Why Gilmore Girls’ Obsession with Oz Is the Key to A Year in the Life Literature-loving series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has made prior reference to Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on Gilmore Girls. So it comes as no surprise that in “Fall,” the final episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Sherman-Palladino offers a direct analogy between Stars Hollow and Oz, and between Rory (Alexis Bledel) and Dorothy: a vision of Rory’s loss of innocence that mirror’s Dorothy’s experience in Oz. Sherman-Palladino echoes the language of The Wizard of Oz’s goodbye scene to frame Rory’s mournful departure as an allegory for her true blossoming into adulthood and loss of naiveté (and some would say privilege). Rory cares for her three companions, telling Robert, “Oh Robert, don’t cry, your eye will swell up terribly. Here, take your steak,” just as Dorothy said, “Oh, don’t cry. You’ll rust so dreadfully. Here’s your oil can.” Robert replies, just as the Tinman did, “Now I know I have a heart, because it’s breaking.” Sherman-Palladino also marks the importance of the Scarecrow, having Rory echo Dorothy by saying, “I think I’ll miss you most of all” to Finn. The once-brainless Scarecrow represents Rory’s naiveté and innocence, and also, perhaps, America’s pre-recession economic bliss; as she says goodbye to carefree times, she also says goodbye to her youthful idealism and her hope for a perfect career, family and romance. She knows now that all those things are flawed, and though Gilmore Girls fans have since decried this darker vision of Rory’s world, it’s the one that stands to teach her the most.
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