Gilmore Girls fans are always buzzing about who’s Team Jess, Team Dean, or Team Logan. With all three guys returning to the show’s Netflix revival, which premieres Thanksgiving weekend, which old flame could Rory rekindle the fire with?
But a relationship requires two people. What if Jess — or any one of the dudes in question, for that matter — doesn’t want her back? Milo Ventimiglia, who plays bookworm Jess Mariano, pointed this out last week at Chicago’s Wizard World Comic Con. “Everyone’s like, ‘I’m Team Jess!’ and I’m like, ‘Cool, that\'s great! But do you really think Jess is Team Rory?’” he said in a fan-captured clip.
“I literally just thought about that,” he continued. “I’ve never thought about that before, and I literally just thought of that.”
He’s right, of course. Over eight seasons, Rory wasn’t exactly the greatest girlfriend — or plain old platonic friend — to him, so Jess is perfectly justified saying “thanks, but no thanks” to her come this November. Here’s why.
Rory never broke up with Dean for Jess.
Rory’s love life first became complicated when she realized she had feelings for Jess and for her current boyfriend (and high-school sweetheart), Dean. But instead of breaking up with Dean right away, she strung them both along for months until Dean, frustrated by the obvious chemistry between her and Jess, dramatically called it quits in the middle of that 24-hour dance marathon. Then Rory went straight into Jess’s arms as if they were meant to be together the whole time. (Granted, Jess let her, but still.) If she really had such strong feelings for him, she would’ve ended things with Dean much earlier. What’s that saying? Oh, yeah: You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Rory.
Jess tells Rory he loves her, and she ignores it.
Teenage Jess wasn’t perfect, but he gets brownie points for trying. After his and Rory’s failed relationship, he disappears to California to live with his estranged dad. He doesn’t give Rory a heads up — how rude! — but of all the reasons to ghost someone, confronting your deep-rooted family abandonment issues is a pretty decent one. Anyway, when Jess comes back to visit Stars Hollow, he tells Rory he loves her. Sure, he doesn’t give her much of a chance to respond, but she’s too busy holding a grudge against him for leaving her to respond. It’s like the word “forgiveness” isn’t in her expansive vocabulary.
A desperate Jess, hardly the romantic, pulls off the cheesiest romantic gesture of all when he shows up unannounced at Rory’s Yale dorm. He asks her to come away with him, and she refuses — not because she’s studying at one of the greatest universities in the world, but because she’s reconnecting with Dean (who is, by the way, married at this point).
“I’m ready for this. You can count on me now. I know you couldn’t count on me before but you can now,” Jess tells Rory in a long-winded speech. “You know we’re supposed to be together. I knew it the first time I saw you two years ago, and you know it too.” Her response? A loud, firm “NO.” So he leaves, respecting her decision, and fans don’t see him again for another few seasons. You can’t really recover from that level of rejection.
Rory cares too much about what other people think.
Throughout the series, Jess was unapologetically himself and gave zero fucks about what anyone else thought of him, while Rory sometimes drowned in the high expectations of her mother, her grandparents, and — above all — herself. In contrast, Jess lived and learned. He went on to write a novel and visits Rory years later to thank her for believing in him. But then at dinner, he sees what Rory’s life has become. She dropped out of Yale, joined the stuffy Daughters of the American Revolution, fought with her mom, and now she’s dating a Huntzberger — one who enjoys making fun of Jess, no less. Somewhere along the way, Rory lost herself, and Jess reminds her of that.
After Logan cheats on Rory, she travels down to Philadelphia with the sole purpose of kissing Jess for revenge. At the publishing house’s event, fans see how mature Jess has become over the years. He repays his debts to Luke and meets his cousin, April. Yet when he kisses Rory, she confesses she’s just there to get back at Logan. Damn. That’s cold.