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    1. You could be right - her cheating on Dean was out of character. But she was young. It upset me that 10 years later, she went and did the same thing - cheated on a guy who was taken. SHE needed the therapist, not her mom and grandmother!

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  6. So I haven't even watched the actual first Gilmore Girls series soooo I know I probably shouldn't have read this. BUT I WAS ALL THE CURIOUS!!🙈🙊 And I'm really sad for you about having a favourite character be ruined like this. Gah, I know what that's like. And fat-shaming is just horrible and that's so so disappointing it was made into a joke for this. :O I still want to watch the original series someday! So maybe I'll get around to watching this spin-off-thing too. *nods* (Like...when I get my TBR under control?? Haha. #ohdear) 😜

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  7. I've tried the original a few times and I can never take more than a few minutes of them. I wanna know the last 4 words though lol DM me!

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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  8. I couldn't agree more. Rory had some missteps in the later seasons, but I never really found her unlikable. AYITL Rory was very unlikable. She didn't feel like old Rory at all. I enjoyed the revival, but it really wasn't what I had hoped for for 9 years.

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  9. I completely agree! I was really frustrated by what I saw in Gilmore Girls. I disliked many parts of it, and I liked some parts of it. I wish I could say I enjoyed it more. And I think your post is spot on. I thought the whole Logan-Rory thing was so icky and I wanted to barf knowing they were BOTH cheating on people and the disrespect they felt for each other. Like no. I also felt like Rory and Lorelei's relationship was a bit perplexing. It had all the wit and warmth of the original, but it didn't follow through. For some reason I felt like there was a disconnect in their relationship. My list of why I didn't like, will be posted soon.

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  10. Well, this was interesting. I wanted to watch it, but I still haven't and reading this is very revealing! What's with the underwear? :P I think I will still watch it one day but oh Logan is back!! Yaaaas! Great recap!

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