I don’t know about you, but I spent a little more than six hours of my Thanksgiving break lounging around my apartment with my wife watching the return of Gilmore Girls. The series’ four-part reunion is available to stream right now on Netflix, and it features appearances from almost every character you remember from the hit CW show that ended its initial televised run nearly a decade ago. Critics and fans cannot seem to agree on whether or not the new episodes are on par with those from the past, but considering the fact that everyone who has ever cared about this fictional universe is more than likely going to watch regardless of what people think, it doesn’t really seem to matter.
As soon as my binge of Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life came to an end I had the desire to start the series over from the very beginning. Then I realized my break from work was going to end on Monday morning and that I would have a very limited amount of time to dedicate to Gilmore Girls after that, so I chose instead to figure out the best episodes of all time and watch only those.
There was just one problem: I didn’t know what episodes to choose.
Then it dawned on me that I knew someone who loved Gilmore Girls more than anyone I know: Marie Miller. Yes, the same person responsible for some of the best pop rock being created today also happens to be a massive fan of Gilmore Girls. So much so, in fact, that she offered to put together a list of the essential GG episodes for me and you, the reader, to enjoy. Check it out:
1. “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” – Season 3, Episode 9
This episode has become part of our family’s Thanksgiving traditions. Every year my sisters and I gather with coffees in hand to watch Lorelai and Rory attend four Thanksgiving dinners. A personal favorite are Lane and Dave’s (Adam Brody) budding romance scenes, and who can resist the ever-brooding tension between Jess and Dean which closes this classic episode?
2. “The Bracebridge Dinner” – Season 2, Episode 10
“The Bracebridge Dinner” allows Gilmore Girl fanatics or viewers new to the show a chance to see almost every character in one place. After an elaborate dinner at the inn is canceled due to inclement weather, Lorelai decides to throw the dinner for her friends in Stars Hollow. As you can imagine, this episode is filled with plenty of quirky townspeople moments as well as some major conflict and resolution from parents Richard and Emily.
3. “The Festival Of Living Art” – Season 4, Episode 7
Perhaps an episode that may not catch as many Gilmore Girls fans, “The Festival Of Living Art” is one of my absolute favorites. As Lorelai’s super fan, I love her interaction with Sookie’s crazy midwife and her eager attempt for a particular part in the festival. There are also some of Kirk’s (who gets to save the day in this episodes) best moments.
4. “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” – Season 3, Episode 7
The dance-off episode may actually be my ultimate favorite. “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” contains incredible quirky town moments (I mean it’s a 24-hour dance-off after all), major Rory drama, and those ever-heartwarming Luke and Lorelai interactions. Plus the end scene contains that classic Gilmore Girls technique which combines tragic moments with absurd comedy.
5. “Bon Voyage” – Season 7, Episode 22
No matter how you feel about the last season, the very last episode must stir in your soul all the things that hooked you to Gilmore Girls in the first place. The mother/daughter crazy friendship, the sweet and brave Rory, the beautiful and strong Lorelai, the kind and quirky townspeople, Luke all along, Richard and Emily’s growing pride for their daughter and granddaughter, and that beautiful joy and pain that goes with loving so much.