Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

30 Best Gilmore Girls Episodes Ranked

The iconic comedy-drama series "Gilmore Girls" premiered on The WB in 2000. It stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel as mother-daughter duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, alongside a supporting cast that includes the likes of Melissa McCarthy, Scott Patterson, Kelly Bishop, Edward Herrmann and Keiko Agena rounding out the central cast. In 2007, after spending seven seasons with these denizens of Stars Hollow and Hartford, Connecticut, the show bid its fans farewell. Thankfully, the syndication of "Gilmore Girls" on TV and then on streaming platforms like Netflix has allowed its fandom to keep growing over the years. "Gilmore Girls" has become "way more popular," as Graham revealed on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." "It's fun because different groups of people are finding it and different generations," she added.

The witty, fast-talking series was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who wrote the first six seasons with her husband, Daniel Palladino. In 2006, because of issues behind the scenes, the couple exited the series, leaving behind a legacy of 131 episodes. The show's final season, which consists of 22 episodes, bringing the total to 153, is infamous for its absence of that Sherman-Palladino magic touch. This, of course, explains why only one episode from Season 7 made it onto this list, while the other 29 fan-favorite and critically praised episodes come from the Sherman-Palladino era of the series.

Whether you're watching "Gilmore Girls" for the first time or the billionth time, you're going to love these outstanding episodes.

30. The Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1)

When it comes to "Gilmore Girls," there's no better place to start than at the beginning, in our opinion. The "Pilot" introduces viewers to 32-year-old single mom Lorelai and her 16-year-old Rory — the eponymous Gilmore girls. Viewers will be hooked after the funny, fast-talking first scene, which firmly establishes Lorelai and Rory's coffee addiction and sets up Luke's Diner as their regular hangout.

Before long, the episode introduces Stars Hollow locals Luke (Patterson), Michel (Yanic Truesdale), Sookie (McCarthy), Lane (Agena), Mrs. Kim (Emily Kuroda), Dean (Jared Padalecki), and Miss Patty (Liz Torres), as well as the incomparable Richard (Herrmann) and Emily Gilmore (Bishop) who reside in the nearby town of Hartford. In the show, McCarthy plays Lorelai's bestie Sookie St. James, but Alex Borstein plays Sookie in the unaired pilot. You'll spot Borstein appearing on and off as the eccentric harpist Drella.

You'll be drawn in by these kooky characters but stay for clever dialogue and amusing plotlines. The story really begins when Rory is accepted into Chilton Preparatory School, a private and prestigious institution that will bring her one step closer to her dream of going to Harvard. There's only one problem; it's too expensive. Therefore, Lorelai must seek the help of her wealthy parents, from whom she never usually takes a cent. They agree to pay for their granddaughter's education on one condition: Lorelai and Rory must attend family dinners every Friday night — and so the series begins.

29. The Road Trip to Harvard (Season 2, Episode 4)

A lot happens between the "Pilot" and the Season 2 episode "The Road Trip to Harvard." Rory and Dean have already broken up and gotten back together. Meanwhile, Lorelai has dated, broken up with, and subsequently gotten engaged to Rory's English teacher Max Medina (Scott Cohen). The couple plan their wedding during the beginning of Season 2, but in Episode 3, "Red Light on the Wedding Night," Lorelai calls it off. To avoid the onslaught of gossip, sympathy, and questions that are par for the course in their small town, Lorelai and Rory head out on a spontaneous road trip

With no plan to speak of, the mother-daughter duo find themselves staying in an overly cutesy bed and breakfast in New Hampshire. Trying to avoid conversations with the other guests, Lorelai and Rory skip dinner and hide in their room. However, the second day of their adventure is much more fruitful. Lorelai realizes they are not far from Cambridge and surprises her daughter with a trip to her dream school, Harvard. Of course, her spontaneity means she hasn't booked a tour and so the pair sneak around campus pretending to be students. After having a peek at the student accommodations, Rory sneaks into a lecture and starts a lively debate. Meanwhile, back in Stars Hollow, Sookie delivers the news of Lorelai's breakup to Luke, whose mood immediately picks up.

28. Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers (Season 1, Episode 16)

The sixteenth episode of Season 1, "Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers," is a big one for Rory. At this point, she and Dean have been dating for three months and he's made plans to celebrate their anniversary in style. After dinner at a fancy restaurant, Dean takes Rory to a second location. The reason for stopping at an unremarkable junkyard becomes clear when Dean presents his girlfriend with a car — a Dodge Lancer, to be exact — that he built for her to put an end to her reliance on the bus and all its associated inconveniences. Following this sweet gesture and some romantic stargazing, Dean reveals he has one more surprise in store for Rory. "I love you," he tells her. But after uttering those three little words, he's shocked and hurt when Rory doesn't say them back and needs some time to think about how she feels. "This is not something you think about, Rory. This is something you either feel or you don't," he responds.

Elsewhere, Luke's former flame Rachel (Lisa Ann Hadley) arrives back in Stars Hollow. The photographer immediately picks up on the attraction between her ex and Lorelai which, of course, they deny exists. The trio spend the evening together and Lorelai encourages Luke to give Rachel another chance before returning home to find a heartbroken Rory. The Rory-Dean saga continues in the following episode, aptly titled "The Breakup: Part 2."

27. The Reigning Lorelai (Season 4, Episode 16)

In the first episode of "Gilmore Girls," viewers learn Rory is actually short for Lorelai and her mother named her after herself. However, a few episodes later in "The Third Lorelai," it's revealed that Lauren Graham's character is not the original Lorelai; she's named after her grandmother (Marion Ross). Lorelai I, better known as "Trix," is the mother of Richard Gilmore and reluctant mother-in-law to his wife Emily. After a few sporadic visits between the first and fourth seasons of the show, Lorelai I dies offscreen in "The Reigning Lorelai."

Typically, planning a funeral isn't a comedic affair, but in "Gilmore Girls" it most certainly is. After hearing the news, Richard falls into a black hole of despair which can only be soothed with "turtleneck soup." Meanwhile, Emily sets about attempting to fulfill the impossible errands of her late mother-in-law's pre-planned funeral to-do list. However, funeral preparations grind to a halt when Emily discovers a note Trix wrote to Richard the night before their wedding, begging her son to leave his bride-to-be at the altar.

With the funeral arrangements left to Lorelai and Rory, some hilarious scenes ensue. The episode culminates in a drunk Emily planning to attend the funeral in lingerie and Lorelai buying underwear for her dead grandmother at Victoria's Secret. Eventually, it all works out and everyone makes it to the funeral. Of course, it wouldn't be a Gilmore event without a few family members feuding over who's going to inherit Trix's crystal glasses.

26. A Tale of Poes and Fire (Season 3, Episode 17)

In "A Tale of Poes and Fire," Rory is using her trusty pro-con lists to decide between Harvard, Yale, and Princeton after receiving acceptance letters from all three in the previous episode. Ultimately, she chooses Yale, and thus passes up her childhood dream of attending Harvard. Meanwhile, Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) is awarded the Employee of the Month award at Walmart, and the Edgar Allan Poe Society visit Stars Hollow.

Lorelai is kept busy by the Poe Society, who are all staying at the Independence Inn. However, her job becomes much harder when she receives a call in the middle of the night alerting her to a fire at the Inn. Although the fire turns out to be much more serious than expected, writing duo Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino cultivate plenty of comedy from the storyline, which involves all the guests boarding with Stars Hollow locals for the night. With too many guests and not enough beds, Lorelai gets displaced from her house and ends up spending the night at Luke's — a scene that seriously foreshadows their future relationship.

Despite the drama at work, Lorelai still makes time to support her daughter. The following day, Rory returns home from spending the night at Lane's to discover her mom has replaced her Harvard flags and banners with Yale flags and banners. The scene is made all the more heartwarming by the fact that Lorelai has been vocally opposed to Yale, her father's alma mater, until this point. It sets up what viewers can expect to see in the series going forward.

25. Like Mother, Like Daughter (Season 2, Episode 7)

Rory's been at Chilton for several months by the time viewers see her in "Like Mother, Like Daughter." However, she's yet to make any friends there, and Headmaster Charleston (Dakin Matthews) accuses her of being a loner. Rory's not a loner, of course; her social circle is simply based in Stars Hollow, not Chilton. Nevertheless, Charleston tells her she needs to be more outgoing at school: reading and listening to her Walkman at lunch won't cut it. Understandably upset, Rory tells Lorelai about the headmaster's criticism, and Lorelai schedules a meeting to yell at him. Charleston turns the tables on Lorelai when he chastises her for her own lack of participation in Chilton life. Like mother, like daughter, he implies.

Lorelai leaves her meeting with Headmaster Charleston with an order to get more involved with the school, which is how Lorelai ends up organizing a charity fashion show for the Booster Club. She volunteers the Independence Inn as the venue, but soon gets roped into being a model as well. Desperate to avoid enduring this experience on her own, she tricks her mom into participating, too. Emily and Lorelai's complicated mother-daughter dynamic is one of the most relatable parts of "Gilmore Girls." This episode, which comes complete with matching costumes, is a spectacular showcase of the ups and downs of their tumultuous relationship.

Meanwhile, Rory follows Headmaster Charleston's instructions and tries to make friends at Chilton, but she accidentally gets inducted into a shadowy secret sorority known as the Puffs. To top off the episode, "Desperate Housewives" alums Brenda Strong and Emily Bergl guest star.

24. I Get a Sidekick Out of You (Season 6, Episode 19)

Lane Kim goes through a lot in "Gilmore Girls." When viewers first meet her, she's essentially living a double life because of the rules in her mother's strict religious household. Later, Mrs. Kim kicks Lane out of her home because Lane wants to pursue her dream of being a drummer. Lane and Mrs. Kim eventually patch up their relationship, and she becomes a much-needed support for her daughter who plans to marry her fiancé Zack (Todd Lowe) in the episode "I Get a Sidekick Out of You."

The episode plays on the unexpected parallels between Lane and her mom. It turns out Mrs. Kim, a devout Seventh-day Adventist, hides a lot of her life from her own extremely traditional Buddhist mother. To maintain her cover, Mrs. Kim has Lane and Zack get married in a fake Buddhist ceremony for Grandma Kim to attend before they have their Christian ceremony. There are even two receptions — one for Lane's extended Korean family, and another one for her Stars Hollow friends and family. Even Lane's wedding dress transforms when she switches receptions.

Even in this haze of wedding craziness, there's still plenty of Lorelai and Luke's relationship drama. The latter is out of town chaperoning his daughter April's (Vanessa Marano) school trip. Meanwhile, Rory's dad Christopher (David Sutcliffe) accompanies Lorelai to the wedding. The episode is heavy in subtext, and it's clear a change in relationship status is on the horizon for Lorelai.

23. Written in the Stars (Season 5, Episode 3)

Before their multiple breakups and makeups, Lorelai and Luke were blissfully ignorant of what the future held for them. After years of longing glances and missteps, the pair finally updated their status from "just friends" to "in a relationship" during the Season 4 finale. The fifth season picks up with Lorelai and Luke starting a long-distance affair, but they're finally reunited in "Written in the Stars." It's in this episode that viewers finally get to see the couple's relationship blossom. "Lorelai, this thing we're doing here; me, you — I just want you to know, I'm in. I am all in," Luke tells her on their first official date. "I am all in" is not only one of the most notable lines from the show and the Luke-Lorelai relationship, it also inspired the name of Scott Patterson's "Gilmore Girls" podcast.

Lorelai and Luke's date naturally progresses back to his place where they decide to keep their relationship a secret from the notoriously gossipy, nosey Stars Hollow citizenry. However, when a practically naked Lorelai walks down to the Diner for coffee in the morning, their relationship is quickly made a matter of public record and a town meeting is held to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile at Yale, Rory's keeping her mind off her own love life by helping Paris (Liza Weil) throw a wake for her boyfriend and former lecturer Asher Fleming (Michael York).

22. There's the Rub (Season 2, Episode 16)

For a teenager, there's nothing better than a parent-free house. So, when Lorelai goes away for the weekend in "There's the Rub," Rory's boyfriend Dean immediately expects her to invite him over. However, Rory has other ideas. "I was thinking of pulling kind of a hermit thing tonight," she tells him. Determined to have a quiet, solo night in doing laundry and eating Indian food, Rory promises to spend Saturday with Dean instead.

Rory's wearing her pajamas and basking in full-on hermit mode when Paris turns up in need of a study partner. Then the doorbell goes off again and Jess arrives, delivering food she hasn't ordered as a transparent pretext for checking in on her. Unfortunately, Dean has the same idea and arrives with ice cream while the trio are scarfing down dinner. By this point, Dean's already feeling insecure about Rory and Jess' friendship, so this just adds fuel to the fire. Paris spontaneously covers for Rory, saying she's the one who's invited Jess over. It's enough to calm Dean's mind, but he still leaves mad. Meanwhile, the evening bonded Rory and Paris, who clarify their relationship as "friend-ish."

Elsewhere, Lorelai's trip away turns into a spa weekend with her mother. They drive each other crazy until a night on the town leads them to a 60-40 bar.

21. The Prodigal Daughter Returns (Season 6, Episode 9)

Rory dropping out of Yale is one of the most scrutinized storylines in "Gilmore Girls." During her time away from the Ivy League school, she retreats from Stars Hollow and steers clear of her mom, relying on Logan (Matt Czuchry) and living in her grandparents' pool house. However, in "The Prodigal Daughter Returns," Rory realizes the error of her ways and acknowledges that she only dropped out because of Mitchum Huntzberger's (Gregg Henry) criticism. Rory re-enrolls at Yale and reaches out to her mom in hopes of reconciliation.

Back in Stars Hollow, Lorelai and Luke are very much in love after getting engaged in "New and Improved Lorelai," the first episode of Season 6. In fact, they've just finished renovating Lorelai's house, which they plan to live in together. However, the arrival of a new character threatens to throw their relationship off course. April Nardini, the daughter of Luke's former flame Anna (Sherilyn Fenn), arrives at the Diner asking for his DNA to test whether he's her father. She's also testing two other guys and plans to exhibit the results at her school science fair. Not wanting Lorelai to find out about any of this, Luke attends the science fair solo and learns that he is, in fact, April's father. However, he decides to keep her existence a secret from Lorelai.

20. Kiss and Tell (Season 1, Episode 7)

Dean is Rory's first love, but in the early days of their courtship, she's scared to talk to him and nervous when she's around him. In "Kiss and Tell," Rory awkwardly stops by Doose's Market after school just to get a glimpse of Dean. However, Dean is just as into Rory as she is into him, so the pair fumble their way through some adorably uncomfortable teen flirting. Moments later, they share their first kiss in aisle three. Unfortunately, Rory's post-kiss etiquette needs a little work. After a quick "thank you" she runs straight out of the store, accidentally shoplifting a box of cornstarch in the process.

Part of Lorelai and Rory's mother-daughter schtick is that they tell each other everything, but in this episode, Lorelai is completely unaware of how far her daughter's relationship with Dean has progressed. In fact, she only hears about it because Mrs. Kim — who overhears Rory discussing the matter with Lane — feels the need to chastise Lorelai's bad parenting.

Lorelai gives her daughter every chance to tell her about the kiss, but she doesn't. They eventually talk about it later at dinner. "Kissed any good boys lately?" Lorelai asks somewhat mockingly. But, in an effort to prove she's "perfectly fine" with their relationship, Lorelai secretly invites Dean over for movie night. However, Rory doesn't really appreciate her mom setting up her first date for her.

19. Dear Richard and Emily (Season 3, Episode 13)

Two stories run parallel in "Dear Emily and Richard." One is told in a series of flashbacks exploring what life was like for Lorelai at 16 — the year she got pregnant with Rory. Chelsea Brummet plays young Lorelai while Phillip Van Dyke plays the late 1980s version of Christopher. Their families experience a range of emotions when Lorelai realizes she's expecting, but as the elder Gilmores and Haydens make plans for Lorelai's future, they fail to take into account what she actually wants. At 16, Lorelai is strong-willed and independent. Through the flashbacks, viewers see the events leading up to her move to Stars Hollow. In an unexpected twist, viewers also see how devastated Emily and Richard are when their daughter leaves home with their grandchild. It's always been clear that there's more than just one side to these characters, but this episode really showcases the multi-layered writing and performances of "Gilmore Girls." 

Meanwhile in the present, Rory rushes to the hospital to reluctantly support her dad's fiancé, Sherry Tinsdale (Mädchen Amick), as she brings Rory's new half-sister into the world. With her dad nowhere to be seen, Rory calls her mom because someone's got to go into the delivery room with Sherry and she doesn't want it to be her. Lorelai puts aside her heartbreak — in a prior episode, Christopher leaves Lorelai when he finds out Sherry is pregnant — and goes along to support Rory. Thankfully, Christopher makes it at the last minute.

18. Love, Daisies and Troubadours (Season 1, Episode 21)

In the Season 1 finale titled "Love, Daisies and Troubadours," three major storylines come to a head. First, Rory tries to win Dean back after their breakup in "Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers." First, she unsuccessfully attempts to visit him at his home. Later, while two musicians battle it out to be the official Stars Hollow Town Troubadour, Rory makes an impassioned speech at the town meeting. The speech definitely catches Dean's attention. After Rory finishes school the following day, he's waiting for her outside Chilton. After a few more missteps, Rory blurts out the best line of the season — "I love you, you idiot." And just like that, they reunite.

Elsewhere, after the aforementioned town meeting, Luke goes back to the Diner and is surprised to find his girlfriend Rachel with her bags packed. She accuses him of being in love with Lorelai, which we know he definitely is. They split on semi-good terms, with Rachel offering him some parting advice — don't wait too long to tell Lorelai. Of course, he kicks that can down the road for a good while longer anyway, which brings us to the last loose thread from Season 1 — Max proposing to Lorelai with 1000 yellow daisies.

17. Teach Me Tonight (Season 2, Episode 19)

Like Rory, Jess is smart and incredibly well read. However, unlike the youngest Gilmore girl, he has no academic ambition and is in danger of failing out of high school. Early in this episode, titled "Teach Me Tonight," Luke begs Rory to help tutor Jess, which she reluctantly agrees to do. Not surprisingly, Jess proves to be a tricky student. While they're studying at the Diner, he tries to distract Rory in order to avoid hitting the books. Of course, she finds him charming and goes along with his suggestion of going out for ice cream, though she also points out that they could just order some from the Diner they're already at.

Rory hands Jess the keys to the car that her boyfriend Dean made for her and instructs him to drive while she reads Shakespeare. After getting ice cream, the pair forget all about studying and agree to continue driving instead of returning to the Diner. Their excursion takes a dangerous turn when they get into a car accident. Rory ends up in the hospital with a fractured wrist while Jess is nowhere to be seen.

Lorelai is so incensed by the evening's events that she berates Luke for bringing Jess to Stars Hollow. Despite knowing that the accident wasn't all Jess' fault, Luke sends him back to his mom's. Meanwhile, Christopher arrives to support Rory and Lorelai.

16. A House is Not a Home (Season 5, Episode 22)

In the penultimate episode of Season 5, newspaper tycoon Mitchum Huntzberger tells Rory she'd make a better assistant than a journalist, and she's left utterly shattered by his words. Devastated, Rory tells Logan she wants to escape and "take to the sea," so the pair steal a boat to make it happen.

This storyline continues into the season finale, "A House is Not a Home." The episode begins with Lorelai picking Rory up from jail. Not only is stealing a boat far from Rory's finest moment, it's also entirely illegal. Despite her infraction, Rory seems to be in good spirits and returns to Yale to take her final exam, which she ends up tanking. Back in Stars Hollow, Lorelai is being wooed by a fancy job opportunity and Luke is going back and forth about buying a house for the two of them. Rory soon returns from Yale and drops a bomb on her mom while they're having coffee at Weston's Bakery. "I've decided that I'm not going back to Yale next year," she reveals.

Shocked and upset by the news, Lorelai enlists her parents to help convince Rory to stay in school. They agree to the plan but end up turning on Lorelai and offering Rory their pool house as a place to stay while she figures out her next move. Meanwhile, Lorelai goes to see Luke — the only person who really seems to be on her side at this point — and spontaneously proposes to him.

15. We've Got Magic to Do (Season 6, Episode 5)

Five episodes into Season 6, Rory's life looks nothing like it did before she and Logan stole that boat. She's living in her grandparents' pool house, completing her court-ordered community service, and working with her grandmother for the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In the episode "We've Got Magic to Do," Rory gains more responsibility at the DAR, taking over a big charity fundraising event. Her methods are a little more modern than what her grandma is used to. But when she sees the event come to fruition, Emily is blown away by her granddaughter's exceptional planning abilities.

Meanwhile, Lorelai and Sookie contend with a small kitchen fire at the Dragonfly Inn, which requires Lorelai to call her insurance provider. This typically routine task is complicated by the fact that her insurance provider is Richard Gilmore, with whom she is not currently on speaking terms. After a frank conversation, Lorelai reveals how badly Mitchum treated Rory, which leads Richard to admit that his granddaughter is floundering.

The episode comes to a head at the DAR function when Rory must face Mitchum again after the Huntzbergers unexpectedly arrive late, having not RSVP'd. After seeing him, Rory has a panic attack in the kitchen and almost admits to Paris, who happens to be working there, that if it weren't for Mitchum, she wouldn't have dropped out of Yale. Not wanting to believe what Lorelai told him, Richard seeks out Mitchum, who proudly admits his actions. Richard fills in Emily, who confronts Mitchum's wife Shira (Leann Hunley) and puts her in her place as only a Gilmore could.

14. The Lorelais' First Day at Yale (Season 4, Episode 2)

Rory prepares to go to college at the beginning of Season 4, and she makes the big move in Episode 2, "The Lorelais' First Day at Yale." The episode begins with Lorelai and Rory packing, which they're doing at the last minute because Rory had previously written down the wrong move-in date, as we discovered in the previous episode.

They get everything packed in time and Lorelai borrows Luke's truck to help Rory move to Yale, despite not being able to drive a stick shift. As they're moving Rory's stuff in, Lorelai sneaks a look at some of the other dorm rooms and realizes she hasn't packed any of the "essentials" for Rory, so she jets off to buy a rug and a minifridge. Meanwhile, Luke needs his truck back and agrees to help with the last of the moving, so Lorelai goes back and forth to Stars Hollow.

In Lorelai's absence, Rory meets her roommates, one of which she already knows particularly well. When the comical moving day ends, Lorelai leaves. Then the Gilmore girls experience separation anxiety and Rory calls her mom to come back. She stays the night, helping her daughter get settled into Yale with a mandatory taste test of every restaurant within delivery distance.

13. The Bracebridge Dinner (Season 2, Episode 10)

"Gilmore Girls" is at its best when the town of Stars Hollow is throwing some kind of bizarre or kooky event. The elaborate Elizabethan feast that takes place in "The Bracebridge Dinner" definitely fits that bill. Planned by Lorelai and Sookie at the Independence Inn, the event is supposed to be a corporate dinner for the Bracebridge Group. However, when the Bracebridge Group get snowed in and stuck in Chicago, Lorelai and Sookie decide to throw a party for their friends and family with everyone staying at the Inn afterward.

However, it wouldn't be a true Stars Hollow event without plenty of drama to complement the food and horse-drawn sleigh rides. From Richard unceremoniously announcing his surprise retirement to Dean and Jess' escalating rivalry, there's a lot of tension around the table.

Richard and Emily have a huge fight resulting in the latter almost bunking with Lorelai and Rory. Meanwhile, Dean and Jess are on the brink of fisticuffs and can't stand to be in the same room with each other. Rory tries to play referee between the two, but by the end of the episode, Dean's beginning to catch on to the connection that Rory shares with Jess.

12. Lorelai's Graduation Day (Season 2, Episode 21)

"Lorelai's Graduation Day" takes place shortly after the events of "Teach Me Tonight." Appropriately enough, it centers around Lorelai's graduation from business school. She only wants to invite Rory, Sookie, and Jackson (Jackson Douglas). But Rory believes this is a milestone that requires an extra special celebration, so she secretly invites Emily and Richard.

However, on the day of the big event, Rory can't stop thinking about Jess, who called her the night before from New York. She's still dating Dean at this point, but Rory feels the overwhelming urge to cut school and take the bus to New York to see Jess, bailing on her mom's graduation ceremony in the process. Jess gives Rory a local's tour of New York, complete with corn dogs, record stores, and subway rides.

At the graduation ceremony, Lorelai is shocked to find her mother setting up professional camera equipment to capture her daughter's big moment. For viewers, the sight of Richard and Emily's sincere and substantial pride in Lorelai's accomplishment is quite a heartwarming moment. For the rest of Lorelai's graduating class, there's nothing worse than having their moment co-opted by rich people with fancy cameras. The discovery that these people are Lorelai's parents does not endear her to her fellow business school grads.

After receiving her diploma, Lorelai returns home and finds Rory sitting outside their house. She readily admits skipping her mom's graduation is one of the worst things she's ever done. Lorelai's understandably upset, but she puts her disappointment aside to spend the rest of the evening celebrating her big achievement.

11. You Jump, I Jump, Jack (Season 5, Episode 7)

In "You Jump, I Jump, Jack," Rory hopes to impress her editor Doyle (Danny Strong) at the Yale Daily News. Unfortunately, in Doyle's estimation, her story ideas are all entirely average and unspectacular. When Rory stumbles upon a much bigger story involving one of Yale's oldest secret societies, Doyle tells her to follow her gut. It's not long before she deduces that Logan Huntzberger — son of newspaper mogul Mitchum Huntzberger — is a member of the enigmatic Life and Death Brigade and asks him for an interview. Logan does her one better and offers to take her along to one of their events so she can acquire firsthand experience. However, Rory has to skip date night with Dean to go, making it clear that with each new experience at Yale, she's moving further and further away from her old life in Stars Hollow. This episode heavily foreshadows Rory and Dean's breakup in "The Party's Over."

Elsewhere, Lorelai's parents insist on getting to know Luke better now he's officially her boyfriend. After suffering through a dinner with Emily, Luke goes golfing with Richard where he's forced to purchase a set of clubs. Then he accidentally gets a little hammered and agrees to franchise his Diner all along the Eastern Seaboard.

10. Say Something (Season 5, Episode 14)

Remember in "Written in the Stars" when the Stars Hollow community held a meeting to discuss the status of Lorelai and Luke's relationship? Well, they came up with a contingency plan that goes into effect in "Say Something," which continues from the events of "Wedding Bell Blues." At the beginning of the episode, Luke tells Lorelai he needs space to think about their relationship. However, she seeks him out the next day and finds him in Doose's Market. She tells him she's "all in" like he did on their first date, but those words have no effect on Luke. He replies, "I can't be in this relationship. It's too much." Devastated, Lorelai returns home to wallow in heartbreak.

At Yale, Rory is also dealing with fallout from the previous night, so she calls Logan to see if he wants to casually hang out. He immediately invites her over, but she's surprised to find he's already playing poker with a group of friends. While the poker party rages on all night, Rory falls asleep on the couch. The next morning, she receives a call from Sookie who's checking in on Lorelai after she missed an important event at the Dragonfly Inn. Upon learning about Lorelai's recent development, Rory rushes back to Stars Hollow in Logan's limo to take care of her heartbroken mother. There she finds the town has taken sides in Lorelai and Luke's breakup. Everyone is sporting a pink or blue ribbon, depending on whose side they've taken.

9. Rory's Dance (Season 1, Episode 9)

Rory and Dean officially get together in "Kiss and Tell." Two episodes later in "Rory's Dance," the pair are almost a fully-fledged couple, and they decide to debut their relationship at a Chilton school formal.

Initially, Rory has no interest in going to the dance, but she has a change of attitude after a few encouraging words from her mom. Lorelai offers to make her daughter a dress and Rory asks Dean to go with her. At the dance, Rory and Dean solidify their status as girlfriend and boyfriend and cut out early for some alone time. They walk around a quiet, sleepy Stars Hollow and find the door to Miss Patty's dance studio open, so they sneak in. Always prepared for circumstances such as this, Rory has a book in her purse, so the innocent young lovers read Dorothy Parker to each other until they fall asleep on a beanbag. It isn't until the next morning when Patty wakes her up that Rory realizes she's stayed out all night and rushes home.

At the same time, Emily, who's been looking after an injured Lorelai, wakes up and realizes Rory hasn't come home yet. She wakes up Lorelai and the pair share a panic. Soon, Patty calls and informs them that Rory is safe, but this wouldn't be a top-notch "Gilmore Girls" episode if it didn't end with a massive blow-up between Lorelai and her mother.

8. I Can't Get Started (Season 2, Episode 22)

In "I Can't Get Started," the final episode of Season 2, Sookie and Jackson prepare to tie the knot surrounded by their friends and family at the Independence Inn. Meanwhile at Chilton, the students are preparing for the summer holidays. Before they leave, the elections for student body president and vice president take place. By the end of the episode, it's revealed that Paris and Rory have won and are awarded an opportunity to spend the summer in Washington, D.C.

Before the wedding, Christopher jets into town. He tells Lorelai that he's in the process of breaking up with Sherry. Lorelai and Christopher agree that while their timing has always been off in the past, now they're free and clear to start a relationship. So, Lorelai brings Christopher to the wedding, and tells her mom that she can expect to see them together a lot more often. However, moments later, Christopher receives a call from Sherry, who tells him she's pregnant. He rushes back to Boston to be with her and leaves Lorelai in the lurch.

Meanwhile, Rory finds herself in close proximity to Jess despite attending the wedding with Dean. All season, Rory has been denying her feelings for Jess, but she finally gives in and kisses him. She immediately runs off and tells her mom she's definitely going to D.C. for the summer.

7. Bon Voyage (Season 7, Episode 22)

Given the dramatic change of tone between Season 6 and Season 7 as a result of Amy Sherman-Palladino's departure, it's not surprising that only one episode from the final season cracks the show's top 30 episodes. "Bon Voyage" begins at the Dragonfly Inn, where Rory meets her idol Christiane Amanpour, who just happens to be staying there. Despite being in her pajamas, Rory makes a positive impression, and the CNN journalist invites Rory to "keep in touch."

Things are looking up for this Yale graduate who still plans to pursue a career in journalism despite not getting her dream internship at The New York Times. She soon gets an interview for an online magazine and accepts a job covering Illinois Senator Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Rory is incredibly excited about this new opportunity, but there's a caveat — she has to leave in three days. That means Lorelai has to cancel the big Stars Hollow graduation party she's been planning. The entire town is devastated that they won't get to celebrate or see a reenactment of Rory's graduation.

Rory and Lorelai spend the weekend buying supplies and getting Rory ready to go to Iowa on Monday. Meanwhile, Luke and Sookie team up to throw Rory a surprise going away party. The weather becomes a bit of a problem, but after some creative thinking on Luke's part, the town of Stars Hollow party like never before. Luke's efforts impress Lorelai, and they officially get back together at the party.

6. They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They? (Season 3, Episode 7)

Dean and Rory break up for the second time in the Season 3 episode "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?" The couple is teetering on the brink for most of the episode, which centers around the Stars Hollow Dance-A-Thon. Lorelai is desperate to beat Kirk (Sean Gunn), who's been the winner for four years in a row. However, when her experienced dance partner drops out, Lorelai persuades her daughter to take his place.

The 1940s-themed dance is quite an event, but it puts a strain on Rory and Dean's relationship. Dean is disappointed that they won't be spending this time together. Worsening the situation, Jess nabs front row seats in order to drive Rory mad with jealousy by relentlessly making out with his temporary girlfriend Shane (Jessica Kiper). 

The situation comes to a head when the heel of Lorelai's shoe breaks. Dean fills in for her as Rory's dance partner so they can keep their place in the competition. However, Rory's attention is firmly on Jess instead of her boyfriend. When Jess puts her on blast and tells her to pay attention to her boyfriend instead, Dean says, "She can't. I'm not her boyfriend anymore." After a very public conversation, the two part ways and Rory leaves the dance floor.

The episode isn't all about heartbreak, though. Lane and Dave (Adam Brody) share their first kiss. Shortly after, Rory and Jess make their relationship official.

5. Those Are Strings, Pinocchio (Season 3, Episode 22)

In the third season finale, "Those Are Strings, Pinocchio," Rory graduates from Chilton and looks toward the future. She and Lorelai are also getting ready to embark on their European summer adventure. But before they do, Rory goes to see her grandparents to settle her college plans. She currently has no money to pay for Yale, so she offers to reinstate Friday night dinners — which officially ended upon her graduation from Chilton — in exchange for a loan for her tuition. Emily and Richard happily accept her offer.

Later at her graduation ceremony, Rory's dad is nowhere in sight. Instead, Lorelai is joined by Luke, Sookie, Jackson, Richard, and Emily, who are all thrilled to see Rory receive her diploma. Before she gets it, though, she delivers her valedictorian speech, which is one of the show's best and most memorable speeches. We stress that it's only "one of" the show's best speeches; obviously, it's not as good as Paris' Bicentennial speech. But nevertheless, Rory's graduation speech reduces her family and friends in the audience to tears.

Afterward, Lorelai and Rory briefly stroll down memory lane. When Rory gets a call from Jess, she tells him she's not going to live in the past, meaning she's not going to wait for him. "I think I may have loved you, but I just need to let it go," she says, officially closing the door on their relationship.

4. Wedding Bell Blues (Season 5, Episode 13)

In the second half of Season 4, Richard and Emily separate. It's especially hard on Rory, but they reconcile during Season 5 in the episode "Come Home." In the subsequent episode, "Wedding Bell Blues," Emily and Richard plan an elaborate vow renewal party with Rory as her grandfather's best man and Lorelai as her mother's maid of honor.

Lorelai brings Luke as her date but is unaware that Emily has secretly invited Christopher and instructed him to break up her daughter and her boyfriend. To make matters worse, Lorelai, Christopher, and Luke catch Rory and Logan making out in the dressing room, and the incident makes basically everyone involved look silly. This anger fuels a very drunk Christopher, who accuses Luke of not belonging there. During a tirade, Christopher essentially blurts out his and Emily's plan, which devastates Lorelai and Luke.

After seeing Rory and Logan together and hearing Christopher's ugly public meltdown, Luke leaves the party without Lorelai. She is devastated by her mom's actions and tells her that their relationship is over. This episode, which is as comical as it is dramatic, leads to Lorelai and Luke's breakup in "Say Something."

3. Friday Night's Alright for Fighting (Season 6, Episode 13)

In the episode "Friday Night's Alright for Fighting," Rory has returned to Yale and is trying to catch up for all the time she missed. She also has to contend with Logan constantly trying to win her back after sleeping with other people while they were on a break. Just like Ross and Rachel, Rory and Logan can't agree on what "on a break" means. 

Rory doesn't have time to deal with relationship drama, because there's a crisis at the Yale Daily News. Paris is failing as the paper's editor and it's up to Rory and the rest of the staff to bail her out. Logan also does his part to save the newspaper, and when they succeed, in a moment of celebratory triumph, Rory kisses him and they get back together.

Meanwhile back in Stars Hollow, Lorelai is walking on eggshells around Luke, who's postponed their wedding. Lorelai's coming to grips with Luke having a daughter, while trying to mend fences with her parents at the same time. The Gilmores' relationship has never been worse than it is at the end of Season 5 and beginning of Season 6. At this point, Emily has recently broken up Lorelai and Luke, and neither senior Gilmore supported Lorelai's plan to keep Rory from dropping out of Yale. After months of barely communicating with them, Lorelai attends her first Friday night dinner in a long while. It goes as badly as you would expect. The Gilmores spend hours hashing out their issues and when Lorelai and Rory leave, they're completely exhausted. We only see roughly nine minutes of those hours, but the montage of Gilmore fury that concludes "Friday Night's Alright for Fighting" stands as one of the most intense sequences of the series. 

2. Last Week Fights, This Week Tights (Season 4, Episode 21)

"Last Week Fights, This Week Tights" is the penultimate episode of Season 4, and it begins with Rory, Paris, and their roommates preparing to leave Yale for the summer. Rory is one of the few people left on campus and her grandmother uses that as an opportunity to set her up with one of her friend's sons. Rory agrees to go on a date with him and has an awful time. When the date ends, Rory ends up stranded at a bar with no money, so she calls her married ex-boyfriend Dean to come and rescue her.

Back in Stars Hollow, Jess has returned for Liz (Kathleen Wilhoite) and T.J.'s (Michael DeLuise) renaissance-themed wedding, which they're holding in the town square. Love is definitely in the air and the emotions of the wedding move Luke and Jess, who are both attempting to win the affections of a Gilmore girl. Sparks are flying between Luke and Lorelai, but Jess is not so fortunate. He strikes out when he shows up at Rory's dorm and finds her there with Dean. Rory disappoints Dean when she asks him to leave so she can speak to Jess alone. However, the episode ends with Rory rejecting Jess' offer to run away with him.

1. Raincoats and Recipes (Season 4, Episode 22)

And number one on our list of the most outstanding "Gilmore Girls" episodes is "Raincoats and Recipes." This is the Season 4 finale, and directly follows from the events in "Last Week Fights, This Week Tights." It begins with Lorelai and Sookie preparing for the soft opening of their new business, the Dragonfly Inn. They've invited all their friends and family to stay for the weekend, but they're still missing a few essential things, like doors.

This episode has its signature "Gilmore Girls" humor on lock — from Kirk's naked sleepwalking to every word that comes out of Michel's mouth. However, there's also plenty of drama. First, Lorelai's ex-boyfriend Jason Stiles (Chris Eigeman) unexpectedly turns up insisting that he and Lorelai have a future, which kind of puts a damper on her blossoming relationship with Luke. The miscommunication is swiftly resolved, and Lorelai and Luke both finally admit that there's something between them and have their long-awaited first kiss.

While this is going on at the Dragonfly, Rory returns to her mom's house to pick up some CDs. Dean meets her there and they discuss the romance that's been building between them. When Rory points out that he's still married, Dean tells her it's not working and his marriage is basically over. Rory and Dean give into the sexual tension between them and sleep together. When Lorelai gets home later, she's not pleased to figure out that her daughter has lost her virginity under far less than ideal circumstances.