For me, Jess is the personification of CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.
Yes, he is an ass, but when you consider he is a teenager that is basically unwanted by his mother at the time and forced to move to a town that doesn’t even try to understand him, he acts like a normal teenager. Seriously.
Then you see his friendship with Rory which is basically the only thing that makes his time in Stars Hollow enjoyable. Rory and Jess had a genuine friendship which, while there was sexual tension, Jess never crossed that friend/something more line. Rory did. Ever after she kissed him, he did not do anything until she was broken up with Dean AND he had broken up with Shane.
What I loved was that when Jess and Rory were a couple, he didn’t change! What I mean by this is Jess was still Jess. I think that’s important because it’s so easy for the “bad boy” to get with a “good girl” and he becomes that “good guy”. But Jess did not become a Star Hollow-lover or enjoy the town craziness just because he was with Rory. He tolerated the things she enjoyed because they were together, but it didn’t mean he liked it.
Jess made bad decisions, especially the end of season three when he left. Jess was going through a lot. Not graduating, his dad coming to town, and still having to live in a town where everyone hates him. Jess can’t figure out how to talk to Rory because he’s never had anyone to talk about his problems with so he doesn’t know how to talk to her.When Jess came back and tells Rory they should run away together, it wasn’t the right time for either of them. But he had been reading those self-help books and all he could think was “Now! Before I lose her!” But it wasn’t a good time for either of them.
AND THE BEST CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT (at least on GG) AWARD GOES TO:
Jess Mariano, novelist. Jess Mariano, business-owner. Jess Mariano, grown ass man. When Jess comes back in Season 6, he has grown, matured, and CHANGED. He’s not that smart ass kid with a huge chip on his shoulder that hated everyone and everything anymore. Jess grew up. He wrote a book. He wrote a book! He has a steady job.
Jess is the reason Rory went back to Yale. Jess took one look at her standing outside of her grandparents house and could tell this was not the Rory he knew. This was not the same girl who had pushed and pushed him to do better at everything in his life, inspiring him to write The Subsect. The best part of Jess and Rory’s relationship whether it be friendship or dating, was they always called each other on their bullshit. That’s exactly what he did. He called her on her bullshit and when she tried to make it about Logan, he completely shut that shit down. He told her, “screw him, what’s going on with you?!” He hadn’t seen this girl in years but he knew what she had become wasn’t who she was. He could tell she wasn’t happy. There was nothing to gain for him. There wasn’t any sort of sexual tension in that episode. It was a friend helping a friend.
HE FUCKING THANKS LUKE! He thanks him and pays him back. But that check wasn’t about giving Luke his money back, it was about showing him what that money had help him to become. It was important to Jess’ pride that he pay Luke back, but it was also him thanking him for never giving up on him, even when Jess felt like everyone had, even when Luke told him he had. He never did.
This kid who after everything he had been through, could have easily fucked his life up, but worked his ass off to make himself better. He did not do this for anyone but himself. It’s not as if he comes back and says, “Here’s the new me. Now will you love me?” No. Jess changed himself, for himself. He made himself a better person to be a better person.
Do I understand how some people might not like Jess? Yes. But I know exactly why I love Jess Mariano and it has nothing to do with his and Rory’s relationship and everything to do with Jess Mariano. My love is never ending.
"It’s not as if he comes back and says, “Here’s the new me. Now will you love me?” No. Jess changed himself, for himself. He made himself a better person to be a better person."
I think I may actually cry this was too beautiful and accurate to handle
You have nothing? I have nothing! I have no place to go; I can’t stay at Luke’s, I can’t stay in Stars Hollow, my mother’s a wack job! I mean, you’re saying you’re this loser and what—you don’t want to take me off this terrific path I’m headed down right now? I’m not graduating high school! I don’t know what I’m gonna do with the rest of my life, but something’s telling me I better find out soon or I’m gonna be that guy out there on the boardwalk selling the hemp hats!
Robazizo’s 22 Days Of Luke And Jess
Day 4 - Favourite Season 4/6 Episode
4x20 Luke Can See Her Face
In this episode Jess is finally openly starting to show his appreciation for Luke and they’re bonding, culminating in a lovely heart-to-heart after they’ve been thrown out of the strip club. I love the proud look Luke gives Jess when he shows up in Stars Hollow after all and Jess’ “I don’t hate you. I came here because of you.” tugs at my heartstrings. How cool is it that they’re both put off by the strip club, by the way?