Today, we look at how Gilmore Girls just transplanted Dean’s original personality into Jess when he was added to the series.
In Abandoned an’ Forsaked, we examine stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent) with a retcon (retcon stands for “retroactive continuity,” but we’re specifically talking about retcons that contradict earlier stories).
Generally speaking, whether intentional or not, TV writers will often find themselves, if not playing favorites necessarily, certainly giving certain characters better lines than other characters. Typically speaking, the more prominent a character is, the more emphasis there is on giving said character good lines. This, though, leads to an interesting situation when one character becomes more prominent than another, and then suddenly the character who USED to be prominent now gets less dialogue than before, while the new character is given the spotlight.
Going even further, when you want to spotlight one character, sometimes you choose to knock another character down to prop the other character up. So a previously featured character might suddenly become tarnished, while a new character gets a lot of shine.
And then you have bizarre stuff like The Gilmore Girls and Dean (Jared Padalecki) and Jess (Milo Ventimiglia), where the writers simply retconned Dean’s personality out and gave it to Jess.
In the first season of the show, when Dean becomes the first beau for Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel), he has just moved to Stars Hollow from the big city, and the two bond over books and indie music.
However, in Season 2, Jess then moves to Stars Hollow from the big city, and HE and Rory bond over books and indie music, so starting in Season 2, suddenly Dean is no longer into books at all, and has been retconned into essentially a meathead. This was, of course, as a way to contrast him with Jess, but the end result was truly that Dean was retconned so that Jess could adopt the original Dean personality. It was utterly bizarre.
Dean even sort of dropped the whole “not from here” attitude, as that was now Jess’ whole deal, so Dean became a big “this is my town” guy. It was fascinating to see him get a entirely new personality, and his old one transplanted on to Jess. Ventimiglia was really good at playing the artsy bad boy, but it was still funny to see the huge retcon for Dean (people sometimes try to defend it by suggesting that Dean was pretending to like books for Rory’s sake, but come on, people, watch the early episodes, Dean is recommending books TO Rory. He’s clearly very much into books when the show began. It IS a retcon).
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