‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’: Amy Sherman-Palladino Foreshadowed Rory Gilmore’s Failure Throughout the Series

Rory Gilmore’s career struggles were not surprising. That’s something I’ve said multiple times in the years since Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premiered on Netflix. Often the statement is met with pushback. Fans of the show’s original run likely remember Rory as a dedicated student, quick learner, and ferocious reader. It is true; she was all those things. By all accounts, she remained so in her adult life, too. That doesn’t mean she would be a successful journalist once let loose into the “real world.” I dare to theorize that showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino always intended it to be that way, and not only is that OK, but it’s pretty cool.

Did Amy Sherman-Palladino want Rory to fail?

Sherman-Palladino has never explicitly stated that she always intended Rory to fail at her journalistic pursuits. At the very least, she has never said that she set it up that way. Sherman-Palladino has, however, made it clear that Rory’s revival persona and the way Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life ended was intentional. She stated that she never planned to tie up all of Rory’s loose ends and liked that the ending wasn’t neatly packaged.

Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore and Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore sit on a couch together in a promotional poster for 'Gilmore Girls; A Year in the Life'
Lorelai Gilmore and Rory Gilmore in ‘Gilmore Girls; A Year in the Life’ | Netflix

Sherman-Palladino defended her decision to leave Rory’s life chaotic at the end of the revival. In an interview with Buzzfeed she said, “Your life should not have a bow on it at 32. Your life should be a wide-open field at 32 years old.” When the revival ended, Rory was pregnant and still didn’t have a job in her intended career path. She also didn’t have anywhere to live and never revealed the paternity of her child, although most fans agree that Logan Huntzberger is the father.

Was Rory Gilmore’s failure foreshadowed multiple times in ‘Gilmore Girls’?

If you rewatch the series more than a couple of times, subtle themes begin to emerge. Rory stated that she wanted to be a foreign correspondent or a journalist in the pilot episode of Gilmore Girls. Her dream career never changed, but throughout the show, little hints that a big disappointment was forthcoming were dropped in, along with some rather large clues. In fact, you can find indications of Rory’s future struggles in every season of Gilmore Girls.

In season 1, Headmaster Charleston found her aspirations unbelievable, and by season 2, Jess Mariano made it known he thought journalism might be too rough and tumble for Rory. In season 4, Doyle McMaster informed Rory that her article just wasn’t very good. Doyle agreed with Rory that the article was “thoroughly researched,” but that wasn’t the main point. You could say that the scene is proof that Rory doesn’t have journalistic instincts, although she likely could have penned a great research paper.

In season 5, Paris highlighted Rory’s lack of instincts when she asked about the new angle she found for her illegal music downloading story. Later, Mitchum Huntzberger told Rory that she didn’t have “it,” which led to her dropping out. Sure, she eventually returned, but that one moment of criticism caused her to question her entire goal.

By season 7, Rory was well on her way to her goals. She had served as the editor of the Yale Daily News and had a couple of internships. When she had to give up her position as the editor, though, she freaked out. You could argue the final season’s writers were following through with Sherman-Palladino’s vision. Rory didn’t know how to make her own plan.

Rory Gilmore’s failures in the Netflix revival actually lead the way for ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life 2’

There really isn’t a reason to be bummed out about Rory’s failure to launch, though. You could argue that it is a good thing for Gilmore Girls fans. If Rory hadn’t been drifting aimlessly without a career to speak of, there wouldn’t be much more to say about her. Fans can look at the chaotic ending, in which absolutely nothing was settled, as a sign of hope. Rory’s open-ended ending creates a clear path forward for future episodes. A redemption story, if you could call it that, seems to be begging to be written.

Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino smile for cameras as they arrive at the premiere of 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'
Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino attend the premiere of ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Maybe, just maybe, that was Sherman-Palladino’s plan all along. She has always said she was open to more episodes. Her cast has made it clear that they are available for it, too. Milo Ventimiglia, the actor who played Jess Mariano in the original series, only had a small role in the revival. Still, he told Scott Patterson he would return for another Gilmore Girls revival during his visit to the I Am All In podcast. 

[Correction: An earlier version included an incorrect name for Scott Patterson.]

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