Life’s Short, Talk Fast: My Favorite Gilmore Girls Episodes

I am currently enjoying my the first half of my vacation with my best friend, so I thought I would celebrate by talking about one of our shared favorite shows. We both watched religiously on Tuesday nights then talked about it before school Wednesday morning. We may not have always shared opinions, but this was our show. One Christmas, we both decided that it would be a good idea to buy a bunch of Gilmore Girls things off of CafePress, unbeknownst to the other. I don’t know what we liked more, the actual things or the fact that we basically got each other the same gift. So in airing order, here are my 10 favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls!

Pilot (1×01) While characterizations shifted a little (particularly Emily, Richard, Sookie, and Luke) this pilot is a perfect introduction to the world of Stars Hollow and the titular Gilmore Girls. The rapid dialogue, pop culture references, Michel’s less-than-stellar customer service, and Lorelai’s coffee addiction were all there from the start, compelling people to fall in love.

Forgiveness and Stuff (1×10) Who could not love the disgusting Santa Burger? This is really the episode where we see just how deep the relationship between Lorelai and Luke runs. When something happens, he drops everything to help her. As Lorelai told her mother, they weren’t on a date, he’s just Luke. It’s also a great episode to see the relationship between Lorelai and her father. It may be strained and they may have difficulty relating to each other but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about each other.

Love, Daisies, and Troubadours (1×21) Max was never my favorite of Lorelai’s boyfriends but the 1000 yellow daisies scene is still pretty spectacular. The look on Lorelai’s face is so beautiful and touched by the gesture and it makes me so happy. I also mostly liked Dean at this point, so I love Rory’s “I love you, you idiot”. It was a moment that made me smile a lot on first watch and that’s only been diminished slightly by knowledge of what was to come with them.

The Bracebridge Dinner (2×10) For reasons that I can’t entirely explain, this is one of my two favorite episodes of the series. I love seeing the combination of the town, Paris, and Richard/Emily in one place and the crazy food they are served. It’s a gigantic party with everyone the Gilmores like and it just makes me happy to watch every time. Rune is at his best in this episode (and by that I mean grumpiest and most ridiculous), the conversation that ensues while Sookie tries to remember the word “salt” is great, and Lorelai trying to get Kirk to break character cracks me up every time.

Dead Uncles and Vegetables (2×17) This episode is the inverse of “Forgiveness and Stuff”. When Luke needs Lorelai, even if he won’t admit it, she’ll be there supporting him. She may not have known his hated uncle but she knows him and will always show up for him. It also features two delightful subplots. First up, we have Emily attempting to plan the most over-the-top wedding imaginable for Sookie. It’s a combination of people we didn’t get frequently but Emily gets so excited with planning and Sookie’s natural enthusiasm for everything comes out and it works really well. It also gives us another moment where Emily recognizes the feelings between Luke and Lorelai and comments on it. Then we have the charming, vegetable-selling troubadour making a return. He’s just so happy selling his vegetables and hanging out in Stars Hollow. You can’t help but like him. Unless your name is Taylor Doose, that is.

A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving (3×09) My other favorite episode, once again probably because it features a wide variety of people. The four Thanksgiving dinner day makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it, but watching each of the dinners was fantastic. My favorite will always be the dinner at Sookie’s because drunk Sookie is truly delightful. Each dinner perfectly reflected the characters involved and had their moments of humor. Richard’s shocked face when Lorelai quotes the French part of “Moulin Rouge” will always make me laugh as will Lorelai’s confession that she had to eat the Tofurkey and her exchange with Luke about the Thanksgiving flowers and lack of vase.

The Festival of Living Art (4×07) I feel like one of my favorite picks should focus on one of the interesting festivals in Stars Hollow and this one is one of the best. It has a Taylor freak-out, the return of my favorite troubadour, lots of Kirk, and a new baby for Sookie! It also introduces Gil, who I just loved to death even if Hep Alien did kind of disappear later on.

Luke Can See Her Face (4×20) This episode kicks off one of my favorite three-episode arcs of all time. I have loved Luke and Lorelai since the beginning and to see Luke realize that he wants to be with Lorelai is very gratifying. The self-help tape is silly but that adds to the charm of the scene. I also really love the other plot with Sookie, Michel, and Lorelai figuring out things for their new inn and sleeping in the zucchini patch. It’s funny and sweet, so basically everything that Gilmore Girls is.  

Raincoats and Recipes (4×22) The conclusion of the wonderful, aforementioned arc. Lorelai and Sookie’s inn has a test run and Luke and Lorelai share their first (and second) kiss. The “will you just stand still?” scene gets me every time and Kirk and his naked night terrors just adds to the charm. That is their life, crazy town and all, and there couldn’t have been a better first kiss. It’s also the start of a terrible Rory arc but I’m willing to overlook that for all the other good things.

Bon Voyage (7×22) After a rough final two seasons, I can’t have imagined a better ending for the series. It had everything that it needed to, the town was there, Emily and Richard were there, and Rory and Lorelai had some great moments. I love that it was Jackson and Zach that went to get Lorelai and Rory with the umbrellas, I love Taylor’s weird speech about Rory, and I love the effort Luke put in for both Lorelai and Rory. After everything, they are still his family and the people he cares the most about. This show was incredibly special to me and so I get very emotional during this entire episode.

Once again, you have your choice of question. What are your favorite Gilmore Girls episodes? If you’re not a fan, what are your favorite episodes of your favorite drama?



10 thoughts on “Life’s Short, Talk Fast: My Favorite Gilmore Girls Episodes

  1. First of all, happy vacation! I hope you’re having a great time. I’m making my way slowly through your posts trying to catch up, but I couldn’t resist skipping ahead and commenting on this one today 😉

    I love all of the episodes you’ve chosen, and some of them are my favorites as well! Forgiveness and Stuff (1×10) and the whole arc from Luke Can See Her Face (4×20) to Raincoats and Recipes (4×22) will always be some of my top favorites (though I agree with you about the terrible Rory storyline that starts in 4×22 – I tend to skip over those scenes when rewatching to be honest).

    While all of the episodes you chose are some of my favorite episodes of the series, I also have a few more that tend to come to mind when I think about the show. I haven’t done a rewatch in a while but these are a few that really stick out in my memory.

    1×14 “That Damn Donna Reed” – I have always loved this episode because the almost kiss that Luke and Lorelai have in the diner was always one of my favorite moments, plus the running around trying to find the baby chick is hilarious and adorable.

    3×07 “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” – Other than the fact that the Rory/Dean/Jess drama gets a bit old after a while, I really enjoy this episode. The dance marathon is tons of fun and I love the costuming as well as this event that makes the town feel real to me, since the whole community seems to come to watch or participate in this event. Plus, Kirk is hilarious.

    3×17 “A Tale of Poes and Fire” – This will always be one of my favorites. From the Poe actor scenes, to the town banding together to help with the consequences of the fire at the Inn, to Luke and Lorelai’s talk when Lorelai ends up staying with Luke because Inn guests are staying at her house and she has nowhere to sleep, this episode is one that I really enjoy.

    In relation to 4×20 “Luke Can See Her Face,” I will forever laugh at and love the “crazy cat lady” opening to this episode. Perfect TV moment and one of my favorite moments of the whole series.

    4×21 “Last Week Fights, This Week Tights” – I love the whole wedding, it’s so much fun and TJ and Liz are a blast to watch, plus I’m a sucker for the dance Luke and Lorelai share and the way they’re shyly starting to come together into a romantic relationship. (Also, Lorelai’s dress for the wedding is so gorgeous, I love it!)

    Also to add to your 4×22 love – one of the earlier scenes (I don’t remember if it’s the opening one or not) where Lorelai and Rory are at Luke’s diner is hilarious and adorable. The way Lorelai is now acting so weird around Luke because she doesn’t know how to act after their wedding date makes for some wonderful moments.

    5×03 “Written in the Stars” – I love Luke & Lorelai’s relationship so I’m a sucker for this episode. So many lovely feelings about them finally getting together, and the horoscope.

    Honorable mentions: 1×08 “Love and War and Snow,” 1×16 “Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers,” 2×07 “Like Mother, Like Daughter,” 2×13 “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” (the basket bidding is one of my favorite things), 3×01 “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days,” 3×13 “Dear Emily and Richard” (mostly because I enjoyed being able to see the flashbacks to when Lorelai was 16), 5×17 “Pulp Friction.” I’m probably forgetting some others as well.

    (Also, rereading the short episode summaries for every episode, I remembered how terrible Season 7 was but wow I had forgotten just how much they’d gone down the drain in Season 6 too.)

    I think you’ve now inspired me to do a mini-rewatch soon, I miss this show!

    1. I love this reply and all of your other choices so much. You mentioned everything that would have been in my “honorable mention” category. I am so glad to have someone else who has loved this show as much as I did ❤

  2. This is making me want to break out my Gilmore Girls DVDs when you visit! 😉

    I love that you were able to share this show with your best friend. It’s always special to have a show that you can look back on with fond memories not just because it was a great show but because it’s also wrapped up in memories with people you love.

    I think you and Leah touched on all of my favorites with your lists. “Raincoats and Recipes” will always have a special spot in my heart (ignoring the Rory stuff, of course). “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” always makes me laugh.”They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” always manages to make me emotional even as it makes me wish my town had a retro dance marathon. And I think “Forgiveness and Stuff” may be my favorite Gilmore Girls episode ever because each character beat was so strong.

    There will never be another show like Gilmore Girls. Other shows may try, but this show was pure magic. It may have faltered a bit at the end, but when it was at its best, nothing was better.

    1. “There will never be another show like Gilmore Girls. Other shows may try, but this show was pure magic. It may have faltered a bit at the end, but when it was at its best, nothing was better.”

      This is perfect. This show really was magical and there hasn’t been anything like it since.

  3. OK, let me start with how much I am enjoying the Gilmore Girls love fest. I laugh because I sincerely don’t know what I was doing while everyone I know was watching this show. Given that I am now a single parent to a daughter it is obviously one I need to cycle into the rotation of shows I catch up on. Your reminiscence and everyone else’s additional comments isn’t just a tribute to the strength of the show, but how strong characters can resonate and impact the viewer.

    With that in mind I waffled back and forth between LOST and Castle. Frankly because both shows I am more invested in the characters than I am the plot lines. I also pondered my favorite episodes from 10 favorite shows. So I decided, if I was stranded on a island what would I want to watch over and over again. Ironically, that show would be LOST. Probably because in all my TV viewing there has never been anything like it. It’s a show that fascinated, enthralled and emotionally touched me with its humanity. Shows since have attempted to capture the magic of LOST but I truly believe it was a once in a lifetime, one of a kind show that will stand the test of TV History. For my friends and I who loved it, it was like having a secret society of confusion and awe. If you look into the much written about show, most will select The Constant as the show’s finest moment and The End as one of it’s pivotal failures. Beauty remains in the eye of the beholder though, so here are my unconventional favorite episodes of one of my all time favorite TV shows.

    1) The Pilot (1×01) – The opening 8 minute sequence of this series was cinematic in quality and drama. It was unlike any start to a television show I had ever seen and spent its opening hour establishing a series of questions rather than shaping its plot and characters. The pan visual from the serene waters of the beach to the crash site was both jarring and a foreshadowing for how the show’s tone would ultimately navigate over the course of six seasons. By the time the black smoke appears, I was hooked and strapped in for the ride wherever it took me.

    2) Exodus Part 1 & 2 – (1×23/25) – For me it is hard to separate the episodes involving the launch of the raft for several reasons. First I don’t think I will ever forget sitting in my living room and coming to realization that I was sobbing as they launched the raft with Walt, Michael, Jin and Sawyer. It was in that moment I realized somewhere in the prior 22 episodes this show had quietly drawn me in and made me invested in these fictional characters as though they were real. It was a powerful moment. It also established one of the main themes of LOST captured in Locke and Jack. The batter for science vs. faith. This combination of episodes is also responsible for an often used juxtaposition in LOST the power of joy and despair. We’re barely given time to process the line “We’re going to have to take the boy” as we watch what is the singular most shocking moment of season 1 when the others kidnap Walt. Most shows would have closed their season there, but what made LOST special is we are given a reuniting on the beach of Aaron, Charlie and Claire. The structure of these episodes also wove into it the back story of how they all came to be on the plane. The deft airport sequences and ultimately the passengers boarding offered the randomness of how lives intersect and that life’s horrors (Walt being taken) are balanced by their joys (Aaron being safe). There may not be equity in the world, but the show establishes in that moment a sense of balance.

    3) The Other 48 Days – (2×07) – I was among the fans who spent significant time in season 1 wondering about the back of the plane. Especially once Rose declared Bernard wasn’t dead. While most of the storytelling that emerged from the characters in the back of plane didn’t work, this episode does a terrific job of giving us an alternate view to what might have happened to the survivors we are now invested in and how badly things could have gone. For all the survivor bonding that evolves from those on the beach, the back of the plane suffers a “Lord of the Flies” mentality that tees up the fear and loathing that we develop ultimately for the “others”. In addition to the shocking death no one saw coming, this episode sets up a very important piece of the LOST puzzle the initial glimpse at other parts of the island and the Dharma Initiative.

    4) Live Together, Die Alone (2×23/24) – I was not as invested in Desmond as many of the fan base. However I came to appreciate him in this episode that offers us the all important answer to what caused the crash and offered complexity to why it is so difficult to leave the island. This was certainly the big reveal of the episode but for me, the importance of this episode was in Michael’s betrayal in order to get Walt back. Live together, Die Alone isn’t merely about the fate of the survivors, but the fate of one’s humanity. Michael’s actions are driven by fear and need to save Walt, but at what cost. When Sawyer, Hurley and Kate discover the truth it is clear that Michael is no longer one of them, not because of the sacrifice, but because of the betrayal. He didn’t trust that all of them wanted to save Walt. Live Together, Die Alone was about so much more than the mystery of the Island. It also holds one of Ben’s creepier line deliveries when he declares to Michael “We’re the good guys” with eerie sincerity.

    5) Tale of Two Cities – (3×01) – The introduction of Juliet was as powerful for me as Ben. I was curious, cautious and more than a little bit skeptical. By the end of the episode she has been crafted as a female Ben. It’s a bait and switch because of how the episode initially unfolds but when you watch it carefully you can see the layers being created for her character. Juliet is not what she seems, but she is an immediate force to be reckoned with and from that moment through most of this season we are left to wonder whose side is Juliet actually on. This episode also gives us a very painful piece of Jack’s back story and a glimpse of the island, the crash from “the others” point of view expanding LOST’s storytelling perspective once again.

    6) Man Behind the Curtain (3×20) – A lot can be said about LOST and its mythology. What made this episode priceless was that it finally gave us near the end of season 3 the back story of arguably the show’s most interesting character and one of the most complex individuals to walk across a television screen. It also gave us a clearer picture regarding the history of the Dharma Initiative and the island’s mysticism. As a theater fan I have long been a Michael Emerson fan. His portrayal of Ben Linus however possessed a deep rooted psychosis and need for control that unfolds in manipulative ways that marveled throughout the show. To be given his back story brought clarity and reshaped opinions of everyone’s favorite character to hate.

    7) Through the Looking Glass (3×23) – This episode is a pivotal to understanding communications between the outside world and the island as well as Desmond’s purpose for the show. However, it also offers one of the most devastating moments for the survivors and death’s in the show. It does so by creating heroics where one wouldn’t have expected them and a final message that changed everything.

    8) The Shape of Things to Come (4×09) – This was when the show pivoted towards where it was headed for the final run of shows. There was significant movement in alliances, followers and partnerships that emerged in season 4 among those living on the island. Many out of necessity some out of purpose. A great deal of those alliances comes to a head in this episode. It is also an episode that changed the game for the show especially in the exploration of what is happening away from the island. However, the episode is a favorite because it changed a key character. We witness for the first time in nearly two seasons Ben unable to manipulate and control a situation to his advantage. He is outplayed and it is actually deeply sad. Michael Emerson’s work is breathtaking.

    9) Le Fleur (5×08) – Season 5 will forever be known as the season that viewers gave up trying to understand. The seasons heavy use of time shifts was jarring, confusing and at times maddening. That said, I was already invested and along for ride. One of my favorite scenes in the show is in this episode at the dock between Sawyer and Juliet. It is also the episode that establishes a relationship I never saw coming, didn’t realize I was already invested in and offered one of the best surprises of the show. It is a credit to the way these characters are individually drawn that you can watch them navigate a path of redemption and survival in parallel to discover their best selves in the most unexpected of places. Le Fleur for me was a fable of the path we don’t often choose and what can come of being open to the possibility of something we never imagined presenting itself in uncommon places.

    10) The Incident (5×17) – this closing episode from season five features all the relationships we have come to know and trust tested, reinforced and destroyed. The deaths in this episode are unexpected for several different reasons and the reveals that come just in advance heartbreaking. It is one of the more jam packed episodes of the show and while I will always remember those final moments around the bomb that were pivotal for season 6 the most astonishing piece of the episode for me was that it concluded with me having real sympathy for Ben in spite of all his actions.

    11) Ab Aeterno – (6×09) – The episode that offers answers about the mysterious Richard, along with a significant pieces of the mythos surrounding the island we’ve encountered over 5 seasons would be great if that was all it did. But in fact it was even more. It is one of the most cinematic episodes of the series and in doing so creates a gripping fable and heartbreaking tale of what happens when we are torn from love and the world is determined to break you of faith.

    12) The End – (6×18) – I am among those who loved the finale. I was satisfied with the portions of the mythology that were resolved and that the focus was on these individuals. I adored how the finale parallels in many ways to Exodus. The randomness of our interactions can change our fate. There will be those who our lives intersect with that will have permanent influence. By the end of LOST the science vs. faith; good vs. evil; fate vs. free will arguments faded for me and what I valued about the show was its humanity. The finale had that in spades. And that final conversation outside the church remains one of the most moving moments of the show for me.

    Honorable Mentions:
    Lockdown, SOS, The Long Con, Collison, The Man from Tallahassee The Constant, Ji Yeon, The Candidate

    1. I think you picked a perfect show to talk about. LOST clearly touched your life in the same way that Gilmore Girls touched mine and I loved reading your thoughts. I am still slowly working my way through the show but I very much agree with your analysis of what made it so special. I have a feeling I will be joining you in liking the finale from your description and from Katie’s description earlier this month.

  4. I just love Gilmore Girls. By far my personal favourite episodes are the ones when Rory goes to college, because Paris is hilarious. As well as this, I find Emily Gilmore really witty and so sarcastic, especially when she is fascinated by Rory’s Birkin Bag. But its so sad when Rory graduates, so emotional. Lorelai is my favourite as she is such a good feminist role model for young girls. This was a great post and makes me wanna watch Gilmore Girls.

    1. Lorelai was a great role model for young girls and it’s something I appreciate more every time I watch the show. Thank you so much for commenting!

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