Gilmore Girls has never been a show about perfection. If anything, it is largely about the juxtaposition between the cliched storybook town of Stars Hollow, and the complex, flawed individuals who serve as its residents. And of course, the primary focus is on the titular Gilmore girls, young mother Lorelai and her daughter Rory trying to navigate life in Stars Hollow and beyond.
That’s exactly what has always made Gilmore Girls so relatable. Lorelai doesn’t always get things right as a mother, daughter, girlfriend, or human being, but she’s trying. Ditto for Rory who, at the outset of the show, is being pulled between the modest, independent life that her mother wants for her, and the charmed, wealthy life that her grandparents are all too willing to give her. In fact, it quickly becomes apparent that Rory is the character who has the most evolving to do– and the show is arguably her story more than it is Lorelai’s.
Unfortunately, for as much as the show wants us to follow and focus on Rory, it also doesn’t always do the best job at actually making us want to root for her. Sure, some of that is by design, as Gilmore Girls isn’t supposed to be about a perfect girl growing into a perfect woman. For fans who love rewatching their favorite series again and again, there are simply some issues with Rory’s characterization that we have to overlook in order to enjoy Gilmore Girls.
Here are 20 Things Wrong With Rory Gilmore We All Choose To Ignore.
20 She’s ungrateful to Lorelai
While any mother is expected to make major sacrifices when she has a child and switch focus her life focus to her child, this is especially true of mothers who have children young, as they are also forced to give up the final years of their adolescence and become responsible caregivers instead.
Not only does Rory seem to take for granted all Lorelai has had to do to give Rory the rather comfortable life she has even before her grandparents come into the picture, but she has been ungrateful to Lorelai in many instances. Rory cut Lorelai out of her life completely more than once over perfectly normal mother/daughter fights, she missed her mom’s graduation, and she casually threw away various opportunities that her mom sacrificed and fought for her to have.
19 She Stole A Boat
The older Rory got, the less room there was to excuse her character flaws and impulse control problems because she was no longer just some precocious kid who didn’t know any better.
Rory has never been able to handle criticism well– and that’s a problem many of us have, to be fair– but it’s the way she acts out whenever she is criticized that is hard to reconcile. In this case, she decides that the best way to soothe her fragile ego is to steal a yacht. Sure, she gets in serious trouble for it, but it still doesn’t do much to make up for how immature and petty of an action it was, and for a silly reason– not that there is ever a “good reason” to commit grand larceny.
18 She’s A Bad Friend To Lane
Rory’s BFF Lane is definitely among the most popular characters on Gilmore Girls. Not only is she among the best-liked non-Gilmores on the show, she is simply a fan-favorite character, period. We’ve watched her grow and evolve over the course of Gilmore Girls‘ run in a more in-depth way than probably any character on the show besides the Gilmores and Luke.
There is just one problem: Rory isn’t always very good friend to Lane, despite how awesome she is. Their friendship is often one-sided, and generally focused on whatever Rory is going through at the time or what problems she needs to discuss. Lane is always there for Rory, and Rory rarely returns the favor.
17 She stays with Dean when she wants Jess
It’s not terribly uncommon for people’s romantic tastes to change. As we grow up, what we want in other people shifts and grows. Rory’s first love was Dean, the boy next door and an all-around great guy, but they never really connected intellectually.
Then came Jess. The problem is not that Rory wanted Jess, but that she didn’t end things with Dean in a respectful fashion when her feelings changed. Treating Dean that way when he had done nothing wrong was unacceptable, and it started things with Jess off on the wrong foot. When her feelings for Jess turned into actions, things really crossed the line, but we’ll get more into that later.
16 She Completely Abandons Her Books
Much was made of Rory’s love for reading during the original run of Gilmore Girls. There are multiple websites that list all 339 books that Rory is either seen reading on the show or directly references in some way, and there are various reading challenge programs that task fans with trying to imitate Rory’s insatiable love for books and the insight she gained from them.
That all seemed to change in A Year in the Life, when Rory was seen reading a whopping one book for the entire mini-series. Fine, sometimes people’s tastes change and they grow out of things they were into when they were young, but it seems out of character that she would completely abandon her love of reading.
15 She Shouldn’t Have Made Valedictorian
In the early episodes of Gilmore Girls, Paris Gellar was set up as an antagonist to Rory. She was a typical Type A overachiever who thought nothing of talking down to and stepping on anyone who she deemed beneath her and/or in her way. Paris was definitely a character we loved to hate for a little while, until her sad backstory came to light and she and Rory started to chill on their rivalry.
We eventually came to actually root for Paris, which made it all the more frustrating when she lost out on being named valedictorian– which she definitely deserved– to Rory of all people. Rory was borderline failing out of Chilton Academy in the beginning, so that she turned it around enough to be named valedictorian over the academically superior Paris made no sense whatsoever.
14 She Was Oblivious To Chilton’s Paper
Most schools, especially higher-end schools like Chilton Academy, have a school paper of some kind. It stands to reason that anyone who is even remotely interested in a future career in journalism would be all over trying to work for the school paper, both for the fun and for the experience.
Somehow, Rory is completely oblivious to Chilton even having a paper for nearly a year before she “finds out” about it. This certainly seems odd for someone who’s very concerned about padding out her transcript to get into Harvard. Perhaps it was just sloppy storytelling and not Rory’s fault, but as we’ll find discuss, she could’ve used that extra year of journalism training.
13 She’s just like the rest of the Chilton kids
Rory initially struggles to fit in at Chilton Academy– and initially didn’t even want to go there in the first place– because she didn’t feel as though she fit in with the school’s student body, a group of spoiled brats with rich parents who turn their noses up at anyone who isn’t like them.
We initially feel for Rory being such a major fish out of water, except for one little problem– she’s not so different from the other kids at Chilton, especially the more time she spends with her grandparents. After maybe her first semester, her attitude that she doesn’t belong among spoiled rich kids and being judgmental of them stops making much sense, as in many ways, she’s more like them than her former public school classmates.
12 She’s treated like the princess of Stars Hollow
One of the biggest plot points of A Year in the Life is that Rory has kind of failed at adulthood and has to come back to Stars Hollow and her mother. It may seem natural to worry that the people of Stars Hollow are going to look down on her for having come crawling back with her tail between her legs.
However, that’s not the Stars Hollow way. Everyone is over the moon to see Rory again, and is nothing but warm and kind to her as they run into her. The town has treated Rory as its crown princess for her entire life, so all she can say to someone who greets her with a huge smile and says “You’re back!” is to shoot back “I’m not back!” with full-on daggers for eyes.
11 Her irresponsible spending
To be fair, television is full of people living lifestyles that they shouldn’t be able to afford. Nobody on Friends should be able to afford those massive NYC lofts, even with roommates. Sex and the City‘s Carrie Bradshaw shouldn’t be able to afford her nice apartment and closet full of designer shoes by just writing a weekly relationship column. It’s unfortunate that Gilmore Girls and Rory fall into that same cliche.
Still, we can’t help but wonder how Rory was able to afford her Brooklyn apartment and her frequent trips to London when, by her own admission, she was mostly broke and was barely freelancing. Some of her gigs were for free, no less. Even though it all eventually catches up with her, it should’ve done so much sooner.
10 She Completely Forgets About Paul
There is a lot to unpack about Rory and her love life, and we’ve only touched on it thus far in this list. On=ne of the most bizarre aspect of her boyfriend history is Paul, a man who Rory seems to literally forget about any time she isn’t specifically talking to him or looking at him.
It kind of becomes an overarching joke in the whole of A Year in the Life that Paul is completely forgettable and nobody can seem to retain his name or anything about him 30 seconds after he leaves a room. Rory is the one who is actually supposed to be romantically involved with him, so it makes absolutely no sense that she is just constantly forgetting that he exists. It makes her seem incredibly callous and self-involved.
9 She’s A Bad Reporter
Much of Gilmore Girls had built to Rory eventually becoming a journalist. She was an avid reader, she joined the school paper, and she chose her college based on it being a good entry point into her journalism career. Sure enough, she eventually becomes an intern for her dream job.
Unfortunately, she’s also not very good at it. When Mitchum Huntzberger tells her during her internship at the Stamford Eagle-Gazette that she “don’t got it,” we’re supposed to hate him and feel sorry for her. While he’s being cruel, he’s also not wrong. She really doesn’t have “it.” She never should have gotten as far along as she did with what is obviously a lack of skill for that career, and she shouldn’t be given a job she doesn’t deserve just because she’s Rory Gilmore.
8 She chooses her grandparents’ lifestyle over Lorelai’s
Whether you agree with Lorelai shutting her parents out or not, it was her decision to make and she was entitled to decide she wanted to try to make her own way and raise her daughter in a modest, self-made fashion and without having to rely on her parents’ money and influence.
Rory to just undoes all that and lets her grandparents essentially bankroll her life, spoiling her in all the ways Lorelai didn’t want for herself or her daughter. Just because Lorelai needed them to help get Rory into Chilton– and the result was them being back in her and Rory’s life– shouldn’t have given Rory carte blanche to just go all-in on a life of wealth and privilege.
7 She Hangs Out With The Logan’s Spoiled Rich Friends
Much of Gilmore Girls shows Rory being at odds with the upper-class trappings she increasingly finds herself surrounded by.
All of that seems to go out the window when she becomes wrapped up in the “Life and Death Brigade,” which is literally just a group of rich kids who are bored of being rich kids and rebel against that by spending lots of money and only doing things that rich kids would be able to do. Rory should be reluctant to join that motley crew, but she isn’t– and she seems to have a blast being a part of the shenanigans of bored, spoiled brats.
6 She Drops Out Of Yale For A Silly Reason
Here we are again, discussing another of Rory’s over-the-top reactions to the mere action of being criticized by another person. When she is told by the aforementioned Mitchum Huntzberger that she is no good at journalism, she decides to just quit school altogether.
The show indicates that Rory isn’t a good reporter and probably should rethink her career plans– as she does, eventually. Perhaps that’s what the harsh words of Mitchum should’ve resulted in, not her just completely abandoning school altogether. This may be part of why Lorelai wanted a non-charmed life for her daughter– so she could actually develop a thick enough skin to not fall apart every time someone is a little mean to her.
5 She Runs Off To Europe Because Lorelai Criticized Her
There seems to be a theme forming here. Only this example of Rory overreacting to criticism might be the worst one of all, because parents are kind of supposed to criticize you. It doesn’t do anyone any favors to have parents who do nothing but praise and coddle their children no matter what mistakes they make– like, say, having affairs with attached men.
The simple act of Lorelai rightfully calling out Rory for getting back with Dean is enough to cause Rory to think up the most vicious revenge against her mother that she could– which, in this case, was spending an entire summer in Europe with her grandmother. That is also another example of Rory being all too willing to enjoy her grandparents’ money, in a double-whammy revenge play against her mother that was completely unwarranted.
4 Her attitude in her job interviews
In the revival, Rory is struggling and needs money. The only reason she is having trouble getting a job certainly has to be because the opportunities simply aren’t presenting themselves, right?
In fact, Rory lands job interviews– and good ones, too. However, she is convinced that the jobs are beneath her, and basically blows all of her interviews by not bothering to hide that fact. It’s fine to think you are too good for a job, but you should at least respect the time of the person who carved out a part of their day to interview you. She seemed to expect her potential employers to court her, rather than the other way around.
3 She Gets Mad At Her Grandfather For Doing Her A Huge Favor
Lorelai wanted so badly for Rory to grow up and be a self-made woman like she is. She didn’t want Rory to have the easy life of privilege that was available to Lorelai via her rich parents. A s we know, that was ultimately a losing battle as Rory wound up living with her grandparents later in the series. While she was willing to accept her grandparents’ help, she didn’t always show her gratitude.
One such example of her taking her grandparents for granted is during a particularly embarrassing scene where her grandfather pulls some strings and gets an important interview set up for her. Rory loses it on him because she doesn’t like what she is wearing and she feels put on the spot. Seems reasonable.
2 She Writes A Book About Her Mom’s Life
In all fairness, a lot of people thought that Rory’s decision to write a book was a nice “ending” to her character arc. She finally does right by her aspirations as a writer and is doing something of substance for perhaps the first time in her life.
There’s just one not-so-little problem– the book she is writing is about her mother’s life, and Lorelai flat-out tells her she isn’t cool with that. Rory wanted to do it, so she goes ahead and does it anyway. Lorelai is all too willing to forgive and forget, as usual, but that does little to change how disrespectful this was.
1 She’s unfaithful
Where to even begin on this one. There almost isn’t even enough room here to fully detail all of the poor choices Rory has made in terms of her personal life. She started things off by kissing Jess when she was still dating Dean. Then she engaged in a relationship with Dean years later, once he was married. Finally, in the revival, she was unfaithful to her boyfriend Paul by engaging in a secret relationship with Logan, who was engaged to another woman.
The facts prove that Rory is a frequent philanderer and seems to have no problem being the “other woman.” Where’s her respect for monogamy?
What other problems with Rory do Gilmore Girls fans choose to ignore? Let us know in the comments!