Gilmore Girls wouldn’t have been the same without its incredible dialogue. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s series often had scripts twice the usual length, requiring the now well-known rapid-fire delivery by which Gilmore Girls squeezed every line into each episode’s running time. Despite how long the scripts or tight the time crunch, though, Gilmore Girls often let loose, with subplots that were no more than enjoyable diversions, and as such the series Gilmore Girls always struck the right balance between comedy and drama. The dialogue has a lot to do with that.
From “copper boom!” to “Oy, with the poodles already,” let’s take a look at the 100 greatest Gilmore Girls quotations, beginning with the series premiere.
“This is it. She can finally go to Harvard like she’s always wanted and get the education that I never got and get to do all the things that I never got to do and then I can resent her for it and we can finally have a normal mother-daughter relationship.” – Lorelai
Lorelai truly wants the best for her daughter and pushes her to be better than she ever was. Throughout the series, we see Lorelai celebrate Rory’s successes rather than resent them, showing her delight and excitement over her daughter’s dreams coming true.
Lorelai: “After all, you’re me.”
Rory: “I’m not you.”
Lorelai: “Really? Someone willing to throw important life experiences out the window to be with a guy? Sounds like me.”
On a surface level, Lorelai is somewhat right in this assumption that her daughter is her. But as the series progresses, it’s actually the stark differences between the two that suggest Rory’s more correct than her mother.
Rory: “You cannot date Luke.”
Lorelai: “I said nothing about dating Luke.”
Rory: “If you date him, you’ll break up, and we’ll never be able to eat here again.”
Lorelai: “I repeat, I said nothing about dating Luke.”
Rory: “Date Al from Pancake World; his food stinks.”
Even in the second episode, the show is teasing the possibility of a Luke and Lorelai relationship, which will stretch for the show’s entire run.
Lorelai: “And it’s so hard to believe that at exactly this time many moons ago, I was lying in exactly the same position—”
Rory: “Oh boy. Here we go.”
Lorelai: “Only I had a huge, fat stomach and big fat ankles and I was swearing like a sailor—”
Rory: “On leave.”
Lorelai: “On leave—right! And there I was—”
Rory: “In labor.”
Lorelai: “And while some have called it the most meaningful experience of your life, to me it was something more akin to doing the splits on a crate of dynamite.”
Rory: “I wonder if the Waltons ever did this.”
Lorelai: “And I was screaming and swearing and being surrounded as I was by a hundred prominent doctors, I just assumed there was an actual use for the cup of ice chips they gave me.”
Rory: “There wasn’t.”
Lorelai: “But pelting the nurses sure was fun.”
Time after time, Gilmore Girls comes back to this moment, once in a flashback (3.13) and again in a dream starring Madeline Albright (6.07). It’s pivotal to these characters, not just because it’s the story of Rory’s birth, but also because it’s the beginning of Lorelai’s independence from her parents.
Lorelai: “You really like him, don’t you?”
Lorelai: “Well, okay then. Just calm down.”
Rory: “I just don’t want to do or say anything else that’s gonna be remotely moronic.”
Lorelai: “I’m afraid once your heart is involved, it all comes out in Moron.”
Rory and Dean’s first “date” is one of the show’s first examples of how Gilmore Girls defies the mother-daughter dynamic. Lorelai tries to be more of a friend to Rory, while Rory expects more of a motherly, protective mother—mostly because she’s nervous about her date. It’s a sweet moment that seems tame in comparison to where Rory’s love life will go.
Lorelai: “Rory likes you.”
Dean: “Yes, she likes me, but you’re her best friend, and if you don’t like me, I won’t get anywhere.”
Lorelai: “I want to like you.”
Dean: “But you don’t like me.”
Lorelai: “But I want to like you… and I usually get what I want.”
While most people seem to choose “Team Jess” over “Team Dean,” one of Dean’s redeeming qualities is his respect for Lorelai. Dean knows just how important the bond between this mother and daughter is and does everything he can to win over not only Rory, but Lorelai as well.
“Tradition is a trap. It allows people to stick their head in the sand. Everything in the past was so quaint, so charming. Times were simpler. Kids didn’t have sex. Neighbors knew each other. It’s a freaking fairy tale. Things sucked then, too. They just sucked without indoor plumbing.” – Luke
As much as Luke clearly loves Stars Hollow, it’s nice that Gilmore Girls has at least one point of view that skews from the idyllic nature of the town.
Emily: “You’re going to lose her. You’re going to lose her just like I lost you.”
Lorelai: “I am not going to lose her, do you hear me? Even if I hadn’t gotten pregnant, you still would have lost me. I had nothing in that house. I had no life. I had no air. You strangled me. I do not strangle Rory.”
Emily: “Oh you’re so perfect and I was so horrible. I put you in good schools. I gave you the best of everything. I made sure you had the finest opportunities. And I am so tired of hearing about how you were suffocated and I was so controlling. Well, if I was so controlling, why couldn’t I control you running around getting pregnant and throwing your life away?”
Lorelai and Emily’s fight in “Rory’s Dance” is the first big fight we see between them, and it shows just how fragile their relationship is.
Lorelai: “You know my dad is not a bad guy.”
Luke: “I’m sure he’s not.”
Lorelai: “He lived his life the way he thought he was supposed to. He followed the rules taught to him by his non-fishing, non-Barbie-buying dad. He worked hard. He bought a nice house. He provided for my mom. All he asked in return was for his daughter to wear white dresses and go to cotillion and want the same life that he had. What a disappointment it must have been for him to get me.”
Luke: “I can’t imagine anyone seeing you as a disappointment.”
When Lorelai’s father ends up in the hospital, we see just how splintered the Gilmore family has been since Lorelai’s childhood. But it’s also some of the earliest evidence of just how much Lorelai means to Luke.
Emily: “Richard Gilmore, there may be many things happening in this hospital tonight, but your dying is not one of them.”
Emily: “No! I did not sign on to your dying. And it is not going to happen. Not tonight, not for a very long time. In fact, I demand to go first. Do I make myself clear?”
Richard: “Yes, Emily. You may go first.”
This is one of the first times we seen Emily and Richard alone together. Both characters can be cold and callous, but this simple scene shows the love between them—particularly heartbreaking considering the passing of Edward Herrmann, who played Richard Gilmore.
Emily: “So what exactly is going on between the two of you?”
Luke: “Nothing. Really. We’re friends, that’s it.”
Emily: “You’re idiots, the both of you.”
So many people call out the obvious chemistry between Lorelai and Luke in Gilmore Girls. In a nice choice, the show decides to make Emily the first person to notice this connection, even if she’ll later disapprove of their relationship.
Lorelai: “Look, when I was a teenager, my parents tried to keep me locked up. They tried to force me to become what they had in mind, and now I’m not talking exactly about Lane here, but in my case, it really didn’t work.”
Mrs. Kim: “You blame your parents for getting pregnant?”
Lorelai: “No, I just think sometimes if I’d had a little more space or someone to listen to me, things might have turned out different. Now I got lucky, because having Rory—totally the best thing that could have happened. But let’s be honest, I certainly don’t want Rory to turn out like me.”
Mrs. Kim: “I don’t want Lane to turn out like you either.”
Lorelai: “Now I believe that’s the first thing that you and I have ever agreed on.”
This moment between Lorelai and Mrs. Kim allows Lorelai to explain exactly how she feels about her parents to someone who isn’t invested in her situation. It’s also important to point out that Mrs. Kim’s strictness does exactly what Lorelai warns her about, as Lane will eventually leave her mother’s home due to a lack of space and acceptance.
Richard: “I had to tell my friends, my colleagues, that my only daughter, the brightest in her class, was pregnant and was leaving school.”
Lorelai: “That must have been devastating.”
Richard: “And then you run away and treat us like lepers. Your mother couldn’t get out of bed for a month. Did you know that? Did you?”
Richard: ‘We did nothing to deserve that. Nothing to earn that!”
Gilmore Girls often shows Lorelai’s side of stories, but this moment is our first sign that Lorelai is an unreliable narrator of sorts. We might think we know exactly what happened, but really, we’re only seeing events from her perspective.
“Rory, I know you heard a lot of talk about various disappointments this evening and I know you’ve heard a lot of talk about it in the past. But I want to make this very clear. You, young lady, your person and your existence, have never ever been—not even for a second—included in that list.” – Emily
This moment shows the tender side of Emily. She doesn’t want to scare away her granddaughter but also wants to make it obvious just how much Rory was wanted.
“So one night, cold and black with no light to guide them, they both snuck out of their homes and ran away as fast as they could. It was so dark out that they were both soon lost and it seemed as if they would never find each other. Finally, the girl dropped to her knees, tears streaming down her lovely face. ‘Oh, my love. Where are you? How will I find you?’ Suddenly, a band of stars appeared in the sky. These stars shone so brightly they lit up the entire countryside. The girl jumped to her feet and followed the path of the stars until finally she found herself standing right where the town gazebo is today. And there, waiting for her, was her one true love, who had also been led here by the blanket of friendly stars. And that, my friends, is the story of how Stars Hollow came to be, and why we celebrate that fateful night every year at about this time. Now, we still have a little time left in our story hour. Who wants to hear about the time I danced in a cage for Tito Puente?” – Miss Patty
When Miss Patty tells the origin story of Stars Hollow—one of many the series will present—it explains a certain amount of the town’s magic.
Rory: “I had no idea that three months was the car anniversary.”
Dean: ‘Four months, you get a plane.”
Rory: “Boy relationships sure have changed since I was a kid. I’m having one of those moments right now.”
Dean: “What moments?”
Rory: “One of those moments that everything is so perfect and so wonderful that you almost feel sad because nothing can ever be this good again.”
Rory and Dean’s three-month anniversary is a reminder that their young love is relatively sweet and simple. Dean thinks building a car is a totally normal thing for a boyfriend to do, while Rory’s comment that nothing will never be this good again shows how much she still has to learn about love and the possibilities of her future.
“Oh God, he’s got a nerve. I mean what does he think, he’s gonna do better than Rory? Is he crazy? Jeez. All right, well forget it, OK. Good riddance, adios, bienvenidos, hasta la vista.” -Luke
With Rory’s father, Christopher, out of the picture for most of her life, Luke is a sort of father figure to her. When Dean breaks up with Rory, we see just how seriously Luke takes his bond with her and shows his long-lasting distrust of Dean.
Lorelai: “OK, you’ve been in this mood for a week now and while I love the unexpected ups and downs of motherhood, I’ve got to say I’m tired of Goofus and I’d like my Gallant back.”
Rory: “You can’t just say a normal sentence, right? Just ‘Hey, let’s talk’ is too dull for you.”
Following her breakup with Dean, Rory is understandably distraught. But this moment also points out just how unrealistic the dialogue in Gilmore Girls can be.
“You know, I’m still learning this stuff, too, and since I’m still learning, I think I haven’t thought enough about what I’m supposed to be teaching you.” – Lorelai
If the first few seasons of Gilmore Girls have a through line, it’s probably that of the young mother and daughter trying to figure out how to navigate their relationship between parent and friend. Here, we see that Lorelai still doesn’t know exactly how to handle her motherly responsibilities, and when to be more of a mother than a friend.
“No, it has to be planned. It should be magical. There should be music playing and romantic lighting and a subtle buildup to the popping of the big question. There should a thousand yellow daisies and candles and a horse, and I don’t know what the horse is doing there unless you’re riding it, which seems a little over the top, but it should be more than this.” – Lorelai
From her love of snow to her desire for big romantic gestures, Lorelai clearly wants as much magic in her life as possible.
Emily: “I want you to call Rory tomorrow and apologize.”
Emily: “I want you to call her and tell her you’re sorry. That you weren’t feeling well and you think that Dean is a lovely boy and he’s welcome here anytime.”
Richard: “Have you gone insane? Under no circumstance will I—”
Emily: “Our daughter is getting married. She’s getting married and she didn’t tell us. When Rory decides to get married, I’d like her to tell us. Call her tomorrow.”
While Richard and Emily would never admit that they made mistakes in raising Lorelai, they often treat Rory as their second chance. In this moment, Emily realizes that while it may be too late to patch up the past with Lorelai, it’s not too to hold on to Rory.
“I don’t know how to tell you things, Mom. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but we don’t communicate very well. When something good happens to me, I’m just afraid you’re gonna make me feel bad about it. And when something bad happens to me, I’m always afraid you’ll say, ‘I told you so.’ I’m not sure if that’s always fair, and I’m sure I share part of the blame for this circle we get into, but you think your words don’t have any effect on me, but they do.” – Lorelai
Even though there’s quite a history between Lorelai and Emily, both try their best to salvage what they can from their relationship. In this moment, Lorelai attempts to explain why things are often so difficult with her mother.
Dean: “Oh, yeah. Like, don’t ever use the last of the Parmesan cheese. And never get into a heavy discussion late at night ‘cause that’s when they’re at their crankiest. Oh, and uh, go with their bits.”
Max: “Their bits?”
Dean: “Yeah, like if you’re eating pizza with them and Lorelai decides that the pepperoni is angry at the mushrooms because the mushrooms have attitude, and then she holds up a pepperoni and the pepperoni asks for your opinion, don’t just laugh. Answer the pepperoni.”
When Max gets advice about how to deal with Lorelai and Rory only a few days prior to his wedding to Lorelai, it’s obvious that things aren’t going to work between them. It’s a sweet moment when Dean tries to explain what to do and what not to do with the Gilmores, but if it took Max this long to understand this, the marriage just isn’t meant to be.
“But me, raising a kid? I don’t even like kids. They’re always sticky, you know, like they’ve got jam on their hands. Even if there’s no jam in the house, somehow they’ve always got jam on their hands. I’m not the right guy to deal with that. I have no patience for jam hands.” – Luke
Luke might be the most unlikely person in Stars Hollow to raise a kid, but when Jess arrives in town, he’s thrown into a position that he never expected. Luke’s hilarious overreaction also shows how wrong he is, as Luke’s influence on his nephew’s life will turn out to be significant indeed.
Emily: “Funny isn’t it?”
Lorelai: “What’s funny?”
Emily: “How nicely you seem to be fitting into the world that you ran away from.”
No matter how much Lorelai tries to forsake the life her parents wanted for her, whenever she’s forced to enter that world, Lorelai fits in perfectly.
“I’m good at doing what I have to do. When I had to get a job, I got it. When I had to find a house for us and a life for us, I got it. When I had to get Rory into Chilton, I did it. But I don’t have to leave the Independence Inn. I don’t have to go into business for myself. I don’t have to walk out on that limb and risk everything I’ve worked for.” – Lorelai
When Lorelai considers starting her own inn, she questions whether or not she has the passion and fortitude to become her own boss, rather than doing what is easy.
Mia: “When Lorelai showed up on my porch that day with a tiny baby in her arms, I thought to myself, what if this were my daughter, and she was cold and scared and needed a place to live? What would I want for her? And then I thought, I’d want her to find somebody to take her in and make her safe and help her find her way.”
Emily: “That’s funny. I would’ve wanted her to find someone who would send her home.”
The meeting of Emily and Mia—Lorelai’s surrogate mother, of sorts—is a fascinating battle of parenting styles. While Mia accepted a young Lorelai with open arms, Emily would’ve done the opposite. It’s a shame Gilmore Girls didn’t do more with Mia, but the moments between her and Emily are electric.
“He has had to watch you go from one guy to another, and then the engagement, and then the engagement was off, and patiently he waited. And now in walks this kid and he says, ‘My God, will she date anyone else in the world before she’ll date me?’” – Sookie
The people in Luke and Lorelai’s lives know what their hearts really want.
Lorelai: “I don’t have very many people in my life who are in my life permanently forever. They will always be there for me. I will always be there for them, you know? There’s Rory and Sookie, and this town and… you. I mean, at least I think I’ve got…”
Luke: “You do.”
As if to solidify Sookie’s assumptions earlier in the episode, Luke telling Lorelai she’ll have him forever is a rare moment of sweetness. He clearly cares for Lorelai, but here we see just how much.
“I am an annoyance to my wife and a burden to my daughter. Suddenly I realize what it feels like to be obsolete. I hope that you never have to learn what that feels like.” – Richard
When Richard retires for a short spell in Season Two, the realization that he doesn’t serve a purpose in his wife and daughter’s lives is heartbreaking.
“I was just thinking, you know, all these years, no matter what my relationship status has been, whether I’ve been dating or hibernating or whatever, I think I’ve always had you in the back of my mind, you know. The prospect of us being together. But this prospect was sort of indefinitely on hold while you found yourself and got your personal life together so that you could really be there for me, and especially for Rory. But you and I have been so linked in my mind that I think I have unconsciously sabotaged every decent relationship I’ve had, including the one with Max, because I was waiting for you, and I shouldn’t have been. And now that I see that, and I see you settling down with Sherry, I think I can move beyond it.” – Lorelai
Lorelai admitting to Christopher that she’s over him is both a good idea and a terrible idea. On the one hand, she needs to say this to let him know what she’s thinking. On the other, it makes Christopher feel like she’s blaming him for holding her back from meaningful relationships.
Lorelai: “Oh don’t ‘whatever’ me, you little jerk! You let Rory run around completely panicked, thinking she lost her boyfriend’s bracelet. She was miserable, do you understand that?”
Jess: “I didn’t take it!”
Lorelai: “I’m sure you’re jealous of Dean because he’s great and Rory’s madly in love with him, but you taking the bracelet didn’t hurt Dean, it hurt Rory. That bracelet is the most precious thing she owns. She never takes it off. It means everything to her, and you stealing it was unbelievably cruel!”
Jess: “The ‘most precious thing she owns’?”
Jess: “If it’s the ‘most precious thing she owns,’ why did it take her two weeks to figure out it was gone, huh? You might wanna re-evaulate how madly in love she is. I wouldn’t start calling him ‘son’ yet.”
As boring as Dean would become, at least he respected Lorelai.
Luke: “Hey, I am sorry about Rory. You know I care more about her than I do myself, but at least you know where Rory is and at least you know that she’s OK. Now I have to find Jess and I have to make sure that he’s OK, and if that cuts into your screaming time, well that’s just too damn bad!
Lorelai: “Go to hell!”
Luke: “Right back at ya!”
Luke and Lorelai’s first big fight is made even worse by the fact that both are technically right. Luke has to worry about where Jess has gone after he and Rory get into a car accident, but Lorelai is understandably mad that Jess caused the accident in the first place. While Luke can forgive Jess, Lorelai makes it clear she will always somewhat distrust the guy who broke her daughter.
“In fact, if you put oy and poodle together in the same sentence, you’d have a great new catch phrase, you know? Like, ‘Oy, with the poodles already.’ So from now on, when the perfect circumstances arise, we will use our favorite new catch phrase.” – Lorelai
“Oy, with the poodles already” shows the excellent and completely random asides this show could create. This moment has absolutely no bearing on anything within the episode but might also be one of the series’ funniest moments.
“I always thought if he could just get it together, grow up, maybe we could do it. Maybe we could really be a family in the stupid, traditional Dan Quayle, golden retriever, grow old together, wear matching jogging suits kind of way. And then he did get it together—he became that guy and he gets to be that guy with her. Chris is gonna have a baby with his girlfriend. He’s gonna marry her and he’s gonna be there for her while she’s pregnant, and he’s gonna be there with her while her child grows up, and he’s gonna be there for her while she does whatever it is she does. And I am in exactly the same place that I was in before.” – Lorelai
No matter how much Lorelai’s life has changed, her dream of being with Christopher has remained constant. Whenever it becomes a viable option again, she reverts back to hoping once more.
“By the way, I think you might be the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen, outside of a really filthy magazine.” – Kirk
As probably the weirdest of any of the Stars Hollow townies, Kirk, as played by Sean Gunn, has to find a perfect balance of being borderline creepy and endearing. There may be no better example of that than his line after asking out Lorelai.
“I’m not playing golden retriever, hoping one day she’ll turn around and fall in my arms. If she doesn’t wanna be with me, then fine!” – Jess
Even though they rarely see eye-to-eye, the one thing that connects Luke and Jess is their clear affection for the Gilmores. Jess might be incredibly rude in this moment, but he’s throwing some very harsh truths at his uncle.
“Oh please! You’ve been into him since he got to town, and I have spent weeks—months, actually—trying to convince myself that it wasn’t true, that everything was fine between us. But now I know that I was an idiot. You’re into him and he’s into you.” – Dean
As much as Rory has tried to stay loyal to Dean, their relationship reaches its breaking point at the Stars Hollow dance marathon. Dean and Rory might want to make it work, but it has been obvious for weeks that their relationship has been on a quick countdown to its end.
“One day I decided that instead of being hurt and upset by your disapproval, I’m gonna be amused. I’m gonna find it funny. I’m even going to take a little bit of pleasure in it.” – Lorelai
Emily’s mother-in-law, Trix, constantly insults her. When Lorelai explains to Emily how she deals with Emily’s own insults, it’s an oddly sweet moment of bonding between the two, who almost never agree on how to handle anything.
“They will get married, they will live here, and Christopher will go to work at my company. That is the solution. Now we have a plan so we can all stop talking about it.” – Richard
In this flashback episode, we see the reality of what happened during Lorelai’s pregnancy and delivery. Richard’s decisiveness in this moment shows his desire to end conflict and his eventual frustration that Lorelai diverted from his plan.
“Oh, and that attitude—I wanted to slap that monosyllabic mouth of his. And God forbid they’re in another accident together or his heap of a car breaks down and Lord Jim has decided that cell phones are beneath him and they’re stranded in the middle of nowhere. How can you let this happen? He had a black eye. He belongs in jail!” – Emily
When Emily comes down on Lorelai for allowing Rory to date Jess, it’s hard not to agree with her, especially considering how disrespectful and rude he is in this episode.
“Actually, I’ve had a little experience with being humiliated in front of the people I love, yes. Mom, please believe me, I know how important your pride is to you, and I never had any intention of robbing you of it. I feel terrible that I caused you any pain. I just wish that once in a while you might feel a little bit terrible that you cause me pain. I have pride, too, you know. And my husband travels and is very busy and I miss him and I’m lonely sometimes, just like you.” – Emily
We often see how little Emily can make other people feel, but the benefit of Trix’s appearances is it allows Emily to receive that same sort of treatment. In this rare moment of civility between Emily and Trix, Emily comes clean to how her mother-in-law truly makes her feel.
Richard: “Do you really think he was wearing a track suit?”
Lorelai: “I don’t—“
Richard: “Well, I wonder if he was wearing Nikes also.”
Lorelai: “‘Just do it’ takes on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?”
Richard: “I guess I’ve got a new daddy.”
The relationship of Richard and Lorelai is usually pretty cold, but this moment between the two of them is a heartwarming reminder that occasionally, Lorelai and her father can connect in very sweet and hilarious ways.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, much like the Israelites of yore, the Stars Hollow Minutemen languished in the desert for 40 years. But tonight, there was no Promised Land, no New Canaan, only a humiliating 5-to-1 defeat at the merciless hands of the West Hartford Wildcats. So, it’s back to the desert for the Minutemen, perhaps for another 40 years. Of course, by then I’ll be 70 years old. A lot of the rest of you will probably be dead. Taylor, you’ll be dead. Babette. Miss Patty. That man there in the hat.” – Kirk
Despite its sunny demeanor, Gilmore Girls always reveled in darkly funny moments, too. Here, Kirk points out that the next time Stars Hollow’s hockey team gets to the finals again, they might all be dead. He’s especially great at pulling off these dark moments with an innocence and weirdness that makes it work in this universe.
“You know, it’s funny, me standing here before you right now. I’ve thought about nothing else for four years but this school, this big important school with all of its history and tradition and really super teachers. And I dedicated myself to it completely, heart and soul, believing in its power, believing in its ability to get me where I needed to go. Harvard. I thought of nothing else. Many of you out there can attest to that fact. I was on my way and nothing could stop me. And here’s the really funny thing—after four years of slaving away, I go home today and I found this. I’m not going to Harvard. I got the tiny envelope, the one that reads, “Sorry, Paris. We’re not interested. Try again next year. Love, Harvard.” And the thing that’s really funny here is, who in the world deserves to go to Harvard more than me? Have you seen how hard I’ve worked over these past four years? I mean, can anyone here believe that I’m not going to Harvard? I can’t. I’m not going to Harvard. I am not going to Harvard. I had sex, but I’m not going to Harvard.” – Paris
Paris is one of the show’s most enjoyable characters because of her insane seriousness and solid demeanor. It’s when this exterior cracks, though, that creates some of her finest moments—as when her world crashes down after she loses her virginity, doesn’t get accepted to Harvard and has a breakdown on C-SPAN.
Rory: “Look at my wall.”
Rory: “So, that wall says something.”
Lorelai: “Yeah, it says the Harvard merchandizing department made a nice chunk of change off of us.”
Rory: “But how can I go to Yale with my wall looking like this?”
Lorelai: “It’s a wall. Look, honey, Luke was right. The pro/con lists have to come to an end eventually.”
Rory: “But Luke also reminded us that it was supposed to be Harvard regardless of a list.”
Lorelai: “I don’t. I don’t. I know I’m the one who said no to Yale loudly and a lot, but not anymore. Really, I just want what’s right.”
One of the show’s best lessons is that sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you wanted or expected, but sometimes those surprises can lead to even better opportunities. Even though Rory gets into both Harvard and Yale, her decision to go to Yale defies everything she thought she knew about what she wanted in her college education.
“Hello, Mama? How are you doing tonight? It’s Lane. Yeah, Lane. Nothing’s wrong. In fact, I’m feeling pretty good right now. Had a beer and a half. Nice cold beer. And I just thought I’d tell you, I’m drumming in a band tonight at a party and we rocked. We were The Clash and Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana combined. And I’m in love with Dave Rygalski. He’s my guy, not Young Chui. Young Chui’s a ship in the night, Mama. Not even a ship, he’s a little tugboat tooting along and I’m not gonna go to the prom with him, uh uh. I’m going with Dave because we rock together, Mama. The charade is over.” – Lane
The relationship between Lane and her mother was always just waiting to fall apart. When a drunk Lane calls her mother and finally explains what she wants and who she is, it’s a disaster, but it’s also a cathartic experience for both Lane and the audience.
“A few weeks ago you told me that Lane had a crush on me. Well, I have a crush on her, too. Now, I know you have very strict rules about dating and boys, but I just want you to know that I’m a good person. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I’ve never gotten a ticket, I’m healthy, I take care of myself, I floss. I never watch more than 30 minutes of television a night, partly because I think it’s a waste of time and partly because there’s nothing on. I respect my parents, I do well in school, I never play video games in case they do someday prove that playing them can turn you into a serial killer. I don’t drink coffee. I hate soda because the carbonation freaks me out. I’m happy to give up meat if you feel strongly about it. I don’t mind wearing a tie. I enjoy playing those hymns on my guitar, and I really, really want to take your daughter to the prom. Mrs. Kim? Please don’t make me repeat that list again.” – Dave
Dave is exactly the type of guy Mrs. Kim should want her daughter to be with, and in this monologue, Dave makes his case.
“You have nothing? I have nothing! I have no place to go. I can’t stay at Luke’s, I can’t stay in Stars Hollow. My mother is a wackjob. I mean, you’re saying you’re this loser and what, you don’t wanna take me off this terrific path I’m headed down right now? I’m not graduating high school, I don’t know what I’m gonna do with the rest of my life, but something’s telling me I better find out soon or I’m gonna be that guy out there on the boardwalk selling the hemp hats.” – Jess
Jess’ spinoff thankfully never happened, but this moment where he explains just how lost he is to his father is one of the episode’s few saving graces. Jess always puts up such a tough guy exterior, so having him come clean about his internal struggle is a rare glimpse at who Jess truly is.
Rory: “My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be. She filled our house with love and fun and books and music, unflagging in her efforts to give me role models from Jane Austen to Eudora Welty to Patti Smith. 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…”
Sookie: “Not crying.”
Lorelai: “Crying a little.”
Sookie: “Crying a little, but not blubbering. That’s what we meant when we said no crying. No blubbering.”
Rory: “Thank you Mom, you are my guidepost for everything.”
Rory’s graduation from Chilton might be the show’s most emotional moment so far, and it knows it. Rory’s speech is beautifully handled and presents her as a strong woman, but to counteract this overwhelming show of emotion, Gilmore Girls has some fun by allowing its characters to react to this moment naturally and humorously.
“Jess, is that you? Jess, I’m pretty sure it’s you and I’m pretty sure you’ve been calling and not saying anything but wanna say something. Hello? You’re not going to talk? Fine, I’ll talk. You didn’t handle things right at all. You could’ve talked to me. You could’ve told me that you were having trouble in school and weren’t going to graduate, and that your dad had been there, but you didn’t. And you ended up not taking me to my prom and not coming to my graduation and leaving again without saying goodbye again, and that’s fine, I get it, but that’s it for me. I’m going to Europe tomorrow and I’m going to Yale and I’m moving on. And I’m not going to pine. I hope you didn’t think I was going to pine, OK? I think—I think I may have loved you, but I just need to let it go. So, that’s it, I guess. Um, I hope you’re good. I want you to be good, and, um, OK, so, goodbye. That word sounds really lame and stupid right now, but there it is. Goodbye.” – Rory
In her early relationships, Rory often allows herself to be walked over. But with Jess now out of the picture, she finally stands up for herself and announces that she’s done with his childish antics (for now).
Lorelai: “No, no. Now go unpack the skimpy amount of stuff I’ve gotten you so far and I’ll be back in a couple of hours. Copper boom!”
Lorelai: “It’s what you said to me this morning when you were trying to speed me up.”
Rory: “But you missed a bunch of stuff in between.”
Lorelai: “I think it’s catchy. Go, go, unpack.”
Rory: “Copper boom!”
Lorelai: “Copper boom!”
Gilmore Girls’ “copper boom” exchange is one of the show’s finest and funniest examples of its brilliant dialogue.
“Oh, come on, Luke. Give him a break. He wants the date to go well. I mean, it’s all any of us wants—to find a nice person to hang out with ‘til we drop dead. Not a lot to ask.” – Lorelai
Lorelai can often be pretty demanding—see her expectations for Max’s proposal—but her breakdown of exactly what she wants in a relationship to Luke is pretty on point. All Lorelai wants is someone that will get her and go along with her jokes for the rest of her life. Exhausting job? Probably.
Lane: “I don’t want to go to Seventh Day Adventist College anymore. I want to be able to play with my band. I want to be a drummer. I will happily go to community college and I will happily live at home and adhere to your curfew, except on the nights when the band plays or practices. This way, I can get what I want and I won’t be lying to you or sneaking around. This way we can both be happy.”
Mrs. Kim: “Children do not make the rules. You may move out and live like that somewhere else.”
This scene showcases just how sad the relationship between Lane and her mother can be. Lane strives for her mother to accept her and understand her, yet Mrs. Kim isn’t open to compromise in any way.
“You see, this is your problem. You’re going to help people whether they want it or not. You have to fix everything. You have to fix everyone. You think it makes you a good guy, but really it just makes you a pain in the ass. You make it so that when people fail you, you get to feel like the martyr and they get to feel like not only did they screw up, but they also disappointed you. You interfere and you make everything worse. No one is asking for your help. No one wants your help. Focus on your own life and leave everyone else alone!” – Jess
Like a lot of Jess’ honest discussions with Luke, there’s truth in his message, despite how mean it comes out.
Luke: “So, look, I kind of heard you guys talking, and things seem to be going pretty good for Liz, which is different and a nice change, and I know that you guys are thinking about moving here, and I just wanted you to know it’s OK by me.”
T.J.: “OK. I didn’t realize we needed your permission.”
Luke: “Oh no, you don’t. Maybe you misunderstood me here. I was just trying to say that I assumed because my sister has a history with guys, you know, that you were like the others. But, well, you seem like a pretty good guy.”
T.J.: “Thanks. You’re a dick.”
Luke’s acceptance of T.J. is excellent: It not only shows just how much Luke cares for his family, it also gives Luke a great foil in T.J. Their “friendship” is always very strange, but putting the two of them together leads to some of the show’s most awkward and funny moments.
Rory:” You know, I have actually thought about this moment. A lot. What would Jess say to me if I ever saw him again? I mean, he just took off, no note, no call, nothing; how could he explain that? And then a year goes by. No word, nothing, so he couldn’t possibly have a good excuse for that, right? I have imagined hundreds of different scenarios with a hundred different great last parting lines, and I have to tell you that I am actually very curious to see which way this is going to go.”
Jess: “Could we sit down?”
Rory: “No. You wanted to talk, so talk. What do you have to say to me?”
Jess: “I love you.”
Jess so often hides his emotions deep down. When he finally shows who he truly is, as he does when he tells Rory that he loves her for the first time, it hits hard because of the rare honesty coming through.
“Um, I just thought I had everything under control but I didn’t, and the inn is just falling apart. This has been my dream forever and I have it, and it’s here and I’m failing. I can’t handle it. I just spend every minute running around and working and thinking. And I thought I would have help, but Sookie has Davey and Michel has Celine, and I’m—I can’t do it all by myself. And I don’t even have time to see my kid, and hell, forget see her, just even talk to her. And I miss her. And I sat there in my parents’ house just listening to my grandmother basically call me a charity case, and I couldn’t even argue with her. I couldn’t even say anything because I am. I’m running out of money and I don’t know what to do about it, and I was gonna ask you for $30,000 at dinner tonight. That’s how pathetic I am.” – Lorelai
“The Incredible Shrinking Lorelais” separates Lorelai and Rory from each other, forces them into difficult situations and sees how they handle them without the support of each other. In this moment, Lorelai falls into self-deprecation, fear and reliance on Luke, showing just how much these two need each other.
Madeline: “We found that if we kiss each other, we can get anything we want from guys.”
Louise: “Free drinks, food…”
Madeline: “T-shirts, boat rides, Frisbees…”
Louise: “Earrings, Sea-Doos…”
Rory: “OK. Well, that is a good tip.”
Paris: “Yeah, maybe later I’ll pants you for an Altoid.”
When Rory and Paris decide to engage in spring break activities, it’s obvious from the very beginning that they don’t fit in with this world. As the almost opposite of Madeline and Louise, their banter together in this moment shows the wonderful bond that has grown between Rory and Paris over the years.
“I can’t believe my parents are separated. I mean, I dreamed about this as a kid. Of course, my scenario also involved my mother finding her inner Timothy Leary and moving us all out to a commune in Berkeley, but still. I was convinced that these people should not be together, but you know what? I was wrong. Richard and Emily Gilmore were made for each other. God, this is so freaky. And I’m not supposed to know, and of course we won’t talk about it because we don’t do that in our family. We repress everything and we refuse to go to therapy, because why tell a stranger your problems when you can use them to punish those around you? So, what now? Every Friday I’m supposed to pretend that they still live together, and then after we leave, my mother will get in her car and drive back to the hotel? The hotel. My mother’s living in a hotel. it’s weird. It’s just incredibly weird.” – Lorelai
The separation of Emily and Richard Gilmore comes as a surprise to everyone, but for Lorelai it’s especially hard, realizing that her parents are perfect for each other and need to get back together. This separation becomes even harder for her when her mother decides she wants to start seeing other people and explore her options in the dating world.
Audiobook: “Whose phone calls or visits are never unwanted or too long? Do you see her face? Who would you most like to have in your life to ward off moments of loneliness? Do you see her face? When you travel, who would make your travels more enjoyable? Do you see her face? When you’re in pain, who would you most like to comfort you? Do you see her face? When something wonderful happens in your life—a promotion at work, a successful refinancing—who do you want to share the news with? Do you see her face? Whose face appears to you, my friend? Whose face?
This moment for Luke, listening to self-help tapes, is the moment many viewers of Gilmore Girls had waited four seasons for: Luke finally coming to the realization that he loves Lorelai is perfectly handled, allowing Luke’s face tell the entire story of what’s going on in his head.
Lorelai: “You of all people. The girl who thinks everything through. The listmaker. You didn’t bother to discuss those things before jumping into bed with a married guy?
Rory: “He’s not ‘a married guy’! He’s Dean, my Dean!”
Lorelai: “He’s not ‘your Dean,’ he’s Lindsay’s Dean. You’re the other woman!”
In one of the most staggering moments in Gilmore Girls history, Lorelai discovers that Rory has had sex for the first time—with her now-married ex-boyfriend, Dean. It’s a blow to both of them that resonates for some time and Lorelai’s disappointment makes this one of the most difficult Gilmore Girls moments of all.
“I told him that that night was special and that I wasn’t sorry it happened but he’s married, and he has to figure out his life, so I said that I was going to make it easier for him and take myself out of the mix.” – Rory
After only a few episodes, Rory comes to the understandable conclusion that she and Dean aren’t going to work out, even if it doesn’t last—a few episodes later, the pair starts a relationship when Dean leaves his wife.
“Lorelai, this thing we’re doing here—me, you—I just want you to know I’m in. I’m all in.” – Luke
Once Luke and Lorelai admit their feelings for each other, the floodgates open, and we finally see just how important Lorelai is to Luke. On their first date, Luke recalls how they first met and gives the audience a beautiful moment five seasons in the making.
Taylor: “Think of the consequences. What will happen when the relationship goes sour as, let’s face it, most of Lorelai’s relationships do?”
Taylor: “We’ll have to choose. Suddenly you’ll either be a ‘Luke’ or a ‘Lorelai’ or, if you’re Kirk and you can’t make a decision to save your life, you’ll be neither.”
Kirk: “He’s probably right.”
Taylor: “That’s bad for the economy, bad for the town. I vote against this.”
Stars Hollow is often ridiculous, but in this discussion of the Luke and Lorelai’s relationship, it’s strange how prophetic they are. Yes, they should mind their own business. But once Luke and Lorelai break up, as they predict, the townspeople do, in fact, split into two factions.
Luke: “She can have adventures and be free, she’s smart. The whole world’s waiting for him.”
Lorelai: “You’re comparing Rory to Pippi Longstocking?”
Luke: “Pippi is strong and independent. She can lift a horse above her head. And beat up bullies and build a hot-air balloon. She’s unique, like Rory. But I guarantee you, if Pippi had met Dean, there would be no horse, no balloons. He’d drag her down to his level, spend all her gold coins and poof, like that, all her dreams would be gone.”
Ever since the first season, Luke has made his distrust of Dean known. After watching Pippi Longstocking, Luke makes a valid point about how Rory’s recent rekindling of her relationship with Dean is going to end up being more harmful to her than she knows.
“It’s completely true. He wants you back, and then he disappears or Sherry gets pregnant or he loses his job or he just takes off—whatever. No good reason necessary. And it’s been like this forever, and you just let him do it. You can’t help it.” – Rory
In one of Rory’s finest moments parenting Lorelai, she warns her mother about the dangers of keeping Christopher in their lives. Even though Lorelai tries to disspell any worries, Rory turns out to be right in the long run.
Richard: “However, what’s done is done. It’s out. So I dropped by to tell you that I have spoken to your father.”
Logan: “My father?”
Richard: “We pounded out a few things. Property agreements, pre-nups, that sort of thing.”
Logan: “Okay, I think that there’s been…”
Richard: “Oh, we came to a very fair agreement. I’m sure you’ll be pleased. Now, we’re setting up a dinner for next week to finalize the engagement and start talking about the ceremony. Emily is handling all the newspaper announcements, so, not to worry. That’s all taken care of.”
Richard: “She is a fine young lady, Logan. I want her to be happy. You’ll take care of that, I assume. All right, I’ll let you get back to your coffee break. Nice seeing all of you again. And Logan… Welcome to the family son.”
Richard is always at his best when we see his lighthearted side. Especially in conjunction with Rory, this prank on Logan shows Richard’s sense of humor.
Emily: “He owns a diner. He’s a divorcee. He’s uneducated, he’s not a proper stepfather for Rory and he’s completely unsuitable for Lorelai. My daughter is stubborn but she’s capable of greatness. And watching her settle down with a man who could hold her back from that is unacceptable. You, at least, won’t hold her back.”
Chris: “OK, Emily, I’m very confused by this speech of yours, and GG needs to be fed.”
Emily: “She’s getting serious with this man. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. If you want a chance with Lorelai, you had better do something. And you had better do something now. Timing has never been your strong point, Christopher. You should see if you can change that.”
Emily and Christopher create an unholy alliance as they both work to sabotage the relationship between Lorelai and Luke. Emily later goes on to apologize, but the fact that both are willing to hurt Lorelai for their own gain says plenty about their selfishness.
Lorelai: “You know, like a bunch of selfish rich kids, the children of entitlement, blowing off school, drinking for days. Spending thousands on a stupid and potentially dangerous stunt, knowing full well that they’re not going to get in trouble ‘cause daddy is important. They’re all the same.”
Rory: “They’re not all the same. You don’t even know them. And that’s not what I wrote. I didn’t say all those things about them. You’re just reading whatever you want to into it.”
Lorelai: “OK, sorry.”
Rory: “Just because you have money, that doesn’t automatically make you a jerk.”
When Rory starts dating Logan, it’s hard for Lorelai to hide her hatred of the rich. Having grown up in that world, she distrusts anyone with money.
“Now, in planning our traditional first dance, I gave a lot of thought to the song that would represent the next phase in our marriage. The best phase in our marriage, I believe. I went over all the greats—Bennett, Sinatra, Chuck Berry—and a story popped into my head. Now, most of you know my daughter, Lorelai. When Lorelai was three, she went through a period of having chronic ear infections. It was terrible. Screaming all night long, we couldn’t keep a nanny longer than a week. And so it fell to Emily to sit with her all night long. She tried everything to calm her down. Finally, she found a song that seemed to soothe her. It was a popular song on the radio and it soon became Emily’s favorite. Of course, it drove me crazy—some woman complaining about how she wanted to marry a man named Bill. Not exactly Cole Porter. Emily would tease me, saying, ‘If only your name was Bill, then this could be our song.’ Well, Emily, for tonight, and tonight only, my name is Bill, and this is our song.” – Richard
The moments of sweetness and love between Richard and Emily are few and far between, but when they do arrive, they are some of the best moments of the series. Richard’s speech at their recommitment ceremony shows a side of both characters that we’ve never seen before.
Christopher: “Rory is my daughter. Mine.”
Luke: “Oh, really? Well then, where the hell were you when she got the chicken pox and would only eat mashed potatoes for a week, or where were you when she graduated high school, or started college? Huh? Who the hell moved her mattress into her dorm, and out of her dorm and back into her dorm again?”
After Lorelai walks in on Rory and Logan kissing, the two father figures in Rory’s life finally face off. Christopher may be Rory’s biological father, but Luke shows that he’s been there for Rory far more often.
“My daughter and I aren’t speaking. She won’t take my calls, she won’t come to dinner. She apparently wants nothing to do with me. I’m sure you know that Lorelai and I have had many battles. Most of them have been because I feel that I know what’s best for her. But Lorelai has her own ideas about what she thinks will make her happy. She wants you, Luke. She’s made her choice. God help her, but there it is. It doesn’t matter if I agree with it, I can’t fight it. You’ve won. Go back to her. I promise I will stay out of it.” – Emily
Emily usually likes to be the puppet master of those around her—for good and for bad. After trying and succeeding in sabotaging Luke and Lorelai’s relationship, she sees how much pain she’s caused. Realizing what she wants isn’t necessarily for the best, she takes the noble approach and stands down.
“Please hear me. If I want your input in my life in any way, shape or form, I will ask for it. Until then, do us all a favor and shut up!” – Lorelai
Emily believes she can automatically fix the wrongs she’s caused. But for Lorelai, this is just one in a series of many painful experiences she’s had at the hands of her mother.
Dean: “They want more than this. Don’t you see that? And all you are is this.”
Luke: “Rory was a kid, Dean. She grew up. She moved on. Accept it.”
Dean: “You accept it. This town, it’s all you are, and it’s not enough. She’s going to get bored and you can’t take her anywhere. You’re here forever.”
Luke: “It’s different.”
Dean: “It’s not different. You and me. Same thing.”
Dean is hurt after letting Rory go and understands the Gilmores’ desire to want something more than what Stars Hollow can offer. But what Dean doesn’t understand, and Luke does, is that Rory and Lorelai are more different than Dean would like to believe, even if Lorelai does occasionally want more than she has.
“Say the only reason I offered this to you is because my family behaved badly and I wanted to make up for it. Say I have no interest in furthering your career. This is still an opportunity. Who cares why you got the opportunity? It’s here, and life is about making the most of everything you’re handed. Well, this is being handed to you. Now, what are you going to do about it?” – Mitchum
This is also the beginning of Rory’s frustrating relationship with Mitchum, as he builds her up, tears her down and makes her feel like garbage throughout the rest of the series.
“I’ve been working for 11 years, Luke. I’ve had 15,000 jobs. I’ve saved every dollar I’ve ever made. That and the miracle of compound interest has created a bounty of a quarter of a million dollars. Again, just under. I don’t want to brag…” – Kirk
One of the greatest and longest-running gags of Gilmore Girls is the fact that Kirk does every little odd job in Stars Hollow. After five seasons, this brilliant joke finally gets its perfect punch line, as Kirk admits he has $250,000 to his name.
Mitchum: “I’ve worked with a lot of young people over the years. Interns, new hires. I’ve got a pretty good gut sense for people’s strengths and weaknesses. Whether they have that certain something to make it in journalism. It’s a tough business. Lots of stress.”
Mitchum: “And I have to tell you, you don’t got it. Now, guts can be wrong. Mine’s been wrong before. But not often… Hey, listen. I know this is rough, but I may have just done you a big favor.”
This world-shattering moment completely alters Rory’s viewpoint of her future. After this, Rory changes the course of her life, drops out of Yale and becomes almost a completely different person, thanks to Mitchum breaking her spirit and self-confidence.
Lorelai: “She dropped out of Yale and she moved in with my parents, who I went to for help, and they stabbed me in the back. Everything we worked for. All these years. Her whole future. She was supposed to have more than me. She was supposed to have everything. That was the plan. We had a plan.”
Luke: “OK, I’m sorry, I have to jump in here. I know you think you have this thing handled, but I can help. First off, we call Yale and we tell them something like Rory had a chemical imbalance and she was mentally out of her mind when she told them she was dropping out. And then we get her out of your parents’ house whatever way we can. We lock her up in her room with you, because you can talk anybody into anything. And if worse comes to worst, we will drive her to school every day and we will follow her to class and camp out there to make sure she goes. I’ll take morning classes, you take afternoon classes, or the other way around if it works out better for your schedule. And I know there’s a few kinks to work out; the kidnapping thing might be a little problematic. But either way, she is not quitting school. This was her dream. I am not going to let this happen. What?”
Lorelai: “Luke, will you marry me?”
In Lorelai’s proposal to Luke, we learn so much about these characters. We see the depth of Luke’s love for this family. And we see not just Lorelai’s desire for someone like Luke to be in her life for good, but also her susceptibility to making life-altering decisions at the spur of the moment.
Paris: “I need her to be at Yale. Rory has been my only real competition since she showed up at Chilton. She’s the only one who’s ever challenged me. She’s my pace car. She’s my Bjorn Borg. With out her I’ll get lazy. I’ll fall apart. I’ll have frosted hair and dragon lady nails. I’ll achieve nothing. I’ll become my mother.”
Lorelai: “Paris, listen to me. You are a very smart, driven young lady. You can be anything you want. Except a diplomat. You don’t need Rory to push you.”
Paris: “Rory is my only friend. She stays in the room until I’m completely done saying something. I need that.”
In this sweet moment between Paris and Lorelai, Paris points out her insecurities and just how much she needs her best friend in her life. As conflicted as this relationship started, Rory and Pars’ friendship becomes one of the finest in the entire show.
Lorelai: “I am calm. I’m fine. You guys must be pretty jazzed though, huh? I mean you finally did it. You finally got a shot at getting the daughter you’ve always wanted.”
Richard: “I’m too tired to have this conversation.”
Lorelai: “Rory! Here! Right under your roof. Excellent!”
Emily: “You’re being ridiculous.”
Lorelai: “Now you get your do over. A new and improved Lorelai. Congrats. Very well played.”
As crazy as claims that Rory could be Richard and Emily’s second chance as raising their own daughter might once have sounded, the events of Season Six prove Lorelai mostly right. After moving into Richard and Emily’s house, Rory has made her allegiances—at least at the beginning of the season—known, which delights Lorelai’s parents.
“Rory, look at me. You and your mom will talk again. This rift is just nature’s attempt to find some equilibrium. You and Lorelai have gone too many years without fighting, so you had to have one big fight to make up for it. Now you’ve had it, and soon you’ll make up and then this will all be just your lost weekend.” – Lane
Rory and Lorelai are usually so in sync that when they tear apart, it feels like the whole show is coming undone. But as Lane points out, this argument is so huge because of how rarely they fight, and she rightfully posits that one day, it’ll all just be a speed bump in their usually great relationship.
“Now let’s talk about your money. You were a two-bit gold digger, fresh off the bus from Hicksville when you met Mitchum at whatever bar you happened to stumble into. And what made Mitchum decide to choose you to marry amongst the pack of women he was bedding at the time, I’ll never know. But hats off to you for bagging him. He’s still a playboy, you know? Well, of course you know. That would explain why your weight goes up and down 30 pounds every other month. But that’s your cross to bear. But these are ugly realities. No one needs to talk about them. Those kids are staying together for as long as they like. You won’t stop them. Now enjoy the event.” – Emily
We’ve often seen Richard stand up for the other Gilmores—we even see it earlier in the same episode—but it’s fantastic to see Emily do the same. When Emily brutally takes down Logan’s mother for her actions against Rory, it’s mind-blowing to see Emily straight up destroy someone that has hurt her granddaughter.
Jess: “This isn’t you! This! You going out with this jerk? With a Porsche? We made fun of guys like this!”
Rory: “You caught him on a bad night.”
Jess: “This isn’t about him! Okay? Screw him! What’s going on with you? This isn’t you, Rory, you know it isn’t! What’s going on?”
Rory: “I don’t know! I don’t know…”
As often as people have told her that she’s making the wrong decisions, it takes the return of Jess for Rory to understand the problems she faces in her life. While Rory’s wheels have been spinning since the beginning of the season, Jess yelling about her foolishness finally sets her on the right track.
“You didn’t lose her like you lost me. She was never supposed to be there in the first place; she was always supposed to be at school. She just went back where she belonged. And you didn’t lose me.” – Lorelai
We never got to see Emily’s reaction to Lorelai leaving home, although we do hear quite a bit about it over the course of the series. When Rory finally leaves Emily and Richard’s home, we get to see glimpses of what such a loss must’ve been like for Emily.
“Hey, listen to me. I’m serious here. I know you and your grandparents are playing ‘Who Can Freeze Out Who the Longest,’ which I know can be fun. But if you ever hope to have a relationship with them again, then someone needs to make the first move. I remember the first Christmas after we left Hartford. We were at the Independence Inn and I got an invitation to their annual Christmas party and I didn’t go, and that one move defined our entire future relationship. I mean, if I had gone, it would have been awful, but it would have broken the ice, and maybe—and I know this is a big maybe—but maybe we would have been a tad closer than we are now or could ever hope to be.” – Lorelai
Lorelai’s relationship with her parents might be too far gone to repair, but Lorelai knows that it’s not too late for the relationship between Rory and her grandparents.
Luke: “What is this feeling, this tightness in the chest, this anger mixed with paralyzing weakness?”
Lorelai: “You’ve been Gilmored. But you know what the weird thing is? They referred to us as family: you, me.”
Luke: “Yeah, what was that about?”
Lorelai: “Well, I think in some twisted way, that may have been them actually validating us as a couple.”
When Luke goes to dinner at the Gilmore estate, not only does he get a glimpse of the type of mind games Emily and Richard can play on their guests, but also he gets the first sign that Emily and Richard might actually accept he and Lorelai as a couple.
“Hello, everybody, hello. Some of you know me as Lorelai Gilmore and some of you know me as Cher. But either way, I wanted to say a few words about our girl. I have known Lane forever, and I’m just so incredibly happy that she has gotten married. I mean, I am just so happy that this adorable 22-year-old girl has gotten married, because it’s amazing, you know? It’s really hard to get married. Believe me, I should know. I mean, seriously, because Lane is married, and next thing it’ll be my daughter, and then my granddaughter, but not me. I’m not getting married. No, it ain’t for me. It’s not in the cards. But hey, do you know what date I’m not getting married? June 3. Do not save the date. Do you hear me? Do whatever you want on June 3 because there’s nothing at all happening on that day. If there’s anything you need to book or anything, it’s totally safe to book it on June 3. So, congratulations, Lane and Zack. Who else here had eight shots of Tequila? Anybody? Hands…no? Oh my gosh, who misses the yummy bartenders? I know, me too. They were so great. I was gonna ask them to not work on June 3 on my not wedding. I just thought that would be so fun.” – Lorelai
Once Luke’s daughter comes into the picture, it throws a wrench in Lorelai and Luke’s marriage plans. Despite trying to play it cool, Lorelai’s drunken speech at Lane’s wedding proves how much it’s eating her up inside.
“Mitchum Huntzberger? Yes, it’s Rory Gilmore. I just thought I’d call and remind you that Logan is lying in a hospital bed with a partially collapsed lung and a whole host of other potentially life-threatening injuries. And I’m figuring a guy like you, surrounded by nothing but a bunch of terrified sycophants, might not have someone in his life with the guts to tell him what an incredibly selfish, narcissistic ass he’s being, so I thought I’d jump on in. Swallow your pride, get in your car, and come down here and see your son, now!” – Rory
Up until this point, Rory has mostly been fearful of and reverent toward Mitchum and his opinions, even when they’re incorrect. But when Logan ends up in the hospital and Mitchum refuses to visit, Rory takes the initiative to get him there—and to yell at him the way she’s wanted to for about a year.
“Now, before you get your nose out of joint and accuse me of interfering, hear me out. I think your house is very nice. I know you’ve put a lot of work into it. But Lorelai, it’s too small for the two of you, especially when you have children. If you have children, I mean. A man needs his own space and room, and Luke does not have that at your house. Also, I know you’ve always wanted horses, so I thought something with a little property might be nice. Now, I know it’s not actually in Stars Hollow but it’s right on the border. It’s only an extra 10 minutes to the inn and an extra five minutes to the diner. Plus, I did a little nosing around and I heard that if you grease the palm of the Stars Hollow zoning commissioner, a man named Taylor Doose, you can get him to change property lines, so we can give you a Stars Hollow address if it’s really important to you.” – Emily
Emily shows just how much she truly loves her daughter and cares for her when she admits her plan to purchase a new house for Lorelai and Luke.
“I feel so stupid. I really had myself believing it was gonna happen. I bought that stupid dress, and now it’s just hanging there, mocking me. And the crazy thing is, I am ready to get married. I am ready to start the next phase of my life. I want another kid and I don’t want to wait anymore. I don’t want to be patient. I’ve been patient long enough. I’m not happy and I feel crappy all the time. And I just think I’ve had it.” – Lorelai
If there’s one family that could really use some therapy, it’s the Gilmores. Lorelai’s discussion with a therapist gives her the strength to push Luke and their relationship to the next level.
Lorelai: “No! I’m not waiting! It’s now or never!”
Luke: “I don’t like ultimatums!”
Lorelai: “I don’t like Mondays, but unfortunately they come around eventually.”
Luke: “I can’t just jump like this!“
Lorelai: “Well, I’m sorry to hear that. And I have to go.”
As great as it would be for Luke and Lorelai to have a happy ending at the end of Season Six, this moment shows that they’re not quite there yet. Lorelai’s ready to move forward, but Luke is too overwhelmed to think about anything other than himself and his daughter. Because of this split, they call things off—for the time being.
“It’s not your fault. It’s not my fault. It’s just, we’re not right together, you know? You’re you, I’m me. I just want to stop pretending we’re something else. You don’t belong with me. You belong with someone like Christopher. And I just—let’s just stop fighting it, OK? And you go back to being Lorelai Gilmore. I’ll go back to being the guy in the diner who pours your coffee.” – Luke
Instead of dragging out the awkwardness between Luke and Lorelai, Season Seven gets it out of the way, as the two of them come to an agreement that they should remain friends. As much as this seems like the right choice, it’s Lorelai’s face that shows that Luke has never been just the guy who pours her coffee.
“I think he’s good for you. But it’s not going to be perfect. He’s not perfect, and God knows you’re not perfect. But marriage is not about always being happy, and often it’s about not being happy at all. It’s about compromise, which is not your strong suit. Marriage is about swallowing your pride sometimes, about doing what he wants. It’s not about winning an argument, which may make you sad, because that’s what you love. But I don’t want to see you ruin this. Marriage is serious business, Lorelai, and if you don’t take this very seriously, then this whole thing could fall apart faster than you could possibly imagine. And he’ll be gone and you’ll be alone again. A ring is no guarantee.” – Emily
Emily’s speech to Lorelai about her marriage to Christopher comes with decades of disappointment and pain. We’ve seen how hard Emily has had to work to keep her marriage going, and she tries to instill some of that understanding in her daughter.
‘To whom it may concern,
In the nearly 10 years that I have known Luke Danes, I have come to know him as an honest and decent man. He’s also one of the most kind and caring persons I have ever met. I’m a single mother, and I raised my daughter by myself, but once Luke Danes became my friends in this town, I never really felt alone. Luke and I have had our ups and downs over the years, burt through it all, his relationship with my daughter, Rory, has never changed. He’s always been for her no matter what. He was there to celebrate her birthdays. He was there cheering her on at her high school graduation. Luke has been a sort of father figure in my daughter’s life. With his own daughter, Luke wasn’t given the opportunity to be there for her first 12 years, but he should be given that opportunity now. Once Luke Danes is in your life, he is in your life forever. I know from personal experience what an amazing gift that is, and not to allow him access to his daughter wold be to seriously deprive her of all this man has to offer, and he offers so much. Thank you for your time.
Sincerely, Lorelai Gilmore
When Luke needs a character reference in order to have visitation rights for his daughter, he naturally asks Lorelai for help. Her letter clearly shows just how much Lorelai still cares for Luke—so clearly, in fact, that when Christopher finds it, he leaves and decides to end their marriage.
“Hi, it’s me again. Um, dad’s out of surgery and it went well and he’s doing fine, so it’s good news. I just, I wanted you to know…because…I don’t know why. ‘Cause you haven’t returned any of my calls. But I just thought I would tell you what’s going on because I’m your wife and I think that’s what I’m supposed to do. No idea how to be your wife but I’m trying. You’re my husband, you know, and it seems like you should be here or call me back. i mean, I’m pretty sure that’s what married people do, is be there for each other. But I know you’re upset and I know we had a fight, but this is just bigger than that, you know? It’s my dad, and he’s had a heart attack. And everybody’s been here. I mean, I’ve talked to Sookie and even Michel and Patty and Babette, and they’ve all been here for me, but my husband’s not here. That’s not OK, Chris, you know? It’s not OK.” – Lorelai
Richard’s heart attack shows Lorelai that between the two men in her life, Luke and Christopher, Luke is always going to be the one that comes to her side, no matter what.
Lorelai: “You’ve always been this possibility for me, this wonderful possibility. But it’s just not right. And I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Christopher: “Yeah. I guess I should have known, huh? It took me 20 years to get you to say yes.”
Lorelai: “I need you to know that you’re the man I want to want.”
Christopher: “I know.”
In this moment between Christopher and Lorelai, the two finally stop circling one another and come to the realization that they will never work. In Lorelai’s last line, we see why she’s tried so hard to get things between her and Christopher to work, forsaking other relationships to do so.
Taylor: “May I have your attention, please? I’d like the welcome you all to this Bon Voyage in honor of one of Stars Hollow’s favorite daughters, Miss Rory Gilmore! I’ve known, as have most of you…”
Emily: “Have you given any more thought to my spa idea?”
Lorelai: “Oh, yeah. I don’t think I’m interested, though.”
Taylor: “…pregnant with pride and anticipation. Ready to birth you from our collective womb, fully gestated, and nourished, and so we breathe deep and with these last painful contractions, we push you out into the world, spank your bottom, and wipe the amniotic fluid from your eyes, as you issue your first independent breath.”
Emily: “Is this speech making you a little queasy?”
Lorelai: “A little.”
Taylor: “Rory, would you like to say a few words?”
Rory: “Thank you, Taylor, for that very unique tribute. Um…I love this place. I just loved growing up here. I love all of you, and thank you so much for doing all this. It’s amazing. It’s just… It’s so… Oh, gosh, I’m on the verge of gushing, so I’m just going to stop myself. I don’t want to gush, except for one more thing. To my mom, who…is just everything to me, and everything I am, and who I’m going to miss so much.”
Ever since she was a child, the town of Stars Hollow has helped raise Rory. When Rory leaves Stars Hollow for her first big job, the town gives her an amazing going away party, which overwhelms not just Rory and Lorelai, but Emily and Richard as well.
Lorelai: “I can’t believe they did this for her.”
Richard: “I don’t think this is all for Rory. I think this party’s a testament to you, Lorelai, and the home you’ve created here. I regret that you needed—”
Richard: “Now let me finish, Emily. I regret it, and we’ve—recent experience has taught me—“
Emily: “Oh, please, don’t become one of those “I had a heart attack, let me express my every thought” types.
Richard: “Not every thought, dear, just this one. It takes a remarkable person to inspire all of this.”
Lorelai: “Thanks, dad.”
Emily: “OK, that’s enough. It’s not as though the two of you are saying goodbye.”
Richard and Emily so often show their disapproval of Lorelai that these simple moments of pride in their daughter pack quite the punch. Seeing how much Lorelai and Rory mean to the town of Stars Hollow is the last of those moments, and it’s lovely.
Lorelai: “Mom, why don’t we just talk about it Friday night at dinner?”
Emily: “oh, so our Friday night dinners are going to continue, then?”
Lorelai: “Well, we might as well. I’ve kind of gotten used to it.”
Emily: “All right. That sounds fine. But don’t be late and don’t wear jeans.”
In some ways, Gilmore Girls could be seen as Emily trying her hardest to stay in the life of her daughter and granddaughter. Despite how much Lorelai and Rory have fought having to go to Emily’s Friday night dinners, this final moment between Emily and Lorelai shows just how far these two have come and how much Lorelai and Emily mean to each other.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can find more of his writing at RossBonaime.com and follow him on Twitter.