Spoilers for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
Apparently, I was a rare breed of Gilmore Girls fan going into this revival, because I didn’t know about the mythical “last four words” that Amy Sherman-Palladino had intended for the original series and finally invoked in the revival. So when Rory announced that she was pregnant, I was more “oh my god, what happens next??” than “wait, that’s how the series ends?”
But the more I think about it, the more these final four words depress me.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Amy Sherman-Palladino said:
We got the ending that weirdly was supposed to be the end of the series. They could’ve done something in season seven that would’ve changed our ending and that would’ve been OK, but they didn’t . . . I knew it from the very beginning, I really did. And it was only because I knew where I wanted the show as a series to go.
It really, really bugs me that this is the ending she always intended for Rory, from the very beginning. From getting into Chilton onwards. Throughout the entire show, Rory has been insanely ambitious. She’s going to go to Harvard, she’s going to be Christiane Amanpour, she’s going to see the world and have adventures and write world-changing things. Lorelai had to struggle and fight from nothing, but Rory was going to take on the world.
I’d really, really like to think they wouldn’t have invoked this ending if the series ended with Season Three (although, already, I can imagine the tiniest of tweaks to the story that would have made it work. And wouldn’t that have been awful?). But even if Season Seven ended this way, or even an imaginary Season Eight, this would be a really depressing way to finish off Rory’s story, unless of course we assume Rory has an abortion. All her dreams and ambitions and desire for adventure put on hold, just as she’s about to step out and begin them. She’s conquered Chilton, she’s conquered Yale, she’s ready for the world, until single motherhood knocks her back into her place. In the actual Season Seven, which Sherman-Palladino seems to consider an AU fic of the show, she rejects Logan’s proposal because she isn’t ready to be tied down like that yet, but in Sherman-Palladino’s version, she’s tied down even more. It’s full circle for the story of the Gilmore Girls, but it comes at the cost of everything Rory has wanted to be.
Of course, the context of the revival changes things a bit. Rory’s now 32, not 22, and she’s been out working in the world for a decade. But Rory’s floundering. Her career is falling apart, she doesn’t know what she wants to do, and she seems to have lost her sense of self. She moves back to Stars Hollow, but insists it’s not permanent. She’s struggling to step away from an unhealthy relationship with Logan, who is engaged. And for all the things she’s confused about, she never expresses any desire to have kids or any concern about that part of her life.
But then, here we are. The final glimpse we’re supposed to get of Rory. One where none of her problems are solved. She has three chapters of a book and a hope to maybe move out to Queens. And now, a baby. And this is the best case scenario for the ending the show always intended to give her.
It feels like a betrayal of Rory’s character. It feels as though, through the whole show, through all her plans and dreams, the creators were sitting back and saying, “Don’t get too ambitious, kid.” She might have dreams, but they’re all going to fall apart, or at least become extremely difficult to pursue. And the show intended to do that to her just after she graduated college, or even before. Not only that, but it intended to end her story that way. No exploration of how she deals with it. No sign that she figures things out. No promise that Rory pursues her dreams anyway. Just “Mom, I’m pregnant.” It is, quite literally, an ending. And its apparent inevitability adds a depressing new perspective to everything that came before.