In NBC's highly anticipated new drama This Is Us, Milo Ventimiglia plays Jack, who is about to welcome triplets into the world with his wife, Rebecca (Mandy Moore), on his 36th birthday. But to legions of Gilmore Girls fans, the actor will always be the brooding and rebellious Jess Mariano, Rory's soulmate (ahem, in my opinion). As you watch the premiere of This Is Us on Tuesday, Sept. 20, you might notice that Ventimiglia's character and Jess from Gilmore Girls have a lot in common — aside from the fact that both characters are played by the same charismatic actor, of course.
Sure, Ventimiglia has had many other TV roles over the years, but some fans (including myself) will always see have a special place in their heart for the actor's breakout role. Slate's TV critic, Willa Paskin, said in her review of This Is Us that she saw shades of Jess in Jack. "If This Is Us has done any good, it has cured me of my soft spot for Gilmore Girls’ Jess, also played by Ventimiglia, because Jess would have grown up to be exactly like Jack," she wrote. So I'm not the only one who sees that Jess has lived on — and not just in Stars Hollow, which he will finally return to in Netflix's Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
Here are some similarities you might notice between Jack on This Is Us and Rory Gilmore's book-loving boyfriend.
1. They're Both... Easy On The Eyes
Let's get this one out of the way first, shall we? Jess and Jack are both played by Ventimiglia, who is still super hot. I know this is a very superficial thing to have in common, but hey, I don't think it's a coincidence that the This is Us trailer that went viral prominently features Ventimiglia's nearly naked bod, so I'm not alone.
2. They're Both Passionate
On This Is Us, Jack is a caring dad-to-be and husband ready to dedicate himself to his new life as a father. On Gilmore Girls, Jess tends to put his all into the things that he cares about.
3. They're Both Protective
Jack already seems very protective of his brand new family, and Jess always looked out for Rory — even when they weren't together.
4. They're Both Kind
Sure, Jess has his moments and can have a difficult attitude, but he at the end of the day, he is a good guy who truly cares about the people closest to him. Jack is like Jess without the "moments," always mature and understanding.
5. They Both Want To Be In Charge
In the This Is Us pilot, Jack makes the above impassioned speech to Rebecca's doctor about how the couple will get through the difficult birth and definitely go home with three babies that day. Jack pretty much demands it.
As for Jess, Gilmore Girls fans know that he doesn't always have respect for authority and does what he wants — whether its steal a gnome or work 40 hours a week at Walmart while (barely) going to high school.
6. They Both Tell It Like It Is
Especially in his early Gilmore Girls days, Jess didn't shy away from being blunt. On This Is Us, Jack isn't afraid to tell the doctor about his family's needs.
7. They're Both A Bit Old School
On Gilmore Girls, Jess was into classic books just like Rory and even went on to write a book of his own. I'm pretty sure that even today, Jess would also choose a traditional paper book over an e-reader. He also loved older music and movies. As for Jack, he's that type of old-school dad who will be dressing his triplets in hand-knitted outfits (aww).
8. They're Both Loving
It's evident from the This Is Us pilot that Jack is deeply in love with his wife. As for Jess, I think he'll always be in love with Rory, even though the timing didn't seem to work out for them (...yet).
9. They're Both Emotional
Jack goes through a bit of an emotional rollercoaster in the first episode of This Is Us during the birth of his children. Jess is also very emotional, but in a deeper, more brooding, "keeping it all in" teenager kind of way.
10. This Jacket
Jack and Jess have a lot in common, personality-wise, but they also seem to have a similar wardrobe, too.
11. They Both Know How To Make Difficult Situations Better
Despite his early troubles, Jess manages to pick himself up, become an author, and run a publishing house. As for Jack, I don't want to spoil anything, but he also finds the good in a bad situation and it will melt your heart in the process.