So-Rory-al Com-Paris-ons: A Geller-Gilmore study

[As you know, I came out of the Gilmore closet a month ago. And I want to thank everyone, Gilmoreans or otherwise, who read, liked and shared the article for your acceptance and nod of approval.]

When I first watched the show, its light-hearted humour and its linguistic facetiousness fascinated me. The one-liners, catch-phrases and even the witty insults. I even went as far as to note down some quotes which stayed with me.

An investigation into the ones I noted down revealed a somewhat interesting titbit. Yes, there were several attributed to the usual suspects, Lorelai and Rory. But there were quite a few quotes from, what may seem to some to you, an unlikely source in Paris Geller.

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Liza Weil gives a remarkably strong performance as Paris Geller (and interestingly, was originally considered for the role of Rory Gilmore before it eventually went to Alexis Bledel).

The Bechdel test and its shortcomings

Though it is often used to gauge gender equality and feminism in media, the Bechdel Test fails to consider many other nuances. The test doesn’t take the complex nature of human beings or the different types and subjects of conversation into consideration. For example, a show about two ignorant women gossiping about other women may pass the test. While, a show about two rational and knowledgeable women having a serious discussion about love and the men in their lives, may not.

More often than not, the female characters on network television are conventionally beautiful, pristinely groomed, doe-eyed women with an almost faultless body. Despite the show’s feminist sensibility, the titular Gilmores adhere to these characteristics too. Even Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy or Claire Danes in My So-Called Life do. In Paris’ own words about Rory, “You’re quiet, you say excuse me, you look like little birds help you get dressed in the morning.”

But here’s where characters like Paris make a difference to the show. Though Paris may not adhere to these high standards, she’s still appealing in her own way. The wisecracking Paris and even the rebellious Lane depict feminism’s complex and diverse nature, exposing the Bechdel test for the deceptive gauge that it is.

In the beginning, Paris is quite an abrasive character. She starts off as an impudent antagonistic foil to Rory’s sweeter and courteous good-girl persona but she becomes more ingratiating with the seasons. She is a character you eventually grow to admire and even love. And with all her flaws, she’s often more relatable than Rory.

Paris’ initial hostility is understandable considering she finds an intellectual equal and a romantic rival in Rory. Through the seasons, she is often a victim of a frustrating conundrum as people continue to choose Rory over her. Be it with Tristan or the Yale Daily News. Men (at least those in the show) find Rory’s sweet charisma quite endearing in contrast to Paris’ in-your-face personality.

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Yet, their relationship transforms to a more congenial one with time. What I like about Paris is she matures a lot more over the years than Rory does. From a fairly one-dimensional character in the first season, she grows up to become a complex and more pragmatic character. She doesn’t drop out of school when she faces a crisis or let boys influence her decisions. From a mere antagonistic foil, she becomes Rory’s voice of reason. When an emotionally vulnerable Rory begins to lose her way at Yale, Paris is there to remind her of her goals and compels her to pull her socks up.

In many ways, Paris transforms into the kind of woman we thought Rory would become. Hence, I began to love Paris over the years. Her tongue-in-cheek insults and arguments with Rory made for compelling television (like this one or this one). Clever, diligent and sharp-tongued, she said some of the most hilarious things in the show’s seven seasons. Here are some of her more memorable ones.

  1. “No, it’s National Baptism Day. Tie your tubes, idiot.”

14 15

Do you ever feel like you’re surrounded by idiots? Be at school, college or work. No? Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I’m a cynical person by nature. And hey, I’m not saying I’m the smartest guy around. I’m merely criticising the interests and lifestyles of some.

  1. “I want to live my life so that I’ll be able to read an in depth biography about myself in later years and not puke.”gif8

We all want to have interesting lives and share fascinating stories with the world. We want our story to have just the right amount of drama, engrossing twists and crises and an intriguing cast of characters to keep our readers interested and avoid them from getting sick or die out of boredom.

  1. “Why is every single person here having a better time than we are?”

Extroversion and introversion are typically viewed as a single continuum. Being more on the introversion than extraversion side of the continuum, it’s not always easy for me to have a good time in social situations. Parties in clubs with complete strangers simply don’t make for a suitable social environment for some of us. I rather prefer small shindigs with people I know and people with whom I am well-acquainted.

  1. “You sleep with one old guy, and suddenly you’re Catherine Zeta-Jones.”

15After word of her affair with Asher got out.

5. “The great man was not brought down by my vagina.”

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Haha! Classic Paris!

6. “Sorry if you thought we had a deep Thelma-and-Louise thing.”

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Thelma & Louise revisited, starring Rory Gilmore as the submissive Thelma and Paris Geller as the sharp-tongued Louise.

7. “How do I know that you’re not one of those people who gets pretty happy looking at a sunset? How do I know what your barometer for being pretty happy is?”

This reminds me of a classmate of mine during my dog-eat-dog years in high-school.

8. “I can’t date! I’m not genetically set up for it!”gif7

Reminds me of a conversation between Elaine and Jerry in Seinfeld.

ELAINE: So what you are saying is that 90 to 95 percent of the population is undateable?
JERRY: UNDATEABLE!
ELAINE: Then how are all these people getting together?
JERRY: Alcohol.

Thank God for alcohol then.

9. “If you need love, get a hooker. If you’re having a bad day, find a ledge or a way to deal.”

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An unforgettable speech!

10. “Was the last time you had an interesting thought, when you considered flinging yourself off a building?”

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Like I said, idiots all around us and I am just “not cut out to deal with them.”

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4 comments

    • This was more of an analysis of the character development of Rory and Paris. In the end, I really enjoyed Paris’ coming of age tale a lot more than Rory’s. And yes, even I can relate to her pugnacious disposition.

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