In Defense of Rory Gilmore

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Alexis Bledel as ‘Rory Gilmore’ in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”; photo taken from Hypable 

I wrote the following after seeing multiple posts on blogs, Tumblr, and legitimate news sites basically slut shaming Rory Gilmore in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” for decisions she makes regarding men.  Some of it isn’t actually slut shaming, some of it is simply die-hard fans who, like me, have probably watched the original series many times and have a romanticized idea of what Rory is like and how she should behave; they are disappointed, these fans, that thirty year old Rory isn’t making the same decisions as twenty year old Rory.

I think there are many factors to consider before judging Rory too harshly.

First of all: it’s been ten years.  No one dates exactly the same way they did ten years ago.  She’s in her thirties now, she’s less inhibited, less shy, more open to experiences.  As humans grow, we change, see things differently.  Rory is going to have a different mindset at 32 than she did when she was nineteen.

Secondly: We don’t know what her dating experience has been since leaving college.  Previous relationships have a great affect on how a person treats future romantic partners.  It’s possible she’s had one too many terrible boyfriends since Logan.  Also: Rory’s a bit of a nomad, it’s difficult to maintain exclusive relationships when you’re constantly moving.  Believe me, I know.

Thirdly: As a person ages, she becomes less idealistic.  Young people often have a rigid sense of morality, Rory certainly did.  This is why kids will often (foolishly) write off friends for not meeting a certain moral standard (see Veronica Mars).  But as we age and mature, we realize there’s a lot of gray in the world, and we are not the ultimate voice of right and wrong in the universe.  So we sleep with that guy we met at that party, and we drink the tequila, and drive to NYC to watch an SNL rehearsal and get a hot dog just to turn around and drive home again the same day.

Fourth: People also become less optimistic.  Which seems strange considering people become less cynical (unless you’re Louis C.K., or a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker) as they get older, but when it comes to relationships and dating, single, straight, American women seem to become more pessimistic about relationships.  Consider this Garfunkel and Oates song.

Fifth: We don’t know what sort of relationship Logan has with this French woman.  Maybe it’s an open relationship?  Maybe he has the same deal with her as he has with Rory?  The French are way less puritanical about sex than Americans.

We, especially those of us who grew up alongside Rory, want her to be a sort of moral beacon since she’s just like us only better, but really she’s not.  Rory is just as flaky as we are, she’s just as confused, just as meandering, just as flawed.  She is searching for her place in the world the same way we are.

And, as with all things, the viewer brings his or her own experience to the story.  All my girlfriends who are married, engaged, or in long term relationships had the same reaction: “Rory has had ample time to find someone new, loving, and stable, why is she back with old boyfriends and making these decisions?”  While all my fellow single girlfriends in their early thirties looked at Rory and said: “Yeah, nope, that’s exactly right!”

This post is edited slightly from the original post on Tumblr.

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Some 30 years later, I built a #Lego #SpaceCruiser!

Weeks ago I wrote a rant about Lego inwhich I questioned why the Lego Friends line is so drastically different from the standard Lego toys.  I also shared how I didn’t know Lego came in kits until I was in middle school.  The reason for my ignorance being the Legos in my household were almost entirely hand-me-downs from my brother who had long since mislaid the instructions for the the 1980s era Space Cruiser Warner Bros. recently reminded us of in The Lego Movie.

My brother, clever young man that he is, found the instructions on the Internet and shared them with me challenging me to build the Space Cruiser.

My first challenge was finding our old Lego collection.  As stated in my earlier post, a time came when my mother took the remaining Lego bricks and tossed them all into a plastic bin that previously had been used for transporting cupcakes, mixing and commingling what was left from all the kits that had ever entered her children’s lives.

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Finding it turned out to be easier than I thought it would be.  Since all the grandbaby moved out of their house, my parents have relegated all the toys to one corner of the family room.  The bin was under a table chest in the corner along with the puzzles, blocks, and Lincoln Logs.

Challenge Two: Uncover what’s left of the figures.

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The Spacemen have long since lost their faces.  One of them used to have a mark where a face once was, but now they are entirely missing.  (The Policeman was from a kit I got as a child, therefore has been handled the least and still has his face.)  The Spaceman logos on their chests are all but entirely gone.  Out of five figures there are four hands between them; one head and helmet are long gone; and the figure not pictured, in my memory, has always had only one leg.

Once I determined I had most of the pieces I’d need to build the Space Cruiser,

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it was time to get down to business.

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The Instructions were really sort of difficult to follow some of the time.  It certainly didn’t help they were smallish images on the computer rather than a paper I could handle and get close to without feeling like I’d done something terrible to my eyes.

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Slowly it started to come together.

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Despite the pieces being a minimum thirty years old a surprising number of them in very good condition.  The thrusters, for example, still look great!

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(I used these pieces as lampshades.)

The pieces in poor condition are primarily the pieces you’d expect to be in shambles after cycling through five children and a couple of grandbabies.  The pieces that attach the thrusters to the back of the ship, for example, look like this:

wpid-20150318_215252.jpgHinged pieces, they were meant to attach to the top of the back with these bits hanging down, onto which the thrusters would attach.  Alas, they’ve been broken most of my life.  Therefore, the Space Cruiser must go without it’s thrusters.

Quite frankly, I had to get real creative with multiple parts of the ship.  I borrowed from other parts and substituted many pieces where I could get away with it.  I had to rebuild various parts more than once, and get creative with broken parts.

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In the end, it didn’t turn out so badly.

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Still had plenty of missing pieces; I couldn’t get around not having one entire section of that windscreen.  I’m afraid it wouldn’t be a very effective Space Cruiser, but as it doesn’t have any thrusters, it’s not like it’s going anywhere anyway!

Vlogging.

I am intrigued by “Vlogging” and occasionally have thought about starting up my own videos on my YouTube account (which I made mostly to share videos of other people I have taken) but then I remember how much I hate the sound of my voice on tape.  My voice recorded is terrible.  (Probably why I haven’t pursued a film/TV acting career.)  I want nothing to do with hearing my voice recorded, but I also love video and I love performing and I love talking and everything that goes along with all of that.

But then I watch other peoples’ vlogs and I LOVE THEM.  They look like so much fun.  They sound amazing.  Their voices sound nothing like mine!  I get so pumped and inspired by other people’s vlogs and rush over to YouTube and try to record things.  But then I hear my voice….

It’s not that sad: not everyone can vlog; but sometimes I wish I could.

“Everyone Deserves Tea”

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This was the cutest and one of the best delivered lines in all of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Jane says it to Lizzie while Lizzie is being dramatic. And it’s amazing. Because it’s true: everyone deserves tea.

Yes, I, like you, want this mug, but, alas, it is backordered and out of stock.  I have requested an email when it becomes available again and, yes, I suggest you do the same.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – Goodbye Jane

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I really don’t want to read any negative criticism of this plot point. This is wonderful. This is beautiful. This is absolutely perfect.

It explains why Bing hasn’t been going to his classes; and it gives Jane power; and it is the dream of everyone still in love with their ex to have him come back and say he was foolish and he still wants you; and it supports Austen’s tendency to reward good people with the outcome they deserve: realistic or not.

So, no negative criticism of this one, please. Even Grouchiest of the Grouchy and the Grumpiest of the Grumpy root for Jane’s happiness.

200 years ago…

if someone had asked Jane Austen if she thought her little story about the Bennet sisters would still be relevant she probably would have said something like this:

Shit, son, I’m stoked y’alls be buyin’ it now!

Ok, probably not.  She probably would have said something very eloquent and sophisticated and wouldn’t have sounded anything like Snoop Dogg or even Anne Hathaway (the current actress not Billy S’s little woman) using a fake British accent.  But I am convinced she didn’t think her novels would last any longer than the popular novels of her lifetime.  Mrs. Radcliffe’s novels and The Monk, for example; you know, the ones she wrote about in her own works; the ones most people only know because of Northanger Abbey.

They are, however, still relevant.  This is certain because today, 28 January, is the 200th anniversary of the first printing of Pride and Prejudice.  The first novel Austen tried to have published, I believe, under a different, more thematically revealing title of “First Impressions”.  (In my defense I was more of an airhead in High School than I am now and that little tidbit about first impressions not always being accurate was mostly lost on me the first time I read Pride and Prejudice.)  This story has been told, retold, revamped, and devoured in it’s original form so many times since the beginning of the 20th century it’s a little embarrassing.  But I think it’s safe to say that the modern woman absolutely finds this story relevant.

Today, thanks to Book Riot and Dr. B, I abandoned writing my own fiction and let the better part of the rest of my day be consumed with “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”.  This webseries is an eerily relevant, modernized adaptation of Pride in Prejudice that is amazingly witty and super delightful in a way that I believe Miss Austen would whole-heartedly approve of were she not six feet under these past 195 years.

That being said: “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” is amazingly relevant not only to the narrow population of people aged 22 to 27 trying to get jobs in “New Media”, but most people (most people I know) between the ages of 22 and 32 trying to get out there and create a life for themselves (not all of us are very good at that) while wallowing in student loans and the uncomfortable question of: What do I want to do with my life?

Lizzie, luckily, has a passion that she is pursuing.  Her issue has more to do with taking those first steps to making it happen (something many of us are familiar with).  This dilemma is common within the generation that was told, repeatedly, by everyone from our parents to teachers to Sesame Street that we can be anything, do anything, find your passion and make it your life.  (Thanks guys, this Bachelor of Arts in English is super awesome and my specialized skill set is totes useful in nailing down a career — ew, I just wrote “totes”; I feel dirty.)  For many of us: figuring out that passion is pretty tough; but taking that “next step” and “making it happen” is proving to be just as difficult as figuring out our “passion” in the first place.

The drama of the Bennet sisters is told chiefly through Lizzie’s eyes in the form of a Video Blog (or Vlog) maintained by Lizzie, often with the help of her best friend and fellow new media grad student, Charlotte Lu.  The videos also regularly guest star her sisters: Jane and Lydia, both as themselves and other people.  The few deviations from the original story that have been made are pretty wonderful and in keeping with how a modern, American family would function.  (Although, a wealthy med student, along with his sister and his best friend, randomly moving to a small, college town for a while is a little weird — that bit feels less thought through than the rest of the tweaks.)  Mr. Collins is no longer a cousin, but an annoying childhood friend working in roughly the same field as Lizzie and Charlotte; Wickham is a sexy athletic coach; Darcy appears to be a giant hipster, Jane takes a promotion with a transfer after her break up with Bing; Pemberly is some sort of technology company; Mary is reassigned to a cousin; and Kitty has become Lydia’s cat.  As someone who approves of adaptations and modernizations (and has even tried her own hand at adapting an Austen novel) I enjoy and love this retelling.

The series appears to be the brain child of Hank Green and Bernie Su and bears the markings of a Green brother whenever Lizzie STARTS RANTING IN ITALICIZED, ALL CAPS FOR EMPHASIS (seriously, though, both Hank and John seem to do this in their videos… often).  Where it stemmed from and why is was originally created, I do not care.  The result is something wonderful and something I think my life would be worse off if it were never experienced.  This series is like tattoos, or heroin, once you’re hooked: you. are. doomed.  DOOMED.

Also: these girls playing the Bennet sisters are amazing.  Ashley Clements (who looks weirdly familiar) has nailed it as Lizzie Bennet.  Laura Spencer plays the most life-like Jane I’ve ever seen (seriously Susannah Harker and Rosamund Pike’s ‘Jane’s are pulse-less china dolls, are they not?).  Mary Kate Wiles is a pip.  (There’s really no other term to describe her ‘Lydia’.)

Needless to say: I recommend watching this series.  I sincerely do.  But, be warned: it will ruin your life.