11 Reasons Why Jess Mariano Is Actually Problematic AF

Like most people, I have accepted that the best part of my 2016 is very likely going to be the moment when the new season of Gilmore Girls is put on Netflix. Whether it is good or bad, it will exist. But lately, I have been rewatching Gilmore Girls–as one must do to both to prepare for the new season and impending doom of the rest of our lives–and here is what I have realized: Jess Mariano, Rory’s second boyfriend whom many Gilmore Girls stans hold dear, is bad.

I am naturally drawn to the moody art school type anyway, so I had always been Team Jess. In many ways, I still am, as he is superior to Dean, the scrappy, sentient jar of mayonnaise, and Logan, the wealthy sentient jar of mayonnaise. Now, I am sure that, if portrayed in a gentler, nuanced lens of 2016 (because while the year itself is mostly a flaming pile of literal and figurative sewer refuse, television shows have maintained increasing levels of sensitivity and tact!) Jess Mariano would be less of a flawed character. He wouldn’t boss Rory around as much and the show would be less reliant on the character’s brooding, dreamy hotness–which, to be fair, is at peak levels of hot dreamy brooding–to carry his appeal throughout the series. But as he is? There is only one thing that Jess Mariano is and that thing is problematic AF. Check out the reasons why here:

1. He treats Rory…horribly.


So badly!! He doesn’t listen to her, he’s never there when she calls, and, while he’s certainly interested in her, much ofhis interest doesn’t go beyond what relates to him.


2. He doesn’t care about Rory’s interests.


Jess is also high-key dismissive of everything that Rory enjoys that isn’t, like, alt literature and making out with him. If he ever does do something to humor her–like going to a dinner at her grandmother’s house–he makes it clear that he’s only doing it to appease her and he hates every single minute of it. (And, if we’re going with the dinner at Emily’s example, he also appears at the dinner late with a black eye and storms out before it even starts.)


3. He’s on some sadboy toxic masculinity BS.


Remember when a swan attacked Jess and he was too ashamed to tell anyone, so he basically just, like, ruined his relationship with Rory to protect his ego? So dumb!


4. He does NOT value her time.


He’s too good to make plans, so he just has Rory, like, sit around until she calls.


5. He thinks he’s better than everyone else.


We’re all guilty of this at times, but Jess is really guilty of it. It’s evident in everything from the way he treats Rory, Lorelai, and everyone in Stars Hollow to He’s basically the exact same person as the guy in your class  who never does the readings but still thinks he gets to lead the class discussion. He’s hot, so it’s confusing, but he’s a pretentious jerk nonetheless.


6. He actively pursued Rory while she already had a boyfriend.


Rory was, like, straight-up dating Dean and Jess straight-up pursued her. A lot of this is on Rory, obviously–she could have just said “no thank you”–but it’s inconsiderate to fully go after someone who is in a committed relationship with someone else.


7. And he had a girlfriend.


Remember how, like, the second Rory and Dean broke up, Jess went to go dump his girlfriend at the time, Shane? As the viewer, you’re supposed to laugh about this because the girl he dumps is was mean to Rory one time and presumably already having sex with Jess, and, therefore, a slut who’s worthy of our disdain. But this is BS and proves that Jess only cares about women if they can benefit him.


8. He won’t go out with her unless he’s feeling jealous about something.


Netflix didn’t exist when Gilmore Girls was originally on the air, but if it did, you can bet he and Rory would have been doing a lot of Netflix and Chill because he basically refused to take her on dates. In fact, he refused to go with Rory to the Winter Carnival until he found out that Dean was going, so he decided to go so he could breathe down her neck the entire evening.


9. He tries to pressure Rory into sex.


And yells at her when she won’t do it, which makes her cry. That’s sexual assault.


10. He crashed the car.


THE CAR. THE CAR THAT DEAN BUILT FOR RORY. (I’m not team Dean. But, you guys, that’s just rude, right?


11. He tried to woo Rory with……magic.


Are you a Gilmore Girls fan? What do you think about Jess? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.


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  • iscahmckrae

    “Don’t you get tired of playing this old game, where everything’s different, but everything’s the same?” That song lyric/sentiment is very much how I’m feeling about this topic. Or, to put it in Luke and Lorelai terms: “We’ve been here before.” “I recognize that tree.”

    Firstly…humans are problematic….as a species. When you find a flawless one, let me know. To quote Friedrich Bhaer in the 1994 movie version of ‘Little Women’…”We are all hopelessly flawed.” Jess Mariano, rather than being exempt, is a classic example.

    That being said, the above points leave me tired and shaking my head–particularly as said by someone who “in many ways, still [is]” Team Jess.

    I haven’t decided yet whether to go over this point by point, because I feel like I’ve “said it all a hundred times, I’ve said it all before” (don’t ask me why everything is quotations this morning, just the way my brain is behaving – lol); but I might.

    Addressing specific portions of the above article:

    “He doesn’t listen to her” – …when? …about what? There are times when this is true, I suppose. But, for the most part, Jess listens to and watches everyone intently, and listens to Rory more than almost everyone else.

    “He’s never there when she calls” – Again…I’m gonna need examples for this one. I can think of exactly two times when Rory Gilmore phoned Jess Mariano that he didn’t answer. One of them, was because he was sitting outside waiting for her, rather than at home where the phone was ringing. The other, yes, he dodged because he was upset and didn’t want to talk to her. But, not answering a grand total of once, in no way adds up to “never.”

    “…and, while he’s certainly interested in her, much of his interest doesn’t go beyond what relates to him” – Not trying to sound like a broken record, but… to what are you referring?

    Okay. I’ve decided. I’m not doing this point by point. The boy was introverted and awkward at communication. So was Rory. They both tended to avoid social situations with people they thought would be critical of them. We hardly got to SEE *any* of their time when they were dating. But, as far as things they did together, we know of them going out for pizza, for street vendor hot dogs, to a concert, on a picnic, to a bookstore, to a music store, to a party, hanging out with Paris, discussing books, as well as having a routine of negotiating over take-out and movies; and he had agreed to take her to prom. The only things we see him not want to do: the winter festival and dinner with Emily…both of which he did anyway–the former, to keep her from spending the entire evening with her stalkerish ex (yes, at that point in the series, that really, really applies); and the latter, as you put it ‘to please her’ (and, after hearing Lorelai week after week on Friday nights talking about the torture her judgmental mother put her through at these dinners, if I were Jess, I wouldn’t have had the guts to go after the black eye…certainly not after a pile-up on the highway made me inexcusably late…I’d have found a pay-phone, apologized profusely, and taken a rain check).

    As far as the whole black eye thing was concerned, both of them handled that badly. But, I’m sorry, Rory handled it worse. If your boyfriend tells you that he’s having a terrible day, and he *really* wants to talk about something that happened to him later, as opposed to now, in the middle of a dinner at your grandmother’s house–what you do *not* do is insist on having the conversation immediately, blame him for being injured, accuse him of attacking someone, and refuse to believe his denial of your accusations.

    Magic tricks? Yep, he’s a dork. Your point?

    Um…yeah…that ‘rude’ kid who crashed Rory’s car, absolutely on purpose ‘because he’s a murderer with a death wish’ who wanted to kill them both… Did you SEE how broken up he was after that? He didn’t want to hit a cat/dog. Should he have swerved? No. Have I done the same? Yes. Fortunately my wheels didn’t lose traction…and both we and the doggie were safe.

    And, at this point, I get tired and wander off, because I’m falling asleep and don’t even want to go into the Keg! Max! thing because I’ve gone into it …so…many…times.

    Maybe I’ll add more later, but for now, leaving this here.