Many of us are excitedly awaiting "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" on Netflix this November. It’s been nine long years since we abruptly said goodbye to the fast-talking mother-daughter duo and the eccentric brood of Stars Hollow inhabitants. The last episode left so much open to change. Rory accepted a last-minute assignment from an online magazine to cover Barack Obama’s campaign, a pretty stellar gig for a new graduate. Lorelai continued running her inn along with Sookie, not far from her parents, Richard and Emily, whom she had grown closer to throughout the series. She remained on good terms with Luke even though they had never fulfilled their engagement.
So many things could have happened since 2007, which is part of the excitement for longtime fans. We all wonder where our favorite Stars Hollow characters are doing in 2016, and not just Lorelai and Rory, but also Emily, Sookie, Lane, Mrs. Kim, Michel, and even Kirk and Taylor, while we also mourn beloved Richard.
Yet, the majority of interviews I've read online and watched on TV have focused on which guy Rory will end up with: Logan, Jess, Dean or someone new? And the big, looming question … will Lorelai really end up with Luke?
What irritates me about this stale line of questioning is that so much has gone on with Rory and Lorelai in their journey together. They each experienced tremendous personal growth. Rory went from being a whip smart high school girl to a Yale graduate with a big heart and an intelligent mind. Why isn't the focus on Rory's career and life experiences?
I’m sick of series that end up with a wedding and, even more so, with the idea that marriage secures a happily ever after.
Even Alexis Bledel, who plays Rory, didn’t consider which guy Rory would end up (if any) when she thought of the new series. “I didn’t even think about it!" she told Entertainment Weekly. "I was wondering what (Rory) had accomplished in her career. I wanted there to be a payoff after all her hard work. She set so many goals and had been so ambitious academically. That’s what I wanted to know.”
As for Lorelai, here's what I want to know: Has her business expanded? Did she ever go back to college and/or open another inn with her best pal, Sookie? But more importantly, how has Rory and Lorelai’s relationship changed since Rory likely moved away? Do they still do Friday night dinners? Has Lorelai grown closer to Emily since Richard’s untimely death?
The show has always centered on the mother-daughter relationship and their personal growth journeys. It was a feminist show in that it displayed a strong set of women who learned and lived for themselves, not just for a man. Lauren Graham (Lorelai) said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “I would be remiss if I didn’t say that Rory and Lorelai’s main strength, even if they believe in true love, is that they have themselves and they have each other. The show is sneakily feminist in that it’s always been great for them to have love, but they’re also OK when they don’t. That self-sufficiency is the first strength and that allows them to have these relationships. It’s why we sometimes bristle at: What team are you on?! It’s like, it doesn’t matter. Rory’s going to be great no matter what. And I think that’s an underlying message of the show, too.”
In 2016, do we really need to have the female leads each end up happily coupled? Is landing a man still our main goal as women? Can't they each be happy on their own, whether a man is in the picture or not?
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I would love to see Rory and Lorelai happy, healthy and content on their own, continuing to have fun on her own terms and living life as confident, independent women. I’m sick of series that end up with a wedding and, even more so, with the idea that marriage secures a happily ever after. Let’s give our daughters examples that young women can create their own happily ever afters—fully fulfilled from the inside, not seeking a man to make her life meaningful, but knowing that she is whole, complete and purely fantastic already.