Picking our favorite Gilmore Girls episodes is like a mother picking a favorite child—it just feels wrong. But as we enter the final countdown to the debut of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on Netflix, we finally deemed it appropriate to be choosy and opinionated about our all-time favorite episodes. Just this once! After all, if you’re planning to pick a few old episodes to watch before the reboot, you’re going to need some guidance, right? So, really, we’ve taken on this impossible task for you. You’re welcome.
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Take a stroll down memory lane as we recount our top five favorite Gilmore Girls episodes, which encompass everything from first kisses to final goodbyes and a whole lot of laughs in between. And don’t forget to stream the Netflix revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, available Friday, Nov. 25.
Season 1, Episode 21 – “Love, Daisies, and Troubadours”
When Rory and Dean broke up after he presented her with the car he built with his own two hands (swoon!) a few episodes prior, we honestly weren’t sure if we’d ever recover from the heartbreak. Dean told Rory he loved her and when Rory wasn’t able to say the words back to him, all hell broke loose. But this episode is the one where we finally see the two reunite with Rory’s fateful line, “Because I love you, you idiot!” And with that, our faith in love was restored!
This is also the episode where we see Max and Lorelai taking things to the next level. When he proposes to her after an argument, she shoots him down. But the next day, she walks into the Independence Inn to find 1,000 yellow daisies—the kind of romantic gesture she told him she’d expect for a proposal. Well played, Max. Well played.
Season 2, Episode 22 – “I Can’t Get Started”
InStyle assistant editor Samantha Simon had this to say about her favorite episode: “Not only is this the episode where Sookie and Jackson get married, but it’s also the first time that Rory kisses Jess. As one of the biggest #TeamJess proponents out there, this made me very happy—and it still does when I watch it today. Of course, there’s some major drama in this episode when Lorelai and Christopher’s brief reconciliation ends abruptly due to Sherry’s pregnancy, but as a forever Luke-and-Lorelai shipper, I can’t say that bummed me out too much.”
Season 3, Episode 7 – “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?”
The Stars Hollow dance marathon provided some of the most iconic imagery in GG history. And the episode itself was an explosive one too. During a 24-hour long dance marathon (orchestrated by Taylor Doose for charity, of course), Jess and Rory’s obvious sexual tension, which the two try desperately to mask as hatred for one another, finally becomes too palpable for anyone to ignore—including Rory’s then BF, Dean. He gets furious and dumps her in front of everyone, and that shot of a distraught Rory being consoled by her mother is one of the best moments of the entire series.
Season 3, Episode 9 – “Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving”
Our features team intern Rachel Bashein picked her favorite episode too—here are her thoughts: “This episode combines everything that I love most about Gilmore Girls: It’s set in autumn and it gives plenty of screen time to the supporting characters that make the show great. It’s got a drunk Sookie, a stern Mrs. Kim, Lane and Dave romance, Richard speaking French, lots of food, Kirk and his cat (also named Kirk!) and even a reference to Grey Gardens. Season 3 is peak Gilmore Girls, and this is one of Season 3’s best episodes.”
Season 5, Episode 13 – “Wedding Bell Blues”
This episode marks the 100th of the series, and as such, is chock full of juicy storyline. After a rocky period in their marriage, Richard and Emily have emerged stronger than ever before and decide to celebrate with a vow renewal. (Side note: Rory dressed in that tailored tuxedo as she stands next to her grandpa as his “best man” is still one of our favorite TV fashion moments ever). But it’s not all fun and games because, of course, a meddling Emily has invited Christopher to the shindig and encouraged him to try getting back together with Lorelai—even though she’s finally gotten together with Luke!