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We Need To Talk About Jess

With the Gilmore Girls revival in full swing, we really need to take an honest look at Rory's worst boyfriend; Jess Mariano. He's the internet favorite, but the internet has short-term memory. Jess was actually a terrible boyfriend, and person in general. Yes, he was a tortured soul with a hard upbringing, but that shouldn't be a reason to swoon.

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For starters, Jess was disrespectful to everyone he met.

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Understanding that he wasn't thrilled to be in Stars Hollow in the first place, it didn't give him the right to be rude to everyone. He was rude to Luke (who took him in), rude to Luke's patrons, rude to Lorelai (big no-no), rude to Mia (who could be rude to sweet little old Mia?), rude to Dean (& Dean's adorable little sister), and rude to Taylor (that last one is okay).

Look, we get that you're not crazy about Stars Hollow, but do you have to be so stand-offish and angry with everyone you meet?

He was a thief

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In his very first episode ever, he established himself as a thief. He stole Babette's garden gnome, he stole the town's "Save the Bridge" money, he stole Rory's book (some call it cute, I call it walking into someone elses' bedroom uninvited and taking stuff that doesn't belong to them), he stole all the baseballs from his school, he "borrowed" money from Luke's cash register, he stole a beer from Lorelai's fridge (and got pissy when she caught him, even though she played it cool). The show's creators went out of their way to show us that Jess was trouble from the get-go.

He was a bad boyfriend

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Jess pursued Rory when she was with Dean like he was a bloodhound following a scent. But once they were together? *poof* He didn't try anymore and totally took her for granted.

He was a jealous and possessive boyfriend. More than once he got angry with Rory for even being civil towards Dean. He didn't want to go with her to town events, which is something she loved to do. When she asked him to go to the winter carnival (citing the dance marathon as an example of his previous attendance at town events), he gave this winner of a retort "That was when I was trying to get you. I now have you. That means I don’t have to go anymore". Wow, way to keep the flame alive.

The show once dedicated an entire episode around the fact that he said he would call Rory, but didn't. He didn't call her for 1-1/2 days. Unless you have a valid reason, you don't leave your S.O. hanging like that. It's completely disrespectful, and that's what this episode tried to show us. That Jess didn't value Rory or her time. He showed up unannounced at the Gilmore house expecting Rory to be home waiting for him. Lorelai (as the audience advocate) told Jess he couldn't treat Rory that way. And in typical Jess fashion, he stormed off, but "redeemed" himself by surprising Rory with tickets to a concert. And Rory did exactly what her mother hope she wouldn't..."be the kind of girl that gets all mad in her head and then forgets everything once he decides to show up"

He skipped town without saying bye to Rory....TWICE

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The first time they weren't officially together, but after crashing her car while they were out driving around instead of studying (oh, you kids), Luke kicked him out.

The 2nd time, however, they were together, and after flunking out of school, Luke told him "you gotta go" and he left Rory in the lurch again. I dunno about you, but nothings says "I love you and we should be together" like leaving town for good without saying goodbye.

He tried to force Rory into having sex

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This is a hard one to gloss over.

During a party, Jess wanders off to a bedroom to get away from it all. Rory goes to look for him and comfort him. They begin making out, but as the making-out intensifies, Rory becomes increasingly uncomfortable and repeats "Jess, wait!" several times over. He ignores her and continues until she finally writhes out from underneath him. Call it what you want, but when a girl says "No" or "Wait" that doesn't mean keep doing what you're doing. And how did Jess respond? He yelled at her, stormed off and got into a brawl with Dean, trashing the house in the process. The morning after, Dean was already at the house working out an arrangement to fix and pay for the damages while all Jess could do was yell "DEAN STARTED IT!!" to his Uncle Luke.

Guys, there's no way to sugarcoat this scenario. Jess straight up tried to pressure Rory into sex, and then yelled at her when she refused him.

Conclusion: Jess was always a stepping stone for Rory

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Jess was presented to us with a devilishly handsome smirk, brooding wit, and bookish genius underneath all his tough exterior. He was a well-written, complex, and damaged teenage boy. His time in Stars Hollow was for personal growth, for himself and for Rory. Dean was a by-the-book perfect first boyfriend while Jess was the bad boy. Because every girl needs a bad boy once in their life. It changed both of them. Jess did grow up (off-screen) and make something of himself, which is great. But let's not forget that what was shown to us, and all of Stars Hollow was something different. Jess was not a good person, and certainly not a good boyfriend material. He was someone who had a long road ahead of him, and he cast a wide berth of heartache during his troublesome youth.

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