After my first year of college, I snickered at the nice little bow wrapped around the pristine Rory Gilmore.
She was a lie.
I was blinded by her sheen, her crystal-like stature that made her so much more than human. She was perfect in every sense. Top of the class, best daughter, the whole town adored her. Even when she went wrong, she never landed a spot in anyone’s black book (apart from making a brief appearance on Rebecca Thurston’s blog). She could control anyone with a flash of her innocent smile.
How naive was I to think my fate could be the same. How naive was I to think life could ever be so picturesque. Nothing about my town mirrored the snowglobe-like perfection of Stars Hollow, and the competition at UC Berkeley spat on Yale’s televised companionship.
I understand that her character acts as a foil to Lorelai, the nut case who is completely human through and through. Lorelai’s power lies in her creativity and ingenuity, her ability to take detours upon detours while Rory desperately tries to stick to one path. I really should have looked up to Lorelai’s spunk and strength, instead; it would’ve prepared me more to face the real world that never seemed to hit Rory then.
Life came easily to Rory, and I expected it to do the same for me. Maybe that was more my fault than the writers’, but that’s why I fell in love with the revival even more.
Not only did nostalgia grab me by the throat from the first scene — I still had enough patience for Rory to overlook her awkward acting in the intro — but everything finally felt real (aside from the fairytale nature of Stars Hollow).
Life was hard. As it usually is. Lorelai had to learn to live without Sookie, Richard’s death shook the whole family, Dean was off and married with kids (as was Lane), Michel’s partner may have already “ordered” some and Rory was living a fate likely to slap me in the face post-graduation. Everyone had moved onto the real world. Finally.
The bow was starting to wither, and I was ready to rip it to shreds. Rory, even with her glow, was finally starting to resemble a human being. For once, she didn’t get what she wanted — and as someone who’s been on the bottom more than I’ve been on the top — HA! Welcome to the club, hon.
Finally, the pristine Rory had some flaws beyond falling in love with the wrong man. She was jobless, essentially homeless and stuck with some guy no one could remember — Paul, was it? She still had the same options, connections, friends and lifestyle, but the puzzle pieces stopped fitting as nicely as they used to. Opportunities stopped falling into her lap as they had before.
Granted, even at her “rock bottom,” Rory’s options are a lot nicer than mine will ever be: crash at Grandma’s mansion or spend the night in London with “Didi”? I wish I had those choices. Instead, I’m more likely to Airbnb my way through my bank account until someone is foolish enough to hire me. But I still appreciate the sentiment. We finally get a glimpse of what happens after the happily ever after, when the path starts winding beyond anyone’s control. We finally see what happens when things don’t go according to plan.
Spoiler Alert!: We finally see what happens when Rory is single and pregnant.
I’m sure the cliffhanger ending nearly guarantees the return of another season, but a part of me hopes the show ends as is. As much as I want to know if it’s the Wookiee’s baby or Logan’s — oh, I almost forgot, it could also be Paul’s — I can’t remember the last time a dramedy ended so raw.
We need more people like Paris with her empty briefcase reminding us that cushions are meant to be on sofas, not under our feet as we trek through life. We need more people to talk about grieving. We need more people to tell us what it’s like to stare at someone you love pine over someone else. We need something raw.
Granted, the fact that Rory is 32 and going through the problems I anticipate facing at 25 is a little jarring — but, as with most episodes of “Gilmore Girls,” it left me feeling hopeful. For different reasons this time.
I finally felt normal.
Maybe perfection will revert to being a goal and never a reality. If life handed a pile of bile to someone as pristine as Rory Gilmore, then maybe the rest of us muck aren’t too far off.
Contact Ilaf Esuf at [email protected].