Edward Herrmann’s Gilmore Girls character, Richard Gilmore, was always distinguished, intelligent, and formal. He loved getting to know Rory and showered her with attention, giving her money and books, and while he didn’t get along with his daughter, he liked being a strong presence in his granddaughter’s world.
Richard’s wife Emily has some problems and Richard isn’t perfect, either. Over the show’s seven seasons and the revival, Richard’s character arc was a bit disappointing, as he didn’t move forward in his life or change very much at all.
10 Richard Was Always Too Competitive
Richard was always a competitive person. He would often race away from the table during Friday Night dinner to call someone he wanted to brag to.
Sure, this could be sweet as he would be sharing good news about Rory. But it was strange that he never seemed to stop going on and on about his good fortune to business and personal acquaintances. This isn’t something that got better over time, and instead, Richard always seemed to care about keeping up with the Jonses and making sure people knew that he was rich and successful.
9 He Never Stopped Insulting His Daughter
In the season two episode “Richard in Stars Hollow,” Richard hung out with Lorelai in her small town, and he really wasn’t thrilled with the whole experience.
Lorelai sometimes acted badly and this stemmed from how she was raised. She never felt Richard’s love and affection, and even in adulthood, she wasn’t sure that he thought she was doing well in life. Richard never stopped insulting his daughter or making it clear that he didn’t really approve of her. If he was written well, he would have stopped being so unfair and started treating her better in season five or six, at least.
8 His Second Health Crisis Was Not As Powerful
In the first season episode “Forgiveness and Stuff,” Lorelai isn’t allowed to go to her parents’ famous Christmas party, and then she races to the hospital when Richard has some heart problems.
Richard has a heart attack in season seven, but the storytelling isn’t as powerful as it was the first time around. In season one, this plot allows Lorelai to realize that Luke is always there for her, and he’s set up as a potential love interest. Later on, the heart attack storyline felt lackluster as the family had already been through that. If Richard had been a better-written character, his second hospital stay would be even more of a health crisis and would have moved the plot forward more.
7 He Was Always Unsupportive And Controlling
Fans loved watching Rory’s journey, including her time at Yale, and it seems like she would never have picked Yale instead of Harvard if Richard hadn’t convinced her to go there.
Richard didn’t seem to support Rory’s desire to go to Harvard, as he influenced her, and this proves that as the seasons progressed, this character got worse and worse. He was often unsupportive and he couldn’t help but control the people in his life, even his granddaughter who he did care about.
6 He Was Pretentious And Self-Centered
While a lot of things that Richard said on Gilmore Girls were meant to be funny, as he had as many quips as his daughter, wife, and granddaughter, he always sounded pretentious and full of himself. This didn’t change as the show went on.
Whenever Richard cracked jokes, he was actually proving that he was absent-minded and self-centered. One example? When he mixed up a male and female employee in his house. Lorelai asked Richard, “I’m sorry. Dad, how do you mix up Anton and Sophia?” and kept saying, “One is a man and one is a woman.” He finally replied, “I have a lot to do in a day, Lorelai. I don’t have time to keep up with the multitudes of people that your mother employs.”
5 Richard’s Death Wasn’t Handled As Well As It Could Be
Some parts of the Netflix revival were strange and while it was devastating watching Emily deal with her husband’s passing, this storyline could have been handled a bit differently.
Richard’s death created even more of a rift between Lorelai and Emily, and Emily was really mean to Lorelai instead of allowing this tragedy to bring them closer together. Lorelai also never got to become closer to her dad as they continued to have a tough relationship. This is another example of Richard becoming worse on the show, as it would have been nice to see his death being a reason for Emily to finally be nice and understanding. It was just more of the same instead.
4 Richard Had A Weird Crisis In Season 5
When Richard and Emily decided to take some time apart, it was definitely clear that Richard was having a crisis or breakdown of sorts.
He didn’t have any reason for wanting to leave his wife, who he had been married to for decades, and this storyline didn’t add up for fans. By the fifth season, Richard should have been taking stock of his life and what he wanted the rest of it to look like, but instead, he was acting petty and selfish and ignoring the most important person in his world.
3 Work Was His Whole Personality
While Richard always said smart things, he didn’t have much of a personality besides the fact that he was a workaholic.
Richard could never really retire and he always became very difficult to be around when he wasn’t working. While it’s great that he found purpose and meaning in his career, it would have been nice if he had some other hobbies and interests. Fans never felt like they got to know him very well since he was always working or talking about work.
2 He Didn’t Spend Enough Time With Emily
Richard and Emily are a favorite couple on Gilmore Girls, but they never seemed to spend a ton of time together.
While it was clear that he loved his wife, Richard didn’t make his marriage a priority, and that is one way that he became worse as the show kept going. It seemed like Emily was always finding ways to fill her time, from volunteering to having lunch with people she didn’t really like, as her husband was gone a lot. This was something that could have changed, but instead, Richard just seemed more and more self-centered.
1 When He Was Finally Nice To Lorelai, It Didn’t Last
There were a handful of scenes when Emily and Lorelai had a pleasant relationship but the same thing can’t really be said about Lorelai and her father. While Richard said some kind things about Lorelai and her place in Stars Hollow in the season seven finale, that didn’t translate to them having a better relationship.
Fans learned in the Netflix revival A Year In The Life that when Richard passed away, he and Lorelai still hadn’t gotten over their differences and their bond was still pretty broken. Emily was mad at Lorelai for her behavior at Richard’s funeral, and Lorelai was still struggling with whether her parents really loved and supported her. It’s too bad that when Richard was finally nice to Lorelai, it didn’t last, and he never figured out how to treat his daughter the way that she deserved.
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