The Ship Debate: Gilmore Girls Edition

To ship or not to ship. That’s a debate we’ve had for many years, about many shows, many couples. And even though we here at Fangirlish agree on many things, we don’t agree on everything, and one of the things we don’t always agree on is ships.

Especially when we go way back, apparently.

But here at Fangirlish we also believe that you can ship what you ship, and you can defend what you ship, but ship arguments between friends can actually be fun and constructive. So we don’t agree on ships. Big deal. Does that mean we can’t be friends? Nope. Does that mean we’ll just change ships? Hell no.

It means we can have these fun kind of arguments.

Continuing with our series, we’re focusing this week on the  Team Jess vs. Team Logan debate on Gilmore Girls. Joining me for this are Erin, Lyra, Gillian, Shelby, Annie and Amanda. So, let’s do this!

shocked lorelai gilmore GIF by Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls has been a staple of conversation for many years, so much so that the hype helped bring about a revival. Why do you think this show has had the staying power it has?

Lizzie: I think the reason the show resonated, and it still does, is because it was based on family, on a mother-daughter relationship that was kind of the ideal of what we wanted to have in our own lives. Also, the show framed everything around Lorelai and Rory, but did a lot of contrasting between their relationship and, for example, Lorelai and Emily’s relationship, so we could truly appreciate what we were seeing.

Erin: I can only speak for myself, but for me, Gilmore Girls just felt like home. It felt like the relationship that I wanted with my Mom – an openess where there was unconditional love and understanding. It felt for me as though there was something to look forward to each week and these moments that they experienced were timeless and as if anyone could be in the moments. And I think that’s why Gilmore Girls has a staying power. We were so invested, because we could see ourselves in them, and we still can.

Lyra: Gilmore Girls has stayed with people because it was different, weird, and didn’t treat women with kid gloves. Was it perfect? Oh, hell no. Had plenty of problems. But it did push boundaries on what kind of women can be on TV, what they can strive for, and what brings joy to their life. To me, that’s the reason why Gilmore Girls is such a staple in the media we still consume and talk about.

Gillian: For me, Gilmore Girls is a comfort. While some storylines make me angry, the show as a whole never had really high stakes and it’s got a bit of a timeless quality to it. Small town shows with quirky characters are always interesting and the whimsical events in the original series were glorious fun. I will admit I haven’t finished the revival (due to my problem of watching a lot of other TV) but I welcome any new glimpse at Stars Hollow.

Shelby: Personally, Gilmore Girls is a perfect dose of comfort television. From the quick dialogue to the recognizable tunes of Stars Hollow, I know I can turn on any and every episode and let the stress roll off of me. It’s also just nice to watch a show that centers on the relationships between mothers and their daughters, since that is sadly still rare.

Annie: In its original run when I was in elementary/junior high, Gilmore Girls definitely existed in a mostly rose-coloured vacuum. Though the familial and economic struggles were definitely relatable and real, so much of the show was just too idyllic to be true. But I think that’s what made it so appealing. My mom and I watched the show together religiously for years, and even when it ended we brought the DVDs along on road trips. For the most part, it’s a show about family and community and those are themes that all of us care about.

Amanda: This is gonna get a little sappy, so bear with me. When I was in elementary school, I was not a very popular child. I was extremely innocent, branded as the “gifted child” in my class from a young age, and found books to be more reliable entertainment than any peer. All of these things together made me isolated, unable to forge many friendships. One day in seventh grade I turned on the ABC Family channel expecting to watch What I Like About You (really dating myself here, aren’t I?) and instead found Gilmore Girls. Immediately I was hooked by the lifelike characters, snappy dialogue, optimistic tone, and appreciation for literature. Every weekday evening after school for the next six months or so I hid away to watch an episode. As time went on, changes in my personality became evident. I was talking faster, becoming more outgoing, and developing a sense of humor and taste. Soon after, I climbed the social ladder within my class and began to be invited to hang out with the “popular” kids, thereby making lasting friendships I still have to this day. I think my experience is emblematic of the staying power of Gilmore Girls. It’s a series that not only appeals to the person you already are, but uniquely has the ability to influence who you become. You can’t help but want to be like those Gilmore girls.

Pick one man for Rory: Logan or Jess (There’s no team Dean). Explain why.

Lizzie: Sometimes these questions are hard – this is not one of those instances. Gilmore Girls is one of those shows where it’s easy, for both Rory and Lorelai. I think Team Jess has always been the real team, and Logan has always been the one who was there to teach Rory the lessons of what not to do, how not to behave, and all of that. And boy, did he.

Erin: Logan. I think for me it was because he wasn’t the obvious choice. He’s never been. But the thing is he challenged her. He didn’t make her feel like she could settle – he reminded her to live. Jess was a bore. I’d prefer she end up with Dean. (I said what the fuck I said, Lizzie). 

Lyra: I’m gonna cheat and say no one. Rory shouldn’t be with Jess, Logan, or Dean. Why? Because she’s a hot damn mess who is EXTREMELY unlikable. And this is coming from someone who never watched the show when I was younger and only dived into it a couple years ago. So maybe I’m missing that young teen nostalgia component when it comes to Rory and who I ship her with. And this isn’t to say I didn’t give her a chance. I did. Rory just kept disappointing me at every turn and she acted like she deserved things in life just because, no matter what mess she left behind. If anything, I ship Jess in that green shirt from the revival with me!

Gillian: I have to laugh about the “no team Dean” because that is the correct response. I am Team Jess, always and forever. I really related to Rory growing up but could not like Dean as a character or a boyfriend. Something always felt off. And then came Jess. While not my typical guy, as he was rude, I was immediately taken by his intelligence and how much he cared for Rory. And the chemistry between Alexis Bledel and Milo Ventimiglia was insane.

Shelby: It’s always been Jess for me. No other option has ever seen viable, except for Dean in the reboot. But that’s a rant for another roundtable. Rory and Jess have the most in common, they match each other’s wits, they bring out a different side in each other that I don’t think we’d see otherwise. Jess’s walls come down around Rory and Rory is allowed to loosen up a bit around Jess. I’m also just a sucker for Jess for myself. He’s the one I’d pick for myself if I were in Rory’s situation, so I’m incredibly biased.

Annie: Team Jess forever, full stop. Especially in the revival, which except for a few choice moments, I despised and fully pretend doesn’t exist. While both Jess and Logan challenged Rory, her presumptions about herself, and her worldview, you could really see the comparison come to a head in season 6 during Jess’ return. Not only is Logan extremely rude and belittling to Rory’s old friend, Jess is the first and only person to challenge her on the whole dropping out fiasco. Not only that, even though they literally haven’t seen each other or spoken in almost four years, he remembered her birthday. Honestly, my fourteen year old heart had never swooned more.

Amanda: Jess Mariano is the fictional love of my life and he’s definitely Rory’s as well. I’ll talk about why he’s perfect for Rory below, but there’s also plenty of reasons to be Team Jess on a metatextual level, as well. In addition to Milo and Alexis’ real life chemistry, as Gillian mentioned, I would argue that Jess is the only one of the three boyfriends to become a fully developed, three dimensional character rather than utilized strictly as Rory’s boyfriend. His relationship to Luke anchors him to Stars Hollow in a way Dean and Logan never will be.


Rory and Jess were always very much alike, and that made it feel like they were perfect for each other. Why was Jess the right choice for Rory?

Lizzie: I think Jess was always the other side of the coin for Rory, the one who brought out the good parts of Rory, while Logan brought out the bad parts. Now, a person isn’t meant to fix you, and Jess doesn’t do that, but he does balance Rory out in a way Logan never did. They say your perfect partner is the one that brings out the best in you, and Jess does that for Rory, and I believe Rory does that for Jess as well, so really, it’s a win-win situation.

Erin: He never was the right choice for her. This questions is obviously stupid.

Lyra: Crap. I jumped into this roundtable without thinking about my intense Rory dislike. I thought this was just a Gilmore Girls roundtable but we’ll make due! So, Rory and Jess are more likeable and the only ship I’d slightly be on board for, because the latter doesn’t take shit from the former. Rory loves the drama, stirring the pot, and then acting like she had no part in it. And Jess, he ain’t got time for that bullshit. He’ll give her chances because that’s what you do with those that you care about. But he doesn’t let her take advantage of him or get away with things. And that’s why I admire Jess and think he’d be a better match for Rory than Logan aka the douche of all douches.

Gillian: He pushes her to be better and she does the same for him. I hate that they didn’t get enough time together (again, haven’t seen the revival in full). Yes, they both shared a love of books but I think that embracing their differences helped the relationship feel stronger. Rory had a lot of opportunities that Jess didn’t have but they never really held against it against each other except when it hurt their family. I love that Jess was the one to talk Rory out of her nonsense in season 6 because he saw who she could be. And she’s the one who saw that he wasn’t just an obnoxious bad boy.

Shelby: I am a firm believer that Rory found the right guy at the right time in her life. She dated Dean, Jess, and Logan when it made sense to. I do believe that if there is another season that Jess and Rory could find their way back to each other. I like to believe that Jess was her great love and that there is a way to rekindle that connection.

Annie: I talked to my best friend about this roundtable and she had even more insightful things to say than I originally thought of myself, so I’ll share a few that I agree with wholeheartedly. Jess as a character was not only an interesting foil to Rory (which you can also argue that Logan is too, but we’ll get there), he was also an inverted mirror to her life. They were both raised by single moms, but had very different upbringings and found escapism in the same places. Jess challenged her, but never let her forget her own self-worth and value, since she did the same for him. Rory was so much less of a follower in their relationship than with Dean or Logan; he taught her how to take ownership of her behaviour and feelings – even years after they were no longer together. My favourite thing about them was how they believed in each other so much that it became a force of positive change in both their lives. Let’s not even talk about the longing look in the revival cause it actually causes me pain.

Amanda: I think this question has a pre- and post-revival answer. Prior to the revival, I had about six years during which I could articulate any number of reasons why Jess was the right choice for Rory. Jess was the only boyfriend she didn’t cheat on and the one she always cheated on them with. Rory turned down Logan’s proposal in the series finale for legitimate, lasting reasons, making it impossible, I naively believed, for her to ever return to that part of her life. These are reasons which shifted after the revival. Here are some that have proven consistent: Jess brought out an assertive version of Rory that stayed true to her own values, unlike Dean and Logan. He encouraged her and got her back on track at the two greatest turning points of her life that we have seen. In short, he was Luke to her Lorelai, while Logan would only ever be the Christopher.

Rory and Logan were always the proof that opposites do attract, and they made it work for a long time despite the fact that they were so different. Why was Logan the right choice for Rory?

Lizzie: He wasn’t. SORRY, NOT SORRY ERIN. He was just a spoiled-man child who never knew what he wanted and thought Rory was the kind of person he should be with. That’s not even close to enough.

Erin: Lord Lizzie, SORRY NOT SORRY THAT YOU HAVE TO MAKE BAD CHOICES. Look, Logan – sure he taught her what was wrong in life, but the thing is they challenged each other to grow. Logan made mistakes – but the way he pushed her was what set her heart on fire. He loved her, she loved him – and in that love they found each other. Like every relationship, it was sometimes a cluster fuck, but that’s okay – because SHE LIVED WITH HIM AND NOT JUST EXISTED LIKE SHE DID WITH THE WET RAG THAT WAS JESS! Look putting it bluntly – Jess makes me want to use a vibrator versus Logan who makes me want to ride him into the sunset. I stand by my hormones and him challenging Rory. I will die on this cross.

Lyra: On the flip side of things, and if I want Rory to fail and get what she deserves for being such a bratty ughhh person, I’d ship her with Logan. Yes, she can grow and learn with Jess. But Logan, oh he’s a hot mess and it would be so entertaining to watch that shit show EXPLODE INTO A BAJILLION PIECES! Because yes, opposites do attract, but Logan is a little too Christopher for my tastes.

Gillian: I loved Logan in season 5. He was the perfect antidote after the Dean situation (again). It’s interesting because he and Jess are somewhat similar characters: the bad boy with a heart of gold. However, where Jess faced consequences for his actions, Logan never did due to his family and status. And his antics really got on nerves after a while. It’s a shame that he fell so far in my heart after the perfection in season 5. After the events of that season finale, it became clear that he wasn’t good for Rory. He pushed her but not to the extent Jess did. He pushed her to fit his life instead of realizing what would make her life better. And he never stood up for her in front of his parents (unless I’m forgetting things…the last two seasons are not my favorite). I was glad Rory turned him down in the original finale because he needed to grow up more.

Annie: He wasn’t! He might have been the right person to help Rory find her feet in college and challenge her still pretty sheltered view of the world (‘You Jump, I Jump Jack’ is one of my all-time favorite episodes), but in later seasons Logan definitely revealed himself to be, in a word, awful. As Gillian said, he never properly stood up for her with the Huntzbergers. He showed very little drive or desire to be in school (what did he even major in??), used his rich, white boy privilege at any and every opportunity, was awful towards important people in Rory’s life, and expected her to drop all her career and life ambitions for an avocado tree? Please.

Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!

Gilmore Girls is available to stream on Netflix.


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