Why The ‘Gilmore Girls’ Revival Featuring A Directionless Rory Is A Good Thing
At long last, we've been blessed with the Gilmore Girls revival trailer and a reminder that it begins streaming in just one month on Nov. 25. (I jest — we've all been counting down the days ever since the premiere date was announced.) As we speak, the trailer is currently being watched and re-watched by fans combing for every possible clue, from Rory and Jess' relationship status to how Emily's handling Richard's death (don't lie and tell me you're not shedding all the tears right now). Another hot topic of discussion is the fact that a jobless Rory is leading a nomadic lifestyle in the Gilmore Girls revival — something we can all agree is quite uncharacteristic for the young woman who never made a decision without making a comically lengthy "pros and cons" list.
Out of character? Yes, but a lot can change over the course of a decade and, personally, I think it's a good thing that Rory's out of her comfort zone. Many of us who watched the show as preteens and teens looked to Rory as a role model, and for good reason — in the landscape of teen TV, it was hard to find protagonists who were as academically driven and motivated as Rory. And, for those of us who genuinely loved spending weekends reading and hanging with our moms, Rory was totally relatable.
However, one thing that wasn't always relatable about Rory was that her plans seldom went awry — and, when they did, they were rectified pretty easily. Not just anyone can steal a yacht, drop out of an Ivy League school, and still manage to graduate on time. The New York Times rejection was a letdown, but she landed an awesome gig with the Obama campaign about five minutes later. Rory worked her butt off, so she deserved her academic and professional successes. But, even the most intelligent, hard-working people experience major letdowns, so I'd argue this aspect of the show wasn't exactly realistic. That's why I'm glad that Rory is experiencing something painfully relatable in the revival.
We don't know exactly why Rory has "no job, no credit, and no underwear" in the revival — and she appears to have mixed feelings about it. Although she emphatically declares "this is my time to be rootless" as she stands in her childhood bedroom, she's also heard saying that she "feels very lost these days" and as though her chance to be a "contender" has come and gone. For many millennials, this struggle sounds painfully familiar and it's definitely relatable for plenty of people. Like many of my peers, I experienced early age corporate burnout and had a mini-crisis as I wondered if I'd been working towards the "wrong" thing my entire life.
I decided to quit my job and move across the country — much to the shock and dismay of many people in my life. Like Rory expresses in the trailer, my emotions were a bit of a roller coaster — I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom because, for the first time in my life, I'd made a major change without any real, reliable plan. On the flip side, I was worried that I'd lost a major opportunity by leaving a major company in New York City in order to be a "free spirit" (my positive spin on "20-something who is totally adrift"). Although our paths were different, many of my friends and peers took similar risks by leaving promising careers in favor of traveling for months, becoming struggling (and then successful) full-time freelancers, and simply taking a break in order to reassess what we actually wanted out of life.
Not only is Rory's unexpected new lifestyle realistic (although not all of us have the funds to chill in Europe while we engage in the aforementioned reassessing), but it's also refreshing to see that the showrunners have chosen to shake things up for her character. Feeling lost and having no credit sounds all-too-familiar to many of us — and I think the revival will be stronger because Rory is in this relatable place. Many of us "came of age" with her, and it would be a bit of a boring bummer to see that her adulthood has gone 100 percent smoothly and completely according to plan. As it turns out, those pros and cons lists aren't foolproof — and that's more than OK.
I feel confident that Rory will, of course, figure it out and land on her feet. (If I managed, she definitely can.) But, for the many young women who look to her as a role model, it's important to show that post-college life isn't always straightforward. It's reassuring to those of us who grew up with Rory — and, now that the original series is on Netflix, a new generation of young women who are still in high school and college have become Gilmore Girls devotees. They, too, can see firsthand that there's nothing wrong with feeling rootless and lost as we try to navigate adulthood.
I'm sure Rory will be doing amazing things by the time the revival comes to an end — but I'm glad the show is depicting a relatable struggle that many of us have experienced. Rory will be a stronger, more interesting character for it and everyone who looks up to her will be reminded that everyone gets lost now and then — and sometimes, you have to get lost in order to find what you're truly meant to be doing with your life.
Images: Netflix (3)