A Writer’s Defense of Rory Gilmore

Gilmore Girls fans everywhere are buzzing with excitement over the new four-episode Netflix continuation which, apparently, has a name now. Granted, we’ve been buzzing for so long, as they’ve been stringing us along for so long, giving us half a piece of information at a time, that it’s really just sort of an unconscious twitch at this point. Similar to the one caused by the eternal coffee addiction most of us have.

I recently finished the series for the… well, I don’t have to tell you how many times I’ve seen it. A few. But, like many people who are far too invested in the lives of these fictional characters, season 6 Rory drove me nuts. She’s selfish and entitled and makes dumb decision after dumb decision. My least favorite kind of person. This changes, of course, mid-season when she finally sees sense, makes up with Lorelai, follows somebody around until he gives her a job, and again becomes the all-around upstanding little bookworm we came to know and love.

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I was tempted to skip the episodes in which she acts like a spoiled brat, but her redemption is so much better if you slog through them. Plus Matt Czuchry is incredibly attractive. He makes them worth it.

Anyway, as I sit here looking for jobs to apply to, I can’t help but think of Rory in the newspaper office dogging her boss until he gives her a job. Why don’t I have that kind of motivation? I have everything else in common with Rory (except the whole innocent babydoll blue eyes that attract every living male within a fifty mile radius), so why am I not exerting that kind of effort, showing that kind of positivity, chasing what I want with that kind of calculated reckless abandon? Goodness knows I’m stubborn enough. Smart enough.

And then I realized: Rory had a break.

She took a semester off before she tried to get that job. She worked as an event planner for her grandmother. She lived on her own (sort of) without any worries. She took four months of doing next to nothing to figure out that she needed to keep some forward momentum.

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And she did figure it out, so good for her. But I get it.

She needed to quit in order to keep going. That story arc gave her the push she needed to continue on her self-motivated, upbeat path toward success.

I went from high school to college to searching desperately for a job. I overachieved in high school and became the valedictorian while on student council and in sports. I earned a full ride to college. I then overachieved in college, earning a 4.0 and writing a 213 page honors thesis on top of normal class work and two on campus jobs. I have taken no breaks. I have no real world job experience, and I have taken no breaks. I never needed to pay for college, so why wouldn’t I focus on schoolwork and everything that entails?

And now I’m freaking out.

I had so much forward momentum that, like Rory, when life started to feel aimless, I tripped over my own feet and landed face first in the dirt. Unfortunately I don’t have incredibly rich grandparents to get me through, so I still have to find a job. With the very little experience I gained in college. Which doesn’t look like much on a resume.

“I’m not even qualified for manual labor.”

At this point I’d be happy to work a job like Adventureland, but there aren’t any theme parks close enough to commute, and I wouldn’t make enough to live there. As a writer, I could do anything. All avenues are open to me. Which is overwhelming and not at all helpful in this whole job hunt thing. Google doesn’t respond well to “anything.” I’m mostly qualified for a lot of things but not quite perfectly qualified for anything. There’s no clear path I’m supposed to take. Uncertainty is the worst.

I can’t help but wonder if Rory would have needed that break had she not tried to be a writer.

I mean, obviously, on a practical level, if she weren’t a journalist, she wouldn’t have worked for Mitchum, etc. But other careers, even with people like Mitchum, have a more direct path to success. And writing puts you in touch with a very hopeless part of the human psyche. It takes a lot out of you. There are only so many words you can shout into the void before you realize what a useless pursuit it is you’re engaged in.

I think Rory’s voice got hoarse.

Her spirit was broken, yes, but that was the metaphorical final straw. With an intensely focused roommate going to either law school or med school–both very specific tracks–and a boyfriend who has his future laid out for him, she got overwhelmed and she got tired and her voice got hoarse from spewing words into the abyss. She realized the complete and utter subjectivity of writing and gave up. Briefly. And this is the only reason she’s still a well-loved character: because she came back.

And I applaud her for that. I certainly don’t feel like I have it in me. But, then again, neither did she when she quit college and quit writing and quit moving forward.

These episodes, hard as they are to watch, give me hope. Because as selfish and annoying and irresponsible as Rory is in these episodes, she finds her way back. She comes back more motivated and responsible and perky than ever, and she pushes her way to success. So here’s to you, Rory Gilmore, bookworm extraordinaire. If you can do it, so can I.

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3 thoughts on “A Writer’s Defense of Rory Gilmore”

  1. Thank you so much for such an honest post, insight both into Rory’s journey and your own! And I completely sympathize – I only overachieved in high school though, college was less than stellar 😉 Writing came after the jobs I had not expected!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you seem to have figured it out! Things have since gotten better, but I’m still not totally sure why I write, other than I can’t not.

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