As of today, it is officially 11 weeks, 77 days, or roughly 1,848 hours until the premiere of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. But it’s not like I’m counting or anything.
Given that I love the show enough to start doing math, you would think I was a GG fan from day one, but I actually arrived at the Gilmore Girls party a little late in life. I started watching in 2009, which was two years after the show had ended (or, back when we thought it had ended. . .in the dark ages before Netflix started making all our magical binge-watching dreams come true).
I was a high school senior, and it was the era of beautiful and reckless teens on TV. It seemed like everyone I knew was watching Gossip Girl or 90210. While I have nothing against those shows, I found it difficult to relate to the supermodel-esque socialites in them.
I was the teen who spent most of her time doing her homework, babysitting, and volunteering at the local library. I didn’t consider my existence abnormal, but I also had a hard time finding girls like me represented in mainstream media.
Almost every woman we see on TV is a caricature. The dumb blonde. The brainiac. The virgin. The whore. Everywhere women are represented in extremes, instead of showing them as complex human beings. Nearly every woman I’ve met who loves Gilmore Girls will at some point bring up how relatable Rory and/or Lorelei are, both in their relationship as mother and daughter, and also in their identities as individuals.
For me, Rory wasn’t just relatable, she also taught me it was ok to be myself in all my nerdy book-obsessed glory. She taught me that you can be a “good girl” without being a goody-two-shoes. You can be a loner and still have a few close friends. You can stay-in on a Saturday night and watch movies with your mom (or even have regular Friday night dinners with your grandparents) and still go to school dances and have meaningful relationships or crushes. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, and as a bit of a social misfit who’s biggest hobby was reading ahead in her English class, this meant the world to me.
To celebrate the return of everyone’s favorite Stars Hollow book-nerd, here are seven of Rory’s most relatable moments.
1. Making Small Talk
It’s clear even in the pilot episode that Rory is more than capable of attracting the attention of a male suitor, despite being terrible at small talk. Her first interaction with Dean is about as awkward as it gets (“So do you like cake?”), but he still seems charmed by her. However, it’s not until he brings up the book she’s reading that the conversation really starts flowing. Rory life lesson numero uno: Talking to your crush is hard, but talking about books is easy.
2. Watching Movies
It feels appropriate that the Gilmore Girls revival is planned for Netflix, considering how much Rory and Lorelei would’ve loved to binge-watch movies. By now I bet the Stars Hollow video rental store has gone out of business, but I’m sure the girls’ love of TV is still going strong. Growing up, I spent many Saturday nights watching movies with my mom. As a teenager, I thought there was something wrong with me for not wanting to spend more time at football games or house parties. Rory and Lorelei showed me it was ok to indulge my inner-film geek, and there’s no better way to do it than surrounded by poptarts and motherly love.
Sometimes Rory could be a homebody, even when her mother wasn’t home to share the TV. In season 2, episode 16, Lorelei finds herself on a weekend spa getaway with Emily. Before she leaves, she jokes about the party Rory should throw in her absence. Rory then details all she has planned for the evening, which includes ordering take-out, doing laundry, and getting started on her homework. Lorelei is appalled, but Rory is excited at the prospect of getting to do exactly as she pleases. Of course, her plans are ruined when more than one visitor shows up, but you can’t blame an introvert for trying.
4. Partying During Spring Break
In season 4, episode 17, Rory and Paris take an impromptu trip to Florida for spring break. However, it takes them awhile after arriving to acclimate to the party-girl lifestyle. The first night finds them hunkering down with pizza in their hotel room, getting ready to watch a documentary. Eventually, they decide their choice was lame, and they try to go out and enjoy themselves. Their attempts at clubbing make for a far more interesting storyline than the original evening they had planned, but I will always appreciate that Rory’s initial itinerary for Florida included pizza and a documentary. For some of us, going out is not second nature and actually requires a conscientious decision to put down the remote and put on pants.
5. Dating is Difficult
Rory never has any shortage of guys who are interested in her. Besides Dean, Jess, and Logan, there’s also Marty, Tristan, and the occasional college flirtation (remember the date where she brought up urine mints?). However, through it all Rory makes one thing clear: she is a long-term relationship –not a date and then dump – kinda girl. When Logan enters her life, it seems like she might change her ways. Then he turns around and changes his instead. Playing petty games and dating more than one person is really kind of exhausting, and Rory gets that.
6. Dropping Out of College
Rory dropping out of college is one of those moments that polarizes even the most devoted fans of the show. Some say it was out-of-character. Others say it was a terrible move that showed Rory was poorly equipped to deal with life. I think the latter is exactly the point. How many of us had life figured out at 21? Rory finding refuge with her grandparents after she drops out of college is one of her most human moments.
Would it be realistic to follow Rory through seven years of her life without ever seeing her make a mistake or fight with her mother? While some might have hated this storyline, I always found it to be realistic for Rory to give the role of privileged housewife and DAR member a try. Of course, being Rory, she eventually decides this life is not for her and returns to Yale. Sometimes it’s necessary to go down the wrong road for a while, just to ensure the original road was the right choice.
7. Fearing the Real World
If there’s anything stronger that senioritis, it’s the “Oh my god, what am I doing with my life?” moment every student has as college graduation approaches. Rory breaking down in front of her friends is even more poignant, as they are escaping college by hanging out in Stars Hollow when it happens. We all eventually reach a point where the harsh reality of the real world stands in stark contrast to the cozy worlds we grew up in, which is why I can appreciate Rory’s tears in this scene, and the way Olivia and Lucy assure her they don’t have it figured out either.
What are some of your favorite Rory moments? What are you most looking forward to in the revival season? Tweet us @litdarling and let us know!
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