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The Rory Gilmore Complex

She has everything she could ever want. A great relationship with her mom, top grades, men falling at her feet, seemingly endless funds and an ivy league education. She’s shy, but has a perfect social life, is effortlessly beautiful and the smartest in all of her classes, though she is barely seen studying. She is everything I’ve always aimed to be in my life — but she doesn’t even exist. 

If you’re a journalism student — or anyone with a Netflix subscription for that matter — you have probably heard of the show Gilmore Girls. It aired from 2000-2007 and remains a defining series in pop culture history. I first started watching it with my mom in the tenth grade. The revival mini-series was coming out the following year so we wanted to complete the entire series before watching it. Immediately I identified with Rory Gilmore. She was young, she liked books over boys, she was introverted,  she lived in a small town and she had aspirations to be a journalist so she had pretty much every trait I recognized in myself at the time. 

Throughout my time watching the show I was going through a lot, as many young women do in their formative years, but I always looked forward to sitting in bed with my mom and escaping to Stars Hollow for a 45-minute episode (or more). Because of my internal connection between the show and happy times of relaxation with my mom, I still hold it very close to me and often find myself rewatching it over and over again to cope with my anxiety. Along with this bond between me and the show though, comes a subconscious obsession with Rory Gilmore. 

I like to call it the Rory Gilmore Complex. Almost every single journalism student I’ve met while at Ryerson has watched Gilmore Girls and almost every single one has told me that Rory Gilmore influenced them in some way to choose their major. Even typical journalism student behaviour can be connected to her character. We’re all terribly type-A, bookish and enamoured with academia. Unfortunately for the lot of us though, we aren’t the grandchildren of the incredibly wealthy Richard and Emily Gilmore, and more often than not, we aren’t straight, cisgender, white women. 

Because Rory’s career in journalism came to her so effortlessly and seemed so seamless, I often find myself feeling discouraged when my studies don’t go so swimmingly. But the truth of the matter is that Rory got into Yale through nepotism, she is barely shown studying at all through the show which paints a highly inaccurate picture of the field and she has an incredible amount of privilege that lands her in various high up writing positions completely by chance (see her internship with her boyfriend’s dad). 

With the sometimes glum realization that j-school isn’t exactly like the Yale Daily News, comes feelings of inadequacy and also a yearning for some sort of fictional reality. The irony in it all is that through this feeling we set ourselves up to end up on the same boat as Rory does– in the reboot that is. In 2016 we see Rory, not as a successful journalist with a family, but a struggling 30-year-old still looking for work in a competitive industry, sleeping with an engaged man. However dramatized her situation may be, I think the disappointing outcome of Rory’s life was somewhat comforting in that it made me feel a bit better about myself and what I’ve accomplished. While I  may not be immediately successful like Rory, holding an editing position at an ivy league paper– I’m on the right track to success.

Gilmore Girls will probably always be my favourite show, but Rory Gilmore most definitely isn’t my inspiration anymore. She served her purpose for me as a teen, setting me on the right career path and giving me someone to relate to, but my hopes for the future don’t include moving back in with my parents at 30 and going on a homewrecking spree. For now, I just hope to be myself. 


Julia Sacco

Ryerson '23

In her second-year at Ryerson University completing a journalism degree, Julia is working to get some experience in all areas of the craft. Her hobbies include reading, baking and watching Gilmore Girls. Julia hopes to one day become a book reviewer.
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