In the latest development from the set of the Netflix Gilmore Girls revival, it looks like it won’t just be the girls returning to Stars Hollow. The boys are back in town, as Jared Padalecki and Milo Ventimiglia are both set to make appearances on the new series —- and with their return comes the return of the question that has haunted a generation:
Team Dean or Team Jess?
Leather jacket or jean jacket, checkout boy or busboy, Kerouac or Salinger?
Oops, sorry, trick question. The correct answer is no answer. I know they’re cute, but don’t test me. It’s time to face the facts, and the facts are that every one of Rory Gilmore’s boyfriends completely sucked.
This is not a criticism of Gilmore Girls. That Dean and Jess suck is one of the most realistic and relatable elements of Gilmore Girls. The boyfriends you have when you’re 16 are usually terrible, and in her infinite wisdom, Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino fashioned a pair of all-time ain’t-shit boy wonders to torment Rory Gilmore with mind games and artfully messy hair during those tender teen years.
Of course, we all have nostalgia for that vulnerable time in our own youth when we watched Rory struggle through those first disastrous relationships … but if we’re being real, when it comes down to it, the only question is which of these human barnacles is worse. Given the evidence, it might be too close to call.
Dean likes old movies, he’ll make you a car, and he’s happy to have you around to teach him how and what to read. Dean is also territorial and can’t handle his girlfriend having male friends. Dean will whine that you’re spending too much time doing homework. Dean will push you to give up opportunities so you’ll have more time to coddle him. Dean is the kind of person who gets married right after high school even though he has unresolved feelings for another woman, and who has no qualms about asking said other woman to involve herself in his messy home life.
These are deal breakers, ladies and gentlemen. And before you get excited about Jess, just think about how you’d feel if your new man immediately picked a fight with your mom the first time you brought him home. Jess disappears at the drop of a hat, he has issues with every member of his mostly supportive family, and his sarcasm is only cute until he directs it at you. He’ll drive like an asshole in your car and crash it and then have the nerve to come out with no injuries while you’re sporting a cast. Yes, he’s a better banterer than Dean. Yes, his hair has aged better than Dean’s, and yes, it has more volume. Yes, he will give you a free hookup on diner food; yes, you could probably steal his lined jean jacket, and yes, it would probably look better on you. But at what cost? At. What. Cost??
Like her mother before her — really, people, do not get me started on Christopher — Rory’s teen years were dominated by boys who felt entitled to her time and energy. This is not something for Rory to regret — those boys were crucial stepping-stones into adulthood. Dean and Jess (and Logan, who thankfully does not seem to be returning — he’s the least awful of the three, but there’s only so much I can take) are classic starter boyfriends. The decision to end Gilmore Girls with Rory choosing to be single was the natural conclusion to a chapter in life that many young women experience.
Notoriously produced without the input of Sherman-Palladino, there was little to recommend in the final season of Gilmore Girls, and there’s a sense that this revival is a chance to right some long-festering wrongs. But we have fingers crossed that Palladino doesn’t rescind the promise that Rory’s days of dating douches are behind her. At least if Rory has to date a douche, let it be a new douche.
In fact, that’s my team. Team No Old Douches 2016.