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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!