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The Case for Jess In Gilmore Girls

Sometimes I don’t understand how there are people who still haven’t watched Gilmore Girls (but then, there are also people who haven’t read Harry Potter, including my boyfriend *gasp*). One of my favorite creators, Tessa Violet, is one of them, and I noticed that she’s been tweeting about her experience watching the series recently and made this declaration:

Which prompted her to post this poll because the proverbial question of Gilmore Girls (despite the show’s actual intentions) was always “Who does Rory belong with?”

While the general consensus of the poll was that they were all terrible boyfriends (which, YES), Tessa was more concerned that Logan even got a few votes.

I’m like Tessa and have never quite understood so many people’s fascination with Logan Huntzberger. While the revival made it pretty clear that Logan was Rory’s Christopher, how can anyone think that’s actually a good thing when we’ve seen all the chaos Christopher has wrought in the lives of Gilmore women?

But I’m not really here to talk about Logan because there are plenty of defenders and naysayers. Instead, I wanted to address why I voted for Jess, because while I know “Team Jess” has a strong following, and again, the revival made clear the parallels of Jess and Rory to Luke and Lorelei, there are just as many (if not more) Jess haters.

First though, let me give you a little bit of background. I was in high school when Gilmore Girls was still on the air, and I found myself living the “Rory Gilmore Love Life” as my first boyfriend was rather Dean-esque in his saccharine exterior (he’s the perfect boyfriend!) with an underbelly of possessive and controlling behavior. I eventually broke up with him and ended up dating a Jess-like unstable and selfish guy. When that relationship ultimately ended in tears because he just STOPPED ACKNOWLEDGING ME, I fled back to the Dean-esque “First Love” which ultimately ended in him being rather emotionally abusive. My boyfriends during college and later weren’t quite so Gilmore Girls inspired fortunately, and as far as I can tell, I don’t think I’ve dated a Logan. (And I like to think that this is due in part to being a smart and self-respecting young woman. But boys like that can sneak up on you, no matter how Rory-Gilmore-Smart you are).

Now far removed from all this high school relationship drama, I sometimes look back and see the uncanny parallels and wonder WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME? Because I was watching the show and I knew that the way Rory was being treated was wrong, but I went back to my daily life where I was basically living the IRL version. (Fortunately, there was no cheating with the high school sweetheart which I consider Rory’s first real low point).

But I always held a soft spot for Jess, even if high school Jess and my own IRL Jess were pretty dumpy boyfriends in hindsight. So I have to say that standard arguments from Jess hates are actually pretty sound.  He was selfish, unstable, and abandoned Rory several times during the course of their relationship. And it’s pretty easy (even for a Jess lover like me) to come to the conclusion that he’s absolutely NOT high school boyfriend material for Rory.

But the thing is, Jess didn’t grow up to be a selfish and unstable person. And while he wasn’t the boyfriend Rory deserved when she was 16, he was at least a driving force for good in her adult life. (e.g. Telling her to go back to Yale and stop living in her grandparents’ pool house because that’s not the Rory we know and love!)

And this idea of Jess being the “responsible and down-to-earth” guy continued in the 2016 Netflix revival despite his minimal screen time because again, he was the one to give Rory the idea to write a book about her life story. Essentially, adult Jess has his life together and functions as an encourager for Rory. While I’m not entirely sure that the self-involved and snobbish Rory we saw in the revival (or even really the later seasons of the original Gilmore Girls run) deserves to be with Jess, I think he’s plenty worthy of being considered “boyfriend material.”

But also, yeah, Logan sucks.  😜

Are you Team Jess, Dean, Logan, or All of Them Suck? Tell me why in the comments!

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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life // A Non-Spoiler Review

gilmore-girls-non-spoiler

Are you on the fence about watching the Gilmore Girls Revival? Looking for a review that will ease your mind on which way to go without spoiling the whole experience for you?  Then you’ve come to right place!  I made a SPOILER-heavy review on my YouTube channel which you can watch at the end of this blog post, but I thought I’d create a non-spoiler-y review for those looking for such!

Winter

The first episode of the revival is a love letter to Gilmore Girls fans in my opinion. It’s got all the beautiful nostalgic moments, characters, and scenes you could ask for. You quickly get back into the witty banter and see what all your favorite characters have been doing these last few years. (And in the case of the town of Stars Hollow, it somehow seems to have stayed exactly the same besides the addition of a little more technology).  It also addresses Richard’s death pretty early on and how the three Gilmore women are processing it. And I don’t think it’s too spoiler-y to say that his absence is what propels them forward into many of the events seen in the revival.  And it’s this story arc that I found the most true to the Gilmore Girls legacy and also moving and enjoyable.

The only real detriment to this episode is that we find Lorelei in the place where she seems to have backtracked on some of the growth and maturity we saw in the original series. It works for the arc as a whole and is resolved by the end, but for me, it felt somewhat disappointing to her character. I really had expected her to be a little more grown up 8/9 years after the events of the original series.

Spring

Where Winter is mostly fun and nostalgic, Spring starts to introduce the conflicts we know are going to influence the revival’s arc as a whole. For me, Spring was made especially fun because of Paris and her high-school flashbacks and insecurities. I’ve always wondered if I was the only one who felt them! But fear not! Even the amazing and bull-headed Paris Geller isn’t immune to the pull of horrific high school memories!

Summer

Maybe I missed something or I’m just not remembering correctly, but I don’t remember there being a Stars Hollow Community Pool. Nevertheless, there is one now! So don’t let it bother you too much like it did me. This is the only episode I didn’t really like and it was mostly because there’s a GIANT musical in the middle. Not just one scene with half a song to suggest at the idea of a musical, but AN ENTIRE MUSICAL. I’m telling you this now and possibly kind of spoiling it for you, because it’s just so weird and drawn-out and I’ve seen many people complaining about it. I want you to be prepared. I do still think it’s worth watching though, and this episode ends on the classic Gilmore Girls dramatic cliffhanger so power through 15 minutes of slightly disturbing musical for ending drama!

Fall

Where I was not a big fan of Summer, I was very pleased with Fall on the whole. It’s different in many ways than the traditional Gilmore Girls episode, but I feel like by the end of the revival arc, the places that each character is at and the resulting use of setting and cinematography fit with each one.  It also ties things up in a nice happy bow, except for those last four words. But you’ll have to watch to find those out!

Other Thoughts and Issues You Might Be Wondering About

Sookie’s absence was sorely felt, but I think it worked well for the journey that Lorelei goes on. She’s missing pieces of herself in several different places and she has to find a way to put herself back together for her future success. So though I missed Sookie’s presence, I didn’t feel like it was a detriment to the story as whole.

Watch, Skip, or Wait?

If you were a long-time Gilmore Girls fan, I would definitely say watch!  It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s full of nostalgia, and does address some issues left unresolved in the original series.  If you’re only vaguely aware of the Gilmore Girls world, I will warn you that this isn’t your average Netflix release. It’s not truly meant to be accessible by anyone. You do need a decent understanding of the original storyline. I’d say that if you watched or read a recap of the original series and are interested in seeing the revival, go for it!  I can’t imagine you’ll experience the nostalgia that my mom and I did while watching, but I think it’ll still be an enjoyable experience.

And is there any reason to wait on watching it or skip it all together? If you’re super invested in the characters as you knew them in 2008, I might suggest skipping it. You have to understand that we’re revisiting the town and story several years later and there are obviously going to be changes. We are also now adding to the story and it’s possible there will be additions that you don’t like, depending on your interpretation of the characters and the world. So basically, skip it if you’re worried your world will be shattered by tiniest change in character development!  Good luck! Have fun! And let me know what you think!

And don’t forget about my video review!

A Spoiler-Heavy Review (But a Great Place for Support After You’ve Watched The Revival!)