Fans have waited nine anxious years to hear the mythologized last four words of Gilmore Girls. If you spent November 25 watching the four episodes, back-to-back, and prepared yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically for these ground-breaking, life-altering, jaw-dropping last four words you might have felt a little punch in the gut when they dropped and the screen went black. Warning: Major Gilmore Girls spoilers ahead. Was it that they appeared to have come out of nowhere? Was it that, considering their hype, they never stood a chance at completely satisfying you anyway? Or was it because they left so many things unanswered? Well, creator Amy Sherman-Palladino thinks at least one of those unanswered questions remains irrelevant — the identity of Rory's baby's father. (Oh yeah, Rory's pregnant.)
Now, the last four words (Rory: "Mom?" Lorelai: "Yeah?" Rory: "I'm pregnant.") have been eclipsed by four new ones ones. They are: "Who is the father?" After a series ends with an "I'm pregnant" bombshell, that's only a fair question to ask, especially when the answer happens to represent something integral to Gilmore Girls as a whole. Rory Gilmore's romantic interests are, as they have been since Season 2, irrefutably interwoven into the fabric of the show. Though it's helmed by its female leads, Gilmore Girls is as much about how the women relate to the men in their lives as it is about how they relate to each other and life in general.
However, in this particular instance, Sherman-Palladino disagrees. While discussing Rory's pregnancy during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she said, "It really wasn't about the father; it was about the event."
Wait, what? Not about the father? Not even a little bit? A smidge? Seems a little reductive. Can't it be more complicated than that? I've run Sherman-Palladino's words over and over in my head a few times since reading them, but there's just no way she's right. There's no way Rory's pregnancy isn't about the father. It's about the event, sure — the life altering event that will dictate Rory's future — but it's also about the father. It's both. It has to be both.
Sherman-Palladino added, "People can make their own conclusions about who the father is, there's not a thousand choices out there, but it really wasn't about the boy because, quite frankly, one of the things that's always been a little weird is how obsessed with Rory's love life everybody got when the point of the show was never about their love lives."
The obsession with Rory's love life might have usurped other important aspects that Sherman-Palladino wanted us to focus on, but that's only because Rory's romantic interests enhanced Rory's character development. They were essential to her growing up and finding herself. Though I by no means want to diminish Rory's autonomy and imply that she needed romantic interests to be whole, the fact remains that we got to know Rory through the ways in which she handled her relationships with Dean, Jess, and Logan. It wasn't so much that Rory needed her boyfriends. It's more that, in order to better understand her as a character, we needed Rory to observe how Rory grew and matured as a result of her boyfriends
"Their love lives were apart of their lives, but these were women really grappling with who they were as people," Sherman-Palladino said. Throughout the series, Rory's love life was directly rooted in who she was as a person. Think about how different Rory was when she dated Dean verses Jess verses Logan. As a viewer, it's hard to separate these things. It always has been. Sherman-Palladino added, "When they talked about their paths forward, especially Rory, it was usually about getting in The New York Times or breaking into journalism so it felt like the moment was on Rory and her future and not on, 'Gee, which boy is this?' That's always taken a backseat when we've broken stories on Gilmore."
If this was a work-related cliffhanger then I would agree with that sentiment. But it's not. This pregnancy has to do with a boy. That boy — either the absence or presence of him — dictates her baby's future, and therefore dictates Rory's future. Sherman-Palladino might have intended the "boys" to take a "backseat" to the girls, but it never quite shook out like that. In this case, where what happens next relies so heavily on the father's identity, there's no backseat to be taken. The father's sitting right up front. We just don't know who he is.
In that vein, maybe Sherman-Palladino's not as off base as I originally thought. Maybe it's not about "which boy" it is. Maybe it's about our incessant need to know. Because thinking about who the father is for too long is like diving into a well with no bottom — or, better yet, a bottom that's the same as the top. A never-ending, paradoxical well. There aren't answers to be had. When it comes to Rory's love life, questions are the driving force. They always were, and now until the end of time (or until a revival for this revival ever happens) they always will be. In a lot of ways, there's comfort in that.
Images: Netflix; Giphy