If you’re planning on re-watching Gilmore Girls before the Netflix revival drops, you’d better get a move on: you have 153 episodes to get through – that’s 107 hours, or four-and-a-half days of non-stop viewing. There isn’t enough coffee in the world for a TV marathon of that magnitude.
If, on the other hand, you want to remind yourself about what happened all those years ago and perhaps watch a few key episodes, we can certainly be of service.
What you need to know: Lorelei Gilmore is a single mother who runs an inn and lives in the charming town of Stars Hollow, populated by oddballs and misfits. Her teenage daughter Rory Gilmore is super smart and, like her mum, very funny. Both of them talk fast and drop an absurdly broad range of pop culture references. When Rory is accepted into Chilton, an elite prep school, Lorelei wants to help her achieve her dream of going to Harvard. But to pay Rory’s school fees, she is forced to turn to her ultra-rich parents, Emily and Richard Gilmore. They provide a loan on the condition that the two girls come round for Friday Night Dinner every week so they can get to know their granddaughter. Lorelei and her parents have a difficult relationship, especially since Lorelei became pregnant at 16 with Rory and took off on her own.
So, the stage is set for Gilmore drama to unfold. Rory puts on her plaid skirt and starts at Chilton, where she finds herself struggling to catch up with her privileged classmates – and it doesn’t help that one, Paris Geller, takes against her. Back in Stars Hollow, she keeps up her friendship with Lane Kim, who keeps much of her life secret from her strict Korean mother. She also starts her first relationship, with dreamy Dean from the grocery store. Her mother falls for Chilton English teacher Max Medina and, when he fills a room with 1000 daisies, accepts his marriage proposal.
Season one also sets up a will-they won’t-they relationship which runs all the way through the show: Luke and Lorelei. Diner owner Luke Danes wants to tell Lorelei how he feels, but doesn’t get his chance.
You should watch…
Episode 2, The Loreleis’ First Day at Chilton: Lorelei oversleeps on Rory’s first day at Chilton and ends up throwing on a tie-dye top, torn shorts and cowboy boots. Unfortunately, she has to meet with the headmaster as well as her own mother, who has turned up in an immaculate outfit. This is a perfect introduction to how much Lorelei cares, but how much she also messes up. Rory also has a rude awakening about how much work she will need to do.
Episode 7, Kiss and Tell: Eeeee, Rory’s first kiss! After lots of shy flirtation, Dean kisses Rory in the aisle of Doose’s Market. She accidentally steals a box of corn starch as she runs out. Aside from making us nostalgic for first loves and innocent kisses, this episode is all about the tension between the Gilmore Girls as mother and daughter, and the Gilmore Girls as best friends. When Rory doesn’t tell Lorelei about her kiss, leaving her to find out from Mrs Kim, Lorelei freaks out. Then Rory freaks out when her mum invites Dean over to watch films and eat junk food with them. Luckily, the episode ends on a high.
Episode 10, Forgiveness and Stuff: There is major tension between Rory and Lorelei after a dramatic night when Rory and Dean stayed out late, fell asleep and didn’t come home until the morning. There is also tension between Emily and Lorelei after a row about whether Rory is following in her mother’s footsteps. But when Richard collapses and is rushed to the hospital, everyone comes together to settle their differences. Luke also steps in to support Lorelei, showing his caring side.
What you need to know: Lorelei says yes to Max – but doesn’t tell her parents, who find out anyway and are a bit miffed, to say the least. But then the wedding is off as Lorelei gets cold feet, calling Chris from her hen party instead of Max (bad sign). Mother and daughter jump in the car and head to Harvard to get away from it all.
And what about Rory’s love life? Jess Mariano arrives on the scene! He’s Troubled with a capital T. Jess is Luke’s nephew and has been sent to Stars Hollow to be straightened out, but he’s not happy about it. He is happy to see Rory, though – and he immediately falls in love. Rory can’t admit to herself that she might quite like him too, but Dean has his suspicions.
What else? Rory accidentally joins a secret society at Chilton. Lorelei and her best friend and chef Sookie get serious about their plans to open their own inn. Richard retires, then un-retires and starts his own business. Jess crashes Rory’s car and breaks her wrist and is sent back to New York, causing a major argument between Lorelei and Luke.
You should watch…
Episode 4, The Road Trip to Harvard: You can see why mothers and daughters watch this one together. At Harvard, Rory is beyond excited to see what her future might hold, and Lorelei realises her daughter is growing up. As she runs away from her wedding with Max, it is also a chance to reflect on the different future she could have had.
Episode 5, Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy: The one where Jess arrives, argues with everyone, annotates Rory’s book and steals a gnome. She also joins the school paper and bests her editor, Paris, by writing a great article on new paving in the parking lot.
Episode 22, I Can’t Get Started It’s Sookie’s wedding, but that’s only the backdrop for the real action. Rory’s dad Christopher is back in town and he and Lorelei find themselves drawn together again – but just when things seem to be going well, his soon-to-be ex girlfriend Sherry drops a bomb: she’s pregnant. The episode also sees Jess return to Stars Hollow – and surprise Rory at the wedding.