Kelly Bishop’s Gilmore Girls character doesn’t seem like the easiest person to be around. She’s bossy, competitive, and materialistic, and while she loves her husband Richard (Edward Herrmann) dearly, she’s not one who is quick to smile.
Each season of the show has tough moments and throughout the whole show, Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) have to deal with Emily for better and for worse. Gilmore Girls is known for its amazing storytelling and funny lines, but unfortunately, Emily didn’t really grow as a character over the show’s seven seasons (or in the Netflix revival, either).
10 Emily Never Tried To Understand Lorelai
Sometimes Emily and Lorelai had fun, but the majority of the time, the two argued, didn’t speak, and wondered what the other person was thinking.
Emily never tried to understand Lorelai and it only got worse over the seasons. She constantly acted like Lorelai was weird, whether Lorelai was talking about how much she enjoyed pie, suggesting a good birthday gift for a 16-year-old Rory, or making choices in her life that Emily wouldn’t necessarily have made. Their relationship wasn’t better by season seven or the revival, so Emily made no progress or growth as a character.
9 She Kept Making The Same Mistakes
In the Netflix revival, Emily told Lorelai that Richard wanted Luke to have some cash so he could franchise the diner. Emily stream-rolled Luke into thinking about this more seriously than he should have, considering how he never wanted to do that.
Luke has some problems but at least he respects other people and keeps to himself. Emily kept making the same mistakes over and over again, so she definitely became worse over time.
8 She Let History Repeat Itself In The Gilmore Family
It’s strange to think that in the sixth season of Gilmore Girls, Emily allowed Rory to stop talking to Lorelai and ignore her for several months. Didn’t Emily realize that this was an incredibly painful thing to do and that history was repeating itself?
Just like Lorelai ran away and Emily didn’t have her daughter around, Emily took Lorelai’s daughter away from her. This was the wrong thing to do and proof that no matter what, Emily kept up with the same bad behavior.
7 Her Treatment Of Others Got Worse
Emily is never a sunny, kind person, even though she has moments of humanity throughout the series.
One of the running gags on Gilmore Girls is that Emily hires many maids and other household help and fires them all the time. Lorelai and Rory often have no idea who is working in the Gilmore household. While this is supposed to be funny, by the Netflix revival, it’s horrifying and offensive. Emily hired a woman who didn’t speak English and she wasn’t able to communicate with her, and every time these two characters were on screen together, it becomes even more awkward to watch. Emily should have become a better person, but the show didn’t allow her to grow. While Emily had some hilarious quotes, this wasn’t her best moment.
6 She Always Respected Christopher More Than Lorelai
While Emily had plenty of opportunities to realize that Christopher (David Sutcliffe) was a bit of a loser, she always had more respect for him than her own daughter.
Emily and Richard always thought that Lorelai and Chris should have gotten married back in high school and didn’t agree with their decision to break up. Emily could have changed by the end of the series and told Lorelai that Chris wasn’t right for her, but she always supported him.
5 She Always Tried To Make People Be More Like Her
Season one of Gilmore Girls has problems and it also has some of the best and most interesting episodes of the whole show.
In “Rory’s Birthday Parties,” Emily hosted a birthday celebration for Rory that she herself would have enjoyed. It was stiff and formal and not fit for a teenage girl. In season two, Emily convinced Rory to go to a Debutante Ball even though that wasn’t Rory or Lorelai’s style at all. Emily got worse because she never stopped controlling people.
4 Emily And Richard’s Split Was Laughable
In the fifth season of Gilmore Girls, Emily and Richard split up, and it was truly laughable how badly this was done.
Instead of Richard moving out into an apartment or even a hotel, he lived in the pool house. What made things worse was Richard and Emily each hosted Lorelai and Rory for Friday Night dinner. They would go to the pool house and then the main house, and it looked really silly and awkward. Richard always sounded intelligent when he spoke but this wasn’t his finest moment. Emily, too, allowed herself to be caught up in the fray and gave in to her worst impulses.
3 Her Storylines Became Nonsensical
In the sixth season episode “The Prodigal Daughter Returns,” Emily freaked out and bought a plane. This wasn’t funny and it’s one example of how confusing this character became.
As her storylines became more illogical, Emily became a worse character, and instead of constantly insulting other people and finding fault with everyone else, she should have done some work on herself.
2 She Judged Other People’s Partners
It’s fair to say that Emily was never nice to anyone who Lorelai dated. It was no wonder that Lorelai didn’t even want to tell her that she and Max (Scott Cohen) were getting married.
Whenever Luke would have dinner at the Gilmore house, Emily looked down on him and wasn’t supportive of the fact that he ran a diner. She didn’t think that he was good enough for Lorelai. When Emily met Dean (Jared Padelecki) and Jess (Milo Ventimiglia), it didn’t go well either. Emily never learned to be supportive of who her family members were dating.
1 She Never Stopped Manipulated Lorelai
There are a lot of plotlines that Netflix could add to a season 2, and it’s fair to say that A Year In The Life didn’t do Lorelai and Emily’s relationship any favors.
In the episode “Spring,” Emily tricked Lorelai into going to therapy with her, and she wasn’t nice to her all. She kept acting like everything that didn’t work in their relationship was because of Lorelai, and this dynamic became more and more unhealthy the more they went to therapy. It’s disappointing that even in the revival, Emily stuck to her stubborn ways.
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