At first, I wasn’t opposed to watching Gilmore Girls during lunch breaks with my straight co-workers. I’d never seen the show myself, but I’d heard nothing but good things, and I’d been compared to Rory Gilmore so many times over the course of my life that I was curious to see how close the resemblance might be. What the hell, I thought to myself. Sure. I’ll watch it. This is funny, heartwarming, woman-centered television, and it doesn’t condescend to its audience. Or so the reviewers tell me. How bad could it be?
Now, I have to digress for a moment. Just stay with me here. A few years back, a friend of mine took place in a truly punishing endurance race called Tough Mudder. The race is twelve miles long and features dozens of obstacles, including, as per the Wikipedia page:
- the Arctic Enema, a dumpster filled with ice water that participants must swim through;
- the Electroshock Therapy, a field of mud covered in low-hanging live wires that participants must traverse;
- and the Funky Monkey, a set of butter-and-mud-slicked monkey bars suspended over a pit of freezing water that participants must cross.
For me, watching Gilmore Girls was like doing an Arctic Enema while being hacked to pieces by a chainsaw-wielding serial killer and forced to listen to Trout Mask Replica. Actually, no. It was worse. Remember the beginning of Les Miserables, when Fantine loses her factory job and she sells her hair and teeth and becomes a prostitute and sings “I Dreamed A Dream” before dying of consumption? Now imagine Fantine doing all of that while simultaneously swimming through an ice-filled dumpster, being chainsawed in half by a serial killer, and forced to listen to Trout Mask Replica. That is how it feels to watch Gilmore Girls. In a word: bad.
In this complicated mixed metaphor, I am Fantine, and Paris Geller is Cosette, who I love more than anything and for whom I would lay down my life. Paris is far and away the most vivid, fully rendered, and realistic depiction of a lesbian that I have ever seen in any fictional medium.
Her existence is, frankly, a miracle. By all accounts, the showrunners – namely, a certain Amy Sherman-Palladino – were actively trying not to portray Paris as a lesbian. They subjected her to the same sloppy, snoozeworthy “romance” plots that plagued every other woman on this show, giving her boyfriends that ranged from baby-pablum-bland to serial statutory rapists. But through it all, and against all odds, Paris Geller retained her indomitable Sapphic spirit.
This list exists both as a call-out for Amy Sherman-Palladino, and an illustration of the fact that the only Gilmore Girls love story that ever mattered or will ever matter belongs to Paris and Rory. It’s not exhaustive, by the way; this show is a goddamned minefield of hate crimes. Below is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Whatever. I just popped on the deluxe edition of Bleach and I’m ready to rage. Let’s do this.
10. The Shakespearean Sonnet
Paris and Rory are deadlocked in an academic conflict over some Shakespeare-related school project. The writers wanted to illustrate Paris’s competitiveness, and her ruthless desire to lord over Rory.
They chose to do this by, uh, having Paris whisper Sonnet 116 into Rory’s ear.
Egregious, I know, but just the first of many hate crimes to come.
9. The Bangles Concert
Lorelai, an adult woman who has no close friends besides Sookie and her own adolescent daughter, buys seven tickets to a Bangles concert. Rory brings along a few school chums to fill out the extra seats, including Paris. All the other chums ditch the show and leave Paris and Rory alone, seated next to each other. Hate crimes ensue.
Gif via kiminycricket.
8. The Assassination of Asher Fleming by Rory Gilmore
The entire plotline where Paris dates an elderly English professor who habitually goes through eighteen-year-old freshmen like tissue paper was a hate crime in and of itself. Even more of a hate crime? This whole arc where Rory gets deeply, personally offended on Paris’s behalf after the professor “dedicates” his book to her with a vague, non-specific description…
…and subsequently throws said vague, non-specific dedication in the asshole’s face when he tries to put the moves on her.
Rory’s risking her beloved GPA to murder Paris’s heinous professor boyfriend, and you’re telling me they’re not in love? Ridiculous.
7. The Break-Up
So Asher’s ancient ass has a well-deserved and highly anticipated heart attack, and Rory goes to the hospital to be with Paris. There, she persuades Paris to break up with Asher, saying, “Now is good, and to do it is good… for a number of reasons.”
The following litany of hate crimes ensues.
Now, this begs the question: Paris is definitely a lesbian, but is Rory? That argyle sweater vest sure says yes. I wouldn’t know anything about Rory’s relationships with her boyfriends because by this point in the series I was just fast-forwarding to Paris’s scenes and hissing violently whenever Supernatural Dude or Tru Valu Brand Danny Zuko appeared onscreen. Never even got to Logan because I gave up on the show at the end of the fourth season. God bless.
6. The Revival
In the reboot, Paris is a successful in vitro fertilization specialist with a cross between a pixie cut and the “may I speak to a manager?” haircut. She’s currently in the process of divorcing her husband. She’s also still straight. On Netflix. In 2017.
5. The Closet
The first episode of the third season is loaded with hate crimes. A boy asks Paris out. Rory helps her get ready for her date, doing her makeup, brushing her hair, and telling her how beautiful she looks. They have a long, loaded conversation about what they each want in a partner, and how they’ll know when they’ve found the one.
And that’s before the guy knocks on the door and Paris proceeds to push Rory into a literal, actual closet.
This, by the way, is the guy Paris is eventually going to lose her virginity to, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms. Can’t even remember the dude’s name. Jamie! That was it. He factors into a later, even more egregious hate crime; see below.
4. The School Play
Paris is directing the school production of Romeo & Juliet. She refuses to even consider anyone but Rory for the part of Juliet, suits up in Romeo drag when their lead actor bails, and then intimates that she wants to kiss Rory.
Now, they don’t actually kiss, because, as evidenced by this list, Amy Sherman-Palladino is a hate criminal. Paris does, however, faceplant into Rory’s boobs during the death scene.
3. The Lost Virginity
This one is actually beyond words so I’m just going to let the script speak for itself.
PARIS: I slept with Jamie. Last night, after we talked.
RORY: Was it something I said?
PARIS: I went over there to study and he lit a fire and then we did it. What are your thoughts on that?
RORY: My thoughts?
PARIS: Because I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it myself yet. I’ve been going over it in my head. I mean, it seemed to go pretty well… So, come on, talk. What do you think?
RORY: Okay, so, were you safe?
PARIS: Yes, it was a regular after school special.
RORY: Well, was he nice to you?
PARIS: Yes, he was very nice to me.
RORY: And the two of you had discussed this…
PARIS: Well, I don’t know that we actually discussed it, it was just sort of implied.
PARIS: Yes, implied. When you’re dating a boy and you’re together for a given amount of time and you’re not Amish, then the eventual occurrence of intercourse is inevitable. I mean, wasn’t it with you?
PARIS: With Dean.
RORY: No. I never did it with Dean.
PARIS: Oh. Well, then with Jess, right?
RORY: Um, no.
PARIS: You’re lying.
RORY: No, I’m not lying.
PARIS: You haven’t?
PARIS: Why not?
RORY: I just haven’t. It’s just not the time.
PARIS: Why is it not the time? I mean, if it’s not the time for you, then maybe it’s not the time for me either.
Did I mention this episode was directed by Jamie Babbit, the openly gay director of seminal lesbian classic But I’m A Cheerleader? Because it was. Whoo, boy, it was.
2. The Televised Breakdown
Paris is rejected from Harvard. She proceeds to freak out about this rejection, and freak out about having had sex with Jamie – on national television. Rory swoops in like a knight in shining armour and carts Paris out back and holds her as she sobs.
Potent shit. Exceedingly hate crime-y. And, as a lesbian with severe OCPD, definitely Paris’s most relatable moment.
1. The Kiss
Amy Sherman-Palladino straight-up owes me reparations for this one.