Gilmore Girls was one of those shows that I found by complete accident and have since fallen in love with. I was an intern at the Center for Animal Research and Education (CARE) where one of the other interns was a watching the show during a rare break. Having already finished all of the Harry Potter books that summer and with nothing else pressing to do, I decided to sit down and watch with her. And I was hooked. It became a daily ritual: get up, water the cats, do the chores, schedule lunch around Gilmore Girls reruns so that I could watch it.
Lorelai Gilmore became my spirit animal. I wished that I could be as sassy and quick witted and coffee-fueled as this ultra-super mom. She was (and still is) who I want to be when I grow up, partly because she can eat anything, but mostly because she was a self-suffiant woman who worked hard for her accomplishments. At the same time, she wasn’t afraid to ask for help when she needed it, even if she needed to ask her parents. Lorelai Gilmore was how I thought people were supposed to adult correctly.
I know many of my friends don’t like Rory Gilmore and have never liked Rory Gilmore. I tend to have a little different view of Rory. Yes, she was annoying, but what teenager isn’t annoying (I work with teenagers, so I know how annoying they can be). She made some stupid decisions because we all make stupid decisions in our teens and twenties. No, she shouldn’t have dumped Dean for Jesse. No, she shouldn’t have slept with Dean after he was married. Yes, she treated Marty like shit and he really didn’t deserve it. But she wasn’t so bad, either. She worked hard to go after her goals, she befriended Paris Geller, she supported Lane in her music career. At the end of the seven season run, I was on team Rory. I supported her decision to leave Logan and find herself. I wanted to see her succeed.
You can image my disappointment when Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life showed Rory as a selfish, entitled little girl with no goals and apparently no job history. For as much as I loved Lorelai and Luke’s relationship in A Year in the Life, for as much as I loved watching Emily Gilmore find herself after the death of her husband, for as much as I missed seeing Richard Gilmore, I really hated Rory and the way the show producers decided to portray 30-something year olds.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the run down: Rory Gilmore is lost. She doesn’t have an apartment so she is moving around between Lorelai’s place, Emily’s place, Paris’s place in New York, and Logan’s (yes, that Logan) place in London. For a person with no job, she certainly travels a lot, though. How the freak does she afford the plane tickets from New York to London every other week? Is Logan paying for it? Her grandmother? Anyway, that’s not the point. Her main source of accomplishment is writing a piece for the New Yorker, which is great. In ten years since leaving Yale, she has finally written a piece for a prestigious magazine and is now using that to help propel her career forward. Except she’s not. And I think that is my main problem with Rory in this new mini-series. She thinks she is above an internet magazine, but takes the interview anyway and has nothing to say about herself. Really? You are a 32 year old woman and you don’t know how to sell yourself to a potential job? I don’t know any 30-something year old who doesn’t know how to do that. Maybe they are out there, but I’ve never met them. So Rory moves home and meets the 30-something club (or whatever the hell they call it).
I understand being down on your luck. I understand losing a job and having to scramble to figure it out. I understand not knowing what to do and going home, but this is where the show lost me. I don’t understand any of the motives of the 30-something club. Here’s a bunch of 30-something year olds with no jobs because “the world chewed them up and spit them out” according to Taylor Doose. But more than that, they seem like they don’t even care that they don’t have a job. They seem perfectly happy with sipping on milk shakes and letting their parents take care of them. Maybe I take this to heart because I am a 30-something year old and most of my friends are 30-something year olds, but I actually found that group in the show offensive.
I am a 33 year-old woman. Many of my friends are 30-something year old men and women. None of them live with their parents. None of them are content with drinking milk shakes while their parents try to help them find a job. None of them wander around the town like lost puppies with nothing to do. All of them are hard working individuals with jobs, apartments or houses, children or pets. Some have spouses, some have significant others, some are single. All have dealt with lose and tragedy and frustration, yet they have struggled on to meet success. This is how 30-somethings deal with the difficulties of the “real world”, by staring it in the face and shouting, “fuck you” while drinking some wine (or craft beer). We build our friendships, relay on each other, ask our parents for help or advice when we need it, and generally kick ass because we know all about the harsh realities of the real world. We know all about crippling student debt and bad job markets. We know all about losing jobs and being rejected. And we still go out there every day and fight for what we want. We definitely don’t sit in the candy store and drink milk shakes and pretend that we don’t have to worry about the world because our parents will take care of us.