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After A Rewatch, Gilmore Girls Fans Find Themselves Sympathizing With Emily

When you think of "Gilmore Girls," you probably think of one of the two titular girls in question — Lorelei (Lauren Graham) or her daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) — rather than the real matriarch of the family. Emily Gilmore, played by Kelly Bishop, is an indispensable part of the series, delivering some of the show's most cutting lines and constantly serving as a foil to Lorelei, Rory, or both of them at the same time.

Emily and her husband Richard (the late, great Ed Hermann) get involved in the narrative when their estranged daughter Lorelei arrives unexpectedly on their doorstep during the pilot, asking her very wealthy parents for financial assistance for Rory who has gotten into an expensive private high school. The elder Gilmores agree to pay for Rory to attend the prestigious Chilton Academy, with one condition: The two have to attend Friday night dinners with Richard and Emily every week without fail.

It seems like Emily is the show's antagonist a lot of the time, but the real truth is that, well, she makes a lot of good points. On Twitter, fans came together to agree that Emily was in the right more often than they originally thought. As @yarrumsirk wrote, "Rewatching Gilmore girls [ ... ] and the condition for Emily and Richard to pay for Rory's school REALLY is not that bad. Lorelai was so so dramatic about dinner and a phone call."

Fans are re-evaluating Emily as they rewatch Gilmore Girls

@skscottwriter agreed that Emily isn't that bad, with a caveat: "The Gilmore girls basically suck and honestly, the older I get, the more I feel empathy for Emily (not always, she can be heinous, but still ... ) Lorelai makes me so crazy sometimes." @SheHerBlkB*tch had a similar take, saying, "rewatching gilmore girls and my GOD lorelai was just a terrible daughter to emily."

These fans aren't wrong. Lorelei is not a great daughter to Emily, and the two have a deeply damaged, fraught relationship. That said, Lorelei can be incredibly hard on her mother, assuming that every single thing Emily ever does is meant to hurt Lorelei — even when that's honestly not the case.

@georgegriffiths simply wanted respect on Emily's name, writing, "i spend every episode of 'gilmore girls' screaming at the tv for lorelai and rory to treat emily gilmore with the respect she deserves." So are the Emily stans right? Does Emily Gilmore deserve undying loyalty?

Emily Gilmore is definitely a complex character

"Gilmore Girls" showrunners Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino are no strangers to multi-layered characters, and Emily is perhaps their greatest writing achievement when it comes to growth and deep emotional complexity. Emily can be harsh, stern, stubborn, and unyielding, but she also deeply loves her daughter and granddaughter and often tries to do what's best for them.

Even when Emily's intentions are good, her actions can be disastrously wrong — like the time she drove an intentional wedge between Lorelei and her boyfriend Luke (Scott Patterson) simply because Luke doesn't match Emily's insane standards. That said, she also desperately wants Lorelei to be a bigger part of her life, even if she doesn't always show it in the right way, and she openly adores Rory; the speech she delivers to Rory's boyfriend's mother defending her granddaughter is the stuff of "Gilmore Girls" legend. Emily can be prickly and difficult, but she'll go to bat for her family when push comes to shove.

A Year in the Life shows a very different side of Emily Gilmore

Following the original series, Netflix released a four-part miniseries in 2016 following the Gilmores even further with "A Year in the Life." To say it was met with mixed results is an understatement, but it at least gave us a glimpse into Emily's future ... which is one without her beloved husband.

Due to the fact that Edward Hermann passed away before the revival, Richard Gilmore also passed away, leaving Emily as a grieving, aimless widow with an unexpected path ahead of her. After attending therapy with Lorelei against both of their wills, the two open new doors in their relationship, despite plenty of initial hurdles. By the time the year in question comes to a close, Emily has completely ditched her connections to upper-crust Connecticut society, delivering a stunning kiss-off speech to the Daughters of the American Revolution and abandoning all of the ultimately meaningless things that once defined her life. 

After selling her mansion and relocating to Nantucket, Emily finally finds peace amidst her grief for Richard, ending the miniseries as perhaps the show's most developed character overall.

"Gilmore Girls" and "A Year in the Life" are both available to stream on Netflix now.