The Misadventures of Post-recession Rory Part 1

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At a pub last weekend, tipsily, I had a conversation with my friend Sarah about my love of Gilmore Girls and the frustration I had at the fact that the show ended on the cusp of Rory’s post-graduate life. We ended up in a choose-your-own adventure type of situation, deciding what shitty fate would be befall Rory after the economy went down the toilet 6 months after she graduated.

Sarah and I, both now 28, both high school graduates the same year as Rory Gilmore, are stuck in a web of despondency, ranty-ness, and underemployment (me) and boring employment that has nothing to do with her education (Sarah). I came to Gilmore Girls the summer I was working on my master’s thesis, and binged all seven seasons in two months while contemplating feminism and my life and how I’m overeducated and underemployed and yadda yadda. Miranda, Sarah’s roommate and lover of salt and vinegar chips, said at the pub, wisely, “You come to a show, or a show comes into your life when you really need to see it.”

Enter Gilmore Girls. The story of an overachieving girl raised by a plucky and eccentric single mother starting tenth grade at a swanky private school in the year 2000. Rory goes off to college in 2003 (Yale) and graduates into a journalism job in 2007. Paid. Hah. I’m not entirely sure why I hadn’t watched Gilmore Girls when it originally aired – had I known how banter-y and witty it was I surely would have been a fan. But anyway, here I am, summer of 2012, finishing my master’s degree after four years out of undergrad without a full time job. While I was excelling at my master’s program, I was remembering how it felt to once be that over-achieving young girl, and the promise I was supposed to have fulfilled and the ambition I was supposed to have followed through on, and I was constantly wondering when I stopped being Rory. Probably somewhere in 2009 when yet another short term contract ended and I saw no future work ahead of me and I no longer had a trajectory and everything in my life was a jumble. And that’s without the economy factored in.

So now I think, well, what would have happened to Rory in 2009? Would Rory still have that unshakeable Roryness? Because I sure as shit didn’t.

When we last saw her, she was heading off to go on the campaign trail to report on Obama. That would take us to November of 2008, and then what?

A lay-off, I’m guessing. Check back for Part 2 when Rory moves back in with Lorelei in Stars Hollow and starts working at Luke’s diner, while the Dragonfly Inn is threatened with foreclosure. I have the feeling greasy breakfast joints are recession-proof, swanky and adorable inns in Connecticut are not.

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One thought on “The Misadventures of Post-recession Rory Part 1

  1. Yes!!!! As a long-time Gilmore Girls fan who has probably seen the entire series through about 10 times, I completely agree. When I was younger (side note: Rory is four years ahead of me–I graduated high school when she graduated from Yale, and I did watch the series as it aired), I completely identified with Rory’s drive and ambition, and wholeheartedly believed in her success, because, well, believing in her success was pretty much the same as believing in my own. However, when I mostly recently re-watched the later seasons, which put a lot of emphasis on Rory’s post-graduation journalism dreams, I found the focus on acceptable jobs for Rory to be really frustrating. The message Rory gets from her mother and her grandparents (specifically her grandfather) is that working for little to no pay is acceptable as long as it is within her chosen field–taking a job outside of journalism just to pay the bills is simply not an option for Rory, while it’s often a necessity, as you point out, for the rest of us. Taking money from your grandparents, however, to support your lifestyle in your apartment in NYC (Richard and Emily did offer to buy her a condo in NYC…) while you freelance for a year…five years…ten years… is completely acceptable. You’re right, though–Lorelai and her inn’s fate is way less certain, because she would never accept money from her parents! Except all those times she did.

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