Gilmore Girls is filled with the ups and downs of the lives of Rory Gilmore and her mother, Lorelai Gilmore. There's tragedy, drama, and romance all throughout the course of the series which ran for seven seasons in the early 2000s. However, the aspect we’re concerned with is the romance. Specifically, the fact Rory Gilmore and Paris Geller is presented as endgame in the show.
From the first time we meet Rory and Paris, their relationship is fraught with tension; they’re enemies who seem to loath each other as much as they could possibly loath anyone, then they become frenemies and eventually friends. It’s a relationship peppered with more ups and downs than you can shake a stick at, but they never manage to shake each other. It’s almost as if everything is conspiring to keep them in each other’s orbit in the context of the universe, which wouldn’t be all that surprising considering Paris was originally meant to be a bit character that the show’s writer fell in metaphorical love with and couldn’t not include more of.
Season one alone has some interesting tidbits of information that may support the hypothesis Rory and Paris are endgame in the show’s universe. One of the most compelling may be the fact that Paris actually uses Shakespeare’s 116th sonnet to intimidate Rory in episode 4 of the entire show, only three episodes into her run as a character. This while she is still very much a minor character and antagonist to Rory. In episode 6, “Rory’s Birthday Parties,” we see the first glimmer of Paris starting to thaw when she compliments the party that Rory was thrown by grandmother for her 16th birthday. (I really wanted Rory to invite Paris to her second party in that episode, but it didn’t happen that way unfortunately.) And by the 13th episode, “Concert Interruptus,” we actually see a glimmer of their future friendship.
Season two is interesting its own right because the friendship finally starts to be a real thing around episode 9, “Run Away Little Boy,” where the only male figure actually coming between their friendship moves away. Episode 9 of season 2 is also one of two episodes prior to the season 4 episode, “Girls in Bikinis, Boys Doin’ the Twist,” in which they almost kiss. The other one is “Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days” (Season 3, episode 1). Which brings me to a very interesting little scene in said 3rd season premier…
Rory is trying to calm down a freaking out Paris, which is pretty normal by now and will happen plenty more in the future, who was asked out by this really awesome guy. Rory’s response when Paris asks how you know that a guy is right for you during said freak out is just priceless:
Rory: And then, when you’re not looking you’ll find someone who complements you.
Rory: Someone who likes what you like. Someone who reads the same books or listens to the same music or likes to trash the same movies. Someone compatible.
Paris: (Has her thinking face on.) Ok.
Rory: But not so compatible that they’re boring.
Paris: (More thinking face.) Someone who’s compatible but not compatible.
Rory: Yeah, kind of. I mean, you respect each other’s opinions, and you laugh at the same jokes, but there’s something about not quite knowing what the other person’s going to do at all times. It’s just really… exciting.
Paris: (Has gone from thinking face to epiphany face while Rory was talking and now is settled on this really sweet, loving look while she looks at Rory.)
Rory: (Realizes what’s going on and pulls away.)
They’re still in highs school, but that scene says it all to me. It foreshadows everything to come. It shows how Paris can be soft with Rory in a way that she can’t be with other people and the calming effect that Rory has on her very neurotic personality. Paris can just breath and not worry for a little while when she’s around Rory. It shows the way in which Paris just seems to crave Rory on a deep mental and emotional level. It's dangerously ambiguous. It even implies how devastated Paris would be if she felt Rory had betrayed her. Paris then goes on to say that Rory is looking all dateable during one of her freak outs that’s ostensibly about a boy.
Later in the same season, some of the foreshadowing rears its head again during another Paris freak out that’s also ostensibly about a boy. That scene, mentioned but not laid out due to space, reads more like a break up and romantic betrayal than something having to do with their friendship. Paris is so deeply affronted when Rory accidentally let’s slip to her enemy, Francie, that she has a boyfriend that Paris attacks Rory during their fencing lessons and all but calls her a Judas. It’s a fraught scene. Rory doesn’t know what has gotten into Paris at first and is deeply hurt when she tries to explain and Paris won’t listen to her.
Then even later in season three we see Paris having another freak out, and Rory once again picking her up and fixing things. This freak out, though it is certainly not about a boy, further shows the support that Rory lends to Paris when she is in need. And if you compare said support to Rory’s boyfriends, you’ll see it’s the same sort of support that she would show them if given the chance.
Season four interactions start with a bang, a metaphorical one like this this show is wont to do. We find out within a couple episodes that Rory, who quite honestly never expected to see Paris again, is now Paris’ roommate at Yale because Paris got her father to arrange it when she decided to attend Yale. Paris then says that she felt her and Rory’s journey wasn’t over, they had unfinished business of some ambiguous nature. The lack of specificity on the part of the show was very clever and left open a space for their canon kiss later in the series, though I’m not exactly sure that’s what it was meant to do. It works in concert with the start of the season to further the continuing subtext from the previous one.
Season five isn’t all that noteworthy when it comes to interactions between Rory and Paris. Things can be considered pretty chill and par for the course for the duration of season five. It’s season six in which we see Rory and Paris go through more growing pains together. Paris freaks out when Rory drops out of Yale, just goes straight to pieces at the idea of being without Rory and ends up turning to Rory’s mother, Lorelai, as a substitute for Rory. Then later in the season we get what is essentially another Rory and Paris break up when Paris freaks out about the rest of the Yale Daily staff, baring Rory of course who objects to this, ousting her from her position as editor and replacing her with Rory. Said freak out ends up with her kicking Rory out of their apartment.
Season seven is pretty chill throughout, with the normal course of their relationship continuing. Rory moves back into the apartment and deals with some wackiness from Paris and her boyfriend. But the end of the season is what is most notable about it, because it is there that I find my absolute certainty Paris and Rory are endgame. If the scene I laid out in season three is the first true hint of it, then that episode is where it all comes together. They’re graduating and Paris has made a little speech about how it’s been so long that they’ve been orbiting each other and it’s now every woman for herself. Instead of agreeing with Paris or giving her some empty platitude, Rory genuinely and with great feeling assures her that they’ll always be a part of each other’s lives. They’ve come full circle, from not getting each other and loathing each other to knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt they’ll always have each other.
That’s why they’re endgame. That certainty and knowledge of what they would do simply to remain friends, their inability and refusal to be without the other. The next logical step in such a deep and abiding relationship is for their passionate friendship to either progress into them being a platonic endgame or a romantic one. For me I see romance, but you'll have to decide for yourself which one best fits your view of their relationship.