My Gilmore Girls Character Alignment

My Gilmore Girls Character Alignment

by Kathryn Pauline

This collection of charts is all about Gilmore Girls, the early aughts dramedy from Amy Sherman-Palladino about the relationship between a thirty-something single mother (Lorelai) and her teen daughter (Rory) in a small town in Connecticut. My feelings about Gilmore Girls are as complicated as the melodramatic mother-daughter relationship depicted in the show. I’ve watched and re-watched it since it initially aired, and my feelings towards the characters change almost every time I revisit it. For instance, when I was a teenager, I thought Lorelai was the coolest. When I was in my 20s, I thought she was irritating and irresponsible. And now in my 30s, I think she’s a bit of both: she has become my favorite antihero. 

My changing feelings towards Lorelai exemplifies the core of Gilmore Girls: It’s a show about how much we are willing to accept a community of characters with variably intense personalities. Sometimes that intensity can be a good thing, but sometimes it can wreak destruction. And likewise, a lack of intensity can be good, while a lack of intensity can also be a big red flag. It all depends on how a character uses their intensity (or lack thereof) to affect the lives of the people around them.

I thought of this idea while in a very intense mood myself. I was working like a lunatic on a new work project, and my husband told me I was reaching a new Paris Geller level of intensity (as opposed to my more typical Lorelai or Emily level). Proving him right, it was then that I realized that Gilmore Girls is defined in large part by the varying levels of intensity of its characters. After grabbing a sheet of paper and plotting a few main characters along an x-axis of intensity, I realized that I didn’t necessarily like or dislike characters based on that one trait. There was good and bad on either side, so I added a y-axis to also include information about how much I loved each character. After I added the y-axis, I realized that these two features are the crux of the show. After all, Gilmore Girls is all about characters’ actions and inactions, and whether we can forgive and love our community in spite of both.

Fair warning if you haven’t seen the series: spoilers ahead!

My Gilmore Girls Character Alignment:

If you’re a fan of the show, you might disagree a bit with my analysis of characters on these axes. But regardless of whether or not you agree with my analysis, it’s clear that while the y-axis is extremely subjective and entirely based on my own feelings, the x-axis is somewhat objective. Intensity, or lack thereof, is undeniable. But no matter where you place the characters, the concept remains constant: there are four main categories of Gilmore Girls characters. 

The Four Types of Gilmore Girls Characters:

1) Cool Cats:

These characters are chill and grounded, and we love them for that. Best exemplified by the Troubadour, Morey, and Dave, they add a refreshing note of calm to an otherwise chaotic universe. 

2) Lovable Lunatics:

Overwhelmingly high-energy characters whom we love both because of and despite their intensity. They give life to the show, and create a universe we want to be a part of.

* the Sherman-Palladino Threshold:

Characters past this threshold have big main character energy, and are the heart and soul of any Amy Sherman-Palladino show. Any of these characters could absolutely hold down their own spin-off. 

3) Nightmare Psychos:

These characters use their intensity for evil and need to take it down a notch. They cause mayhem in the lives of the people around them by stridently asserting their own harmful preferences at all times. Jackson, you are dead to me.

4) Toxic Cowards:

Passive, cowardly, and apathetic, they make themselves and others miserable through their inaction or quiet, simmering destruction. They slouch into roles that others impose on them, and choose the easy way out of most situations, even if that leads to resentment later on. 

* The Unconcerned Center:

These characters are so close to the love/hate line, I feel pretty much indifferent towards them. And they’re not really intense or chill enough to notice in any meaningful way.

What does this all mean?

Here, I’ve drawn some observations about what all this data means. 


It seems that the most compelling frenemy relationships come from opposite quadrants. The Paris/Rory frenemy relationship has sparks flying, with a lovable lunatic squaring off against a toxic coward. Likewise, Luke (a moderately cool cat) often finds himself at odds with family members and neighbors who are nightmare psychos (e.g., Taylor and TJ). 

The least interesting frenemy pair on this list is Sookie and Michel, because we’re rooting for both of them equally, and they’re both a similar degree of intense. If Zack somehow managed to take over Sookie’s job at the Inn, the ensuing face-off between him and Michel would be electric.

Like Sookie and Michel, Richard and Jason’s very dynamic work relationship is just not compelling enough to care about—even though Jason is an absolute shit-stirrer and Richard is a relatively grounded person, neither he nor Richard is likeable enough for us to care very much either way. But the more you like Richard as a character, the more compelling their relationship will be to you.


Secondary characters: 

Secondary character romances are all over the board, with almost everyone finding a partner who is at least a couple degrees more or less intense than themselves (with the exception of Lindsay and Dean). 

Main characters:

Lorelai dates from pretty much all four quadrants. Max is most similar to herself, Luke is much less intense yet similarly likeable, Christopher is detestable and less intense, and Jason is detestable and more intense. Rory, on the other hand, dates almost exclusively from within her own quadrant. (This is directly mocked in the reboot by the introduction of the oft-forgotten boyfriend character.)

Gender and Sexuality:

In Gilmore Girls, if you are a straight man, you will only be likable if you are extremely chill (e.g., Luke, Morey, Dave, Brian, and the Troubadour). But just because you are not intense does not mean you will necessarily be likable (e.g., Zack, every single one of Rory’s exes, her father, and her grandfather). 

If, however, you are a straight man who passes the intensity threshold, you will almost certainly be a total psychopath. Indeed, while you can find them all across the board, straight, white men are the sole inhabitants of the nightmare psycho corner of Gilmore Girls.

Queer and queer-coded characters (e.g., Gypsy, Taylor, Michel, and arguably Paris and Kirk [hat tip, Margie Housley]) are placed all over the board, except absent from the Rory corner. 

Female characters are generally placed on the intensity-side of the spectrum, with male characters more on the less-intense side of the spectrum.


There’s so much more to say, but at this point, I invite you to draw your own conclusions, and fill out your own Gilmore Girls character alignment chart. Print it out, or sketch out your own.


Featured in our November 2021 issue, "Community"