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THE CRITIC’S CORNER: Why Rory Gilmore Should not be Your Child’s Role Model

PM5H8B Studio Publicity Still from "Gilmore Girls" Episode name: 'It Should've Been Lorelai' Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel 2002 Photo credit: Ron Batzdorff File Reference # 307541332THA For Editorial Use Only - All Rights Reserved
Image Courtesy of The Today Show

Where you lead, I will follow… But sadly, not in the case of the prodigal daughter, Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel). Being a hardcore fan of the show, Gilmore Girls, and having watched it multiple times, I feel as if I have some authority when it comes to investigating the reasons why Rory Gilmore is one of the most irritating and entitled characters in TV history. 

As an aspiring journalist and bookworm, you can imagine my delight when coming across the seemingly immaculate teenager that is Rory Gilmore. When you first encounter Rory, she never goes out partying, she doesn’t drink and she is a perfect, straight-A student. You may be thinking, if Rory is so driven, surely she will stop at nothing to solidify her career as a journalist. How wrong you would be!

My first issue with Rory is that she cannot seem to recognise her privilege. Despite growing up with a single mother who had to work day and night to be able to support her daughter, Rory has always had the option to fall back on her grandparent’s riches. Rory is not so dissimilar from most 2000s teens from shows like The O.C or Gossip Girl. No matter how hard Gilmore Girls tried to make Rory seem like a down to earth character, we cannot help but remember that she is another trust fund baby, who had no troubles paying for private school and Yale. 

Now I hate Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry) more than the average person, but during his argument with Rory (episode 8, season 7), after she writes an article about the people at a big business’ launch party that she attends with Logan, which essentially is looking down on his whole existence, he has never spoken so much sense. Logan makes Rory aware that she comes from the same world as all of the people she judges in her article. With all of the connections her grandfather, Richard (Edward Herrmann), has from Yale, it is so surprising that Rory struggles so much to break out into the world of journalism. This could only highlight her lack of ambition.

In the famous words of Mitchum Huntzberger (Gregg Henry), Rory just hasn’t got it. Being brought up in the microcosm of Stars Hollow, Rory was led to believe that she was perfect. In Stars Hollow, she was the brightest student. However, in the real world, she did not stand out compared to the thousands of other young journalists fighting for a spot at a top newspaper. What makes this worse is that, after being told that she might not be good enough for journalism, she drops out of Yale! Rather than try to prove Mitchum wrong, Rory gives up after her first knockback. I think we can all relate to Lorelai (Lauren Graham) in our disbelief when Rory revealed her decision. Criticism is an important part of life, especially in journalism, and Rory’s inability to accept this makes her unfit for this career path. I should clarify that I do not think that Rory is a poor writer. Most likely, she is better than me at writing but it is her attitude towards life and work that drags her down. 

Despite her lack of understanding of the real world, Rory somehow managed to secure a writing job in Providence. There were a lot of things to consider before taking the job. For example, where she would live, the opportunities that it could open up for her in the future, and where her boyfriend would be working as well (not that a man who you have been dating for what seems like all of two seconds should be influencing massive life-changing decisions). In the end, she decides not to take the job, swayed by the extremely slim possibility of getting a fellowship at The New York Times. And surprise! She didn’t get the fellowship. Rory threw away her chance of a stable job for an internship that thousands of students apply for. Whilst everyone’s favourite self-sufficient mother, Lorelai, highlighted all of the advantages of a steady job, Rory decided to listen to Logan, who has had a job lined up for him since birth. 

Overall, Rory’s decisions are fairly poor, which led to her unstable lifestyle in the future. In the early seasons of the show, it is easy to see how any mother would love for their daughter to be as studious as Rory. However, as her character develops, Rory is turned into another spoiled rich kid. It is disappointing to see someone, who you viewed as a perfect role model, be destroyed in front of you. After doing some research, many seem to speculate that Rory’s character arc was intentional and that being elevated as the ‘gifted child’ led to a realistic burnout in adulthood, due to the need to constantly live up to expectations. Could this possibly be a critic of the American education system or just of Rory herself?

By Amy Britton

‘The Critic’s Corner’ is a new feature on The Yorker where we will share some personal favourite’s from some of our Staff Writer’s as well as some other film related discussions.