Gilmore Girls: A safety I never had

If you’re a Gilmore Girls die-hard and plan to watch A Year In The Life don’t read this ‘cuz I’m about to drop some bombs.

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Image taken from Variety.com

To set the scene; I am a die-hard. Among The Cosby ShowThe Nanny, and PokemonGilmore Girls is the show I turned to in my formative years. It offered the mother-daughter relationship my mother and I never had. Mommy and I aren’t quite Lane and Mrs. Kim, but we’ve come close. Rory’s relationships with Dean, Jess, and Logan answered my questions about love. I listened to Lorelai’s advice as if she were my television mommy, because come-on, she was — don’t act like she wasn’t yours too.

I got through five seasons of the first series before finally caving in. I just HAD to watch the new series. After completing the full four-part series and over 50 episodes of the old, I must say, Gilmore Girls is not a show I would let my pre-teen daughter watch. I’d wait until she were a woman grounded in herself first.

Aja Romano speaks my thoughts in her Vox piece (click for article)

I’m not going to re-write everything Aja hit on the head. I am disappointed. This is not the life I want for Rory, and Aja is right, it is not consistent with the Rory I grew to know over seven seasons.

What I’d dispute is that a grown-ass woman, because Rory is 32, is capable of raising a child while maintaining a professional career. But yes, where is her ambition? Why is she still stuck in her mid-twenty millennial phase! Thirty-somethings, please tell me this is not my fate. I mean, I feel a bit de-motivated these days, but I just sold my soul to politics for seven months and Hillary Clinton is not our president. I’m allowed to sit on my ass while reading and watching Netflix all day, but not Rory!

What happened to diving in the trenches for the sake of journalism? Why isn’t Rory interested in covering what is happening in Aleppo or Mosul? Where’s the young Rory who looked up to Senator Clinton (she was Senator at the time)?

There’s nothing else to say other than, I’m disappointed.

But while I’m at it, I might as well talk about the first series 

  • Dean and Rory: Although their relationship was beautiful because they were each other’s first love, it was unhealthy. The kid had a raging jealousy that no 16-year old girl should have to deal with. Also, listen, your man is not here to make you feel safe and protected. If that’s what you want buy pepper spray or take a couple of defensive martial arts classes, don’t seek safety in another person. Side-note, I’m not high and mighty, that’s advice I also need to take.
  • Mrs. Kim: I felt as uncomfortable watching Berta’s family take over Emily’s home as I did watching the scene about Condoleezza Rice’s big mouth and Mrs. Kim’s exaggerated parenting. My parents are Haitian immigrants so, I get how strict parents born outside of the United States can be. However, when holding Mrs. Kim and Lane up to the light, why wouldn’t one prefer a Lorelai and Rory instead. Lane often did prefer Lorelai to her own mother. In truth, that’s what bothers me. Despite how strict my parents were, I love them dearly. Why couldn’t Lane and Mrs. Kim have a stronger mother-daughter bond.
  • Purity: What made Rory special to many in Stars Hollow is that she is pure and in need of protection. There is a scene where Lorelai walks in the house and overhears Paris and Rory’s conversation. It turns out Paris has lost her virginity to a boy she loves. Upon hearing that Rory has not yet had sex with Jess and also did not with Dean, Lorelai whispers that she’s got the good kid. It’s that whole Taylor Swift paradox again. Having sex does not soil a young woman. Help me out here, Chimamanda.
  • Diversity: The first series had like three people of color: Michel, Lane, and Mrs. Kim… Oh, wait, all of Emily’s maids were foreign. This series did a better job capturing diversity, including sexual diversity, but that was CLEARLY too much for a show in the 2000’s.
  • Privilege: Rory and Lorelai always had Emily and Richard to turn to for financial safety. It’s as if they went on to play in their Stars Hollow fictional world, but whenever the harsh realities of life hit, they had the privilege of coming from money. They could always get a loan, of course in exchange they’d have to spend time with their family — love can be bought.

Childhood things 

Yes, I am disappointed in Amy Sherman-Palladino for ruining Rory. However, Gilmore Girls did offer a reality I needed in my formative years. In my twenties, it has given me something to bond with other women about, especially white women. But it doesn’t go any further than that.

Gilmore Girls now goes up on the shelf next to The Cosby Show. Both necessary, damaging in their own way, but worth keeping around for those rainy days when comfort is all I crave.

 

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