You’ve been warned.
(cross posted from my tumblr)
OK. So. Last night I watched the full four-episode arc of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on Netflix. Overall I enjoyed it. Some of the pros:
- I felt they did a good job making Lorelai likable (sorry, not sorry, she could be a huge brat in the original series). I found where people are in their lives to be believable (except Petal the pig, wtf? no pig stays that size for a full year).
- They managed to soften and humanize Emily Gilmore a little bit without having her character do a completely unbelievable 180 in her personality. Emily Gilmore will always be passive-aggressive and manipulative and shitty to some degree. But it’s nice to see her as a more full person.
- As a Whovian, I was pleasantly surprised with Alex Kingston’s presence!
- I really support the writing decision to have Rory floundering career-wise. She’s part of a generation that was sold the lie that if you are talented and work hard, you will be successful. Showing us her coming to terms with the fact that you can do the “right” things and still fail is beautifully sad.
BUT…in talking about Rory, we have to address a huge CON.
The characterization of Rory Gilmore has always been that she’s a golden child. Everyone in town loves and adores her. She’s been presented to us, the audience, as a super-intelligent, super-mature, super-responsible sweetheart. But then, for the sake of story drama it seems, the writers regularly force her to do selfish, irresponsible things (affair with married Dean? the pouty way she took a break from Yale? etc.). I was so hoping that this new mini-series would bring Rory back to the person we’ve been expected to believe she is. And it almost did…
…except here she is, having an affair all over again. Don’t misunderstand me. This is not about slut shaming. I think her one-nighter with the Wookie was fantastic and such a normal, human thing for her to do. Sex is fine. Cheating is not. Not only did she cheat on her own boyfriend, who she treated like DIRT. (And, sorry, not sorry, no matter how boring or unmemorable your boyfriend is, it doesn’t give you the right to treat them like shit. The whole “darn it! I need to break up with him” schtick wasn’t endearing or cute or funny. It was selfish and cruel.) But she also cheated with an engaged man.
Now, I want to go on the record as saying I LIKE Logan. His family sucks and he was definitely a spoiled brat, especially in the beginning. But unlike a lot of fans, I was actually team-Logan for the original series. I think he and Rory were good for each other. I understand why she didn’t want to settle down and marry him when he proposed, but I would have been very pleased if they got together again someday.
However, I’m not pleased that the getting together again involved both parties cheating on their partners. That’s shitty, no matter how in love you are. Either do the honest thing and ends things with your partner so you can be with the person you prefer or stay the fuck away from each other. Unless all parties are aware and can consent to a poly situation you don’t get to have sex with somebody who isn’t your partner. And in Logan’s case, even if the affair ends, you don’t marry a woman you don’t love enough to be loyal to. That’s just a shitty thing to do to her. A marriage that starts like that is not a marriage built on the things it needs to thrive and last.
Now, that last line.
That’s some major bullshit.
Now, I’ve been told the creator planned that twist all along, way back when making the original series.
I don’t fucking care.
And it’s bad writing.
I don’t care if you want to create a neat little coming-full-circle-surprise. If it’s in contrast to the person your character is, and it has to ignore reality to pull it off, it’s bad writing.
First off, are we really supposed to believe Rory is foolish enough to not properly use birth control? What, growing up the daughter of a teen mom she never learned the importance of safe sex? She’s a highly educated woman. I have a really hard time believing that she’s incapable of using her birth control properly and using two forms just to be on the safe side.
But, ok, let’s pretend that she really fucked up or that maybe she was only using condoms and it broke or something.
Now I’m supposed to believe she wouldn’t head to the pharmacy for Plan B? Really?
But, ok, let’s pretend that she wasn’t aware her birth control had failed and it was too late for Plan B. Fine. This happens to real women, even smart, responsible women.
Are we just pretending that abortion isn’t a thing?
“Mom, I’m pregnant.”
You end the arc on that cliche cliffhanger so you can have the audience going ballistic. “OMG! Who’s the father?! Is it Paul, or Logan, or the Wookie!? AAAAH!”
But am I really supposed to believe that a worldly, educated, broke, single, young, liberal woman who grew up in a single-parent household and knows what sort of sacrifice and struggle raising a child alone entails is not even going to consider terminating a pregnancy because…what? She’s suddenly religious and we never knew it? Because she loves her mom so much and things turned out ok in the end DESPITE all of her mom’s struggles and heartache? She, out of the blue, WANTS a child and nevermind her dreams and goals for her career?
Pregnancy storylines in television are often just trash. They’re usually unrealistic (and not even just when it’s a surprise pregnancy). They’re cheap ploys to create tension and drama (and reductive–a good writer should be able to write women with drama and conflict without resorting to reducing them to incubators for a plot point).
So here we are. Rory is knocked up by either: the ex-boyfriend she obviously feels nothing for, the man she loved but who is engaged to someone else, or a one-night stand. It’s obvious we’re not supposed to expect any of these men will be raising a child with her. So that leaves two paths forward, abortion or single parenthood.
And I’m super pissed that it feels like the show isn’t even planning to acknowledge that the former is an option (assuming they make any more episodes at all).
I imagine that the plot, should it continue, would look something like this. Rory stays in Stars Hollow to have and raise her baby with her mother’s and the community’s help and support. She writes her book and it’s a best seller, conveniently allowing her to “have it all” (kid and successful career). By staying in Stars Hollow she spends more and more time with Jesse and they eventually end up together.
It definitely paints a pretty picture, one that mirrors Lorelai’s story perfectly (which, it seems, is exactly what the writers want). Don’t get me wrong, I like Jesse. He’s definitely outgrown his surly, shitty teen attitude. And a lot of the qualities that made him an insufferable teenager seem to have made him a very thoughtful and likable adult. And now that Logan has shown he’s a cheater and a coward (if you love someone else, break off the fucking engagement, don’t marry someone for status or “dynasty making” or whateverthefuck is motivating you outside of actual love, respect, and desire), I have to say that Jesse would be good for Rory (assuming she treats him with more loyalty and respect than her last boyfriend).
BUT, as likable as Jesse as become, and as nice an aesthetic the full circle storyline might make, if it requires treating abortion like an obvious non-option, then I can’t get behind it. Unless the writers give us a REALLY good portrayal of Rory making a decision and REALLY believable reasons for her to choose giving birth instead of terminating, then I’m going to have to stand by my opinion that this is a cheap trick and bad writing that shows a complete and utter lack of understanding about what abortion is and isn’t and how real women face these sorts of situations.