Marcus is not the new Jess Mariano. Ginny is.
When Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia dropped, almost immediately the internet broke out in articles comparing it to Gilmore Girls. The comparison to Gilmore Girls is fair, if superficial. Sure, both shows feature a single mom who had her daughter when she was a teenager and take place in a quaint small town. Sure, both mothers have complicated on-again-off-again romances with their daughter’s father. I do not really think Ginny & Georgia is that similar to Gilmore Girls beyond those broad strokes.
I definitely do not think that Marcus Baker is the new Jess Mariano. In fact, I think if we are going to compare anyone to Jess, it should be Ginny.
Bustle compared Marcus to Jess in the headline for an article that mostly focused on the actor, Felix Mallard, who plays Marcus. Seeing that headline had me looking for similarities as I watched the show. Both are brooding teenage boys. Okay…
But when we look at Ginny and Jess, there is far more similarity. Both Ginny and Jess are readers with a critical eye. Both Ginny and Jess have complicated relationships with a flighty mother. Granted, Georgia is a much stronger figure than Jess’s mother, but both teens had childhoods spent moving from place to place at their mothers’ behest. Both Ginny and Jess have commitment issues and leave an earnest, goodie-goodie romantic interest hanging. Both have a mentor who runs a restaurant and gives them some occasional tough love while they pine away for one of their best customers who also bosses them around…
So, if we’re comparing anyone to Jess, make it Ginny, not Marcus. It’s easy to fall back on the tropes that there’s the bad boy neighbor causing romantic trouble for the smart girl next door, but Ginny & Georgia is working beyond those categories in their portrayal of Ginny, a smart complicated character. Let’s not force that dynamic on the story.
And let’s not compare Joe to Luke while we’re at it. (Even though I sort of just did.)