The Gilmore girls, Lorelai and Rory, have the most enviable mother-daughter relationship in TV history, much of which the storyline credits to the fact that Lorelai was a teen mom and the rest to her reigning title as the coolest woman on the planet. Her knowledge of classic movies and her impeccable taste in music are insurmountable. Tucked away in the quaint small town utopia that is Stars Hollow (not an actual town, we checked), the pair welcomed us into their charming but quirky cottage-like home for seven long, memorable years (2000-2007). We laughed with them. We cried with them. We watched Rory graduate from prep school; we made three trips to Yale with Lorelai and a mattress when Rory went off to college; and we wallowed (per Lorelai’s request) with them through every heartbreak—romantic, familial and even professional.
With the ubiquitous media buzz surrounding the upcoming Netflix revival, many of us have returned to Stars Hollow to catch up with the girls before the big reunion. Still, newcomers have joined us to see for themselves what this quick-talking, pop-culture loving duo is all about.
Here’s what you need to know about Gilmore Girls if you’re planning to binge-watch the series, which you totally should be.
How to Watch
If you’re a superfan (and a bit of a TV nerd), the best way to watch this show is on the DVD box set. The deluxe edition comes complete with a literal glossary of every single pop culture reference made, plus behind-the-scenes extras and cast interviews—you won’t believe whose accents aren’t authentic! A more accessible (and arguably cheaper) way to binge-watch is, of course, on Netflix. All seven seasons are available for online streaming in preparation for the November 25 release of the all new four-part event, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
Reasons to Watch
Collegiettes (and incoming collegiettes) everywhere need to add this to their watch list. Go ahead; add it right now if it isn’t already on there (frankly, we’re disappointed). Rory Gilmore is everything we were in high school and everything we aspire to be in college. We are Rory Gilmore—some of us feel very strongly about this. From her impressive book list to her travel aspirations, we relate on every single level. Living vicariously through the golden child of the Gilmore clan is entirely necessary and unavoidable once you get hooked on this show. Spoiler alert: you are going to scream for joy when she talks about reading Gloria Steinem for one of her college classes on feminism.
Identifying strongly with Rory is your gateway to enjoying the rest of the show and its cast. Soon, you’ll find yourself relating every experience and every character to those in your own life. And yes, you will make real-life decisions by asking yourself, “What would Rory do?” Like any of ours, Rory’s life is full of emotional roller coasters—decades of family drama and holiday passive aggressiveness, first loves and first breakups, high school bullies and class dances, college admissions and college graduations. Throw in the occasional naked guy in the hallway, a few pet memorials, one or two mental breakdowns (mostly about the impending doom of adulthood) and a deep and burning passion for coffee, and you’ve got absolutely no reason not to watch.
Suggested Rate of Watching
Friday-night movie night is a tradition in the Gilmore household—a night, curated by Lorelai no doubt, where the two bachelorettes sit down to watch anywhere from one to three of their all-time favorite movies including the likes of Casablanca and The Way We Were. That being said, your rate of viewing should reflect a similar level of dedication—no slacking.
Each episode averages about 40 minutes long, which is basically half of one movie, so we recommend a steady nightly rate of two to three episodes. If Netflix asks for confirmation that you’re still alive (and still watching), you’re doing it right.
Best and Worst Seasons
Season four is by far the best season of Gilmore Girls. First of all, it’s Rory’s first semester away at college. She and Lorelai have been preparing for this for 18 years, and on their first day there, the once inseparable duo add a new verb to Ivy League vernacular: to Lorelai, as in “to evaluate the quality of food, speed of service and cuteness of delivery guys at any given dining establishment.” This is also the season when fans finally get a glimpse of the Stars Hollow couple they’ve been shipping for years. Hell, the entire town has shipped this couple and the time is now!
The most disappointing season of the series is, unfortunately, the last and not just because it meant the end of an era. Season seven is the absolute worst for one main reason—things have changed. Die-hard Gilmore Girls fans will notice almost immediately that things are little ~off~ in this season. That’s because in 2006 Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, writer-director Daniel Palladino, packed their bags and said their emotional goodbyes to Stars Hollow. The pair left due to contract conflicts with the WB network; more specifically, they wanted more permanent contracts than the one-year terms that they had previously settled for. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Palladino said frankly, “Look, we’ve been working for the last two years with one-year contracts, working seven days a week for the past six years, and we wanted not a two-year pick-up for the show, but a two-year contract for us, so we could relax a little bit and not just think 300 days at a time, always wondering whether we’d be here.”
Sadly, that didn’t happen and the legend of Sherman-Palladino’s “final four words” was born, along with a seventh season that left fans wanting more. The ending—we won’t ruin it—was hardly worth the years of anticipation and left us with more questions than answers. With the upcoming revival, Sherman-Palladino promises redemption, telling TVLine about the new ending, “We accomplished what we set out to do.”
Characters You Will Aspire to Be Like
Rory and Lorelai Gilmore, role models for life
Rory Gilmore, duh! But also Lorelai Gilmore, who Rory will be totally lucky to grow up to emulate. Lorelai proved to us early on—like, in the first episode—that she is the ultimate go-getter. She’s overcome so much in her personal life all on her own, and she has never slowed down. Lorelai is strong, independent and humble. Never compromising her personal beliefs, successfully running more than one Zagat-rated inn in Connecticut and being a friend to all (in heels, might we add), Lorelai is our grown-up role model, while Rory is our life twin.
Characters You Will Love to Hate
Emily Gilmore, the matriarch of the Gilmore clan
Emily Gilmore is one of our favorite characters on the show, quite possibly the wisest of them all, but her unwavering demands for nothing but the very best (as determined by her) and her pure talent for passive aggressiveness have strained her relationship with Lorelai. The result is a perpetually tense but humorous on-screen mother-daughter relationship that perfectly juxtaposes the one that Lorelai and Rory share.
Paris Geller, Rory’s adversary
They met in high school and their mutual hatred was palpable, but as with most dysfunctional yet lifelong relationships, that hatred grew to tolerance and tolerance grew to respect. Both Ivy League-bound and a little peculiar, Rory and Paris stole our hearts. We love this friendship almost as much as we love Rory and Lane’s.
Jess Mariano, one of Rory’s high school boyfriends
Jess’s relationship with Rory was troubled from the start, with an even more turbulent end. But despite his inability to clearly and convincingly convey any human emotions, we appreciate Jess’s natural intelligence and wit. He’s one of the lucky few quick enough to keep up with Rory’s intense reading list and dated pop culture references.
Couples You Will Be Shipping
Lorelai and Rory are three for three when it comes to our top boyfriend picks. Over the years, we've shipped these couples harder than we've shipped any real-life couples that we actually know.
- Rory and Dean
- Lorelai and Max
- Rory and Jess
- Lorelai and Luke
- Rory and Logan
- Lorelai and Christopher
Terminology You Need to Know
Butt-faced miscreant (n) – as in, “you are a jerk, ass, arrogant, inconsiderate, mindless, frat-boy, low-life, butt-faced miscreant.” Something you say to a guy you’re about to fall madly in love with.
Copper boom (n) – as in, “Go, go! Copper boom!” Something you yell emphatically when going off to college for the first time.
Fun flask (n) – as in, “the Rory flask and the fun flask.” A flask filled with alcohol to get you through dull sporting events and other torturous life events.
Gilmore (v) – as in, “you’ve been Gilmored.” Also understood as you’ve been played, you’ve been suckered or you’ve been humiliated in such an elitist and well-mannered way that you never actually suffered any direct insults, usually inflicted by one Emily Gilmore.
Hockey puck, rattlesnake, monkey, monkey, underpants (phrase) – what you say when you’re working on your Super Bowl ad campaign and run into writer’s block, like Lorelai did when she was tasked with writing a character reference for Luke.
Squeegie Beckenheim (n) – as in, “Hi, my name is…” What you say to a telemarketer when they call your house at dinnertime.
Tookie Clothespin (n) – see Squeegie Beckenheim.
Snacks to Eat While Binge-Watching
The Gilmore girls can eat.
To prepare for a proper binge-watching session, you should have at your disposal:
- Chinese food
- Tater tots
- Lots and lots of hard candy
“People are particularly stupid today. I can't talk to any more of them.” – Michel to Lorelai, Season 1, Episode 1
“Because I love you, you idiot!” – Rory to Dean, Season 1, Episode 21
“Rory and I are best friends, Mom. We're best friends first and mother and daughter second.” – Lorelai to Emily, Season 2, Episode 16
“Oy with the poodles already.” – Lorelai to Rory, Season 3, Episode 22
“Where did all the anvils go?” – Lorelai to Emily, Season 4, Episode 18
“You go to bed, I'll go to France!” – Emily to Richard, Season 5, Episode 1
“Lorelai, when a woman has a crack baby, you do not buy her a puppy!” – Emily to Lorelai, Season 5, Episode 13
“People can live a hundred years without really living for a minute. You climb up here with me, it's one less minute you haven't lived.” – Logan to Rory, Season 5, Episode 7
“Please remember that I am your editor. I am not your mother, or your hugger. If you need some love, get a hooker. “ – Paris to the Yale Daily News, Season 6, Episode 11
“You don’t have to jump off the Empire State Building to know it’s going to hurt.” – Lorelai to Emily, Season 7, Episode 3
One of the most notable traits about the Gilmore girls is their innate ability to talk 1,000 words a minute, which makes for some of our most memorable monologues—all with important life lessons, of course.
How to subtly profess your love for someone in a public setting:
“Because sometimes you have something you need to say, but you can't because the words won't come out, or you get scared, or you feel stupid. But if you could write a song and sing it, then you could say what you needed to say, and it would be beautiful, and people would listen, and you wouldn't make a complete idiot out of yourself. But all of us can't be songwriters, so some of us will never get the chance to say what we're thinking, or what we want other people to know that we're thinking, so we'll never get the chance to make things right again ever... So give this guy a license!” – Rory to Taylor, Season 1, Episode 21
How to tell your mom how much she means to you:
“My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn't do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be. She filled our house with love and fun and books and music, unflagging in her efforts to give me role models from Jane Austen to Eudora Welty to Patti Smith. As she guided me through these incredible 18 years, I don't know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her.” – Rory to the Chilton class of 2003, Season 3, Episode 22
How to reclaim your family’s honor:
“You were a two-bit gold digger fresh off the bus from Hicksville when you met Mitchum at whatever bar you happened to stumble into. And what made Mitchum decide to chose you to marry amongst the pack of women he was bedding at the time I'll never know. But hats off to you for bagging him. He's still a playboy you know. Well, of course you know! That would explain why your weight goes up and down thirty pounds every other month. But that's your cross to bear. But these are ugly realities, no one needs to talk about them.” – Emily to Shira Huntzberger, Season 6, Episode 5
Rory and Dean’s first date—a chaperoned movie night at the Gilmore house where they ceremoniously welcomed Rory’s first love into their secret members-only club.
Rory and Logan’s Life and Death Brigade adventure—an uncharacteristic weekend for Rory that brought out a spontaneity and cheerfulness in her that we missed for a long time prior.
Lorelai and Luke’s dinner date—the revelation that even Luke has a Luke’s and, more importantly, that he kept the horoscope.
Rory and Logan’s rooftop dinner—a picture-perfect Transatlantic surprise from her uber-successful business tycoon boyfriend and a reminder that this is Rory’s first ~adult~ relationship.
Lorelai and Chris’s outdoor movie night—the ever-romantic solution to a string of bad movie dates, culminating in the historic incarceration of felon Emily Gilmore.
What to Do When You’re Done Watching
Watch it again. And again. Watch it as many times as you can before November 25. Ready, set, copper boom!