Gilmore Gripe: Lane’s life is a feminist nightmare
As a kid, I was constantly compared to Lane Kim.
In everyone’s defense, it was 2000 and there weren’t many options for an Asian American preteen playing the “celebrity lookalike” game. Charlie’s Angels had just come out, but I clearly wasn’t a Lucy Liu. It pretty much left me with Lane.
What was worse than peoples’ insistence that I looked just like the only famous Asian girl on TV was that my closest friends insisted I WAS Lane. “You like music! You have a disapproving mother!” It didn’t matter that my mom tended to be pretty supportive, and that Lane claimed to love “everything” but mostly listened to stuff I hated (like The Velvet Underground, the Sonics, Belle and Sebastian, etc).
My irritation at being compared to the most annoying Gilmore girl didn’t prevent me from experiencing mounting dismay as her life unfolded catastrophically over seven seasons. By series’ end, Lane’s life was such a disaster that I couldn’t decide if I felt more horrified pity or relief that my life wasn’t anything like hers. Lane Kim was my generation’s Tess of the D’urbevilles. If Rory’s life was a feminist fairytale, Lane’s was a feminist nightmare.
Exhibit A: Boyfriend bingo
It happens all the time: you join a group. You date the group. In Lane’s case, she started a band and ended up dating half of the members. All power, Lane. Just throw Brian and Sebastian Bach into the mix (who are both great on the show) and you’ve got boyfriend band bingo: four in a row.
Unfortunately for Lane, her foray into dating her band mates meant trading in one of the world’s greatest guys for the human equivalent of a Q-tip. Why not Brian, Lane? Why not Brian?
Exhibit B: a Pinto for a Porsche
Sometimes in life, you downgrade. In Lane’s case, she started off with a boyfriend so supportive that he was constantly inventing new ways to help her live her best life. When Dave Rygalski went to college, Lane began to see her bandmate Zack the same way he saw himself: irresistible.
Fortunately for Lane, underneath all that hair was a genuinely sweet person who wanted to make her happy. Unfortunately for Lane, he didn’t really know how.
Exhibit C: Things that happen when you date a human Q-tip
What does it mean to make a mistake? In Gilmore Girls, not much. Even potentially catastrophic mistakes resolve into twinkly misunderstandings by the end of most episodes. The only person who truly has to deal with the fallout of her bad decisions is Lane, who encounters such fallout in force.
Here are a few things you may expect to happen when you date someone who is a bit inexperienced and not too bright:
- You have silly fights
- You break up and get back together for stupid reasons
- If you’re very unlucky, you get pregnant by accident
Things that shouldn’t necessarily happen when you date an inexperienced, unbright person:
Instead of getting back together after a breakup, you get engaged because your boyfriend “brushes his teeth in the morning and doesn’t feel good” without you. Fresh out of high school and itching to be an adult, you get married in a giant, scary dress. You visit Mexico on your honeymoon and get parasites. You have a bad first sexual experience and vow never to have sex again. Surprise! Those Mexican parasites making you vomit aren’t really parasites. They’re twins! You end up raising your twins on $7.25 per hour plus a steady diet of leftover diner fries. You get kicked out of the band you started while your husband goes on tour without you. You never finish college. You never leave Stars Hollow. You never move to New York and have tea with Thurston Moore and throw up in the bathroom at CBGB’s or whatever your dream is.
Marrying your high school sweetheart is very sweet, and children can be one of life’s greatest blessings. But why does Lane have to watch every single one of her dreams die (or get hijacked by her husband) in order to become a mom?
Like everyone else, I want things from the Gilmore Girls reunion. I want to see Rory Gilmore share her best puns with Christiane Amanpour as they wait for ISIS to stop shooting at their bunker. I want Logan Huntzberger to reveal what ten years of cutting-edge digital media monetization have wrought him (my guess: he’s the shadowy new figurehead behind Vox Media). I really want to see more of Kirk’s art noir films.
Most of all, I want to see the showrunners behind the WB’s second-most feminist show finally do right by Lane Kim. She deserves better than what we left her with.
Your move, Amy Sherman-Palladino.