First, we must dispose of any obstacles
January 3, 2014 2:29 PM   Subscribe

Rory and Paris: The Real Gilmore Girls
I am going to make you want something that you may or may not have already known that you wanted. I am going to make you realize that the real love story at the heart of Gilmore Girls took place between two tightly-wound, highly-strung, overachieving rivals-turned-roommates who wore matching ties and skirts and engaged in sexually charged fencing sessions. The mutual respect, admiration, and trust that sprang up between Rory Gilmore and Paris Gellar was hard-fought and slowly earned; theirs was a friendship forged and refined slowly over the years. They grew into the shape of one another. Put aside your dreams of Jess, that human sneeze; let Logan sail away on his yacht of indifference into the sunset: Rory/Paris are endgame.
Femslash Friday is a series on The Toast ...

Mellie/Olivia Forever
This was all sparked when I recently discovered that the Google image search for “Mellie/Olivia slash” was abundantly disappointing. This shocked me! The rage-chemistry between Kerry Washington (the greatest living human woman) and Bellamy Young (a woman with a face like a porcelain Victorian sex doll, which I mean as the highest compliment) is so incandescent that I found myself baffled by the dearth of fan art.
I'll Be In My Bunk For Kaylee/Inara
Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn
Ann and Leslie are Endgame
posted by the man of twists and turns (44 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Kaylee/Inara makes such a good argument it instantly became retroactive canon for me.

Also " Simon Tam is the least convincing heterosexual in history".
posted by The Whelk at 2:31 PM on January 3, 2014 [15 favorites]

I love Femmeslash Friday. If the internet can decide that every m/m friendship is a secret forbidden love, why not the ladies as well?

Ahh Buffy/Faith!
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:43 PM on January 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Rory/Paris are endgame.

Ugh, no, Paris is WAY too good and interesting for Rory, and they're sort of opposite that way. Rory is constantly being praised and held up as special and wonderful by everyone -- her mother, her grandparents, Luke, Dean, what's his name who was an asshole (Tristan? I think?), Jess, Logan, really everyone in Stars Hollow -- but she's not actually that great and she's not that special and she can't really keep up with her mother who actually is interesting and special and something out of the ordinary.

Rory actually is pretty ordinary; introverted and reasonably smart, sure, but not actually magically special and wonderful the way everyone thinks she is. As Lorelei says to her at some point, "you're the Great White Hope of the Gilmore family", and it's true, and she's a lovely young woman and all but the support and expectations of all those people create a much stronger, smarter, more interesting person than Rory herself actually is.

Paris, conversely, has (paradoxically) had to work really hard for everything she's gotten. This seems weird because her family has so much money and so much in the way of connections and stuff, but no one actually helps her or even believes in her all that much. She's not likeable and she's very intense and life is hard for her and she really suffers. Rory is buoyed up on a tide of family and friends who love her very much and that makes her seem like more than she is, but Paris works really hard and gets no support and alienates people left and right and still manages to do well. Remember when the two of them were being hazed for that secret society? Rory's mother warned her so she was all pretty and dressed up. Paris was pulled out of bed in the middle of the night with an ugly nightshirt and pimple cream. Rory didn't look better because she actually looks gorgeous while she sleeps, it's because she had help, and Paris, whose mother actually really wanted her in the group, did absolutely nothing to make it easier for her.

Paris seems like she has every advantage but she doesn't have any real help or support and so she struggles and suffers profoundly and grows immensely over the course of the show. Rory ends up as basically the same person she was at the beginning but older, still carried along by a tide of love.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 2:49 PM on January 3, 2014 [63 favorites]

P.S. I will admit that I never saw the "final season" because Amy Sherman-Palladino wasn't involved with it so I do not acknowledge it as cannon.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 2:50 PM on January 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, thank you, Mrs. P. Rory was the worst. An empty-headed waste of space who everyone loves, dating similarly empty-headed bores, with this amazing but long-suffering mother and grandmother who do everything for her. That show was frustrating.
posted by bleep at 2:52 PM on January 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

As much as I do love Alexis Bledel as Rory (and actually enjoy her in most things), Liza Weil is so much better in every scene they're in that it's hard to even see the character connection as fully as it's written.
posted by sweetkid at 2:53 PM on January 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oooh, yeah, and remember when Paris and Rory graduated and Rory's whole family was there, but the only person who came to see Paris was her family's maid? And how happy Paris was to see her? So yes, Paris > Rory.

Hi, I'm Rangeboy, and I'm a Dude Who Has Opinions About Gilmore Girls.
posted by Rangeboy at 2:53 PM on January 3, 2014 [13 favorites]

As much as I do love Alexis Bledel as Rory (and actually enjoy her in most things)

Uh, what else has she actually been in? The only other role of hers I can recall is the World's Least Convincing Hooker in Sin City.
posted by Rangeboy at 2:55 PM on January 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Mad Men, Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants.
posted by sweetkid at 2:56 PM on January 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

She was Pete Campbell's spooky childlike mistress on Mad Men
posted by The Whelk at 2:57 PM on January 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

She was also the World's Least Convincing Psych Patient/Housewife in Mad Men. She has the same problem as January Jones, which is you can't tell if it's the character or the actress.
posted by bleep at 2:57 PM on January 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I totally forgot about Mad Men. She was okay in that. I've never seen the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. To be honest, I always thought she was the weakest part of Gilmore Girls. She and Lauren Graham had a nice chemistry in their scenes together, but she seemed outmatched by every other actor on the show, particularly in the early seasons.
posted by Rangeboy at 2:59 PM on January 3, 2014

I agree she's the weakest part of Gilmore Girls, but I still think she works as that character (and works in Mad Men, and I LOVE JJ in Mad Men, not to go there).
posted by sweetkid at 3:01 PM on January 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Kaylee/Inara makes such a good argument it instantly became retroactive canon for me.

It instantly clicked with its sense of rightness.
posted by arcticseal at 3:07 PM on January 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

It was fated to be.
posted by The Whelk at 3:09 PM on January 3, 2014

i just recently started gilmore girls again. i haven't really watched it since then original airing which started when i was a couple days past my 19th birthday. i'm really enjoying it, but noticing things that i really missed the first time around. also, this is the second gilmore girls post i've seen on the toast today. i continue to love that website.

i was just saying on twitter last night that i'd watch a lane kim show - she's so much more interesting than white bread rory - same goes for paris. in an alternate universe where webisodes could have been a thing while it was originally airing, i would have totally watched a stars hollow mini series and a chilton mini series, where each of them focused on paris or lane.
posted by nadawi at 3:16 PM on January 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

Buffy and Faith also make a ton of sense. The relationships with Spike and Angel were more about the self-destruction than true feelings, and Riley was the boringest. But there's more heat between her and Faith than in all of the rest of the series, and the "good" season 7 Faith is a perfect match for Buffy.

Doesn't Buffy hook up with a slayer in the season 8 comics at some point? I seem to recall that that was a thing that happened.
posted by gkhan at 3:19 PM on January 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is the best thing ever, ever.
posted by clvrmnky at 3:19 PM on January 3, 2014

Dear lord, thank you. I have never actually looked for Rory/Paris slash, but now I actually might.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:20 PM on January 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

oh and i haven't read inara/kaylee yet, but there has never been a second of doubt in my mind that there was love there - especially kaylee for inara, but i could see a path that gets inara there too. in my dream world where firefly lasted 20 seasons and never got awful and that planned thing with inara never happened (and that other thing with wash never happened) ~glares at joss whedon~ than kaylee and inara would have become naked cuddle buddies. i don't know if i ever saw them as a couple, but rather turning into best friends who always have a relationship, physical or otherwise, outside of their other pairings.
posted by nadawi at 3:20 PM on January 3, 2014

Liza was also the wife of the guy who killed Abby and stabbed Carter in ER. She was top form there.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:24 PM on January 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

Nadawi, the case made for the pairing is one of those " totally fixes a troublesome dynamic on the show." Actualky two of then by taking the slap skap kiss kiss romantic dynamic away from Inara and Mal where it felt awkward and putting it where it belongs, with Simon and Jayne
posted by The Whelk at 3:30 PM on January 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

( also as per the comments on the original toast article the reason why Inara has the needle is not because of the bullshit planned plont line because she's secretly an assassin/spy and thats why she's out on the ffrontier)
posted by The Whelk at 3:37 PM on January 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Somehow I totally missed the proposed Inara-and-the-syringe episode proposal and now I kind of wish I'd stayed ignorant of that particular piece of super-revolting fuckery.

But yes, Inara/Kaylee forever.
posted by WidgetAlley at 4:01 PM on January 3, 2014

I've written fanfiction for two of these pairings! But more Rory/Paris really should exist.
posted by chaiminda at 4:49 PM on January 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wait, I honest to god thought Inara/Kaylee straight up was canon. And I don't see Mal or Simon as barriers at all. I always figured, well, Kaylee is a little bit sly (you can see it in the way she says "hey you" to Inara, right at the beginning of the pilot), and you know Inara is into it sometimes, and they definitely have an intimacy. Doesn't distract from their hetero interests (I would never mess with Inara/Mal because I love it so), but I definitely watched it, numerous times, straight up believing that they were intended to be sometimes-lovers.
posted by likeatoaster at 5:05 PM on January 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

putting it where it belongs, with Simon and Jayne

What? No way. Simon belongs with Mal, forever and always, amen.
posted by kmz at 5:10 PM on January 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mal belongs with his ship. Its a ship ship.
posted by The Whelk at 5:12 PM on January 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

Paris is one of my favorite characters ever; "I'm not a shaman, Doyle!" is always the right thing to say to someone who's ailing. But the Paris/Rory love story just points to how underserved Lane Kim was. She barely went to college (even Seventh Day Adventist college, like Mama Kim wanted), she got married at what, 19? And then she got pregnant, with twins, after her first — terrible — sexual encounter. UNFAIR. I'm not saying cool people don't make those choices, or that those choices are inherently bad or wrong. But given what we knew about Lane....those just didn't seem like Lane-y things. This pains me even now.
posted by Charity Garfein at 5:15 PM on January 3, 2014 [13 favorites]

The way companions were described on Firefly, I always presumed Inara was pansexual (in fact, probably the best example of a pansexual in TV I can think of, someone who seems to enjoy intimate contact with anyone who's a decent human). And, of course, Kaylee is the decentest of decent humans, one who already has stakes across the whole gender performance spectrum. She wanted, it seemed, to be neither objectified as a pair of tits or objectified as a mechanic without a sensual life. That's, it seemed, what the companions were for.
posted by Apropos of Something at 5:15 PM on January 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Liza was also the person who leaked Leo's rehab on The West Wing.

(Kirk/Digger forever)
posted by dirtdirt at 5:16 PM on January 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

Oh god, this is at best tangentially related and I'm sure everybody else has already seen this but I just came across it for the first time and burst out laughing: Jayne Austin Book and Gun Club.
posted by kmz at 5:26 PM on January 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Kirk/Digger? Really? That's a thing?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:35 PM on January 3, 2014

I just couldn't think of anyone else for Kirk.
posted by dirtdirt at 5:38 PM on January 3, 2014

Taylor, surely.
posted by bac at 6:47 PM on January 3, 2014 [6 favorites]

I remember first watching Firefly and being so disappointed in the lack of Kaylee/Inara fanfic out there.

They just seemed to enjoy and respect each other so much.

(Also, so glad that femslash Friday is a thing)
posted by dinty_moore at 8:16 PM on January 3, 2014

As I found out with Mad Men, if there is a lack of quality fic in your pairings you have a responsibility to go and make it.
posted by The Whelk at 8:24 PM on January 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Liza Weil was also on Scandal, the first season. Again, as someone who was completely screwed over. I wish they'd cast her as Quinn, that would have been amazing.

Mrs. P, love your analysis of Rory and Paris. I did like how the writers would often subtly allude to the fact that Rory was basically the luckiest girl in the world, and a charitable interpretation is that this is Amy Sherman-Palladino's somewhat feminist depiction of how far being pretty and sweet and generally non-threatening can take a young woman - not just with men, but with everyone.

But the Paris/Rory love story just points to how underserved Lane Kim was. She barely went to college (even Seventh Day Adventist college, like Mama Kim wanted), she got married at what, 19? And then she got pregnant, with twins, after her first — terrible — sexual encounter. UNFAIR.

Oh god, I KNOW. I'm actually still a little cranky at how they did Lane wrong. She grew so much as a character - rebelling against and then reconciling with her mother, discovering her love of music, both as a fan and a musician, etc. She deserved better than she got. I mean, maybe she would have eventually decided to move back to Stars Hollow and marry that drippy Zach, but didn't she deserve a few years of college, or even living in Brooklyn and trying to make it as a musician first?
posted by lunasol at 8:30 PM on January 3, 2014 [7 favorites]

What... wait... there was a fencing scene in Gilmore Girls? NOw I have to go watch it.
posted by chapps at 8:43 PM on January 3, 2014

I really liked Lane when Gilmore Girls was airing and could relate to her much more for some reason than to Rory and Paris, and was pissed about how shafted she got on the show. When I recently re-watched the series, Lane's dismal fate didn't bug as much, maybe because I was prepared.

I did notice more the second time around that Rory is kind of a boring simp, though. And was actually less on Lorelai's side in her battles with Emily, which probably means my years of therapy working on my own mom issues were a success.

Also " Simon Tam is the least convincing heterosexual in history".

Oh god, so true. I never liked him for Kaylee. Basically, I never liked him at all. I don't think I ever read any Firefly fanfic, but if I did, I would have to stay far away from Simon/anyone.

I enjoyed this week's Femslash Friday on Buffy/Faith. They would've been such a cute couple!
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:29 PM on January 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

But the Paris/Rory love story just points to how underserved Lane Kim was. [...] UNFAIR.

Yes, this.

Although, I have to give the show some grudging respect precisely because of the treatment of Lane. Because it sucks. Because it's unfair.

Lane Kim is the counterpoint not just to Rory but also to Lorelai: Lorelai gets knocked up and has a kid and ends up having a wonderful, fulfilling life despite it, mostly because she's white, pretty, and has really rich parents. Lane Kim isn't and doesn't. She's a bright, talented, dynamic person, burdened with a crummy family situation; but most importantly she's just unlucky, and as a result her future gets narrower and narrower over the course of the show. It's not hard to extrapolate that her future probably won't be anything like Lorelai's.

The dragging-through-the-mud of Lane is probably the most honest part of the whole story, and one of the only parts that doesn't read like a thinly-veiled paean to old-money privilege.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:36 PM on January 3, 2014 [16 favorites]

I agree, Kadin! as much as I love Lane, I thought her story arc was one of the most realistic parts of the show. sometimes you get swept up in something (or someone) and before you know it, you're in deeper than you thought you were. Lane was in love, and we've all done super dumb things for love and then she just got unlucky with the whole having babies early thing.

sure, in a sweeter alternate world, maybe hep alien was supposed to blow up and be huge, or maybe she was going to go to college and become a music teacher. but we don't always get what we think we deserve, and for me, though it was a bummer, I thought lane's end was honest and realistic.

in my mind, lane and mrs kim have reconciled a lot of their differences and have Sunday lunch together with the twins. she calls her mom after dancing with the stars airs so they can chat about it even though mrs Kim views dancing (and television!) as the devil's handiwork.
posted by kerning at 11:55 PM on January 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I remember really enjoying reading the transcripts for Gilmore Girls on the internet. It'd be lovely to dump them all onto my Kindle and curl up with a cup of hot chocolate, but it looks like TwizTV has gone away. Does anyone else know where people get their television transcripts these days?

For that matter, what happens to all the shooting scripts? I assume at some point there were literally hundred of copies of every script printed off---does nobody ever make a business of repackaging that for fans?
posted by d. z. wang at 1:39 PM on January 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Simon Tam is the least convincing heterosexual in history".

To me, he does read as closeted*.
Buuuuuut. I think closeted/gay often get conflated. I use 'closet-case' for the set of behaviours someone displays when they have a base sexual attraction that the person is super hungup about. So, like, someone into bdsm, or 'chubby chasers', or anything they are basically, deeply ashamed of, can also read as closeted. Are they Gay, or just a bit freaked out about wanting a femdom? Guy with a skinny girlfriend, still trying to sleep with fat chicks on the down-low? Total closet-cases. Never date a closet case!

But yeah, Simon. He doesn't necessarily read as homosexual. I kind of think he'd be less closet-case-ish if he was straight up gay. Is the firefly universe homophobic? I thought it was the kind of future where it wasn't a big deal.

Anyway, this is a long, roundabout way of saying, the only person I think Simon had any actual or narrative chemistry with,
was his sister River.


*Awkward, uncomfortable, and even slightly, unaccountably guilty.
posted by Elysum at 6:56 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

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