Rory and the real world

I am going to be discussing the plot of Gilmore Girls Seasons. Consider yourself warned.

One of the big controversies of the Gilmore Girls revival is that Rory is floundering and useless. She is failing as a freelancer and then shows up woefully unprepared for a job interview. The try hard girl has become the spoilt girl. The same girl who made the repaving piece into a jewel couldn’t stay awake long enough to interview a source for a piece that an important potential long term relationship with an editor depended on.

A big part of adult life is jumping through hoops. That is half of what any degree tells an employer: you can show up and do things because you have to. All of my friends who dropped/flunked out of uni lack this skill. Pleasing your boss and editors is a huge skill for a journalist. You have to know how to make your editor happy and take their feedback. It’s harder when they’re a psychotic Paris but generally it’s their job to criticize you and make you work. How at 32 has Rory not learned what I knew by the end of my undergraduate degree? How can she be a journalist if she expects to just get the magic perfect story without doing any work?

Another big part of adult life is learning to let your boss have their way. I grew up in my high school’s debate club and then my uni’s political science association. These places were rowdy and everyone argued endlessly over everything. We had brains and ideas and no fear of hurling them at one another. Some of my closest friends included a libertarian and a Randian. I had to learn to simmer down and shut up as well as the importance of hierarchy. I also had to learn to take feedback. At times I failed but I learned from my failures. My failures came when I was newly graduated and mostly terrified by how to turn a string of internships into a life — a question I still have not answered but spend less time worrying about. I had no idea how to live or be in an office then. It took some trial and error but I’m in decent shape now. Smiling and nodding while giving a client what they want even if you disagree is what it means to work as a freelancer. You don’t get to turn down passable jobs. You take what you can get especially if you might be able to build a relationship off of it. If an editor assigned me a story about lineup culture I’d jump for it and make it work. Rory at Chilton and Yale would’ve.

If you’re going for the millennial failing angle there are a lot of interesting ways to do it. As a good at school bad at life millennial myself I find it hard to accept that Rory would just be super lame and not try. She’s not pitching, she’s not hustling, she’s not writing small stuff, she’s not finding calls for submission, she’s not branching out. She’s not trying. I may be useless and unemployable but I am damned good at trying. Nobody handed me my top marks, I went out and earned them. Nobody handed me my first internship, I applied for about 150 jobs before I got offered that one — and it was unpaid but that’s the deal in writing. Nobody has ever handed me anything and I don’t expect them to. The frustrating thing is that I’m not going anywhere despite getting good grades and trying hard. Yeah, my masters didn’t work out the way I’d planned but I still managed to finish at the top of my class in it. The world doesn’t care about that and isn’t rewarding me for it. That’s more interesting than being lazy and self-pitying, it’s also a lot more relevant. The Rorys of the world aren’t washed up because they can’t manage a job interview, they’re washed up in spite of it.

Rory doesn’t seem to be in love with the world or very curious. I don’t understand how you can be a writer and not do those things. It begins with a love of books sure but it’s also work. No good writer got to be where they are by magic. They had to work at it. Even those annoying 21-year-olds with a bestseller had to sit down and write and edit the thing. If Rory was working and failing fine but instead she’s just sitting around expecting things to happen.

She has no ideas for what to write about, which baffles me. Maybe it’s because I’m the idea girl but I have one book on the go and ideas for three or four more. I have lots of pitches about different things that just need a good home. It shouldn’t take a cute ex to make her see she needs to write a book. It’s great that he has a publishing house and is wiling to hook her up but she should be working away at ideas and letting them float around. Maybe Mitchum was right about Rory after all.

There are lots of great ways of handling the millennial who finds adulting hard plot line. Entitlement and laziness is not one of them. I miss the old Rory, the one who felt real and interesting.


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