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Emily Gilmore Really Wasn’t All That Wrong About Lorelai’s Choices

By Keelia Clarkson··  5 min read
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Every fan of “Gilmore Girls” can attest to at least one fact: Emily Gilmore was constantly putting a damper on Lorelai’s life and making her unpopular opinions known. But was she always wrong?

We all loved Lorelai Gilmore, the free-spirited, spontaneous, quick-witted single mom to Rory, her studious yet charming teenage daughter. Lorelai was the cool, pretty mom that often acted more like Rory’s best friend than her mother – and we found ourselves wishing we’d had a Lorelai growing up too.

Of course, Lorelai’s parenting style was clearly motivated by a need to be different from her own mother, Emily – a stern, rigid, meddling mother who’d always kept Lorelai under close supervision, leading Lorelai to rebel, and hard.

Emily was always supposed to be the clear villain of the show, with Lorelai and Rory regularly going to great lengths to avoid her, keep her out of their lives, and ignore her advice. But as we got older and rewatched the show, something unnerving happened: we often found ourselves agreeing with Emily, or at least seeing her point, something completely against the rules of the Gilmore girls. And yet, this led us to a question: was Emily really all that wrong?

She Definitely Wasn’t Perfect

Emily Gilmore was by no means a perfect mother. Lorelai’s complicated feelings about her mother stemmed from Emily’s helicopter parenting style while often remaining emotionally distant, her penchant for interfering too often and strongly, and her stubbornness that didn’t allow for dissenting opinions.

golf clubs wasted potential gilmore girls

Emily certainly wasn’t an easy woman to get along with. And yet we have to wonder if she was truly the evil, wicked woman Lorelai often treated her as – if her difficult personality really meant that all of her opinions and reactions were totally wrong.

Lorelai Probably Shouldn’t Have Cut Off All Contact

Lorelai, 16 years old and with a newborn baby in her arms, ran off to start her own life and essentially cut off her parents. Obviously, it’s not difficult to understand Lorelai’s motivation in doing this: she’d felt strangled by her parents her whole life and longed to have her independence, even if that meant working as a maid and living in an old shed with her baby. But was it really the best decision?

my life isnt as long as yours gilmore girls

Emily was rightfully hurt by Lorelai’s choice to do this. From her perspective, she’d given Lorelai everything, paid for top schools, and ensured her future would be bright, only for Lorelai to run away and shut her out completely. While Lorelai’s decision is understandable, it wasn’t mature or fair to Emily.

Emily Was Right about Lorelai Controlling Rory

Lorelai’s disdain of her parents often bled into Rory’s own perception of them. In an attempt to win Rory’s affection and get her to bond with Richard, Emily set up a golfing excursion for the two of them. But Lorelai jumped in and chided her mother for forcing Rory into something she’d hate, only for Emily to accuse her of controlling Rory and not allowing her to have fun without her present.

rory went golfing with richard gilmore girls

And Emily was right about Lorelai’s reaction here: Rory actually did end up enjoying the one-on-one time with her grandfather, much to Lorelai’s shock. Lorelai’s deep need to push her parents out of her life led her to pressure Rory to do the same, and Emily was in the right when she brought this to Lorelai’s attention.

Emily Had a Reason for Criticizing Lorelai’s Love Life

We all loved Lorelai, but she sure had commitment issues, and she didn’t give Rory a good example. After a supposed string of guys she’d dated for just a couple of months, Lorelai is very single at the beginning of the series, and continues to date around throughout it.

do you think youll be single your entire life girlmore girls

In the episode where Rory is celebrating her three month anniversary with her boyfriend, Emily takes it upon herself to call Lorelai out on not having had a relationship that had lasted that long in quite some time. Lorelai was stung by this, but Emily wasn’t wrong to point it out – it was necessary that Lorelai hear a painful truth about herself and her inability to grow up and commit to someone.

Emily Was Right To Be Angry with Lorelai for Dating Rory’s Teacher

Emily truly wanted Lorelai to find a man who made her happy. While she’d always hoped it would be Rory’s father Christopher that Lorelai would marry, her ultimate desire was to see Lorelai make a good choice in the relationship department and finally settle down.

max medina loves lorelai Gilmore Girls

Which is why her strong reaction to Lorelai dating Max, Rory’s teacher, was justified. Lorelai’s decision to get involved with him was immature, selfish, and thoughtless, especially considering she ended up breaking up with him twice – clearly she wasn’t invested enough in the relationship for all the turmoil it caused Rory.

Emily Was Right To Condemn Lorelai’s Unhealthy Food Choices

Anyone who’s ever seen a single episode knows that Lorelai and Rory love their food with a passion – but the problem is that they feast only on junk food and takeout. With all of Lorelai’s talents and abilities, she never decided to learn the art of cooking delicious, healthy meals at home.

go in the kitchen and give her a hand gilmore girls

Having an unhealthy relationship with food doesn’t just look like restricting or bingeing, but also only indulging in food that’s toxic and terrible for our bodies. Emily, a woman of fine taste, of course constantly criticized Lorelai’s awful food choices and how her unhealthy habits rubbed off on Rory. 

Closing Thoughts

Emily Gilmore wasn’t the evil, out-of-touch woman Lorelai always painted her as. While she wasn’t the most agreeable person, her heart was always for Lorelai and Rory. She cared about them and was right more often than anyone ever gave her credit for.

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