Gilmore Girls, Explained: A Coffee-Fueled Analysis of The Entire Show

Gilmore Girls is one of the most beloved shows of the early 2000s, and has continued to be a comfort show for viewers in the years since it went off the air. It’s one of our favorites, too – we’ve done several videos on different interesting aspects of the show. But today we want to step back and take a look at the whole thing – the wonderful parts, the not so great parts, and everything in between. So whether you’re a super fan who knows the entire show by heart or someone who’s never watched a single episode but wants to finally know what is up with this show, join us as we journey back through all seven seasons (and the revival.)

Unpacking Gilmore Girls

So first, some context for those who aren’t familiar: Gilmore Girls is part of the pantheon of shows that originally aired on the network known as The WB, which eventually became The CW. Much like other shows in this category that aired around the same time, like The OC and Gossip Girl, it’s full of snappy dialogue, sappy moments, and questionable, yet very 2000s fashion choices. Gilmore Girls struck a chord with young girls who aged with Rory and loved watching the show with their moms, who could relate with many of Lorelai’s struggles. But the show at its core is like the fast food Lorelai and Rory enjoy eating while making references to 1940s movies: caloric, yet not entirely filled with substance. Over the show’s original run, it did fine in the ratings, with around 4 million people tuning in per episode (for comparison, shows like Friends averaged around 20 million) but has really found a second life on Netflix, where it ranks in the top performing shows on the platform on a regular basis. And we get it. With over a hundred episodes, tropey yet relatable characters, a cozy Northeastern vibe and a soundtrack with melodies that stick in your head, it’s easy to binge episode after episode of this comforting show until you fall asleep on the couch with takeout Chinese food on your Yale hoodie.

“I smell snow.”

So whether you’re not familiar with this show, or watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and wanted to see where the “Amy Sherman Palladino created a brunette woman with blue eyes who is the most special woman ever” trope originated, or just want to relive the Stars Hollow magic for the umpteenth time, grab a poptart, get comfortable, and let’s dive into Gilmore Girls.

Quirky, Loveable, & A Bit Of A Mess

First: Who are the Gilmore girls? (And boys, and friends?) Never without caffeine and always spouting a surprisingly specific pop culture reference, Lorelai Gilmore works at an inn, loves bothering Luke (the owner of the local diner,) and at 32, has a precocious 16-year old daughter named Rory. (Well, her real name is Lorelai because when Lorelai was in labor, she claimed it was sexist that only men get to name their kids after themselves.) Lorelai basically invented being “that girl”: whenever her hair is unkempt it’s adorable, and whenever she attempts “parenting” it comes off more like a screaming match between two siblings. In Mean Girls parlance, Lorelai isn’t like regular moms, she’s a cool mom.

Though Lorelai has two wealthy parents, she doesn’t feel well off – she ran away from home when she got pregnant at 16, and has had a detached, rocky-at-best relationship with her parents ever since.

“Dinner, Friday night. No spurs please.” “Ugh.”

They had had grand plans for their daughter: an Ivy League education, an entrance into high society. So when Lorelai snubbed all of that in favor of trying to make her own way in the world, they were less than thrilled. Rory is more like the type of child Richard and Emily wish they had: ambitious, intelligent, and doing very well in school.

By the time we meet her, Lorelai has worked a lot on herself to grow from a 16-year old mother of a newborn working as a maid at a hotel to make ends meet to a wisecracking 32-year old mom and inn manager. Guiding her through all of that, like a baking angel, is Sookie, Lorelai’s bubbly if a little clumsy bestie, played by Melissa McCarthy. Sookie works at the inn with Lorelai and is a wonderful friend to her (even when she doesn’t necessarily deserve it.) Lorelai has a number of romantic relationships throughout the show as ell; she even goes on a date with a pre-famous Jon Hamm! But the main relationships she has often serve to signal something about her flawed character and her unwillingness to grow up. One of those relationships, that ebbs and flows over the course of the show, is with Christopher, Rory’s father – as we’ll cover, he’s not around a ton in the beginning of the series but does start to play a bigger role later on. He and Lorelai met as kids who wanted to disobey their uptight rich parents. What better way than to have a child out of wedlock before college? And then there’s Luke, the grouchy diner owner that Lorelai sees pretty much every day – but they totally just see each other as friends, unless…

Since this was a WB show, the way in for many of the show’s younger viewers was through teenage Rory. Rory’s extremely bookish and a little shy, but with the help of her best friend Lane, she’s doing her best to survive the ups and downs of teenagerdom.

Did I just jinx it?” “I dunno, let’s do that un-jinxing thing we used to do just in case.”

At the beginning of the series, one of her biggest dilemmas is figuring out which world she fits in with: the small Connecticut town and public high school that she’s used to, or the ritzier world of Chilton, the private high school she eventually attends. When Rory starts attending Chilton she meets the iconic Paris Geller, who is as intelligent as Rory but much more type-A, and at the beginning set up as a bit of a villain. But the pair soon become frienemies and then eventually real best friends. Like her mother, Rory also goes through a number of major (and usually rocky) relationships that help her grow (and occasionally highlight some of her less than stellar personality traits…)

If you pay attention to romcoms, you’ve probably heard something like “New York is a character in the movie.” And this couldn’t be more true for Stars Hollow and its residents. From the dance teacher Mrs. Patty (who’s also the town gossip,) to Kirk (the town eccentric, who always seems to have a weird new job,) to the harpist played by a pre-Mrs. Maisel Alex Borstein (who, fun fact, Daniel Palladino met when he worked on Family Guy), every character fills up Stars Hollow with rich color, fun subplots, ridiculous holidays, and the kind of tight-knit community you always wish you could have in real life.

Okay, so now that we’ve got a handle on all of the major players, let’s dive into season one!

Season One: Welcome to Stars Hollow

Gilmore Girls opens on a beautiful, perfectly manicured yet, unfortunately fictional Connecticut town called Stars Hollow, and its heroine Lorelai. Since needing coffee is one of Lorelai’s main personality traits, we follow her to Luke’s Diner, where we meet the tough eponymous Luke and Lorelai’s 16-year-old daughter, Rory. We’re immediately clued into the fact that their mother-daughter relationship is more like that between friends than a parent and child. And the ball gets rolling on one of the show’s major conflicts: Rory has gotten into the prestigious Chilton High School, but Lorelai can’t afford the expensive tuition. Lorelai begrudgingly agrees to ask her parents for money – and they eventually agree, though only under the condition that Lorelai and Rory become regular fixtures in their lives, which means agreeing to show up for a family dinner every Friday night.

“I love pudding, I worship it. I have a bowl up on the mantel with the Virgin Mary, a glass of wine, and $1 next to it.”

While Lorelai obviously has a lot of baggage with her parents, Rory doesn’t – and so she quickly begins to connect with them (and their lifestyle) to a degree that wigs out Lorelai.

Dean, a transfer student, spots Rory in school and admits he’s been following her – Rory is somewhat flattered since, up until that point, she hadn’t really gotten much attention from guys. Dean and Rory quickly start dating, even though her grandparents don’t think he’s good enough for her: he doesn’t come from a rich background and isn’t quite as smart as her, but he’s very caring and is happy to put up with Lorelai’s antics.

“I’ve never seen The Way We Were.” “Are you kidding? What are you waiting for? Heartache, laughter, Communism. - All in one neat package.” “I’ll have to experience that sometime.”

In the iconic “Rory’s Dance” episode, the pair attend a glamorous school dance at Chilton and officially define the relationship, and back home we get some cute moments of Emily and Lorelai actually bonding. But when Rory and Dean accidentally fall asleep and Rory arrives home in the early hours of the morning, Emily assumes they had sex, and Lorelai and Emily blow up at each other, seemingly undoing all of that relationship growth from earlier in the episode (a trend that will continue…)

But Rory’s not the only one falling in love in season one: after a deer somehow runs into Rory, Lorelai has to come all the way out to Chilton, and there, meets and begins to fall for Max Medina, one of Rory’s teachers. They start dating, but try to keep their budding romance under wraps. He ends up being a wonderful boyfriend who’s open and emotionally available… terrifying Lorelai. Meanwhile Paris is feeling upset about her parents’ divorce and, after spotting Lorelai and Max breaking up and then kissing, tells everyone so Rory is the object of gossip instead of her. Rory is initially pissed and confronts Paris, who actually apologizes – and, once Rory realizes why Paris is behaving this way, she actually feels kind of bad for her and the whole situation ends up deepening their relationship. This willingness to push past the more grating aspects of the other’s personality and support them will come to be a defining part of Rory and Paris’ friendship.

Lorelai ends up going on a horrible double date with Sookie, her new beau Jackson, and his strange cousin, Rune.

“Don’t spread it around, it’s not my shining moment.” “And you have so many to pick from.”

Luke is annoyed by this – he’s been harboring feelings for Lorelai for years and doesn’t like seeing her with other guys, and so he finally asks her out. Just when Lorelai is assessing whether she also has feelings for Luke, Christopher rolls back into town, on a motorcycle no less. After a horrible dinner with Lorelai’s parents, Lorelai and Christopher spend the night together, angering Luke. Christopher asks Lorelai to marry him and she rebuffs him.

Let’s get married and then get to know each other.” “That’s very fiddler on the roof of you.”

And in all of this romantic chaos, Luke’s ex-girlfriend Rachel returns and they look to be restarting their relationship. Dean fixes up an old car for Rory and professes his love – and in a Lorelai-type move, Rory doesn’t know how to react and freezes. In the end, Lorelai and Max (who, yes, has still been around during all of this) get back together (much to Luke’s chagrin,) and Max orchestrates a beautiful proposal with 10,000 yellow daisies and that’s where season one leaves us.

As you can probably tell, Gilmore Girls’ plots fall into some formulaic tropes. Either Lorelai does something to upset her parents, or her parents find out about something and are upset, or a person in either Lorelai or Rory’s lives is not up to the Gilmore standards, thus making Lorelai’s parents…you guessed it…upset. But since Lorelai and Rory are financially bound to her parents, there’s only so many places this awkward square can go. In the romantic sphere, the Sherman-Palladinos flip the trope of a woman being emotionally open and a man being closed off – in both the case of Lorelai and Rory, the Gilmore Girls were pretty much always the ones to rebuff romantic advances – usually revealing their fear of change, the uncertainty of their relationships to their partners, and perhaps their abandonment issues stemming from Christopher leaving and Lorelai raising Rory on her own. Let’s move on to season two, where some people are gonna be…say it with us now…upset.

Season 2: Netflix and Chilton

Lorelai accepts Max’s proposal and tells everyone… except her parents – Emily finds out about it from Sookie, infuriating her. And at a family dinner Richard insults Dean, infuriating Rory. After Lorelai then quickly breaks off the engagement, she and Rory decide to go on a road trip to her dream school, Harvard, to escape everyone’s sympathies. Lorelai waffles on the broken engagement and is wowed when she sees that Luke built a chuppah for her. But the good vibes can only last so long, as hot menace Jess Mariano, Luke’s nephew, appears on the scene. He’s smart, troubled, and mysterious – the perfect bad boy with an attitude to bring even more drama into Stars Hollow. He manages to piss everyone off so quickly and vehemently that Luke pushes him into a lake. Paris and Rory’s struggle for dominance at Chilton continues as Paris sabotages Rory by telling her the wrong meeting time for the school paper, and after Rory’s work is praised, makes her interview Max Medina, really rubbing salt in that wound. Then, Rory engages in some upper class shenanigans, including a debutante ball where she’s accompanied by back-in-the-picture Christopher (who is in a new relationship, guess who’s not happy about that?) and accidentally falling into a Chilton sorority called “The Puffs” where she and Paris get hazed.

After years of working her way up the ranks at The Independence Inn, Lorelai has always dreamed of going out and starting her own Inn where she was in charge, and season 2 is when we see her really start putting these plans into motion, including going to business school. The Inn’s owner Mia comes back and is actually excited about the plans because she was ready to sell the Inn anyways. And Mia ends up giving Emily some insight into all of those years she missed out on when she and Lorelai weren’t speaking, including sharing photos of young Rory and Lorelai. After another cutesy event – The Stars Hollow Picnic Basket Auction – Jackson proposes to Sookie.

When Christopher returns to Stars Hollow, new girlfriend Sherry in tow, Lorelai brings Christopher to Friday Night Dinner, enraging Emily, who always worried that Lorelai would go back to Christopher. Lorelai confesses to Christopher that she does feel the same way as he had back when he proposed, and that her proverbial candle for him is the reason she was never in a committed relationship. Unsurprisingly, Christopher isn’t really down to accept that responsibility now. It seems like Lorelai only desires Christopher when he’s already settled, part of her pattern of pining for someone she can’t have so she doesn’t have to get hurt in an actual relationship.

Meanwhile, Rory has been the center of attention as far as the boys on the show are concerned – between her up and down relationship with Dean, her flirtation with rich-guy Tristian, and her growing relationship with Jess, she has her hands full in season 2. Rory and the rest of the town had begun to warm up to Jess. That is until Rory agrees to tutor him and on a study break, Jess gets them into an accident, breaking Rory’s wrist and totaling their car. Don’t snark and drive, folks. This makes the entire town super mad at Jess, and he escapes to Manhattan. Rory sneaks away to visit him and misses Lorelai’s business school graduation. Lorelai is mad but realizes this was because Rory is in love with Jess. Christopher arrives back in town with Sherry, who reveals she’s pregnant, of course upsetting Lorelai. And Jess returns to Stars Hollow and says that he intends to stay.

In this season, Jess is both the foil to Rory and Dean’s perfect relationship, and Rory’s “good girl” persona. She learns to let loose and have fun with Jess, but it’s clear that Rory having fun upsets the general balance of the show, making everyone around her react negatively. Family systems theory posits that family members are used to every member playing their role – for example, one person might be the aggressor, one might be the victim, and one might stay out of it. When one member of the family attempts to “break the cycle” and act differently, the whole family freaks out because it’s new and they don’t like it. The town of Stars Hollow is like a family, and Rory not being the sweet good girl anymore scares everyone.

Season 3: That Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Season

Season three’s first episode has a terrible earworm of a song performed by a band in the Stars Hollow town square, Rory discovering Jess may have moved on, and Lorelai still being upset over Christopher. Lorelai and Rory attend Sherry’s baby shower and Rory begins to apply to colleges. Rory’s Stars Hollow bestie Lane has been dealing with her mother’s overbearing nature since the beginning, but now it’s really starting to ramp up. And so she begins to rebel by dating non-Korean boys that her mother would never approve of, no matter how nice they are. (oh HEY there, future Seth Cohen) And she joins a band called Hep Alien as a drummer. Lane never really got the kind of character development and air time fans might have hoped for, but this time of rebellion was a great bit of growth for her character, even if things started to fall apart later. Back in the adult world, Luke also finds a new love interest, Nicole.

Since Gilmore Girls just loves dramatic moments at public dances, Dean realizes Rory has feelings for Jess at a dance marathon and after a weird talk from Luke, Rory and Jess begin dating – but that doesn’t mean that the love triangle is over just yet. After an awkward Thanksgiving where Jackson deep fries everything and Rory reveals she’s applied to her grandparent’s university of choice Yale (which Lorelai is not very happy about,) Dean and Jess have a physical fight over Rory – a total Jacob and Edward type situation, except without the werewolves or vampires. Rory and Paris get into a fight, and Paris chooses the ugliest possible photo of Rory for the school yearbook. They make up of course make up, though. And Paris loses her virginity to her boyfriend Jamie and ends up wondering on national television if sleeping with him was why she didn’t get into Harvard. But Rory, the smartest, most special girl in all of the country (who, mind you, seems to only have one extracurricular and didn’t cure cancer or even compete on a varsity sports team,) somehow gets into Harvard, Yale, AND Princeton – and decides on Yale.

When Michel, Lorelai’s French-Canadian employee and master of sass, and Tobin, the inn’s night manager, compete to give Lorelai the best birthday present, Richard gives her a $75,000 check from an investment he made when she was born, which Lorelai tries to use to pay back her parents for Chilton. Emily takes this to mean that Lorelai is done with her parents for good and is not happy about it, leading to yet another falling out. The money also has the unintended consequence of making Rory ineligible for financial aid at Yale – so that means it’s time for another round of ‘keeping the family together for tuition money’. Dean gets engaged to a girl in Stars Hollow named Lindsay, Jess leaves for good to go search for his father, and Lorelai buys The Dragonfly Inn with some financial help from, guess who? No, really, guess. Richard and Emily. Of course. The season ends with Rory inexplicably being named valedictorian over Paris, but in the end Paris is able to find the bright side.

“I actually googled the personal histories of ivy league valedictorians going back 25 years and found some enlightening statistics. They don’t necessarily do too well in later life, did you know that?”

The end of season three marks the beginning of a change in the show, as with Rory graduating that means that she’s going to be heading off into the world on her own (kind of) [show her with Paris at Yale], changing up the whole dynamic. Lorelai and Rory’s close knit nature was such a huge part of the show, so it was hard to imagine how things could go on with Rory way off at university. But as they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same…

Season 4: Whoa, We’re Halfway There

After Lorelai and Rory return from Europe and Rory is crowned The Ice Cream Queen of Stars Hollow (of course), Lorelai learns Luke and Nicole got married on a cruise – and are now regretting their decision.

You got married? How could you get married?”

Dean also gets married to Lindsay. Sookie gives birth at home. Rory moves into Yale and is somehow coincidentally roommates with Paris (actually… not that much of a coincidence, Paris had her dad make some calls and, boom, they were roommates.) Paris also ends up having an affair with her professor – who is so old he was classmates with Richard at Yale. Lorelai meets Richard’s business partner, the quirky Jason “Digger” Stiles, and they start dating. Luke’s quirky sister Liz visits town and he meets her even quirkier boyfriend, TJ. Lane moves out of her parent’s house, and soon finds that she’s been replaced – her mother has taken in a Korean exchange student who is even wearing her clothes.

“Hey! Who are you? What are you doing here? Why are you living in my house?!”

Emily feels betrayed when she finds out that Richard had been having dinner with his old flame Pennilyn Lott every year since they got married, and that his mother wanted him to marry Pennilyn instead of her. Emily goes on a drunken tirade and moves out of the house and into a hotel: that’s how you know everything has hit the fan.

“I have an idea: why don’t you call Pennilynn Lott and ask her to plan the funeral.”

It’s interesting to see Gilmore Girls try to take on a more mature relationship and show that even those have issues that pop up, big and small. Shoehorning this wrench into Emily and Richard’s relationship out of the blue might feel a little contrived, but it also allows us to see a new side to Emily, and gives her the opportunity to realize that maybe life and love aren’t as easy to control as she’d like to imagine.

In Stars Hollow, Liz announces she’s getting married in a week, and Jess comes back into town for the wedding, which is renaissance-themed. TJ tries to wear tights at the wedding and is injured. In another emotional dance moment, Lorelai and Luke share a slow one, and… start dating! Finally, after all of these plot-packed seasons, Lorelai realizes that the person she wants to be with was right there all along! Just like every rom com: Lorelai doesn’t pay too much mind to Luke at the beginning. He starts off the series mostly just aiding and abetting Lorelai’s caffeine addiction, and he is gruff and closed off, leading to lots of tension and fights. But Lorelai realizes that she’s somehow always, deep down, had feelings for him. And since we’ve basically known Luke and Lorelai are end game since the beginning, with only Christopher really standing a chance, it’s always been pretty obvious that everyone else they date are just disposable runner-up love interests who basically only exist to keep them apart. But as with any romcom, just because the endgame pair has finally admitted their feelings for each other, that doesn’t mean the drama’s over just yet… But, on the bright side, Lorelai and Sookie do finally open the Dragonfly Inn!

This season ends on one of the biggest character, uh, choices so far – continuing on her path of not being such a nice girl anymore, Rory loses her virginity to Dean (yeah, married ex-boyfriend Dean.) To be fair, she wasn’t in a great place mentally at the time: she hadn’t made many friends at Yale, was feeling generally not confident, and even had a professor suggest that she should drop a class. It would make sense that Rory would go back to a place of nostalgia, where she was always beloved, aka Dean, who always seemed to worship her. But it also is the perfect encapsulation of her self-centered nature: she sees herself as the main character of the world (and how could she not, when everyone else in town seems to treat her that way, too) and so she thinks that sleeping with a married guy is fine for her to do because everything is okay when she does it.

Aren’t you glad that it happened with someone who’s good and really loves me?” “He’s married.” “You don’t understand the situation.” “Is he still married?” “Yes.” “Then I understand the situation.”

Everyone makes mistakes, even big ones, and Dean is obviously also at fault here since he’s the one that’s married – but Rory’s choice to sleep with him and defend it was a big shock to fans (and also a signal that her Main Character Syndrome was only going to get worse.)

Season 5: Luke and Lorelai and Richard and Emily and Rory and Logan and Dean?

The season opens with the aftermath of Rory and Dean’s affair, with not much settled.

Even though Dean was Rory’s first boyfriend and Lorelai has nothing but love for him, she is, for obvious reasons, pretty disappointed. Emily announces she and Richard are separated – which means he’s stuck living in the pool house. Rory and Emily go off to Europe while Luke and Lorelai take steps forward in their relationship – and Luke joins Liz and TJ on a wacky Renaissance Fair circuit. Lindsay finds a letter Rory wrote to Dean about their affair and throws him out – so Dean and Rory try to start dating again while keeping it a secret (unsurprisingly, that doesn’t go super well.) Lane realizes she’s in love with her bandmate Zack and they confess their feelings for each other. Sookie gets pregnant…again (and is done with the whole pregnancy thing and so makes Jackson get a vasectomy.) People around Stars Hallow begin to find out about Luke and Lorelai, and at a town meeting Taylor even shows a bunch of charts that indicate how bad their breakup would be for the whole town, should it occur. Liz and TJ move to Stars Hollow, and their problems with their house ended up teaching every WB viewer what “escrow” means.

Rory and Lorelai’s romantic lives are particularly turbulent this season (though, when are they not?) Rory meets Logan at Yale and their first interactions are rocky, to say the least, but she ends up working with him on a story about a Yale secret society called The Life and Death Brigade. They begin to grow closer when Emily sets up a party – a Yale alumni party, to be specific – to find Rory a potential suitor that isn’t Dean, and Logan shows up at the last minute. In another meddling moment, Emily learns Lorelai and Luke are dating, so Lorelai brings him to dinner, and is insulted the entire time. After Richard sees a man Emily dated and rear ends his car, Emily and Richard realize that they do really care for one another, reunite, and renew their vows. Christopher’s dad passes away and Lorelai goes to comfort him, leading to a fight between Luke and Christopher. Rory and Logan start to amp up their relationship, but it doesn’t go the way she’d hoped . She goes to visit the Huntzbergers and the tables have turned: instead of the Gilmores thinking her boyfriends aren’t good enough for her, this time it’s Logan’s family that think she’s not good enough for him. For the first time in her life, she has to deal with people who don’t immediately think she’s the center of the universe.

“I mean, I’m a Gilmore! Do they know that? My ancestors came over on the Mayflower!”

So to prove them wrong, Rory begins to intern at Logan’s father’s newspaper – which doesn’t go well when he’s pretty direct with her about the fact that he doesn’t think that she has what it takes to be a journalist. She spins out and ends up impulsively stealing a boat with Logan and getting arrested – and then decides to drop out of Yale. This leaves Lorelai angry and mortified, and the two stop speaking by the end of the final – a huge moment for this pair that has spent Rory’s entire life attached at the hip. ( Though at least not everything ends badly – Lorelai impulsively proposes to Luke!)

Luke will you marry me?” “What?!”

Rory’s meltdown feels both like a shark-jumping move on the part of the writers, and like an intense, teenager-y reaction from Rory. When you look at her life up until now, she’s had it pretty great: sure, her parents aren’t together but her mom is her best friend. Sure, she didn’t grow up well off (but isn’t everyone in this type of magical town sort of well off? Or at least well off enough to throw big ice cream parties every other week?) but her grandparents are rich and now she’s got no problem using their money to get whatever she wants. The series in all this time tells us that Rory is special, so special she can get into three ivy league schools without even really trying. But when she struggles just a little bit in the areas of school, work, and her relationship, she not only can’t handle it, she decides to blow up her entire life in response? The narrative tension, especially as we’re now in the back half of the show, asks a question that none of us really cared about before: is Rory going to return to school? And what else would she do instead? And Lorelai and Rory not speaking is meant to feel heavy as well, but we know their relationship is strong, and they’ll be talking in no time…right? In any case, is it a little bit of schadenfreude to see Rory get knocked down a peg after seeing everything go right for her all of her life? A little bit!

Season 6: Finally, Wedding Bells?

Lorelai and Luke get engaged, and Rory and Logan take a break. In the spirit of old-timeyness, Rory joins the DAR (the Daughters of the American Revolution,) where Emily has been a member for years. She also starts volunteering, though it isn’t out of the kindness of her heart, she’s got 300 hours of court ordered community service to complete because of the whole boat theft thing. She throws a World War II-themed party at the DAR, where Richard and Mitchum Huntzberger throw hands, and Emily throws insults at Shira Huntzberger… Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Jess returns. You’d imagine that Jess would think committing theft and leaving school was super awesome, but instead he gives Rory some advice. Just as Rory and Lorelai reunite, the single most annoying character in all of Gilmore Girls history, April Nardini, arrives. And of course, because this show has devolved into a nighttime soap, April happens to be… Luke’s daughter that we’ve never heard about, and which Luke unsuccessfully tries to keep a secret from Lorelai.

Rory returns to school, where the newspaper staff, surprise surprise, hates Paris. To be fair, she is being very, well, Paris. But of course, instead of taking the chance to let Paris have some growth and get a win, Gilmore Girls falls back on its old favorite: letting Rory have everything. The staff unanimously vote to make Rory the editor instead of Paris, leading Paris to kick Rory out of her apartment. Needing a place to stay, she runs to Logan and they get back together. Things still aren’t perfect for the pair, as she learns that he has slept with other people on their break, he won’t stop playing pranks on people, and he still refuses to plan for his future. As the consummate planner, Rory dislikes his lack of ambition, even though he was like this the entire time, so she goes…where else…to visit Jess. Lane and Zach get married, Logan gets injured in a secret society accident (it is called The Life and Death Brigade, after all). Logan has spent the entire season battling between the choice of living his own life his way and having to make his own money, or doing what his dad wants him to do and getting to continue being a trust fund baby; after graduation, he decides to take the money and leaves for London to follow his father’s dream. Lorelai decides she wants to get married asap and Luke isn’t so keen, and so they break off their engagement.

I’ve been waiting for a long time and I don’t want to wait anymore.”

This season felt like some treading water and some backpedaling. Both April and Jess feel like plot devices to break up Luke and Lorelai and Rory and Logan, respectively. Even though Rory knew who Logan was this whole time – almost a rich version of Jess with his irresponsibility and bad boy nature, but in a more Gilmore-friendly package – this is another moment where she learns that she can’t plan for everything in life, and that the men around her will unfortunately continue to disappoint her.

Season 7: Say Farewell…For Now.

Gilmore Girls’ seventh and final season is kind of a weird case: it’s the only season to not have Amy Sherman-Palladino or Daniel Palladino as showrunner. The pair had had issues getting the network to agree to push the schedule a bit or let them hire more writers, and so… the network just decided to bring in a new team to run the show (that was not a great choice.) It was also the only season to appear on The CW after it was created by that whole The WB and UPN merger. The season got mixed-at-best reviews from fans because it seems like it just… doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the show? Characters don’t fully act like themselves, and some plots just seem out of place. But, okay, so what actually happens?

Well, the season starts with post-called-off-engagement Lorelai waking up in bed with…take a wild guess…. Christopher! And Lane, the one who actually went through with her wedding, returns from her honeymoon having lost her virginity on the beach, claiming that sex sucks. (Lane’s entire arc of rebellion and trying to make her own cool life being watered down over the seasons and just ending as ‘woman who married some lame guy and then got pregnant the first time she had sex’ was definitely kind of a bummer.) After a Friday night dinner, Lorelai has a surprising moment of clarity, realizing her whole character’s MO breaks down to this:

“What if I don’t want to do what I want to do because I want to do it, but because they don’t want me to?”

This frees her up to start actually dating Christopher for real – she even goes to Paris with him and gets that elopement she had wanted with Luke. Luke decides to take custody of April (and Lorelai writes a character reference for him.) Richard has a heart attack and Christopher bails, leading to him and Lorelai deciding to divorce. While Lorelai starts to drift back towards Luke, Rory drifts aimlessly through the rest of her college year without a job lined up. But of course, because she’s Rory and this is Gilmore Girls, an amazing job eventually just falls into her lap – she manages to land a spot as a reporter on Obama’s 2008 campaign. Logan proposes to Rory at her graduation party, but she wants to focus on herself and her career first.

With Rory graduating and going off into the real world, Lorelai worries about how she’ll cope with the separation, and Emily worries that this means the end for any chance at closeness with Lorelai. But eventually Lorelai assures her that she will continue attending Friday night dinners (as long as Emily cools it with trying to be a part of the Dragonfly Inn.) Luke secretly organizes a graduation / goodbye party for Rory, and tells Lorelai that, more than anything, he just wants to see her happy and they kiss. Ending right back where it all began, the show closes with Lorelai and Rory heading back to Luke’s Diner for one last meal before Rory heads off into the next stage of her life.

And that was where the story of the Gilmore Girls ended back in 2007. In addition to the weirdness of the season without the original showrunners, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel’s contracts were only for seven years, and they were seemingly ready to move on to other things. In an interview in the lead up to the series finale, Graham told TV Guide, “Both Alexis and I felt tired, and also creatively like the show was in a place where we were either at the end or very close to it. We really couldn’t imagine another season.”

Gilmore Girls And Beyond

When you look at all 153 episodes of the show put together, without the spacing provided by weekly releases and gaps between seasons, there’s definitely a sense of repetitiveness and getting stuck in a formula. If any couple is happy for long enough, you can bet that, like clockwork, an ex will show up, making them question their decision. And if the writers couldn’t figure out what to do with a character, they’d just have them suddenly get married and have kids. A pretty old school move for the show, Lane getting married at 22 and then immediately having kids, even though it’s unplanned, feels a little ridiculous. Not even discussing other options that would allow Lane to live a full life with her band and then have kids when she actually planned for it felt disappointing.

Speaking of someone having kids at a random moment, in 2016 Netflix brought back Gilmore Girls for four 90-minute episodes with Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. In this mini-series, Rory is the same age Lorelai was when the series originally began. But instead of holding her life together with quips and coffee, Rory is totally faltering. Her career did not pan out the way she had imagined, she’s Logan’s side piece, and she doesn’t even really have a stable place to live. In addition to Logan, she also has a boyfriend we never see on screen (and who she’s quite unkind to for reasons that are never explained,) and Jess comes back in the picture again. We learn that Paris Geller has, of course, worked hard to get pretty much everything she wanted out of life – power, control, degrees, her own business. Luke and Lorelai finally get married. And, as the surprise ending, Rory reveals she’s pregnant, and isn’t sure who the father is. It’s the last moment in the series which has yet to have a follow up, so we might never know for sure… But it does add to that weird feeling like the show thinks that all women have to look forward to is… marriage and babies. And Rory writing a book about her relationship with her mom (against Lorelai’s will…) But mostly the marriage and babies.

There’s a lot that has changed since Gilmore Girls originally aired. This was a weekly show with 22 episodes in a season, whereas most shows, like the Sherman-Palladinos’ Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, have somewhere between 9 and 13 episodes per season now. If Gilmore Girls aired today, there would probably be fewer episodes with more action in each of them. But in many ways, the filler, the Stars Hollow ice cream parties and renaming the streets and funerals for animals, is what really makes the show so cozy and charming. It’s all of the pieces big and small – the loveable characters, the comfortable formulas, the quirky little tidbits – that come together to make the show what it is, and that’s why we’ll always love it.

We hope you enjoyed this walk down nostalgia lane with us! We definitely couldn’t fit everything into just one video, so if we left out your favorite Gilmore Girls’ moment or quote, let us know what it was in the comments! And if you want even more Gilmore Girls, make sure to check out our playlist of all of our videos we’ve done on the show!

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