Pre-Woke Watching

The Unexamined Privilege of Gilmore Girls

Rory Gilmore was my teen idol. That sort of horrifies me now.

When you watch old favorites years later, sometimes you realize how much you used to overlook. In Pre-Woke Watching, based on the recurring segment from Slate’s Represent podcast, viewers revisit their personal classics and evaluate how they look now.

When the Gilmore Girls revival A Year in the Life dropped on Netflix in 2016, it just wasn’t the same—and prompted some viewers to realize problems with the old series they never considered. A seminal show for many women growing up, the series seemed blind to how terribly entitled and overprivileged Rory Gilmore is and always has been. And then the reboot did what the original never explicitly did: highlighted Rory’s immature relationship with her privilege and essentially made her the most unlikable character on the show.

In this episode, Slate’s science editor Susan Matthews confronts her own idolization of Rory as a teenager—and what that means to her now.