Thursday, December 1, 2016

Not cool, Rory: How one scene in the new Gilmore Girls revival made this teacher sad

When the first photos from the Netflix Gilmore Girls revival surfaced last spring, an image of Rory standing in front of a class at Chilton was among them, and many assumed that meant she went on to be a teacher at her alma mater. I even read an article called “I’m Glad Rory Gilmore Became a Teacher.”

But, now it’s the Fall (an upsetting time in Gilmore land, apparently)…and we know that not only did Rory NOT become a teacher, she also very clearly expressed her disdain for the profession.

Not cool, Amy Sherman Palladino. Not cool.

Here’s how it went down (minor spoiler alert if you haven’t watched the new series yet--though I won’t get into the BIG SPOILER/ #lastfourwords.)

Rudderless Rory goes to on some sort of alumni visit to Chilton. Headmaster Charleston pays her a compliment, suggesting to her that she go back and get her Masters degree—and that if she did so he’d be pleased to find her a place on the Chilton faculty.
This nice offer Rory dismisses out of hand. This is the same woman, we have already learned, who is unemployed, has nowhere to live, and has in fact lost all her underwear.

But the teacher-bashing does not stop there. Later, as unraveling Rory has a liquid lunch with Jess, THIS happens:

Rory: “This is about my life. People come up and smell me…”
Jess: “What do they smell?”
Rory: “Failure. Headmaster Charleston told me to go get my masters so I could come back and teach at Chilton. He could smell it.”

There you have it. Teaching = Failure. Not just failure…smelly failure. The kind that smells.

As a teacher, and a fan of Gilmore Girls, I’m sad now. This kind of message does not:

A. help our teachers in any way to get the respect they damn well deserve
B. help convince bright, talented kids who would be great teachers to ever become teachers
C. do anything but suck

All of this is so much more heartbreaking because Rory was always such a smart yet cool girl. An icon for girls who read. The kind of gal who could definitely have grown up to be that one teacher who changes her students' lives. I’ve read a lot about the revival, including this Washington Post article that claims new Rory is a monster (which I ended up not entirely disagreeing with, and not only because of the teacher-bashing). I think it’s possible some of the Palladinos' ideas for Rory were originally envisioned for season 7 or 8—meaning a 22 or 23 year old Rory. Rory at 32 should DEFINITELY know better.

And the writers? You should too.

A teacher and disappointed Gilmore Girls fan.