This week (in the latest round of nostalgic reboots), Netflix announced that they are bringing back the show, Gilmore Girls! I am so excited. Gilmore Girls was a favorite of mine growing up. I watched it, eagerly, every week with my mom when she was allowed supervised visitation (you try to drown your children a few dozen times and it’s a “crime” apparently!). It was so original and heartwarming that we always had to have a box of tissues ready for our tears, and a shot of adrenaline ready for our hearts if they overheated from the love, but also the heroin.
As it has been years since I’ve watched it, the announcement made me wonder if the show still holds up today, and so, in celebration of the news, I binge watched all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls! Boy, was there a lot I didn’t remember about everyone’s favorite fast-talking mother and daughter duo. For those of you who grew up with the show as I did, join me as I take the time to recap the highlights of all 7 seasons!
Season 1 Recap (Time watching: 18 hours. Snacks consumed: Brownies, of course. Drink of choice: Coffee, obviously! Weapons used: Sharpened Switch Blade):
This was such a fun season, and I loved re-entering this world! In Season one, we’re introduced to Lorelai Gilmore and her sixteen year old daughter, Rory. Lorelai had Rory when she was only sixteen, and so the two are more like sisters than mother and lizard. They’re the best of friends, and sometimes it’s hard to tell who is raising whom! Or whether wolves are involved in some way. But anyway, Rory is a book smart and serious teen, and Lorelai wants her to have a better life than she did (Especially since Lorelai wasn’t able to go to college after having her). So they are both thrilled when Rory is accepted into the prestigious college preparatory academy, Chilton! But how will single mom, Lorelai pay?
Of course, as she is struggling to come up with the tuition money, much of this season explored the harsh reality of Lorelai’s prostitution, and subsequent drug dealing/use (I had forgotten what a rip off Weeds was of Gilmore Girls!). Yes, this show was not afraid to get dark. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t super fun to watch too! This season sets up the sweet flirtation between Lorelai and her pimp/local coffee shop owner, Luke. I’d forgotten how great their banter was! And it’s one of the best “will they or won’t they” relationships in television history aside from Sam and Diane or Ross and Marcel the monkey, of course. I mean the bottle episode where Lorelai and Luke are trying to make Meth but become obsessed with killing a fly? Brilliant! And I know I had completely forgotten about that episode where Luke brutally beats a John who refuses Lorelai payment after a blow job. Even from the very beginning, he was always there for her, you know? And that’s fun to see again.
Of course, finally, after her cocaine use ends up costing WAY more than it’s making, Lorelai swallows her pride, and allows her parents to pay for Rory’s tuition. But there’s a catch! In exchange for paying Rory’s schooling, the girls have to submit to weekly family dinners, and to promise the elder Gilmores the soul of Rory’s first born son. I had totally forgotten that originally, Emily and Richard were vampires trying to open up a portal to Hell, and that Star’s Hollow was the Hellmouth. They really dropped that plotline after the second season. Anyway, the family dinners were probably my favorite part of the show. Those dinners were always a gas to watch as Emily and Richard were super conservative and judgmental. Also, always naked.
(Side Note- The actor who played Richard is now deceased. I wonder how they will deal with this in the reboot? Probably, he will be replaced with a Tickle Me Elmo doll, but it’s hard to say. I guess I could also see them casting an angry koala bear or other Australian, tree-clinging creature.)
So that sets up the show, really. As the season progresses, Rory has to navigate the strange, competitive world of Chilton academy. Remember the school trip to Thailand when Paris set her up by hiding drugs in her bag? She had Rory arrested and tortured for seven months in a Thai prison just because she got a slightly better grade on her report of A Tale of Two Cities. Harsh! Paris sure was unlikable then, but as most fans know, she really grows on you. She was my favorite character by the end of the series despite all the beheadings and obvious ties to ISIS. And Rory really grows up this season. She experiences her first true love in Dean and even has her first encounter with Voldemort (though not at his full strength!). It’s cool to watch her mature, and also, belly dance.
I have to say, it’s good to watch this show as an adult. There were many clever things that went right over my head as a young teen. For instance, this was definitely my first time truly appreciating the groundbreaking episode set entirely in a leather boot and narrated by a sad, French clown. I think you have to be a little older and a little more mature to “get” the intricacies and political implications of such an episode. Was it treason? Did it break all laws of human decency? I don’t think we can ever say for sure.
(Fun Behind the Scenes Fact: the months Sherman-Palladino spent in jail being questioned by the CIA for this episode delayed the start of the second season by almost 2 months!)
Beyond the main cast, Season one introduces us to a whole bunch of other fun characters in Stars Hollow. This watching made me realize that the rich tapestry of townsfolk is really what separates Gilmore Girls from the pack. There’s Sookie, Lorelai’s best friend/part-time raccoon enthusiast, Lane, Rory’s best Asian, and her mother, Mrs. Kim, who is also Asian. Then there’s Dean, the mysterious new guy in town and an instant mosquito magnet, and who can forget Michel? He’s a store mannequin come to life who is intent on murdering the president, or Miss Patty, a sentient coffee pot, or even the hilarious Taylor, the town executioner. Star’s Hollow is a town (filled with love) that you never want to leave! I, for one, can’t wait to start in on the next season.
Standout Episode of Season One:
The Lorelais’ First Three Way at Chilton.
This episode really encapsulated everything we loved about Gilmore Girls. When Lorelai and Rory realized they were both dating the same man (Rory’s English teacher, Max, and the town’s coolest pedophile!), everyone worried the blow out would break up our favorite girls forever. But in typical Sherman-Palladino fashion, the girls talked it out, agreed to share, and we had one of our first (and best!) graphic Gilmore Girls’ sex scenes.
Also, this episode had one of the biggest laughs of the season when Dean stopped by the school, and Rory had to pretend her mother and English teacher WEREN’T hiding, naked, in the closet. Plus who can forget all the daisies the teacher sent to thank them for the good time. I know my 14 year old self swooned at the romantic gesture (and the adult me did too!).
Fun Fact: This episode is also the first time we meet a young Lex Luther!
Best Bit of Clever Dialogue of Season One (just try not to tear up!):
Lorelai: Don’t you back talk me! I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it, kid! And no jury in world would convict me because I had you in a trashcan in the women’s bathroom. That’s right. I’ve been real careful too. I printed out your “Birth Certificate” at a Kinko’s in Stamford. And your “Social Security card” is just a series of numbers I wrote on the back of a cocktail napkin and then had laminated. I don’t even think it’s all numbers, some of them were letters. The front of it is just a TGI Friday’s logo. Legally, you don’t exist! So just remember that. I am your creator, your God, your worst nightmare. And I’m always watching, always listening. So if you insult me just one more time, I swear to me, I’ll cut your body up into little pieces, and Sookie will make you into a stew. And then I’ll consume the flesh of your corpse and wash it down with a delicious cup coffee from Luke’s, don’t think I won’t. I’ve had over 200 cups of coffee today, you think I don’t have one more in me? And I see that look, Rory. NO I don’t have secret feelings for Luke. I cannot feel human emotions, and you know that. Now get in that school before I change my mind. I’m REEAAAL hungry.
Best Color of Season One:
Best Outfit of Season One:
The Purple Care Bear costume bad boy, Tristan, wears to choke cats!
UP NEXT: The recap of season two!