Be ye warned. Mildly spoilery discussion of Netflix: A Year In the Life ahead.
For all the arguments and debates surrounding Gilmore Girls (i.e. Is this show actually bad?), one has always reigned supreme: Which of Rory’s boyfriends was the worst? Team Dean, in general, recognized that even though he was a bit simple for her and a total teenage jerkball who threw a hissy fit when she didn’t respond to his displays of love in the exact ways he had planned in his head, a girl could do a lot worse in terms of a first love. Team Jess manages to overlook the surplus of jerkballness to a guy who stimulates and challenges Rory. And I can’t tell you what motivates Team Logan, but I assume they have their things.
But now the Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life has finally laid this question to rest once and for all. Hands down, Rory’s worst boyfriend is Paul.
Oh, right, Paul. Paul, it turns out, has been Rory’s long-term, long-distance (probably openly monogamish, but that’s a different conversation) boyfriend for two years when we meet him, a fact that seems to take Rory by surprise every time she’s reminded of his existence.
Now, let’s be clear. Calling Paul the worst does NOT mean he is a bad guy, a bad person, or even (necessarily) a bad boyfriend. It just means, as it’s always meant with the other contenders, that he’s the worst for Rory. Paul is kind and considerate, super nice and pretty cute. But just as Team Jessers supported Rory leaving Dean because he didn’t push or challenge her, Paul cannot possibly be supportive of Rory in the way that she needs during this year of the new season, or in the two years they were together when “Winter” starts.
Paul is Rory’s worst boyfriend because, let’s be honest, he exists for the sole purpose of holding that title. Now, over these four episodes we can watch her interact with all of her exes and see them with the new eyes of “Maybe I judged Jess too harshly. At least he’s not Paul.”
Because, again, Paul is in no way a bad person. What he is is boring. He is a lot of great things, but his main quality, as we are meant to see it is, boring, just so, so boring. He’s, as Lorelai puts it, “like a superhero, but he has superpowers you can’t remember no matter how much time you spend with him, like every Marvel movie ever.” And for fans of Rory, if there is one thing we don’t ever want for her, it’s boring. No boyfriend of hers worth having could ever be boring.
Of course, as it plays out, probably none of these guys are as bad for Rory as Rory is for Paul. She wasted three years of this guy’s life before he finally dump-texted her. So congratulations, Rory, you’ve laid to rest the argument of who is your relationships has been the worst: It’s you.