Rory’s Boyfriends (Are All Dumb)

As the release of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life gets closer and I embark on my (approximately) hundredth rewatch, I find myself revisiting the question so many fans of the show contemplate and discuss with great fervor: Which of Rory’s boyfriends was the best? Jess seems to be a fan favorite (and for a while, yours truly agreed), but upon further investigation – AKA my own personal opinions taking more solid form – I have decided that there is no good answer to this question. Rory Gilmore definitely had ups and downs in the series with her decision making, but let’s face it, she is the most treasured resident of Stars Hollow and deserves the best. And if we take a close look at all of the gents she chooses to spend her time with, I have to say, they’ve all got pretty significant vices. In my opinion, some vices are easier to deal with than others. But all in all, while Dean, Logan, and Jess all make Rory happy in their own ways, I personally think all of them strike out big time in winning the spot of who she should be end up with. Let’s discuss…

Dean
Oh, Dean. Keeping it completely real, I know that Dean was actually the perfect first boyfriend. He got along with Lorelai, he escorted Rory to the cotillion, he built her a car, and he listened to all the rules of movie night with the Gilmores. But the turning point of their relationship was definitely the 3-month anniversary “I love you”. In Dean’s defense, it’s not easy to express your feelings for someone and not have them reciprocated, especially when they’re that significant. And on the other hand, in Rory’s defense, Dean needed to calm down. Couldn’t he have given Rory a hot minute to let everything process? It was obvious she cared for him a lot, and being young and not entirely sure if you’re ready to say I love you is completely valid, so he should have respected that. End of relationship for the first time.

When they get back together, their relationship is threatened both by Jess moving to Stars Hollow and Rory getting ready to go to college. In my opinion, the way Dean handled the latter bothered me more than the way he acted toward Jess. While some of his overprotective behavior often left me rolling my eyes – get over yourself and be mad at Rory too, because she’s as much to blame – he was definitely justified in not liking the guy his girlfriend clearly had feelings for. But when it came to supporting Rory’s journey to an ivy league school, Dean did a really bad job. Sure, Rory was often blinded by her one track mind toward Harvard, but when you’re in high school and you’re working toward achieving a dream you’ve had forever, it deserves some support. The amount of times Dean got mad at Rory for prioritizing schoolwork over the two of them hanging out was super off-putting. Rory worked too hard to be punished with that bullshit guilt. And even though it was ugly and public and I don’t agree with Rory stringing Dean along for too long, they finally broke up for good. OR SO WE THOUGHT.

First of all, even if you didn’t recognize how dumb Dean was in the beginning, it was pretty solidified when he got married. Despite everyone having a different path in life, Rory was completely justified in being disappointed with Dean for giving up his spot in college when he had to deal with the responsibilities that came along with being married. And because we can’t enjoy nice things – like Luke and Lorelai finally getting together – Rory and Dean have to get back together again. While the demise of this third attempt at a relationship is not completely Dean’s fault, he still somehow manages to continue digging himself into a deeper hole with Rory that he can’t figure his way out of. Sure, they’re enjoying themselves and doing the sex and getting wrapped up in the nostalgia of their first loves, but they should have known the complications of getting back together while Dean was still married. I would even go as far to say that Rory’s third relationship with Dean marked the beginning of her string of bad decisions while in college. Fight me about it.

Jess
I know, I know, he’s beautiful. Hear me out, though. The entire Dean/Jess battle was dumb. I don’t think there is a couple in the history of the world that actually benefitted from playing games with one another instead of just using their words. In my opinion, you’re better off getting to the point or else it’s just going to cause more problems. So it was #NotCool for Jess and Rory to be doing the flirty stuff while she was still technically with Dean. Plus, Jess using that girl from his high school to make Rory jealous? #ReallyNotCool. Not only did that reinforce the idea that the only female character he bothered to be decent to was Rory, but it was also another unnecessary distraction from both of them needing to stop dancing around the fact that they wanted to be together. Seriously, folks, the best relationship advice anyone could ever give is use your words.

But okay, whatever, Dean finally made the move to step away and Rory and Jess were officially a thing. And things seemed to be okay, even though Jess could have made more of an effort to be chill with Lorelai. And he could have respected Luke more. And he could have been less paranoid about Dean, considering Jess had formally taken his place as Rory’s boyfriend and she proved pretty consistently that he was the one she wanted to be with. But other than those minor details (she typed sarcastically), the two seemed pretty happy. He was on board with Rory going to Yale and he attempted to meet the grandparents and their bond over books was unmistakably precious.

And then the honeymoon period fizzled out and, look at that, Jess returned to being a closed off, low-key boyf. And with Rory getting ready to transition into college, this wasn’t complementary. Plus, he did so much lying. Yall, he lied to EVERYBODY!!!! I don’t know how Rory put up with it for as long as she did. Jess became so obsessed with the idea of getting out of Stars Hollow that it became his only priority – behind school, and behind his relationship with Rory. What started out as a few lies about where Jess spent his time ended up being a big mess for the people in his life who cared about him. Among the excitement of Rory’s Chilton career coming to an end and a new one beginning at Yale, she had to deal with the fact that her boyfriend was constantly disappearing and refusing to open up about what he wanted in life. And after the entire Kyle’s bedroom debacle, Rory decided she’d had enough. Or maybe Jess decided, it’s still unclear, as are all of Jess’s motivations for the decisions he makes. We get a few answers about Jess as the series continues, but it’s pretty certain that he was too unpredictable for Rory. Which might be a good enough justification if it wasn’t for…Logan.

Logan
Full disclosure, Logan SUX. Okay, moving on. If you watched through season four and thought Jess was the “bad boy”, your definition was about to be refined. Considering Logan was rich and took the Richard and Emily route in life, he was incredibly spoiled. It wasn’t surprising that these experiences influenced the way he treated women, as well as people in general. Everything was Logan’s for the taking. In Rory’s defense, she did not go after Logan at his immediate beck and call. She challenged his behaviors in a way that was clearly intriguing to him, and Logan eventually decided to commit to relationship rather than lose Rory completely But that didn’t mean he was suddenly about to change all of his ways. Even if you were to ignore the awful way his family treats Rory – which is pretty difficult to ignore, but hypothetically – their relationship is still built off morals that are clearly not Rory. Stealing the yacht; duh. Dropping out of Yale; duh. Giving up on her dream of becoming a reporter, and instead, working for the DAR…DUH. Before Logan, just the thought of all of these scenarios would have had Rory laughing in your face. It was beyond out of character for her to do all of these things, and rather than Logan supporting what was clearly the best decisions for Rory – as they were her decisions – he just goes along with the derailment of her future. Had he actually cared about her, he would have made more of an effort to encourage her to go back to Yale and continue pursuing her dreams. Let’s not forget Logan’s analysis of Rory’s situation: “It’s all temporary, just have a drink.”

As for their first “break up”, as all of you Friends fans know, there is always confusion with the idea of taking a break vs. breaking up and how that affects whether or not you can/should sleep with other people. According to Rory, the two were taking a break, during which she THANKFULLY didn’t go back to Dean (lol). But Logan took the first opportunity he had to go back to his old ways, which he was not honest about with Rory until she heard it from his sister’s friends. WHAT EVEN!!!! With all of the struggles Rory and Logan went through to reach a common ground about their relationship being exclusive, Logan should have been more conscious about how that behavior would reflect on him according to Rory. Come on, dude, she practically spelled it all out for you. Keep up.

And THEN. Yall. The proposal. WHAT THE HECK. I understand the desire for spontaneity with that sort of thing, but the two had never even discussed their future beyond Yale or the idea of marriage. And then he proposed to her in front of an entire audience and put her on the spot. Think about it. He had clearly been thinking about this decision for a while, but in the moment, Rory only had about 10 seconds to make up her mind. And thankfully she handled the situation as best as possible by saying, “Uh, no thank you, but let’s chat about this.” Especially because Rory had made such strides in getting her life back on track to where she wanted it, it made sense that marriage would be the furthest thing from her mind. She was focused on finishing up at Yale and getting a reporting job and repairing her relationship with her mom; once again, because it was the world according to Logan, he didn’t take this into consideration and simply did what he wanted. All of his behaviors and the way he viewed his relationship with Rory were affected by being endlessly spoiled. From Logan’s point of view, he could never quite understand why Rory didn’t agree with the way he made decisions for his life. And if I could make a bold assumption, he never really figured it out. Up until the very end when Rory chose her career over Logan, I would bet anything that he just found another girl to take her place and fulfill the Huntzberger plan.

It’s no doubt that we’re all interested to see how these dudes fit into the story of Rory’s life beyond season 7. But I’m going to be honest, I don’t think Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life should settle the Dean vs. Jess vs. Logan debate by writing one of them to live happily ever after with Rory. Maybe Rory has a brand new dude that’s perfect for her. Maybe her and Marty cross paths again and realize they were meant to be together. Maybe she doesn’t want to get married. I guess we’ll have to wait and find out what happens. And until November, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that we get some satisfying answers.

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Bo Burnham, Waitress, #GirlLove, and The Fosters

Hi friends!!!! It’s definitely been a while! Right now I’m trying to get back into the routine of writing on a somewhat regular basis, so I figured I’d do something simple. So many thoughts are floating around in my head about fun stuff I’ve been wanting to share, so I decided to put it all in one post. These are some of the the things I’ve been really digging lately, dudes!

Make Happy—Bo Burnham

I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve watched Bo Burnham’s Netflix special what. So obviously, when I heard his new show (filmed right near my old stomping grounds in Westchester!) was being released on Netflix, I knew to expect something great. And what’s funny is while I really enjoyed the show, Bo Burnham is not the type of person I could imagine giving a shit about a review from a 22-year-old with a blog. But at the same time, his show is so powerful in a really interesting way that I can’t help but comment on it, so I’ll ask for a moment of indulgence. Whenever people discuss the trouble in comedy with “being PC” or worrying about offending people, I always point their attention to Bo. Along with other favorite comedians of mine like Grace Helbig and Aziz Ansari, Bo is a prime example of how you don’t have to be offensive to be funny. It’s a crazy concept that seems impossible to people these days, but watching shows like Make Happy restore my faith in the world of comedy. Mind you, there are a lot of dumb jokes about farts and masturbating, but aren’t we all secretly 12-year-old boys when it comes to what makes us laugh? Maybe that’s just me…oh, well. Bo’s style of comedy combines a series of bits with a lot of song mixed in, which I think really adds to his ability to capture an audience. Music and comedy—is there a better combination? He discusses the familiar and targeted lyrics that are found in country songs, the generic shift that is happening in hip-hop, and the fact that you should not be relying on upbeat, pop anthems to make your troubles go away. So many obvious themes that we all know to be true put into silly songs and paired with amazing delivery. My personal favorite is (obviously) “Straight White Male”. And that one lyric about your dick not being a gift…brilliant shit. The number one theme I take away from Bo’s show is a strong commentary on performance. This commentary does not focus on the fact that Bo is on stage entertaining an audience, but rather the way this gets translated into our everyday lives. Throughout the show, Bo takes time to remind the audience to think about their actions in a number of different ways. By having a thoughtful conversation with the audience about where we choose to focus our attention, Bo gets us to think about performance in a way that is maybe a little meta, but absolutely intriguing and worth an hour of your time.

Waitress

With an amazing cast of talented actors, a moving and authentic storyline, and music by Sara Bareilles (I still can’t spell her name without the help from Google—thanks for lookin’ out, pal), Waitress has been getting a lot of praise lately, and it is definitely all warranted. After seeing the show about a month ago, I still haven’t taken the cast album off repeat. I have always been a big fan of Sara Bareilles’s songwriting, and the translation of her music to the stage with this particular story makes for a great theater experience. The basis of the show surrounds a small town diner with employees who don’t exactly love the way their life is going, especially the main character, Jenna, who is expecting a baby with her manipulating (to put it kindly) husband. Though this is a storyline we’re all familiar with, the cast does a fantastic job bringing a new life to the plot, characters, and message. While I was fairly sure of how the show was going to end, that didn’t leave me uninterested. Far from it, actually. There are so many intricate details attributed to every character that you feel yourself transported to Joe’s Pie Diner with them, rooting for Jenna and her friends so they can live their dreams, no matter the circumstances. I’ve never been great at reviewing theater, mostly because of my firm belief that everyone experiences the story in their own personal way. Just from the soundtrack alone, I am so moved by this work. From Christopher Fitzgerald’s show-stealing “Never Getting Rid of Me” to Jessie Mueller’s emotional solo “She Used To Be Mine”, each of these actors deliver such fresh and captivating performances that I am left wanting more. I am looking forward to seeing this show again, as I am confident it will be running for some time. If anyone is looking for a buddy to accompany them to this masterpiece, just holler. Ya girl is always down to spend some money on quality theater 😉

#GirlLove—Lilly Singh

Amidst all of the drama going on in the media lately, Lilly Singh is an absolute breath of fresh air. She has been one of my favorite content creators for a while—her videos are incredibly genuine and you can always tell the hard work she puts into her passions. Recently, Lilly started encouraging the use of the hashtag #GirlLove on Twitter to emphasize the importance of women supporting each other in a society that so often forces us to be in competition with each other. “Girl-on-girl hate is such a huge issue,” Lilly writes in the description of her first #GirlLove video. “It’s about time we got rid of this lame trend and came together to build women up.” Since this first video was posted, Lilly has worked to raise money for the Malala Fund in honor of educating women around the world, participated with other YouTubers on a #GirlLove panel at Vidcon 2016, and just recently announced a new web series that is dedicated to delivering this powerful message. I’m sure it’s a surprise to nobody that I’m a big fan of this campaign, but it’s not only the feminist in me that loves Lilly’s mission. I always get inspired by the people with platforms like Lilly’s (almost 10 million subscribers…YEAH, SHE’S THAT GOOD) using their voices in order to make a change. Sometimes YouTube gets a bad reputation for people making silly videos and making money off of it—which definitely happens. And while these videos are definitely entertaining, they also have the power to create a platform for people to contribute to the problems we all face everyday. Lilly’s dedication to spreading the message of #GirlLove is so important, especially in a time when we all seem to be so caught up in the drama of people’s lives who we don’t even know. So with this post, I’m shooting some extra #GirlLove to Lilly Singh. You’re killing the game and I can’t wait to see the big moves you make in the future.

The Fosters

I’m not sure there are many people left on this planet who haven’t heard my pitch for jumping on board with Freeform’s incomparable The Fosters, but for the four of you, here’s my rant. Some people may be turned off by the network previously known as ABC Family, afraid of dealing with uninteresting, teen-driven plots for audiences who are fans of shows like Pretty Little Liars, but I beg anyone who appreciates quality storytelling to put those fears aside for the sake of The Fosters. I truly believe this show has some of the best writers on TV right now. The stories they are telling are interesting and complex, but something I really appreciate from these writers is the way they can address topical issues in such a beautiful way without messing with the natural plot. Aside from the fact the very structure of the show is built off diversity and offering multiple perspectives, the audience has the opportunity to take these perspectives to the next level in a very easy way. We see stories about survivors of sexual abuse, long-lasting race issues among families, violence and bullying in schools; while these are topics often portrayed on TV, I feel that we are so used to seeing the same outcome—some kid gets in trouble, or maybe the consequences are prolonged for drama, but eventually there is a happy ending. But The Fosters does an amazing job of delivering some harsh realities. Sometimes there isn’t proper closure and sometimes justice isn’t always achieved by those who truly deserve it. But wrapped up in these harsh realities is a family structure that works toward accepting that what really makes these difficult moments in life worth getting through are the people around you. Listen, I’m not the most dedicated TV watcher. When shows start drifting away from what initially drew me to them in the first place, I tend to lose interest and eventually stop watching. And the more I watched The Fosters, the more I worried this was going to happen. There was so much quality content that I kept thinking “When is this going to start sucking? Can this show really continue being this good?” Thankfully, it did. Of course there are certain plot lines that I’m not crazy about and there are those occasional episodes that don’t excite me as much as others, but overall, it’s definitely a show that continue to love season after season. Every episode, I can’t help but notice how wonderfully certain topics were executed, or how long I am left thinking about conversations that were being portrayed. The Fosters gives quality attention to real life issues, offers real life solutions, and makes us really consider our positions in what we see reflected in our own lives.