Gilmore Girls and Laughing In The Darkness

Trigger Warning: If you feel hearing one more word about this show will cause you to lose your mind, maybe skip this post.

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’re aware that Gilmore Girls came back the day after Thanksgiving in dramatic fashion. I guess not EVERYONE was watching it, but it kind of felt like it, and I am definitely numbered among the obsessed fans.

Gilmore Girls is my favorite show. Ever. I loved it before the Netflix revival. Before it was available on Netflix two years ago. I own all of the DVDs. And I watched it from the very beginning. I don’t mean I watched all the episodes. I mean I watched it when it started in 2000.

This is before DVR, people. I actually sat down on Thursday nights and watched it at 8:00pm on the WB, commercials and all. I know. Hard to imagine. You young’uns don’t even know what the WB is.

I watched it religiously with my parents, my dad being one of 3 men I know who love this show (the other two being my boss and Jimmy Fallon). We appreciate you, men. Represent the softer side.

Now Gilmore Girls is not without its flaws, and it’s certainly not going to break cultural ground or explore some deep truth about humanity. But it developed characters we could love and a town we all wished we could inhabit. It is, in my mind, perfect television comfort food.

Even when it’s sad, it makes you feel warm and fuzzy. It feels like it’s always fall/winter in Star’s Hollow, even when it’s not. Like if I lived in Star’s Hollow I would just perpetually be wearing sweaters and sitting by the fire with Luke’s coffee and smelling snow and going on sleigh rides with Cletus and Desdemona.

There are quirky people who are delightful even when they are unbearable (Taylor, Michel). And there are antagonists who grow on you and eventually become your favorite supporting characters (Paris). There are the many boyfriends and love interests who we love to hate and hate to love (Dean(no), Jess, Logan, Max, Christopher, Digger, Luke, Christopher AGAIN(no), and Luke again(yay)).

But mostly there are the Gilmore girls. Emily and Lorelai and Rory. Loving each other fiercely and trying to figure out what to do when they drive each other crazy. Sorting through years of issues. Kind of like most women I know!

And while I know it’s just a show, I really kind of treasure my memories of watching it. As I watched it as a teenager and college attendee, I was one year ahead of Rory, experiencing a lot of the same things (only my story ended with a “yes” to the proposal). I had (and have) a similarly close relationship with my own mom, although with a little less BFF-ness, if you will.

But perhaps what made it truly wonderful to me is that even when there was sadness (and there was plenty in this show), there was levity mixed in. In a drama, everyone is so serious about everything. In a comedy, it’s always about the joke. Here, to me, is the willingness to find the humor, even when things are hard and sad, without making light of heavy things.

That’s a hard line to walk, and this show did it well. And as someone who tends to laugh, even in the midst of crying at times, I found this refreshing and relatable.

I won’t say anything to spoil the four-part reboot that just released on Netflix. But you should watch it if you haven’t yet, and then call your friend and analyze it to pieces for an hour afterward like I did. I felt it did the original show justice, and left me with that same warm fuzzy feeling. And it made me want to go back and watch it all over again.

If you too find yourself wanting to go back and rewatch some of the old stuff before diving into Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, here’s my list of the best episodes of Gilmore Girls. They’re the episodes which, I think, represent all that made this show great. If you’re a fan, enjoy agreeing/disagreeing with me to your heart’s content.

If you’re not a fan, well, I’m not sure why you read this far. But maybe give these episodes a try and see if you have a little Gilmore Girls love in you after all. Copper boom.

Seasons 1-3

The Deer Hunters: Rory gets a taste of not being the perfect high achiever when she oversleeps and gets hit by a deer (not the other way around…important clarification) on her way to school, thus missing an exam. Lorelai gives headmaster Charleston and Max Medina (“Lorelai, this is Max. Medina. Maaaaax Medina”) a piece of her mind when they won’t let her take a make-up test.

Of course, now that I’m an adult with children, I have to say it may have been the more parental move to just let Rory learn a lesson from this, but an integral part of this show is that Lorelai is sometimes Rory’s friend when she should be her mom instead. Either way, it’s a good episode.

The Bracebridge Dinner: The Independence Inn ends up hosting a huge medieval feast for a bunch of Lorelai’s friends when the group that’s coming cancels at the last minute. This is the sort of episode that just has a bunch of random funny moments in it, like Lorelai and Rory’s Bjork snowman and Jackson getting roped into being the Squire of Bracebridge. But also some nice moments between some couples on sleigh rides. It’s the epitome of Gilmore Girls-ness.

There’s the Rub: Lorelai goes to a weekend at a health spa with her mother. They end up stealing bath robes. What more need I say.

They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They: This is an iconic episode. The 24-hour dance marathon. Kirk and Lorelai rivalry. A big break up. It has everything.

Those are Strings, Pinnochio: Rory graduates and all the tears.

Seasons 4 – 5

Seasons 4 and 5 are the greatest and you should watch all of the episodes. But if I had to choose only a few…

The Festival of Living Art: I don’t even know if there’s a way to describe this episode. But it is so delightfully quirky. Sebastian Bach of Skid Row begins his recurring role as Gil the aging rocker turned dad/sandwich shop owner. And that’s not even the weirdest thing happening. Definitely one of my favorites.

Luke Can See Her Face: Luke. Lorelai. Things happening. Romance and all the feelings.

Raincoats and Recipes: Lorelai and Sookie finally open their inn and Kirk has night terrors AND A LOT OF IMPORTANT THINGS HAPPEN.

You Jump, I Jump, Jack: We meet the Life and Death Brigade, Dean finally begins to exit the picture (good riddance), and I don’t even totally know why, but this is my favorite episode.

To Live and Let Diorama: Taylor and a bunch of town volunteers turn the old Twickum house into the most ridiculous museum you have ever seen with a diorama that leaves me crying laughing every time. Oh and there’s founders day punch, which always leads to craziness.

Seasons 6 – 7

Seasons 6 and 7 aren’t my favorite. The 8 episode Rory and Lorelai separation is pretty much unbearable. But if I had to choose one from these seasons, it would be the last one.

Bon Voyage: The season ends with Rory headed off on the Obama campaign trail (in case you were wondering just when this show ended) and a lot of lovely things happen as the show comes to a close.

Oy with the poodles already, you definitely need some Gilmore Girls in your life. You won’t regret it, I promise. If only to find out why I just said, “Oy with the poodles already.”

Enjoy.

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Katie Hughes

I’m married to Josh. He’s a pastor. We live in Tallahassee with our 4 children. They are wild and crazy and we don’t really know what we’re doing there. I spend most of my time managing them but some of my time doing some research at Florida State University. I’m grateful for good books, laughter, the Florida sun, and Netflix (and oxford commas!). But mostly for Jesus. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.