If you haven’t seen an episode of Gilmore Girls--or at least heard of the show--then you’ve been living under a rock for the past 17 years. To refresh your memory: Gilmore Girls is the story of a mother-and-daughter duo from the small and close-knit fictional town of Stars Hollow in Connecticut. The show served for seven seasons from 2000 until 2007, and featured a mostly-white cast overcoming upper-middle class experiences. Ten years after the release of the series finale episode, Netflix streamed a four-part miniseries titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life as a reunion with the original cast in 2016. Longtime fans were treated to their popular millennial throwback, and received a glimpse at where their favourite characters had ended up.
While the series was beloved by diehard fans, it was also able to pick up new viewers when all seven seasons were offered for streaming on Netflix in July 2016 (a genius marketing move as a precursor to the miniseries). However, Gilmore Girls was not beloved by everyone. In fact, the series revival sparked discussion and concern--either new or forgotten--by critics and viewers. Some watched just to be a part of the discussion, and many couldn’t help point out the series’ many obvious and alarming problems. To save you the time of sitting through the entire series, we’ve determined 15 reasons Gilmore Girls is actually the worst, and all the reasons we have issues with both the original seven seasons as well as the new one.
15 Rory and Lorelai's eating habits
Possibly the most unrealistic and frustrating quirk about Lorelai Gilmore is her complete inability to cook. Not only does this present problems and questions about her entitled upbringing, it’s not a feasible lifestyle in the slightest. Lorelai was for years a single mother estranged from her family, and the likelihood that she never learned to nourish herself or her daughter (especially after the help received from Mia Bass once she started working at the Independence Inn), is small. Additionally, if she began her career as a maid, there would be no way possible for her to afford a constant stream of takeout and daily breakfasts at Luke’s.
Of course, there’s also the issue of food waste and the unrealistic portrayal of women who can apparently survive on a diet of junk food, no exercise whatsoever, and still--miraculously--never gain a pound. We all know that though this is a blissful daydream for many, nobody’s metabolism works that way. Additionally, while Lorelai often orders more food than the two could possibly consume, it’s fair to assume the amount of food waste in their household is pretty massive.
14 Lack of diversity
This comes as no surprise to even the most diehard of Gilmore Girls fans, but there’s no denying the lack of diversity of the cast and characters. True, the town of Stars Hollow is meant to mirror your typical homogenous suburban community, and no one’s asking for big city bigwigs or drama--because, let’s face it--there would probably be few in small-town America anyway. And even though the WB back in 2000 was not as accommodating as broadcast TV is now, the writers and producers still had a little more flexibility once Rory attended Yale and was exposed to campus life at an Ivy League. Sadly, apart from maybe one extra or two in the background at any given time, there were very few characters of African-American (except Michel, from France), Latinx, Indigenous, or Asian descent (aside from Lane’s Korean family), and no open members of the LGBTQ community (until the revival series).
Thankfully, A Year in the Life finally embraced this seven year hiccup, though there was still a significant lack of diverse voices, and almost painfully obvious background additions. Although we finally hear about Michel’s love life, we never met his husband. And to be quite honest, did anyone ever meet Taylor’s family?
13 Entitled Rich Kids
Lorelai’s parents, Emily and Richard Gilmore, are probably to blame for their daughter and granddaughters’ entitlement and penchant for overstepping boundaries. Still, while the two have been entrenched in the frou-frou and corporate world of Hartford, Connecticut for all their adult lives, Lorelai fled their home for exactly those reasons. Somehow, however, she managed to retain every bit of superiority and dishonesty she allegedly tried to escape. Despite the work she put into building her name in Stars Hollow and providing for Rory, once she’d patched things up with her parents, she still always had a chip on her shoulder--even when it was their wealth and connections that gave them so many opportunities.
Rory is even worse. Since she grew up in a one-parent household and of modest means, you’d think she’d be grateful for any help or extra money she was given. But not only does she get sucked into the rich life of her college boyfriend Logan and lives in luxury (no rent required), she eventually solidifies important career connections through this nepotism. She also rejects Lorelai whenever they have a disagreement--and thanks to her wealthy grandparents and boyfriend--manages to avoid any consequences or responsibilities entirely.
12 Lane and Zack's marriage
Despite the obvious stereotyping of Lane’s mother and the strict rules she abides by, Lane Kim is actually one of the most interesting characters in Gilmore Girls. She manages to develop a strong and alternative personality in face of her mother’s drastically religious household, but also respects her family dearly and goes to lengths to hide what she believes will disappoint them. If anything, Lane should have been the one to leave Stars Hollow and pursue her career as a musician. Instead, she settles down with Zack almost immediately after high school graduation, and before having children works at Luke’s as a waitress. Huh?
Zack, in addition to being kind of a dope in general, is lacking in communication skills and doesn’t seem to respect Lane or her culture. Sure, in the end their wedding was wonderful and we have to give him credit for dealing with her mother, but did they have to get married so young? And after such a strange breakup without resolving any of the previous relationship problems?
11 Luke's secret daughter
April Nardini is, like Lane, one of the coolest and unassuming female characters in Gilmore Girls. Introduced in Season 6 as the secret, illegitimate child of Luke Danes, we quickly grow attached to her and her mother’s storyline. We can’t judge Anna Nardini too much for keeping the pregnancy from Luke after their breakup, but we do feel bad for him when he fights for partial custody of his daughter later in the series. April is smart and peppy, and transforms Luke’s character from one-dimensional to deeply emotional and complex.
Our biggest issue with April is her lack of appearance in the show. Even though she briefly makes it into Season 8, she’s a very elusive character, and we never really get to know her as well as we should. What’s going on in April’s life? What was with her breakdown during the revival episodes? Her relationship with Luke almost seems to have disappeared after he moved in with Lorelai after Season 7, and some fundamental questions are left wide open.
10 Kirk's inability to hold a job
Kirk Gleason is meant to be a strange character, but ends up being intrusive and a total pain for all the residents of Stars Hollow. It makes sense that in a comedy-drama TV series there would be a character written explicitly for the purpose of a few laughs and to get in everyone’s way. But Kirk is another being entirely. Known across town for holding job after job in a number of fields he’s unqualified for, Kirk is mostly just a menace to himself and others. The sad thing is that he’s treated mostly as a joke, and no one bothers to explain this. His character is confusing because he’s bullied by other residents, yet is still humoured by them. One of those token jokester characters who often tend to have social disorders--or at least suffer from debilitating social anxiety--the inclusion of his character seems inappropriate and just plain sad.
9 Taylor's questionable leadership
Taylor Doose is somehow even more aggravating than Kirk, since he holds more prestige over the town of Stars Hollow. He is the owner of the local grocery store, Doose’s Market, but also doubles as town selectman, runs all the town meetings, gets his nose in everyone’s business, ends up opening a soda shoppe next to Luke’s, and dips his toes in every major town function. Again, people seem to humour him and his overbearing ideas and policies, but no one ever contradicts him (except for Lorelai and Luke--and even then, it’s fruitless). He is often so intrusive into people’s personal lives that it’s honestly a shock no one has ever tried to bring him off his high horse. Taylor may think he runs the town, but he only truly has the power to drive people crazy. We’re surprised he remained such a staple of the Stars Hollow community despite his unpopular status.
8 Sookie's unconvincing expertise
Sookie St. James herself isn’t a terrible character--in fact, she humanizes Lorelai and adds the classic Melissa McCarthy charm to the story. Unfortunately, her cooking expertise--despite Lorelai’s insistence that she’s the best chef in town--is far from believable. You can’t just dress someone up as a chef, put them in a kitchen, and tell them to taste test sauce and dunk their hands in the food. Does Sookie even have credentials? If so, why is she in Stars Hollow in the first place? For someone so bubbly and carefree, she is also incredibly obsessive when it comes to food--almost scarily so. She refuses to let anyone in her kitchen who isn’t “up to her standard," nit picks her cooks and fights every bit of constructive criticism. Still, we can admit that she’s a good friend to Lorelai, though if she were really good at her job, you’d think she'd have taught her best friend to cook...
7 Unfaithful relationships
Well this one’s a given. If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan and have followed the show since its inception, you’ll know there have been more than one or two infidelities between characters. And, as it’s a TV drama, we aren’t surprised--or shocked by some of the unfaithful relationships shown. The first, when Dean is unfaithful to his wife Lindsay and Lorelai finds out, she shames Rory at a time when she should have been supportive. There’s such a double standard with Rory and the aftermath of the situation (which is unfortunate, but not uncommon), but no one really addresses the implications of this risky relationship. In fact, it kind of just gets swept under the rug and overlooked for the rest of the series. That is, until Lorelai cheats on Luke with Christopher, and once we find out Rory and Logan have been seeing each other despite his engagement to another woman. Infidelity is a tough subject, but Gilmore Girls made it taboo, uncomfortable, and somehow ended up glamorizing it.
6 Michel's negativity
Michel Gerard is the sassy Frenchman who adds some spice to the overall flatness of characters around him. He’s not afraid to complain, and though admittedly he can sometimes add humour to a situation, he’s also exceptional unpleasant. His sarcasm is off putting, he’s rude and grumpy, he doesn’t treat his boss Lorelai with any respect, and he provides terrible service to the guests at both the Independence Inn and the Dragonfly Inn where he works. Not only does this paint the broad picture that the French are rude, but it also makes us wonder why Lorelai doesn’t just fire him. In addition to being negative, he has a terrible work ethic… there is almost nothing redeemable about him other than the fact that he’s one of the only diverse characters in the entire show.
5 Paris' controlling personality
Paris Geller is introduced to us early on in the series as Rory’s school rival, and stays throughout as her roommate and best friend. There are so many things wrong with Paris that it’s unbelievable she was ever able to become so successful and maintain a family at home. From a young age she was insolent and demanding (though we can’t fault her for her upbringing), and even though she ends up befriending Rory--who in comparison is mild-mannered and accommodating--she never changes, and only grows to tolerate people and their differences. What can be spun as “brutal honesty” is just offensive, but like with Kirk and Taylor, everyone ignores how she treats people and lets her continue in her often verbally abusive manner.
4 Lorelai's indecisiveness
Lorelai has a lot of personal issues, one of which is her lack of trust in men. Because Christopher left to pursue his own career and life (though at first was willing to get married and be involved with Rory), Lorelai focused all her energy as a single mom towards Rory. We can all get behind this, and it’s understandable that she would have lasting trust issues with men. However, it’s not clear why--and how--she constantly rebounds with the different men in her life. If she’s been single for so long, why can’t she just remain single for awhile, without a man?
Finally, after years of flirtation and a strange unconditional friendship with Luke, Lorelai seems to have found her match--and to everyone’s relief. After the ups and downs with Rory’s father, we all just wanted her to make up her mind. Unfortunately, right when we got too comfortable, she was at it again. Unable to deal with a pretty huge milestone in her partner’s life, Lorelai cheats on Luke during an argument that is entirely selfish on her end, and again ruins her love life. We still don’t know whether to be impressed or concerned for Luke, who still always takes her back.
3 Lorelai and Emily
The relationship between Lorelai and Emily is essentially the precursor to the entire plotline of Gilmore Girls. If it wasn’t for Emily and her overbearing nature and desire to dictate Lorelai’s life, their relationship would probably not have resulted in estrangement and distrust. Thankfully, Friday night dinners were a way to strengthen Rory and Emily’s relationship, but only seemed to create friction with Lorelai. Perhaps dramatic irony, it seems the two actually have quite a bit in common despite their attitudes toward one another. For the most part, this unstable and loveless mother-daughter relationship is painful to watch. Why can’t they just agree to disagree?
2 Jess' hostility
We get it. Jess Mariano grew up in an unstable home with unsuitable parents. He was reckless and angsty, and took it out on his guardian and uncle Luke, and anyone else who disagreed with him. Even though in the end of the series he grew into a solid, multi-layered man with the utmost respect for Rory, it only took--hmm--16 years. Until then, he’s manipulative, controlling, and emotionally abusive to Rory during their entire relationship. Of course, everyone has their own opinions about which “team” they’re on (Team Dean or Team Jess), but there is absolutely no denying that he treats Rory terribly. The incident at the house party when he storms off (as per usual) is disheartening, and how he acts every time he expresses his feelings (finally) to Rory before running away just goes to show that it was probably in everyone’s best interest that he left Stars Hollow for good.
And finally, the main character of Rory Gilmore. The driving force behind the series, and (sadly) a role model for many young girls who grew up watching the series--you’d think Rory would be the least offensive part of the show. Over the first couple of seasons, we can’t argue about that. Even when she makes the mistake of falling for Dean when he’s married… she’s young, she makes mistakes. Even when she lets Jess treat her badly and allows Paris to walk all over her at school… she’s coming into her own and growing as a person. Unfortunately for everyone, she just happens to grow into a person who is actually pretty unlikeable.
Rory constantly undermines her mother by going behind her back with her grandparents, ignores her advice, oversteps mother-daughter boundaries, and even moves out and shuts her down completely despite everything Lorelai sacrificed. She doesn’t take up an extra job to help save money for school while Lorelai runs around trying to find the funds to support her. Even though she didn’t grow up with money, she seems to expect it as her right the more she delves into that lifestyle. She makes it as a journalist, but then turns down every opportunity, cheats on her boyfriend, and has an affair with Logan. Rory is the quintessential privileged millennial that gives all millennials a bad name, which makes her the number one reason why Gilmore Girls is the worst.