By Rebekah Devorak | Opinions Editor
If you’ve been living under a rock — or without internet — for the past six months and haven’t heard about Netflix’s current revival of the popular “Gilmore Girls” series, titled “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” just know that you are lucky.
Very lucky, in fact.
The show, which was released on Nov. 25 and featured all of the actors and actresses from the original episodes, followed one year in the life of the of the show’s main characters – Rory and Lorelai Gilmore – set ten years later, in 2016.
Just as some background, I’m a huge “Gilmore Girls” fan, though I hadn’t actually watched the series in full until recently. I was ecstatic for the relaunch of the beloved early-2000s show, because I’d always been curious about what happened to the characters. The series was canceled in 2007 before a proper final season could be filmed, and the ending felt unresolved and unsatisfying.
That was especially true because Amy Sherman-Palladino, the series’ creator and producer, stated the show was actually supposed to end with the iconic “last four words.” There had been speculation as to what these words actually were, like with any good cliffhanger, and when it was revealed that these words would end Netflix’s version, I was floored.
That is, until I actually heard the last four words. Then, that excitement and anticipation muddled into a mix of confusion and downright anger. Warning: Spoilers are ahead.
The “OG” Rory Gilmore was a brilliant young woman who graduated at the top of her class from both a prestigious private high school and Yale University. She was the editor of the Yale Daily News and had a job lined up after her graduation to follow Barack Obama’s campaign trail before he was elected president.
But “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” turned her into a bumbling 32-year-old reporter, who really couldn’t even call herself a reporter.
The show’s writers showcased a promising professional with the sky as the limit as someone who had no place of her own to live and no job. Someone who bombed every interview with cringe-worthy pretentiousness and no real idea of how to be a journalist. Someone who took advantage of those around her every second she could, but looked down upon anyone who did the same to her.
But what’s even worse than that were those dreadful last four words: The writers decided to end the Netflix reboot by having Rory Gilmore tell her mom she’s pregnant. Seeing as she had no real relationship or anchored boyfriend in those episodes, it alluded to the fact that Rory was going to end up as a single mom, just like her own mother, Lorelai, was.
I’m not sure what infuriates me more about those last four words. It could either be that Hollywood producers seemingly assume that 30-somethings who have lost their way in every sense of the world can never rise up past their current circumstances and succeed. They can only get pregnant and fall deeper into a more desperate situation.
Or, it could be that these words were supposed to round-out the original series, meaning that a 22-year-old Rory Gilmore, freshly graduated from an Ivy League school with the world ahead of her, would’ve been dubbed for little more than diapers rather than the infinite possibilities of her diploma.
Perhaps the show wanted to bring things full-circle for the mother-daughter pair, as Lorelai and Rory are alike in pretty much every other aspect of their lives, from the way they talk, to the color of their eyes, to the way that they eat.
But there is a major problem with picking this kind of ending.
This finale shows young women out there that potential, intelligence and determination mean absolutely nothing. It displays that everything a girl has worked for throughout her whole life can be gone in an instant, and it showcases single motherhood as something that is heinous rather than heroic.
According to a 2014 article by The Washington Post, demographers believe that nearly half of all kids in America under 18 will live with only a single mother at some point. Raising a child as a single parent is no joke, and it should never be used as the punchline for a television show. Especially one that begins, like “Gilmore Girls” does, with the premise of how difficult it is to properly raise a child alone and the struggles that it brings.
I’m not sure why the writers of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” thought making Rory pregnant was the only viable option for ending her on-screen story, but they should’ve thought twice. It was a disappointment for fans of the show and women with big dreams everywhere.