Rory Gilmore Isn't Perfect & That's OK

by Mary Grace Garis

One of the most common assertions throughout the course of Gilmore Girls is that Rory is “a good kid,” and there’s plenty of evidence supporting this. In many ways, Rory Gilmore is a role model: an avid reader, a straight-A student, polite, sweet, and extra ambitious. The secret is, however, that Rory is a hot mess just as much as she is an inspiration. In the light of the upcoming Gilmore Girls Netflix revival, I feel like we should peel back the former side. Why? Because, my sweet baby fawns, there’s plenty you can learn from Rory’s mistakes, and, to be honest, Rory is the kind of girl that would encourage you to learn.

So that’s why I took a deep dive into the series and collected all of Rory’s bad (and often impulsive) decisions. From the little hiccups like keeping secrets from her main girls to the ridiculous f*ck-ups like grand theft, they’re all in here to make you feel a lot better about your own life. Because, hey, if Rory Gilmore isn’t perfect, then it gives us great comfort that we don’t always have to be.

And, with that, I present you with this hefty catalogue of Rory Gilmore mistakes, and what could be learned from them.

1. (Almost) Forgoing Chilton For A Boy

I was debating kicking off with this, because obviously Rory ends up enrolling in Chilton, but this is the first sign that Stars Hollow's Earth angel is a little more human than she'd like to admit. The second Dean and his floppy hair enter the picture, Rory low-key decides that she doesn't need a fancy prep school after all. Yeah, OK, Rory. Lorelai works to dissuade Rory from this decision by asserting, "Guys are always going to be there. This school isn't. It's more important. It has to be more important." Keep that in mind next time the crossroads of educational opportunity and staying with your high school boyfriend intersect.

2. Studying So Hard She Overslept

Rory's first D is a huge confidence shaker, so she and Lorelai decide to overcompensate by hitting the books way too hard for a Shakespeare test. Sure enough, they end up exhausted and sleep too late, Rory gets hit by a deer, she misses her test, and she promptly freaks out. Take note, fellow students: there a breaking point in preparation where your extra efforts reach diminishing returns.

3. Keeping Her Relationship A Secret From Lorelai

Neglecting to divulge her first kiss hurt Lorelai. Truth is, ladies, moms find out. I'll casually show my mother pictures from a show I went to last week, and she's able to figure out which band member I made out with every time. So, while I respect a woman's right to keep certain things to herself, just know that, if you have even a somewhat close relationship to your mother, the truth will emerge sooner rather than later.

4. Neglecting Lane's Crush Drama Because Of Dean

"Rory neglecting Lane" is almost a running subplot of the show, but that's commentary for another article. Long story short, Lane needed an ear to hear out her gooey feelings for a boy, and Rory was too busy daydreaming about her new beau. Lane, without friend consultation, decides to act out and strokes her crush's hair. Please pay attention and keep your BFF from doing stupid things.

5. Letting Madeline And Louise Ditch Her And Paris At The Bangles Concert

She protests this hard, so brownie points are awarded for that. Relenting with a frustrated, "And what am I supposed to tell my mother?" was weak, though. Lorelai was responsible for the girls' well-being, and it's not cool to put your mom in such an uncomfortable place.

6. Using Babette’s House As The Center For The Donna Reed Night

Granted, there aren't any crazy long-time repercussions for this (aside from Lorelai's teasing). Still, if you're house-sitting (cat-sitting?), it's usually good manners to not invite your boyfriend over, even for a 1950s dinner.

7. Falling Asleep In Miss Patty’s Barn

Fun Fact: Teenage Mary Grace was a lot more rebellious than Rory Gilmore, but the one time I got caught sleeping at my boyfriend's apartment was, well, the one time we were actually sleeping. It's a rookie move. Don't let yourself get tired in strange places if you're young enough to have a curfew (or at least do something a little scandalous if you stay out late).

8. The Awkward Way She Handled Dean’s “I Love You”

I don't think there's necessarily a right or wrong way to react when your boyfriend of three months says he loves you and is making you a car. Like, as an adult I do think that behavior is destination Crazy Town, and she had no obligation to say it back. However, there's probably a better way she could've smoothed over the declaration.

9. Not Letting Herself Wallow In Her Break Up

Again, it's not that there isn't a wrong or right way to mourn a break up, it's just classic Rory to be proactive and try to power through the hurt. We've all done it, and sometimes it works for a while. The key phrase there, though, is "for a while." Eventually, something happens to open up the hurt, which leads to...

10. Kissing Tristan

It's so common to find your mouth entangled with someone new when you're romantically vulnerable, and, sure enough, this is the catalyst to Rory properly feeling pained from her break up. Seriously, girl, give yourself time to mend.

11. Getting Irrationally Upset With Lane For Not Mentioning She's Working With Dean, And Likewise Upset With Lorelai Hiding Max From Her

OK, "irrational" is an exaggeration here, Lane and Lorelai shouldn't have hid things from Rory because the realization got her more frazzled than anything. However, Rory probably should have realized that her friend and mother were just trying to look out for her, because, well, she would get upset by the truth.

12. Allowing Dean To Sit In At Her Romeo And Juliet Rehearsal

No, just no. Even though Rory has a laissez-faire approach of, "Well, you're gonna do what you want to do," she boycotted Dean from rehearsal, knowing he'd just get in the way.

13. Rory’s Judgement Over Lane Becoming A Cheerleader

Side Bar: Why did Lane chose to become a cheerleader. Was it a weak effort to show she had layers? But I'm allowed to throw shade at her choices, because Lane just a fictional character on an early 2000s TV show to me. Rory shouldn't, because that's her best friend.

14. Letting Jess Take Her Car For A Joyride

I can't quite remember if there was a reason for it, but I always thought it was weird that Jess was the one to drive in the first place. I guess bailing on studying to hang out with a guy who's not your boyfriend is a little sketchy, too. I'm just hung up on the whole Jess driving thing. Cars aren't cheap, even when they're made by a 16-year-old boy, so I don't recommend just letting anyone take the wheel.

15. Cutting School, Going To New York To See Jess, Missing Her Mother's Graduation, And Forgetting Her Belinda-Signed Go-Go's Album On The Bus

There's so much to unpack with Rory's impulsive trip to "The Big Apple" (bless), and I'm just going to focus on the crux of the issue: Rory accidentally missing Lorelai's graduation ceremony, an event that Lorelai wouldn't even have attended without Rory's urging. She tries to apologize and repent frantically, feeling absolutely crazy. There's something comforting about this fiasco, though: Rory, despite her urging that she's not like other girls, has done something tremendously stupid for a guy. We've all been there. The important thing is, though, that you don't do things like that when you have obligations to someone you love.

16. Kissing Jess While She Was Still With Dean

No matter how many times I've watched this scene (five, five times this week), there's no getting around it: you shouldn't cheat on your boyfriend. End of.

17. Not Breaking Up With Dean When She Clearly Had Feelings For Jess

It just went on for way too long, because Rory, ever the perfectionist, wanted to believe that she would be in love with Dean forever, and suppress her attraction to a rough-around-the-edges guy like Jess. Dean eventually has to solve the issue (on the dance floor, hysterically, in front of the entire town), and, as savage as it is, the whole situation was unfair to him.

18. Allowing Jess To Be, Well, Jess

I guess I could also pencil in "allowing Dean to be Dean" and "allowing Logan to be Logan" here... but allow me to explain. Despite being Team Jess forever, there was a lot of angsty nonsense he put Rory through (deciding to go AWOL all the time), and nobody should have to put up with that.

19. Being Ultra Sassy In Her Ballet Review

On one hand, I'm a pro-snark journalist through and through, and I believe in being honest. The fat-shaming was uncool, though.

20. Losing Her Virginity To A Married Man

Do I have to explain why you shouldn't be doing this?

21. Writing A Letter To Dean About Her Post-Devirginizing Feels

Do a wall of text, have a clandestine in the dark conversation, but don't don't do something that could be usurped by your lover's wife.

22. Going Back To A Tired Relationship

Reviving your relationship with your high school boyfriend is such a classic freshman-year-of-college move... and it goes well almost none of the time. Dean is meant to stay a high school boyfriend, a beautiful memory. All of our high school boyfriends are meant to stay high school boyfriends. Don't fight it. Don't try to repurpose.

23. Testing Out Casual Sex With Logan

This is a big live-and-learn mistake that ended up surprisingly well. By some sort of black magic, Rory is eventually able to get her hook-up to settle down with her. It worked out well, but there was no shortage of painful feels along the way, which leads to...

24. Getting Wasted Instead Of Being Honest About Her Logan Feels

"Why doesn’t he like me? Why doesn’t he call me? What did I do?" Oh, sweetie. Welcome to my life. Personally, I don't recommend the whole getting-loaded-on-spiked-punch thing next time you're waiting impatiently for a text.

25. Stealing A Yacht

Yeah, it's probably wise to not commit felonies.

26. Dropping Out Of Yale Because She Was Freaking Out Over One Criticism

I'm not offended by the concept of leaving school because something's not working out. (I transferred from a Philadelphia school after learning that you kind of need to sew to be a fashion designer.) I'm OK with that part. But this was all a knee-jerk reaction to being told by Logan's dad that she didn't seem like journalist material. I mean, come on.

27. Moving In With Richard And Emily And Not Talking To Lorelai

Those episodes of Gilmore estrangement are totally hard to watch. Try not to be so dramatic if you and your mother aren't seeing eye-to-eye.

28. Allowing Jess And Logan To Hang Out

In what world did that seem like a good idea?

29. Attending Jess’s Open House In Philly and Allowing Him To Kiss Her Even Though She’s Still “In Love” With Logan

It's a little deceptive to travel so many miles to see Jess, and just plain wrong to let him kiss her for a while because she wanted some weird revenge on her current boyfriend. Think about that next time you're mad at your S.O. and feel like shooting your ex a, "'sup?" text.

30. Not Telling Lucy About Her History With Marty

It's an awkward situation, since he's the weirdo who pretends they weren't close, and technically they never dated. Still, she should've cleared the air with her new friend before the truth exploded on its own.

31. Passing On Her First Job Offer For A New York Times Internship

I understand the New York Times is sort of her dream, and so she had to take that shot. Still, there's a certain amount of arrogance attached to that decision, and, although she eventually snags reporting position by the end of the series, it is unwise to turn down any sort of position in this economy.

Incidentally, Rory usually ends up ok in the light of her mistakes, and I'm sure that'll be true when she returns in the Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life November 25. In the meantime, take a good page from her book and try to focus more on reading and less on stealing boats.

Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (31)