The bond between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore has been talked about and dissected since the show’s inception in 2000. The duo acted like best friends more than mother and daughter and they fought like sisters. However, after the reboot and rewatching the original series time and time again, it became clear that another Gilmore Girls duo gave Lorelai and Rory a run for their money: Luke and Jess.
Lorelai and Jess didn’t always get along, but as Luke’s nephew, she learned to accept him. Luke and Jess’ time together in Stars Hollow was short, it was inspirational for both of them. The uncle and nephew learned so much from each other and stayed in each other’s lives even when they didn’t need to. Seeing the foursome together from time to time made fans wonder: who was the better duo, Jess and Luke or Rory and Lorelai?
Updated on June 22nd, 2022, by Lynn Gibbs: Lorelai and Rory Gilmore were the stars of Gilmore Girls. The comedy-drama revolved around their relationship as mother and daughter but there were side characters who became beloved in their own right. Luke Danes and Jess Mariano weren’t as close as Lorelai and Rory were but their bond became as famous as the Gilmore girls. With every rewatch, fans can agree that there were similarities between the duos. Some would even say that Luke and Jess’ relationship was more intriguing to watch than Lorelai and Rory’s.
Times Jess & Luke’s Relationship Was Superior
From The Bad Boy To The Good Guy
It says a lot about the kind of man that Luke is that he was able to transform Jess from a wild child to a standup man. Luke didn’t have any kids but there’s no denying that he was the ultimate dad to those in Stars Hollow — including Jess when he came to live with him.
Jess didn’t live with Luke that long but it’s obvious that Luke had a big role in his changed path in life, which fans were able to see in the reboot. Seeing how Jess got his head on straight is a testament to the impact Luke had on his life.
Luke Took Jess In Without Asking Questions
Even though Luke didn’t have the best relationship with his sister at the time, when she called him asking for help with her rebellious teenage son, Luke stepped in. Jess’s dad walked out on them when Jess was young, leaving Jess absent of a father figure.
Even though Luke lived in a studio apartment above his restaurant, he took Jess in and did what he could to make him comfortable. Although Lorelai was never in that position, it’s hard to imagine Lorelai jumping into a parenting role for any child other than Rory.
Tough Guy Luke Gave Into Self-Help (And Taught What He Learned To Jess)
Before Luke and Lorelai’s relationship timeline truly began, Luke knew he had to work on himself before he was capable of starting a relationship with someone like Lorelai. As embarrassed as he was, he bought a self-help book and tape and learned a lot about vulnerability and trusting the process.
When Luke felt whole, he taught what he learned to Jess by lending him the book. Jess acted like he was disinterested in the entire ordeal but secretly read the book and joined Luke on a journey of self-reflection. Fans knew Lorelai would never do this with Rory because she made fun of Jess for reading self-help books after she caught him reading one. This, of course, upset Luke since he spent so much time breaking the stigma.
They Set Boundaries With Eachother
The biggest difference between Rory and Lorelai and Jess and Luke was that Luke set boundaries with Jess. He needed Jess on a straight path and the only way to do that was by setting rules and making sure Jess followed them. Although his actions didn’t always prove it, Jess was one of the smartest characters. He just needed a guide in the right direction.
Lorelai was more concerned with being Rory’s best friend than setting curfews and creating house rules. And by looking at their futures in A Year in the Life, it appears that boundaries helped Jess tremendously.
Jess Had A Much More Productive Adult Life Compared To Rory
Regardless of fans’ feelings on the Gilmore Girls reboot, A Year in the Life, one thing was incredibly telling: Rory was not the productive and successful young adult that she was told she would be her entire life.
She was looking for work, she was unprepared for adult life, she didn’t have a place to call her own, and she was in a toxic relationship that revolved around secrecy. Jess, on the other hand, appeared to have his life together. He was an author, was most likely still working in publishing, and was far more level-headed than Rory was. He even offered Rory money if she needed it, proving he was secure financially. It was a good episode for Jess and Rory fans to rewatch to see how different their futures became.
Resources To Succeed Instead Of Money
If Rory didn’t have grandparents with deep projects, it’s hard to tell what her future would have been like. Lorelai and Rory were both saved by money and privilege. She wouldn’t have gone to Chilton and paying for Yale would have been a struggle. She wouldn’t have had a car and she wouldn’t have a trust fund through her great-grandmother.
Contrastingly, Jess had to fight and pay for everything he had. He worked over 40 hours a week as a teenager just to buy himself a car. He didn’t pass high school but he ended up turning his life around and getting a successful job in Philadelphia. He used the resources he had and his natural grit to make a living. Luke gave him the tools to live a better life and Jess took note.
They Grew Through Love Not Obligation
A beautiful aspect of Jess and Luke’s relationship was that they came together in a forced situation but stayed in touch out of love. Although Jess moved on from Stars Hollow, he continued to visit Luke and check on him.
Jess didn’t need to remain in Luke’s life; it’s not like Luke was his dad. But they remained in each other’s lives because they genuinely cared for one another and wanted to. Jess even promised to do right by Luke and pay him back for all the money Luke spent on him during his teen years. In the end, Jess was the son Luke never had.
Times Rory & Lorelai’s Relationship Was Superior
The Women Were Open With One Another About Love And Relationships
Rory and Lorelai’s love interests were a large part of their storylines. While Rory was nervous to tell her mom some personal details at first, she soon told her mom the good, the bad, and the ugly.
As hard as it was at times, Lorelai appreciated the honesty and wanted to be in the know about Rory’s relationships. Luke and Jess rarely talked about their love lives, and when they did, insults were generally thrown around.
They Have Always Trusted And Respected Each Other
The amount of trust and respect that Lorelai and Rory had for each other was amazing to watch as a viewer. Rory had troubling times as a teenager but she and Lorelai always understood each other in those trying times. As Rory’s mom, Lorelai knew she wasn’t always going to see eye-to-eye with her daughter, but wanted Rory to make good decisions.
On the contrary, Jess and Luke fought more than they got along. It was hard for Luke to trust Jess just as hard as it was hard for Jess to trust Luke. The parallels between Luke and Jess and Lorelai and Rory were not missed by fans.
Their Bond Was Unbreakable
Luke and Jess ended up learning a lot from each other but their bond wasn’t like Lorelai and Rory’s. No one had a bond like theirs. They were closer than mother and daughter and rarely had to explain themselves in tricky situations. The other always had what the other lacked and vice versa.
They had the same interests, cravings, and views. Their connection made them better people because they learned from each other’s achievements and failures. This was different compared to Lorelai’s relationship with her mother. Lorelai vs. Emily was an ongoing feud that rarely had a happy ending.
A Banter Only They Understood
Lorelai and Rory practically spoke a different language. They spoke fast, they name-dropped countless pop culture references, and they didn’t clarify themselves when people were confused.
Emily, Richard, and Luke were constantly playing catch-up when they were around these two and it was funny to watch. They were best friends who didn’t need to always explain themselves with words; sometimes a movie title or song would suffice. On the flip side, Jess and Luke could never compete with that kind of connection.
They Fight For Eachother
Whether it was against a teacher, the Gilmores, or someone in Stars Hollow, Lorelai and Rory defended each other when times got hard. They knew each other’s true intentions and could defend each other even when they didn’t know the whole story.
That’s how much they knew one another. With Jess and Luke, the trust between them wasn’t always there, which meant that they couldn’t necessarily defend each other when times got tough. The lack of trust Jess had in others was one of the saddest things about him.
They’re Apart Of Each Other’s Decisions
As mother and daughter, Rory and Lorelai were a real unit. Every decision the women made as independents was made with the other mind. Lorelai couldn’t move from Stars Hollow with Christopher because she thought it would be too hard leaving all those memories behind.
She knew Rory wouldn’t want to be in another home either. Lorelai also put her wedding to Luke on hold until she and Rory were on better terms. The two had selfish tendencies that fans had problems with, but they were selfless when it came to each other. This kind of dedication to one another wasn’t a part of Luke and Jess’ relationship.
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