Gilmore Girls. It’s a show that my generation grew up with and now that I am in my twenties, all I can see is the flaws. I have browsed several articles that echo this sentiment — 24 Reasons why Gilmore Girls is Infuriating, 33 Things About Gilmore Girls That Don’t Make Sense, 14 Plot Holes You Didn’t Notice, the works. It’s a popular show to tear apart. But this is not a ranting list of reasons why I don’t like season seven, or why the original finale lacked closure, or what was wrong with ‘A Year In the Life.’ This is about how Gilmore Girls was a poor role model, even though it seemed to have such promise. So here are the ways Gilmore Girls taught me some inaccuracies about the world, and how my favorite character when I was young, Rory, is actually the worst.
1. It’s okay, even charming, to unload your emotions on the people around you.
What is a Gilmore Girls episode without a rant or an emotional outburst in a public place, classroom, a social event or workplace? Lorelai and Rory are characterized by their lack of emotional maturity, yet the show portrays their emotional immaturity as charming. They’re a mess but isn’t it adorable? Rory falls apart when she doesn’t get her way, but look how cute and independent she is. Lorelai refuses to have decorum and lets her temper fly if she feels like someone disagrees with her. What a bad ass role model, am I right? No! This is not a mature and responsible way to hold down a job, maintain a relationship or have any friends. In real life, Luke, Sookie and Lane would have left these emotional train-wrecks in the dust.
2. It is okay to use people as a means to an end.
Rory and Lorelai have a nasty habit of using people to get what they want and not returning the favor. Lorelai takes advantage of Luke’s kindness almost every episode. She is independent until something goes wrong and then Lorelai turns into a helpless baby. She calls Luke and whines until he leaves his job or his prior engagement to save Lorelai once again. I can count how many times in the show Lorelai helps Luke out – three times. She paints his diner, she helps him with Uncle Louie’s funeral and bails him out of jail. It’s not bad, those big things, but this is when she isn’t angry with him. If he is doing something she disagrees with, she will not swallow her pride and be supportive of Luke’s needs. She refused to be supportive of Luke with Jess. She refused to be supportive with April, Luke’s daughter. She refuses to respect Luke and tell him about her friendship with Christopher.
Lorelai continues this pattern with Sookie, Michel, etc. and if Lorelai is really in trouble, she uses her parents to get what she needs. Lorelai is the epitome of a privileged rich kid. She rebels against her parents and their lifestyle until she runs out of money. Then she whines and cries until they help her, usually these situations happen when she is ironically pushing Rory into their lifestyle. Lorelai despises her mother and father’s world yet she molds Rory into a private school brat that chases after an Ivy League education that they can’t afford.
Rory follows Lorelai down this path of using people. Rory wants her boyfriends to be at her beck and call. She does not take kindly to Dean, Jess or Logan having a life outside of their relationship. Rory and Lorelai criticize Dean, Jess and Logan as being selfish for having hobbies, friendships, jobs and families. Rory uses Marty, Tristan, Paris, Madelyn, Louise, and Lane to build her up constantly but she does not return their emotional support. She lets Lane crash briefly at her dorm and promptly kicks her out, all the while Lane basically is Rory’s maid. When Rory drops out of Yale, Rory ignores Paris until she needs a place to live.
Rory mirrors Lorelai’s relationship with Luke. She runs to Luke when she falls apart. She runs to a married Dean when her freshman year is challenging. Rory runs to her grandparents anytime she has a disagreement with her mother, like when Rory loses her virginity to married Dean or when she steals a yacht. Rory uses Emily and Richard and then turns on them when they try to correct her. When Emily and Richard call Rory out for throwing away her future, Rory spitefully makes a public scene at the DAR and sends Logan’s friends to move her out. She leaves without a thank you or explanation. Rory uses, consumes and destroys relationships. She is a not a caring person. By the end of the show, Rory is a leech.
3. Do not live within your means, expect others to give you what you want.
Don’t get me wrong, Lorelai works hard at the inn. I believe she has some semblance of practicality except she doesn’t manage her money well. Lorelai raises Rory by eating out all the time. Their spending is out of control and she complains often that she is broke. Lorelai complains in a manner than makes her seem entitled. Lorelai preys on the kindness of others. Rory doesn’t need to go to Chilton, but she uses guilt to manipulate Emily and Richard into paying for the expense. Lorelai teaches Rory that is it okay to do this and when Rory goes to Yale, instead of taking out a loan, Rory uses guilt to manipulate Emily and Richard into paying for Yale. Later, when Lorelai goes over her budget for The Dragonfly, she uses guilt and sympathy to manipulate Luke into paying off her debts. It is ridiculous.
4. Ambition is not about taking the safe route.
Rory doesn’t have a regular job in the show. She swipes meal cards for one episode at Yale. Rory does not go after internships or jobs to help her journalism career either. She goes to Europe with Lorelai and then later,her grandmother. Then Rory works at the DAR. Her resume has to be a mess. It is no wonder that Mitchum gave Rory harsh criticism. She is all talk and no preparation. Rory pursues the easy opportunities, like The Franklin and The Yale Daily News. Rory stays within a bubble instead of chasing after what she wants. Does anyone remember that trip to Fez? Richard repeatedly hands Rory money for Fez. Why does Rory go to Europe two years in a row if she has the money to go to Morocco?
But I digress…If Rory had true ambition, her life outside of a classroom would reflect it. Instead, Rory in truth, wants things to be handed to her. She chooses Yale instead of Harvard because her grandfather can help her meet people. It’s the safe option. Rory throws a tantrum when Mitchum gives her a performance review and doesn’t praise her. She harasses the Stanford Eagle Gazette when they don’t magically have a job for her. She swoops in and takes Paris’ editor position at The Yale Daily News instead of helping Paris when she gets overwhelmed. Rory didn’t earn that position. She makes Paris look bad because it is easier than interviewing for the job.
Gilmore Girls vs Grey’s Anatomy
If you stay on the surface, Gilmore Girls seems like a show of strong female characters. But if you take the time to look deeper, you can see that Lorelai and Rory are not strong or independent, they are bad archetypes. A show that has created better female characters is Grey’s Anatomy. Meredith Grey is a mess at the beginning but she is aware of it. Like Cristina Yang says, “You know, being aware of your crap and overcoming your crap are two very different things.” This is a great summation of the difference between Rory and Meredith. Meredith is aware she has problems and works to overcome them. Rory is too self-absorbed to realize she has problems and her problems can hurt people. This is why Rory is not a good role model and Gilmore Girls is not as great as I thought it was.