Character Spotlight: Paris Geller

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by Judi

Show: Gilmore Girls

Character: Paris Geller

Played By: Liza Weil

Basically: The show Gilmore Girls kicked off its pilot episode with Lorelai Gilmore’s brainy sixteen-year-old daughter Rory getting accepted into essentially the most terrifying, formidable private school in Connecticut (forcing Lorelai to go to her estranged blue-blood parents for financial help in paying the equally formidable tuition but that’s another story). On her very first day, fresh-faced and eager for some book learnin’, Rory encounters Paris, the Tracy Flick of Chilton if Tracy Flick had been off her meds for some time. We first see Paris hiding underneath a windowsill outside the headmaster’s office with her two slutty friends Madeline and Louise, where she snatches the “new girl’s” transcripts and pores over the file, trying to guage just how much of a threat this Rory Gilmore will be to Paris’ plans to be the most brilliant and successful Chilton graduate in the school’s history. Later in the season, when Rory is having trouble catching up, Paris sidles up behind her before their huge English test and gives what has to be the most threatening, sinister Shakespearean monologue in high school history. She then leans in and whispers, “You’re going down.” She’s not playing around, people. Over the course of the show’s seven season run, Rory and Paris would be enemies then sort-of-friends then friends then college roommates and always, always intellectual rivals.

Love Fest: I believe we can classify Paris’ personality as Type F’n A. High strung to the point of insanity. While in high school, Paris is a bully and a manipulator but then little bits of her home life trickle in and damn it if we don’t start to feel sorry for her. Basically ignored by her feuding parents and raised by a doting Porteguese nanny named, well, Nanny (Paris is fluent in Portguese, we discover, only adding to our affection for her), she’s a lonely girl at heart, nothing hitting it home more so when a cute college boy named Jamie takes an interest in her and Paris can’t wrap her brain around why.  Paris only wants to get into Harvard where all Gellers have gone and she’ll let nothing stand in her way. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes she goes CRAZY in the process, her singular focus causing her to lose her marbles completely. Take her anger management issues (manifesting itself in her hiring a life coach and then becoming obsessed with crafts). Take the Yale Daily News. When she’s elected editor in college, she slowly turns the paper into a dictatorship- first, no one is allowed to speak. Then, everyone must wear a hat with a number on it so she doesn’t have to learn anyone’s name. Soon, she’s writing every piece herself. Then, the paper starts to fall apart, the staff discusses mutiny and what is Paris doing? She’s constructed a BUNKER out of NEWSPAPER in the middle of the newsroom where she sits at a little desk, muttering to herself about having to do everything herself. It’s like A Beautiful Mind, the CW version. CRAZY PANTS. And as a side note, I don’t know why the TV Powers That Be haven’t found another role for Liza Weil yet but someone should seriously get on that immediately.

Favorite Moments: Oh, boy. Paris is super sharp, super funny with some of the best, most biting lines on the show. A few of my favorites:

– Paris and Rory run into their Yale dorm, soaking wet from a rainstorm outside. A girl passes them.

Girl: Is it raining?

Paris: No, it’s National Baptism Day. Get your tubes tied, idiot!

– Paris has been having an affair with her very old college professor (played by Basil Exposition from Austin Powers). When Rory calls, Paris tells her that the professor has died. Rory worries that he died while they were having sex.

Rory: It wasn’t- I mean, he didn’t, you know, during-

Paris: No, Rory. This great man wasn’t brought down by my vagina.

– But this is by far my favorite. After four years of working herself to the bone, Paris doesn’t get into Harvard. Unfortunately, her rejection letter coincides with her having sex with her boyfriend for the first time and also, um, her having to give a speech with Rory on CSPAN for Chilton’s big centennial celebration. It does not go well.

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