Amy Sherman-Palladino Isn't Shipping Any 'Gilmore Girls' Teams, But Here's Why They Matter To The Fandom
Whether you're Team Dean, Team Jess, or Team Logan, the Gilmore Girls creator is Team Over It. In a recent interview with Time about the upcoming revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life, Amy Sherman-Palladino lamented over the internet’s obsession with Rory’s boyfriends. She said, "It’s a small part of who Rory is. Rory didn’t spend her days thinking, 'Who am I going to end up with?'" Sherman-Palladino continued,
"It’s a natural thing: People love romance. Romance is an element of every show on air, including The Sopranos or Breaking Bad."
On a base level, all I have to say is: Word. Fan conversation is overwrought with discussions of Team Whoever, when Rory was such a highly ambitious young girl. It sometimes mars the point of the show, which was really about inherent feminism and the bond between a mother and daughter. But when it comes to the "why" of why people obsess, it's a little bit more complex. It is about romance, but it's also about how fandom works. Historically, shipping is such an integral element to creating a community and a dialogue between fans. Following the romantic success (or failure) of a show's character is a very personal thing, because you're really getting a full scope of the relationship from the beginning.
When it comes to loving Gilmore Girls as a show (or a lifestyle or a religion), good story-telling and the promise of a satisfying ending matter. Of course, reality would probably make it so Rory doesn't end up with one of her three suitors. She's in her thirties now, and has likely had plenty of love interests since fans last left her. It would make much more sense that she reunites with a later-in-life beau, or even a new guy entirely. But there would be nothing satisfying about having Rory end up with some rando who viewers have no emotional connection to, whereas setting her up with Dean, Jess, or Logan would give at least a third of the fans closure.
And sure, Rory could end up by herself and it would be a very satisfactory ending to my feminist side. But no matter how much she hid behind her copies of Anna Karenina and her claims of wanting to be the next Christiane Amanpour, Rory is not immune to love. She's not some romance-free workaholic, and from episode one — when she first met Dean and nearly threw away her spot at Chilton — it's been clear that she'll go crazy over a crush, just as anyone would. Nobody is devaluing Rory's commitment to herself and her work, but pretending that she doesn't want love or a relationship is silly. And knowing that Rory wants that does tie into that idea of her happily-ever-after. You want her to be professionally successful, yeah, but you also want to physically see her with someone who's worthy of her, even if it means re-branding someone who in the past wasn't. The full package. All of it.
And the second thing is the idea of wish-fulfillment. I've definitely had a high school relationship — and I've definitely had plenty of relationships in general — that could make for an intense CW drama. But the long, drawn out "thing" I had with my first real boyfriend was highly romantic, highly toxic, and highly entertaining when you're not living it. I'm not going to end up with him, because 1. He's my high school boyfriend, duh. 2. You can't just hire a team of writers to undo a decade's worth of pain. Not in this world.
But Stars Hollow is not this world, and Sherman-Palladino and friends can design how Rory's love life ends up. She can force Dean or Jess or Logan to grow into respectable men, if she so chooses. And that is comforting to anyone who has those relationships that, while they make for a great story, can't actually happen. It's why people in all sorts of fandoms root for thrilling, yet somewhat unhealthy pairings: your Veronicas and Logans, your Chucks and Blairs, your Carries and Bigs. It's only on-screen that great, complicated romances work out, because who would want to watch something stable?
Ultimately, I don't think Sherman-Palladino begrudges the romantic aspects of the series. Rather, her qualms seemed to be more with the fact that discussions of Rory focus on debating who she'll end up with versus everything else. "I don’t see people debating 'What newspaper is Rory’s working for?' 'Did she win a Pulitzer yet," Sherman-Palladino told Time. Understandable. But at the end of the day, even though Gilmore Girls is not reality, these characters are real to fans, and the rise and falls of their relationships give something to hold onto when we can't deal with our own unstructured stories.
At the end of the day, I am Team Gilmore through and through, and I trust whatever ending Sherman-Palladino has in mind for our girl. But I can't help having some pom-poms set aside for her and Jess ... and a hope that a real-enough, really entertaining romance has been written for them.
Images: Giphy (3)