Why Was Rory So Harsh?

In ‘Die, Jerk‘, Rory’s editor at the Yale Daily News tells her that her articles have not been very good. He calls her chamber music review a “yawn”, and her next one, which was a lot of work for Rory, also “not very good.” Rory had researched it thoroughly and written it four times. She is coached to not worry so much about the facts and instead focus on her opinions.

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So, when she’s told “either you’ll get the hang of things or you won’t,” Rory walks into the ballet thinking ‘I need an opinion,’ and worrying that maybe she’d already peaked as a writer. The ballet starts and, article or not, it appears to be horrible. The ballerina falls, kicks her partner and doesn’t look good in her outfit.

Despite how much Rory tries to be nice to people, she doesn’t hold back in her review. Perhaps she was so scared of not being published that she went very far in being harsh.

Was it necessary for Rory to be that harsh? She used phrases such as “the grace of a drunken dock worker” and compared the ballerina to a hippo.

Watch this episode of Gilmore Girls on TheWB.com here.

Image: TheWB.com

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    • mcityrk

      The harshness of the interview was for comic effect and worked really well, even satisfying the visciousness quotient of the grandparents. But it seems the real point was that for as intelligent as Rory was, she was programmed to please and had to learn to modulate her basically nonconfrontational personality to handle assisgnments where a neutral position was not possible and then prepare for the inevitable backlash from those she offended. Just an object lesson in preparing for her chosen profession.

    • Wonder Y

      This is an easy one for me because I observe the pattern all the time. When a highly driven person gets pushed outside his/her comfort zone, the results can be erratic and bizarre. We saw basically the same thing when Paris was in charge of the newspaper and things started spiraling out of control. It is very difficult for people to recognize this behavior in themselves. Some can learn from experience, but others need very good mentoring.

    • Marie

      Oh I think a point is getting lost here, as it did, in a way in the episode and the series.

      Rory, who strives to be nice to everyone (or at least she once did), suppresses a lot of the humor she has in her. Notice when she’s with Lorelai, it brings out something a little more wicked — in fact, she uses one of Lorelai’s lines in the article. The dialogue is:

      LORELAI: “The roll around the bra strap”?

      RORY: That was your line!

      LORELAI: It was? I’m awful.

      The girls never really get any come uppance for what they do and say about other people. I always thought it would be really funny if the Stars Hollow turned on her once when she said too much, or if one person told another what she said about them and the town started comparing notes, or if they’re mouths really got them into trouble, but then they might learn or be quiet and the show would be over!

      We laugh at Lorelai, and even the things Rory writes, but as Lorelai says it’s different when you see it in print.

      I think it’s just a clever way of saying the girls are funny, but if you really ever heard what they think about other people and you WERE one of those people, we’d see them in a different light.

      I wonder what inspired this episode? Maybe Dan wrote an email repeating something Amy said and got hit for it?

    • mcityrk

      @Marie

      I think your comment is true most of the time, but this episode was one of the few times when one of the girls actually got comeuppance for their actions as Rory got verbally slapped in public because the article totally ticked off the ballerina. The only other incident I recall where the girls got fully called out was the Teresa/Lindsay shouting match for the Rory/Dean indiscretion.

    • Wonder Y

      @marie
      That is an interesting point about the lack of comeuppance. Very rarely do the characters have to pay for their transgressions. One thing I always noticed is that the characters drink alcohol with impunity, but their drunken actions don’t make a bit of difference in the long run. The worst example of this was when Emily got pulled over for a DWI. This was funny in the context of it being the perfect date, but there is nothing funny about getting a DWI. Even Logan’s absurd accident didn’t have any real long-term ramifications. It isn’t like I wanted the show to turn into The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, but come on…

    • Marie

      @mcityrk,

      I very much agree with you (not a surprise) with one exception (also not a surprise). :)

      Rory certainly gets a lot of criticism and teasing for what she wrote, but ultimately she was rewarded with a position on the Daily News. If I recall, the episode also ends with her apparently about to deliver another harsh criticism. (In Season 7, which I try to forget, there is a similar episode where Logan yells at her for something she wrote, but it does not last.) This of course takes the sting out of all that happened.

      And also, Rory does look very upset when Lindsey’s mother yells at her, but with Lorelai telling her to back off and then comforting her afterward (as she would), there was no real follow through and the message seems to be that Teresa was “mean” and everything was “okay” because it’s “sweet little Rory.” After all, she goes back to Dean and they date for awhile. Meanwhile, Rory becomes extremely judgmental (especially of Christopher, to the point of rewriting history) and is never consistently reminded of her pattern of behavior.

      On the issue of their humor, though, I got the sense this was more a “defense” of the show for all the things they said about other people. As in, “it’s a comedy, get a sense of humor,” we just thought it was funny.

      Maybe the Palladinos got their own “Die, Jerk” message from someone they mocked mercilessly on the show. And their comeuppance, well,…

    • Marie

      @Wonder Y

      I think this goes with my point to mcityrk — I’ve met comedians who get offended when you tell them they went too far. They get very huffy and act as if they have license to be brutal, but they rarely like it when it’s done to them. What they rarely realize is that it often ends up coming back to them, and that “this is comedy” is not an answer to every failing.

      Maybe this is why the writers felt that Rory could waste all three summers and not be a serious professional woman and still end up editor of the school paper and eventually a famous journalist. Or that Lorelai could to do Luke and Christopher what she did, and end up happily ever after with one of them (if that was their plan), and we would forget all that happened because Lorelai was funny.

      In general, that is true more often than not. Many many fans of this show, unlike Sex and the City for example, are very sensitive to criticism of Lorelai. They so much want to be funny like her they don’t see how hurtful she was. But I think as Sex and the City shows, you can mock the characters for their flaws, admit them, and still be funny.

      And of course, we all still love THIS show and laugh at it, but at least we can admit what is not role model behavior!

    • Jay Mc.

      To stay with the fantasy that Rory and Lorelai are real, you have to accept everything that they do.
      I like to look at this show as such and answer the questions in that manner.

      To Arieanna; Rory is always nice to people but behind a review she can hide.
      Even with a byline there is separation and she may also think that the dancer will not read it.

    • Alia

      @Jay Mc,

      Why would Rory think that the ballerina won’t read it though? It’d be like Lorelai and Sookie not reading that review of the restaurant in the Independence Inn at the beginning of Season 1.

      Maybe Rory tried to do as Doyle told her to: express her opinions. Although, she could’ve tried to not write it so harshly.

    • martin

      So many posts in the last week analysing Rory’s behavior!? Sure, it’s a crowd pleaser and everyone can express their deep felt dislike, every fan hates Rory, I get it, but what inspired this type of “creativity”?

    • Marie

      Martin,

      What do you mean by “creativity”?

      I certainly don’t hate Rory. In fact, I loved the character into the fourth year of the show. She was sensitive, smart, professional, and forgiving. What was hard to accept is how much these virtues were left behind in later seasons, and it’s okay to admit she has flaws and healthy, I think, than saying no criticism is appropriate.

    • Josh

      @Wonder Y

      Just a quick correction:

      Emily was not pulled over for drinking. She was pulled over for using her cell phone while driving.

      Just had to say that, as an Emily fan :)