Gilmore Girls, the perfect series that continues to bring together girls who thought they were smart in high school, is coming to Netflix tomorrow. Every episode, every pop culture reference, and every town event will soon be more accessible than coffee at Luke's Diner, when Luke and Lorelai are not in a fight. Here's how to navigate your binge-watching.
Of course, the correct Gilmore Girls binge-watching guide is short enough to be a tweet, or someone’s last words: "Watch every single Gilmore Girls episode from beginning to end." But I assume there are some of you who just finished watching the entire series on ABC Family and might just want to use this as an opportunity for a victory lap. Or maybe you’re dying? Or, I don't know, maybe you're just unwilling to commit yourself to 153 straight episodes of any mother-daughter drama, even your favorite one. Whatever the case, we’ve prepared a guide to point you to the five must-watch episodes in each season, and the seasons you can feel free skipping. (The last two seasons.) (They stink!)
Fill up your coffee cup, Luke be damned, and let's go.
Some Information Before You Start:
- Average Episode Running Time: 45 minutes.
- How to Make a Hot Toddy: Hot water, lemon, honey, whiskey, some nutmeg and cinnamon on top.
- Good Snacks: Pan of brownies, basically any kind of chip, popcorn, nachos.
- Who to Invite: Me, if we're friends.
Episodes You Must Watch, Season One:
Episode 1: "Pilot"
Ah, remember when Rory and Lorelai were, to us, nothing but beautiful, blue-eyed strangers? When Dean was just someone we kinda thought we didn't like? The first episode brings us back to the origin of our girls' Friday Night Dinners, our introduction to Stars Hollow, and our first glimpse at our bright young Rory's future at Chilton, and then Harvard. What a gal.
Episode 4, "The Deer Hunters"
"No, I got hit by a deer!"
Episode 6, "Rory's Birthday Parties"
Emily throws a surprise birthday party for Rory with all of her classmates from Chilton—who she doesn't even like!—the night before her mom throws her a birthday party (with Lane and weird grown-ups from around the town) and gives her a blue iBook and a cake with her face on it. There is yelling, there are tears, there is clashing with Emily, there is making up with Emily. Luke brings a bag of ice. A great episode.
(Also, there is a very sweet moment when Alexis Bledel almost lights Rory's feather boa on fire by accident and Keiko Agena stops her. Didn't catch it? Watch the episode again!)
Episode 7, "Kiss and Tell"
It's autumn in Stars Hollow—where it is always autumn except for when it is winter—and Rory is ready to be kissed. Dean gives Rory her first kiss in the aisles of Doose's Market ("thank you," she responds) and attends his first movie night with the Gilmore girls, before which Rory frets about having nothing to wear and is relieved when her mom manages to put together a sweater and lip gloss.
PS: Jenji Kohan wrote this episode!
Episode 21, "Love, Daisies and Troubadours"
"I love you, you idiot." In "Love, Daisies and Troubadours" Rory finally tells Dean the words he apparently thought he deserved to hear, just as Rachel breaks up with Luke, warning him not to wait too long to tell Lorelai how he feels. Meanwhile, Lorelai gets 1,000 yellow daisies from Max. Uh-oh. Who's going to clean up all those daises?
Episodes You Must Watch, Season Two:
Episode 1, "Sadie, Sadie"
In the second season's opener, Lorelai accepts Max's daisy proposal, Lane is about to be shipped off to Korea, and Richard just will not give Dean one damn break at Friday Night Dinner, but the most memorable element comes at the episode's end when Emily finds out about Lorelai's engagement from Sookie. Some of Gilmore Girls' most heartbreaking moments come when Lorelai is a shitty jerk to her mom for seemingly no reason, and this is up there with the most heartbreaking of 'em. "Our daughter is getting married. She is getting married and she didn't tell us."
Episode 5, "Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy"
JESS. JESS JESS JESS JESS JESS. HELLO, JESS.
Episode 13, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket"
JESS! It's time for Stars Hollow's annual "Bid-A-Basket" event (sure) and Rory made her basket with the idea that Dean would bid on it and they'd have a boring, quietly aggressive picnic together. However, Jess outbids Dean and—simply following tradition—Rory has her picnic with him, instead. Hmm.
Episode 21, "Lorelai's Graduation Day"
Oh my god. On the same day Lorelai is set to graduate from business school, Rory ditches class and gets on a bus to New York City to visit Jess. (!) They go to Earwax, they eat a hot dog on the subway, and Rory accidentally gets on the wrong bus home, missing the graduation. How could you do that to your mom, Rory? She wanted her best friend at her graduation. She deserved that!
Episode 22, "I Can't Get Started"
RORY KISSES JESS.
(Also Chris and Lorelai nearly get back together, until Chris finds out Sherry is pregnant. Whoops!)
Episodes You Must Watch, Season Three:
Episode 4, "One's Got Class and the Other One Dyes"
Lane dyes her hair purple and it looks perfect, and then she dyes it back—an important Lane episode. Also: Rory lectures Jess's new girlfriend, Shane, about non-word "bloaty."
Episode 7, "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?"
Ah, yes, the dance marathon episode. Possibly the episode you should watch if you, for some reason, could only watch one episode. (Imminent death?) Our girls are looking cute in their old-timey outfits, ready to win the Stars Hollow Dance Marathon (sure), until Dean catches Rory looking at Jess too many times, or whatever, and loudly breaks up with her on the dance floor. She runs out in tears, followed by Jess.
"You definitely broken up with Dean?" "Yeah, I'm definitely broken up with Dean." "I have to go take care of something then."
Also I feel like Lane wears a Dead Kennedys shirt in this one? Though that might have been a different one.
Episode 8, "Let the Games Begin"
Richard takes Rory, Lorelai, and Emily on a visit to Yale—his alma mater—and springs a meeting with the Dean of Admissions on Rory. Oh no. But Rory wanted to go to Harvard! And also Rory and Jess kiss for the first time as a real couple in this episode!
Episode 16, "The Big One"
This is a big Paris episode. After finding out she didn't get into Harvard—and after confessing she'd had sex with her boyfriend to the virginal Rory—Paris melts down while presenting a speech on C-SPAN for Chilton's bicentennial (sure). Rory finds out she has been accepted to Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. Ooh lala.
Episode 22, "Those Are Strings, Pinocchio"
Rory's graduation! Friday Night Dinners are reinstated to pay for Yale, duh, and dream Lorelai tells Luke not to get engaged before he and Nicole set off on a cruise. In her cap and gown, Rory says goodbye to Jess, who rudely keeps calling her and hanging up. "At least Dean never called her and hung up," you're probably thinking. Ugh, you're so wrong. Watch this episode anyway.
Episodes You Must Watch, Season Four:
Episode 2, "The Lorelais' First Day at Yale"
Rory meets her new roommates at Yale, one of whom is Paris, and Lorelai spends the night eating take-out with Rory and her new pals. People act like they think she and her mom are cool, but, come on.
Episode 7, "The Festival of Living Art"
Ahh, remember this one? Gilmore Girls won its only Emmy for this episode. (An Emmy for Outstanding Makeup for a Series.) Lorelai tries not to flinch, Kirk tries to be Jesus, Sookie tries to have her baby, all while Stars Hollow holds another ridiculous event. I'm so happy we all decided to move there together.
Episode 13, "Nag Hammadi Is Where They Found the Gnostic Gospels"
Oh my god. Jess tells Rory he loves her in this episode. Put it on right now!
Episode 16, "The Reigning Lorelai"
This is a great Emily episode. Trix, Richard's mother and Emily's greatest foe, dies and while Emily is sorting through her belongings she finds a letter from her to Richard urging him not to marry him. Instead, Trix wanted Richard to marry—ugh—Pennilynn Lotte. Fucking Pennilynn Lotte! This sends Emily off the rails and leaves Lorelai and Rory to put the pieces back together.
Episode 22, "Raincoats and Recipes"
"Raincoats and Recipes" is the season four finale, during which Luke and Lorelai have their first kiss and Dean and Rory have their first sex. But, oh no, Dean is married! Rory! Dean! (Lorelai!)
Episodes You Must Watch, Season Five:
Episode 2, "A Messenger, Nothing More"
Oh, brother. After fighting with Lorelai about Dean and running off to Europe with Emily, Rory decides she has to write Dean a letter and Lorelai agrees to deliver it. Of course, Lindsay finds the letter and kicks Dean—loudly and publicly—out of the house. (Sort of like when you broke up with Rory on the dance floor, isn't it, Dean? Huh.) Rory comes back to town and isn't greeted particularly warmly.
Episode 3, "Written in the Stars"
Aw, this is the episode where Luke shows Lorelai the horoscope she gave him when they met 100 years ago. He's kept it in his wallet, this whole time! Luke, you maniac! Also: Rory meets Logan.
Episode 7, "You Jump, I Jump, Jack"
Certainly one of the best, if not the best, Logan-era episode: Logan allows Rory to visit a Life and Death Brigade event to cover for the Yale Daily News (which is insane?) (doesn't seem like he should have done that) and correctly guesses her dress size. They jump off of a thing together. The event is beautiful and full of champagne.
Elsewhere, Luke plays a round of golf with Richard, who does not like him.
Episode 13, "Wedding Bell Blues"
In "Wedding Bell Blues" Richard and Emily renew their vows, making Rory the cutest female best man of all time. (Cutest female best man of all time who also gets caught in a compromising position with Logan.) Emily, in her most evil plot of the series, convinces Christopher to try to break up Luke and Lorelai—and he does. Doesn't Emily understand this series was about Luke and Lorelai? Luke and Lorelai, and Rory and Journalism?
Episode 22, "A House Is Not a Home"
Lorelai has to pick Rory up from jail in the fifth season's finale—so unlike Rory!—after she and Logan steal a yacht. The event causes Rory to drop out of Yale—so unlike Rory!—and Lorelai receives no help from her parents when she tries to get her to drop back in. Instead, she impulsively asks Luke to marry her, right there in Luke's Diner.
Seasons You Can Skip
Yes, it's great to be back in Stars Hollow.
[image via CW]