The brooding, leather jacket-wearing, eyebrow raising Jess Mariano — played perfectly by Milo Ventimiglia — was the stuff of TV boyfriend dreams when he made his Gilmore Girls debut in Season 2. He was sensitive, but tough. Romantic, but not trite. And above all, he would have done anything for his on-off girlfriend-slash-probable soulmate, Rory Gilmore. Whether you're Team Jess, Team Logan, or Team Dean (but why?), you have to admit that despite all of his shortcomings, Jess was an important part of Rory's life. He showed her that a connection between two dissimilar people was not only possible, but could be powerful. And, any Gilmore Girls viewer knows that one of the initial things Rory and Jess connected on was books. But what you might not know is that Jess and the actor who played him also share this connection. According to Mashable, Ventimiglia read every book that Jess did — except for one.
Jess wasn't the best at school — probably because he wasn't great at following rules and/or being confined in boxes — but Jess was always reading. He was the only person who read as many books in Stars Hollow as Rory (see above: soulmates), but it turns out Jess and Rory weren't the only ones who shared an affinity for good literature. Ventimiglia recently told Mashable that in order to get inside the mind of the moody bibliophile, he read all of Jess's books. However, there's one book that both Jess and Ventimiglia were never able to get through — proving that these two share some pretty similar reading sensibilities — and that was The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. The actor explained, "I got through just about every book that Jess read, except for Ayn Rand. That was the only one that I just kind of got stuck on. I couldn’t commit to The Fountainhead."
Though he didn't articulate it in quite the way Jess would have (Jess called Ayn Rand "a political nut"), they both struggled to finish the philosophical novel. Jess promised to give The Fountainhead a try for Rory, but like Ventimiglia, couldn't commit to it either. In Season 2, during Stars Hollow's charity basket auction, Jess outbids current boyfriend Dean and wins a date with Rory. The two spend their auction "date" hanging out on a bridge, where Rory tells Jess that she was 10 when she first read The Fountainhead and suggests that Jess try to read it, despite his hesitations. Watch the scene below.
Later in the episode, Rory calls Jess, and when he answers, he's holding none other than The Fountainhead in his hands. But, after that, we never hear whether or not Jess actually finished the thing. Just by virtue of him calling Rand "a nut," I'm thinking probably not.
Ventimiglia will be back as Jess in Netflix's Gilmore Girls revival come November. In a description that totally sums up how a lot of us feel about the character, Ventimiglia told Mashable, "I think Jess was a very, very bright young man. For whatever personal reasons, he was acting up, being a prankster, a loner — those were emotional things he had to get through as a young man. But I like his intelligence and his desire to know the world of literature. I think that was absolutely genuine."
We don't know exactly how Jess will come into contact with Rory, but wouldn't it be nice if after all these years, he's still trying to finish The Fountainhead for her and she's still trying to get behind Hemingway for him? And as fate would have it, they meet up at that bridge, with both books in each others hands and then get married and live happily ever after?
A girl can dream.
Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (2)