Gilmore Girls: A Year of Finding Oneself

If you have yet to watch the Gilmore Girls revival, first of all, what are you doing?? And second, don’t read ahead if you don’t want any SPOILERS.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way… I loved the revival! I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan (see post from February if you need more proof), and have been anxiously awaiting the revival all year for the past nine years. Instead of detailing every little thought I have about the revival, such as whether I liked the ending and THE LAST FOUR WORDS (I loved it) or if there should be more episodes (NO), I will talk about the one theme that stuck out to me the most: finding yourself.

In the revival, the three Gilmore women are all at a crossroads. Emily is coping with the loss of her husband and learning how to live as a widow, Lorelai is having a mid-life crisis, and Rory is experiencing a career rut that seeps into every aspect of her life.

Gilmore Girls
Credit: Netlfix

Let’s start with Emily. She probably had the best character development of anyone in the show. During the original series and in the revival, Emily often mentions how long she was married and how all she knew was being a wife. By the time Richard died, they’d been married for 50 years.

Watching Emily find her independence in Richard’s absence was beautiful. We watched her completely break down (she wore JEANS!) and then build herself back up again. I love how she quit the DAR, sold the house, and moved to Nantucket. She seemed so free. Without the pressure of social expectations, I felt that she could finally be her true self. And she got a job! She was so full of life when doing the demonstration at the whaling museum and I felt so happy for her.

In the revival, Rory said to Lorelai, “Did you ever imagine a time where there would be a grandma without a grandpa?” All throughout the original series it’s hard to think of the two separately. They’re Emily and Richard. They’re basically one entity. Seeing Emily at the end of the last episode, though, I knew she’d discovered who she is on her own.

Lorelai’s storyline was interesting because while she’s had her share of low points and emotional breakdowns, she’s always been certain of who she is and what she wants. In the revival, though, she seems to have some sort of mid-life crisis after her father’s death. Richard’s passing makes her evaluate her relationship with Luke, her way of running the inn, and her happiness.

So what does Lorelai do? Well, after some therapy sessions the nature-hating couch potato decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail like in the book *not the movie* Wild. At first I thought this was a crazy idea, but then she went out to California and I started to think that she would actually do it. After only two minutes of staring out over a green expanse of fields and mountains, though, Lorelai seems to find clarity.

Credit: Netflix

I’m not sure how realistic this, but I’m glad it worked for her. Lorelai was then able to be emotional about her father, tell Luke she wanted to get married, and agree to let Rory write a book about the two of them. The revival allowed Lorelai to be more vulnerable, which is big considering the wall she’d been putting up for years.

For Rory, the revival was about discovering what she wanted to do with her life career-wise. We all know the original series ended with her leaving to cover Obama on the campaign trail. The revival picks up with her being a freelance writer. After a few opportunities fall through, though, Rory starts to doubt her career path, which honestly isn’t surprising. Rory likes praise and when she doesn’t do well, she falls apart.

The revival shows her working on an article for GQ, co-writing a biography, being offered a teaching job, being headhunted by an online magazine, taking over the Stars Hollow Gazette, and eventually settling on writing a memoir. Rory had many opportunities in front of her, but she struggled to take advantage of them.

I’ve read many, many articles over the past few days that criticize Rory by calling her a bad journalist, irresponsible, and entitled. While this may be true, I think she also had no idea what she wanted. I kind of wish she had joined the 30-something gang that was so mocked in the revival because I think they could have helped her.

Credit: Netflix

By the end of the revival, Rory had written the first three chapters of her memoir about her and Lorelai. She said it was the easiest thing she’d ever written and that the words had flowed out of her. Maybe this whole time Rory was destined to be an author, not a journalist. (Side note: for the sake of my dreams, someone please tell me it’s possible to be both.) (Second side note: I have many thoughts about Rory and will likely write another blog post completely dedicated to those thoughts. There’s no such thing as too many Gilmore Girls posts, and if you disagree, well you’re reading the wrong blog.)

The notion of finding yourself has always been important to me and I love that this theme was so present in the Gilmore Girls revival. At the beginning of the year I wrote a post about living authentically and being myself. Part of this experience has included discovering who I am. I’m definitely not there yet, especially because I’m in this weird post-grad almost-adult stage of my life, but I think I’ve made strides.

Like Rory, I’ve been learning about what interests me and what I want to be writing about. I just hope I have a firmer grasp on what I’m doing by the time I’m her age. If not, I may have to pull a Lorelai and do a Wild trip of my own.


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