Emily has a strong ability to read Lorelai and sense her true motivations, often accurately pinpointing Lorelai’s fears and emotions (suggesting that she’s jealous, feels threatened by Rory getting to know her grandparents, etc). She is quite image conscious and wants Rory to do things “properly”; her primary conflict with her daughter is Lorelai’s desire for independence and her careless toward social behaviors (bringing up topics that not everyone agrees with at the table, for example). Emily cares about the public face of the family and sometimes wants her family members to do something outside their comfort zone because it’s “appropriate” (asking Rory to give a little speech to her birthday guests). She is very up front with her feelings. Being around her daughter, Emily’s ultra-critical pickiness comes out, and she starts nitpicking, harping on minor logical inconsistencies, etc. Rather than deal with the pain of her daughter’s rejection of everything the Gilmores hold dear, and deal with the reality of her responsibility in their estrangement, Emily chooses to blame Lorelai for everything. She believes there is a “certain way” of doing things, and is disappointed when others do not follow more traditional approaches to life (her disappointment that Lorelai got pregnant out of wedlock, and then refused to marry the father). Emily has a strong sense of family and personal responsibility; she loves to organize things and attend to “every little detail.” She believes in having experiences, and filing them away for future reference (when Rory resists going to the school dance, Emily worries that she’ll “miss out” on an opportunity that could have become part of her identity and formed memories for years to come). Around her daughter and granddaughter, Emily often banters, follows creative lines of thought, and shows progressive ideas – but often it’s for amusement rather than serious purposes (she quips that she could have married a woman and been “ahead of the curve”). Seeing one interaction with Luke and Lorelai, and Emily correctly discerns that Luke is in love with her, and Lorelai cares about Luke more than she’s willing to admit even to herself. Though Emily tends to be somewhat rigid, being around her granddaughter helps her open up to more experiences. She can sometimes be negative when anticipating the future.

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Emily is very image-focused, and part of her disgust and disappointment with her daughter is because Lorelai could not “behave herself” and shamed the family when she got pregnant at sixteen years old. This has caused a rift for 16 years between them, because Emily still carries around the humiliation of that, and how it looks to their friends. She wants to be seen as a loving provider and protector of her family, and often goes to excess in taking “care” of them – paying for Rory’s education (but they have to come to family dinners on Friday nights), wanting to buy her clothes, a car, giving donations to the school in her name, etc. Emily is trying to “buy” Rory’s love. She can be defensive, argumentative, and angry when crossed, falling into 8ish stress behaviors when her husband winds up in the hospital and ruthlessly bossing around and insulting the nurses. She is prone at times to hysterics and overreactions when she doesn’t get her way.