Those who have read this blog for a while (or have read most or all of the posts) probably know that I was a fan of Gilmore Girls when it was on TV. What’s weird about my enjoyment of the show is that I thought the two titular leads were pretty insufferable. Single mom Lorelai and her daughter Rory were presented as a courageous, witty, attractive mother-daughter duo whom we were supposed to love and root for, but the more I watched, the more I thought, “Holy MOLY does Lorelai ever think the world revolves around herself. And does she ever SHUT UP?!” Yet I generally thought the storytelling on the show was good. Go figure.
Recently the show popped into my head again, and I got to thinking – would any man in the real world consider Lorelai marriage material? During the seven years that the show aired, she had sex with five different men, yet I think very few fans of the show would consider her promiscuous. Let’s break it down:
Max – Rory’s teacher at a prestigious prep school. Seemingly brought together by animal magnetism, Lorelai and Max were on and off until Max, in a fit of frustration, proposed marriage as a way to remain together. This prompted Lorelai to give a speech about how proposals should be Events.
LORELAI: No, it has to be planned. It should be magical. There should be music playing and romantic lighting and a subtle buildup to the popping of the big question. There should be a thousand yellow daisies and candles and a horse and I don’t know what the horse is doing there unless you’re riding it, which seems a little over the top, but it should be more than this.
Of course, Max did just what Lorelai
demanded suggested, and she accepted…
…only to cancel the engagement after calling Rory’s dad (with whom she had already had an impromptu one night stand with on the balcony of her parents’ house during one of her breakups with Max) during her bachelorette party and realizing that she didn’t really want to be married to Max.
Christopher – Lorelai’s high school boyfriend and Rory’s estranged dad who starts the series as an irresponsible screw-up and ends the series as a wealthy man (gotta love inheritances). In addition to having sex with Christopher during a breakup with Max, Lorelai also had sex with him again on the eve of her best friend’s wedding, after finding out that Christopher and his live-in girlfriend were on the outs. The only problem was that the next day, Christopher found out that his girlfriend was pregnant, and he decided to go back to her so he could be there for the child. (But wait, there’s more…)
Alex – A hunky, personality-free guy Lorelai dated briefly.
Jason – A guy Lorelai knew (and used to make fun of) from childhood who went into business with her father. Quirky and persistent, he finally got Lorelai to go out with him – although she insisted that their relationship remain secret. Lorelai finally broke it off with Jason after she found out that he was suing her father for screwing him over in business.
Luke – The gruff diner owner with the good heart who pined for Lorelai for a decade (even while briefly married to another woman after a drunken whim on a cruise ship – !!!) before he finally listened to some self-help tapes and realized that Lorelai was the one for him. After dating for several months (minus a month-long breakup), Lorelai spontaneously proposed to Luke (in order to “feel better” after Rory was arrested for grand theft of a yacht). Luke accepted, but Lorelai put a halt to their wedding plans, stating that she couldn’t get married without Rory being a part of it (the two became estranged after Rory’s arrest and subsequent dropping out of Yale). When Rory and Lorelai reconciled, Lorelai went ahead with planning the wedding, but then it was Luke’s turn to postpone, due to discovering he had a pre-teen daughter by an old girlfriend, and wanting to establish his place in his daughter’s life – without Lorelai’s involvement – before getting married. After months of feeling marginalized and unloved, Lorelai finally gave Luke a tearful ultimatum to elope. He refused, and Lorelai ran off, right back into the arms of…
Christopher (again). Christopher had become a single dad after his wife had left him for a prestigious job opportunity in Paris. He had also become very wealthy due to an inheritance from a deceased relative, and began paying for Rory’s schooling, which brought him back into Lorelai’s life. After Luke rejected Lorelai’s ultimatum, Lorelai went to Christoper for comfort and ended up having sex with him. Then the new writers for the show took over and made Lorelai and Christopher begin dating again and seem like a functional couple until they eloped in Paris, after which Lorelai started exhibiting buyer’s remorse but being completely surprised that her husband would notice and feel hurt about it. After Lorelai wrote a character reference letter for Luke’s custody battle for his daughter, Christopher found it and interpreted it as his wife still having feelings for her ex-fiance. Christoper confronted Lorelai about the letter and stormed off, refusing to answer any of her phone calls for 24 hours. Unfortunately for Christopher, Lorelai’s father had a heart attack during this time, and when Lorelai couldn’t reach Christopher, she decided once and for all that he could never be depended on and that they had made a mistake in getting married. After they separated (with Christopher apologizing to Lorelai for “pressuring” her into marrying him), Lorelai began incorporating Luke into her life again, and realized that he really was the one after she found out that he worked all night to give Rory a going-away party (in the series finale, she leaves to work on the Obama campaign). Of course, Luke was ready to take Lorelai back with open arms, stating that he was willing to give her “all the time she needs.”
My feeling after Lorelai had sex with Christopher after giving Luke the ultimatum was that Luke would have to be CRAZY to take Lorelai back, especially after how things ended between them. How could any man with even a smidgen of self-respect take back a woman who ended their relationship with a crazed, overemotional ultimatum and having sex with her ex who happened to be the father of her child and with whom she had had a number of one-offs? And then – the storytelling debacle of the final season – turn around and date and marry the ex, then split after a couple of months because, oops, she wasn’t thinking straight and she really still did have feelings for her ex-fiance? At the time, before I had even heard of Game, I thought the reasoning behind this plotline was completely bogus if Luke and Lorelai were truly supposed to be together at the show’s conclusion. I remember reading articles where the showrunner said that Lorelai needed to explore what might have been with Christopher and realize that hopes/wishes were not the same as actually making a life with someone. Okay, fine – but did she really need to marry and divorce him over the span of a few months to figure this out? According to the show, the characters had known each other for over 30 years! Moreover, if Lorelai still had this burning need to figure out if she and Christopher could make a life together, then what was she doing ever getting engaged to and planning to marry Luke?!?! It just made Luke look like a placeholder and an enormous CHUMP for taking her back at the end, acting as though Lorelai’s actions were just a tiny misunderstanding to be waved away now that time had healed all wounds.
Truthfully, the show was in a pickle after the ultimatum/sex. The original showrunner and primary writer left the show after that, leaving a new crew of writers to resolve the storyline in what turned out to be the final season. The show’s fans had oneitis for Luke and Lorelai as a couple, so the show had to end with the two together, yet the original showrunner had, in my opinion, rendered that logistically impossible. So, while the writers didn’t exactly make lemonade out of the lemons they were left, they did make…something.
Anyhow, I’ve gone completely off track with my original point, which was whether any men in real life would consider Lorelai wife material. Clearly I’m overinvested if I’m still having fits over the storyline even though the show has been out of production for several years, but the show’s transgressions were so egregious that they will forever remain irreconcilable. I can suspend disbelief for quite a bit of things in a fictional story, but defying basic human nature isn’t one of those things.