‘Gilmore Girls’: Did Amy Sherman-Palladino Want to Destroy Rory Gilmore?

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was supposed to offer Amy Sherman-Palladino, and Gilmore Girls fans some closure. The series was beloved during its original run, and a large cult following developed when the series became available for streaming on Netflix. The revival was supposed to tie up loose ends and offer Sherman-Palladino the opportunity to tell the story she never got to tell. Something about it, however, just felt out of place, so much so that fans have questioned if Sherman-Palladino was trying to destroy the beloved character of Rory Gilmore.

Rory seemed like a truly lost soul in A Year in the Life

While the Netflix revival received overall positive reviews, diehard fans saw glaring issues. They couldn’t put their finger on what exactly was wrong. Something just felt a little bit off. After more than one re-watch, the overarching problem with the revival was Rory.

Rory seemed different, but not in the way that you’d expect. She was no wiser than when fans left her back in 2007. She hadn’t progressed, changed, or developed from the 22-year-old she was so many years before. She wasn’t even cynical and weathered by time, like someone who had been beaten down by a professional world that didn’t welcome her with open arms. She simply seemed stuck. The final four words of the series did little to bolster opinions of the once golden child of Stars Hollow, either. So, what’s the deal? Was Sherman-Palladino trying to destroy the character she so lovingly created?

 Amy Sherman-Palladino once argued that she believes people are born evil

One of the most troubling aspects of A Year in the Life for fans was Rory’s complete inability to empathize with others. If we are honest, though, Rory always seemed to have a little bit of an issue with empathy, regardless of how many times she was touted as sweet and agreeable. Her youthful exuberance and studious nature simply masked her inability to be truly kind to others.

Rory’s shortcomings, which were on full displaying in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, likely were by design. Sherman-Palladino has a strong belief that people are inherently evil. At least, that’s what she told the New Statesman. In a lengthy interview, she told the publication that she believes that people are born inherently evil and you have to “beat goodness into them.” Perhaps, that’s what A Year in the Life showed; Rory never had that level of goodness beaten into her.

So, was Sherman-Palladino trying to destroy Rory?

It doesn’t seem like it. In fact, what Sherman-Palladino did with Rory’s character may have been a touch of genius that simply came at the wrong time. Rory was supposed to be lost and confused. She was supposed to be someone whose life didn’t pan out the way she anticipated, regardless of her best efforts at safe and well-researched decision-making. The takeaway seems simple: no matter how much you plan, life can take you down an entirely unexpected path.

Most fans seem to have an issue with Rory’s behavior in the revival as it relates to her age. In A Year in the Life, Rory was 10 years out of college, on the wrong side of 30. The missteps she made during the revival just didn’t feel like the mistakes of a 30-something. They were the mistakes of a naive 22-year-old, because, at the end of the day, that’s what Sherman-Palladino always intended.  

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The revival followed the storyline she planned to develop for the show’s final season. The final four words uttered by Rory in the revival was the way Sherman-Palladino always wanted the story to end. That ending, with Rory as a 22-year-old recent graduate, would have likely sat well with fans. At 32, however, it just seemed to fall flat, and everything that was needed to get Rory from point A to point B made her pretty insufferable, from her treatment of Paul, to the affair with Logan, to the lack of gainful employment.