Is there a better feeling than piling on the blankets and flicking on a tried-and-tested comfort watch. Of all the TV shows that might make the cut – Friends, Sex and the City, Broad City, Everything I Know About Love – nothing hits quite like the fast-taking, quick-witted mother-daughter dynamic at the heart of Gilmore Girls.
The series – created by Amy Sherman-Palladino – ticks all the boxes we require of our easy-watching cosy shows. There's an overall autumnal feel, plenty of episodes, loads of niche pop culture references, coffee, small town drama, and a cast of characters that you immediately feel invested in. And if anyone cares, Lorelai's wardrobe offers cartfuls of inspiration if the brief is "Y2K but for the working woman".
Over the course of seven seasons, Gilmore Girls racked up a total of 153 episodes, which is a lot to take on if you're not prepared for an old fashioned binge. Which is why, below, we've sifted through the seasons and brought you a list of the best Gilmore Girls episodes of all time. These eight episodes have it all; Gilmore family feuds, Kirk's oddball moments, kooky Stars Hollow events, first love, Luke's Diner, and heartbreak.
What you won't find? Season seven representation; contract disputes kept the creative original team away in the final season and the storyline suffered for it, nor do we include episodes from the revival – we're not that nostalgic. So what are you waiting for? Dive into the series, below.
Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy (Season 2, Episode 5)
Jess Mariano arrives in Stars Hollow, and his presence goes down like a lead balloon. Unless of course you're Rory, who struggles to hide her intrigue. Luke might be in over his head, but Lorelai's aside to Jess is textbook insufferable. Though, by the time Luke pushes his nephew in the lake, it's a damn relief.
Like Mother, Like Daughter (Season 2, Episode 7)
Headmaster Charleston pulls Rory aside out of concern about her lack of participation in student life at Chilton, compelling her to join a new social circle. When Lorelai goes to Rory's aid, Charleston berates her first for not leading by example, and she ends up joining a WASPY fashion fundraiser with Emily. While the pair prepare to walk the runway to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Rory accidentally joins Chilton's secret society 'The Puffs' and gets caught up in a hazing ritual. Line of the episode: "You're like a pop-up book from hell".
The Bracebridge Dinner (Season 2, Episode 10)
One of many whimsical examples of town life in Stars Hollow. Lorelai invites her friends and family to stay overnight at the inn for a period-themed costume dinner. It's also a chance for her parents Emily and Richard to see Lorelai in her element. Meanwhile, Kirk confides in Luke about his persistent night terrors that inexplicably cause him to end up naked on a roof. Woof.
They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They? (Season 3, Episode 7)
Probably the most infamous episode of Gilmore Girls ever. The 24-hour Danceathon is peak Stars Hollow. While it sets the stage for a very public meltdown between Rory and Dean as their relationship ends, inflamed by the meddling of Jess. Rory ends up sobbing in the arms of Lorelai on the dance floor, disqualified, while Kirk celebrates his win to the sound of the Rocky theme song. Chaos.
Those Are Strings Pinocchio (Season 3, Episode 22)
Want an episode that is guaranteed to make you well up? Here it is. Rory's Chilton years have to an end, and it's time for her to graduate. During her valedictorian speech (poor Paris), she toasts her mum with the following line. "As she guided me through these incredible eighteen years, I don’t know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her." Soon Rory is off to Yale and Lorelai will open the Dragonfly Inn, big changes are on the horizon...
The Festival of Living Art (Season 4, Episode 7)
Ok, I lied. This takes the cake as the wackiest event held in Stars Hollow. The Festival of the Living what now? Anyway, Taylor Doose is clearly on one. Kirk is dressing as our lord and saviour Jesus Christ himself, and Sookie and Jackson welcome their baby boy Davey. It's also the first and only time the show won an Emmy, recognised for its non-prosthetic makeup.
Raincoats and Recipes (Season 4, Episode 22)
"He's Dean, my Dean." Rory and Dean sleep together for the first time, despite the small detail that Dean is married to Lindsay. Lorelai comes home from the Dragonfly Inn opening to find Dean rushing out of the house. Mother and daughter come to blows, "You can’t be one of those girls who blames the wife for cheating."
A House is Not A Home (Season 5, Episode 22)
The golden child falls from grace, or to be specific, crashes a boat and drops out of Yale – which is unfathomable for us as an audience, who have seen the hard yards she put in to get there in the first place. Lorelai cannot condone Rory's behaviour so Emily and Richard swoop in to support their grandchild. Seeing Luke's tender reaction to the whole affair, Lorelai proposes to him on the spot.