Gilmore Girls on The WB (s1-6) / The CW (s7)
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Um... I'm actually not sure how many episodes of season one I watched, back in 2000-2001. I'm sure I must have skipped some of them, for... personal reasons. But I also think I must have seen most of them, and probably fell in love with the show during that season. It's all very quirky and funny and clever and dramatic and fun. I love pretty much all the characters (and actors). All the music is awesome. (I have one soundtrack for the show, but there really should be more of them.) And... yeah, just absolutely everything about the show is awesome. Unfortunately, probably the last time I did anything with my review was during the third season. I always meant to do more in depth updates about all seven seasons, but I didn't get around to it until 2018, eleven years after the series had ended, by which time I'd forgotten countless details. So I would rely on the internet to remind me of anything I might consider important. And even reading a couple of different websites for reminders, there are still details that are unclear to me. (But of course there were also lots of things I did remember without any help.) Anyway, I'm afraid most of what I'll list here are major plot developments (spoilers), with little if any of the small details of why I actually loved the characters or what makes the show so quirky and clever and funny. So I guess you'll just have to watch it for yourself.
The "Girls" of the title are Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). At the start of the series, Rory is fifteen years old. Her mother had gotten pregnant with her when she herself was sixteen, at which time she ran away from home. Lorelai wanted to leave her parents, Richard (Edward Herrmann) and Emily, who were very controlling and disapproving of Lorelai. They were also wealthy and formal, with very definite ideas of how proper people should behave. Lorelai, however, had very different ideas, and I'd say her unplanned pregnancy was just the straw that broke the camel's back. (Rory's father, Christopher Hayden, was Lorelai's boyfriend at the time, I guess, but when the series begins, they haven't been together for years, though Christopher is still occasionally involved in Rory's life, and is on good terms with Lorelai.) Anyway, Lorelai's family are from Hartford, Connecticut, and when Lorelai ran away sixteen years ago, she ended up in the quirky small town of Stars Hollow, where she got a job at the Independence Inn.
In the present, Lorelai is the inn's manager. Her best friend, Sookie St. James (Melissa McCarthy), is the chef at the inn. Meanwhile, Rory's own best friend is a Korean-American girl named Lane Kim (Keiko Agena), who is very into music. However, it would also be fairly accurate to say that Lorelai and Rory are each other's best friend. But while mother and daughter have a lot in common with each other, they also have some differences. Rory is very academically-minded, and has always wanted to attend Harvard someday. To that end, she wants to enroll at an expensive prep school called Chilton, which Lorelai can't afford. So she makes a deal with her own parents to pay Rory's tuition, in exchange for Lorelai and Rory having dinner with them every Friday night. And it turns out that Rory has more in common with the elder Gilmores than Lorelai ever did. So... it's complicated.
Before getting into any more details, I think it's important to just list some of the quirky "townies" of Stars Hollow. Since I've already mentioned that Lorelai and Sookie work at the Independence Inn, I should also mention the inn's concierge, a sarcastic French man named Michel Gerard. But the most important townie is Luke Danes, who owns the diner where Lorelai and Rory spend a lot of time... mostly drinking coffee. Oh, man, the Gilmore girls are famous for drinking a lot of coffee, which presumably fuels one of the other things they're famous for, which is talking. A lot of rapid dialogue and pop culture references. Luke himself is generally somewhat grumpy, but he does love the Gilmore girls, and they love him. One person Luke particularly doesn't like is Taylor Doose (pronounced "Doe-see"), the town selectman (rather like a mayor), whose ideas of what's best for the community are often at odds with... well, most of the citizens' ideas. Taylor presides over the frequent Town Hall meetings, which Luke rarely deigns to attend, but which the Gilmore girls enjoy attending as a form of amusement. Taylor also owns the local grocery market. A new boy in town named Dean Forester (Jared Padalecki) will eventually get a job there. But more importantly, he will eventually start dating Rory. There's also a guy named Jackson Belleville, who provides produce for the Independence Inn, and eventually starts dating Sookie. There's Babette Dell (Sally Struthers), who is Lorelai and Rory's talkative neighbor, and her more mellow, laconic husband, Morey. There's Miss Patty LaCosta (Liz Torres), the gossipy dance instructor. And there's Lane's mom, just called Mrs. Kim, who owns an antiques shop, and is very conservative, unlike Lane. But my favorite townie is Kirk (Sean Gunn), who goes through a lot of different jobs, throughout the series, and who is just rather odd, but nice. (Before the character of Kirk was introduced, Gunn played one or two other characters in earlier episodes.) I kind of don't want to mention Kirk's last name, because for quite awhile it seemed to me like he didn't even have one, until an episode (I don't even remember which season) when Lane happened to mention it, which rather excited me, at the time. And... I reckon there are any number of other townies, but I think those are all the main ones. Oh! There's also a guy called the "Town Troubadour" (Grant Lee Phillips), who just wanders around Stars Hollow singing and playing guitar.
Now, on to Chilton! The most important character there is a student named Paris Geller (Liza Weil), who is very ambitious and serious, and becomes Rory's main rival. Paris's best friends are Louise Grant and Madeline Lynn, though all three girls seem to have very different personalities that you wouldn't necessarily expect to work well together. Another student is Tristan Dugray (Chad Michael Murray), who often teases Rory, though there is the potential for romantic attraction between them. Though Paris has been interested in Tristan for a long time. And there's a friendly teacher named Max Medina (Scott Cohen), who eventually starts dating Lorelai. I think those are the major Chilton characters, for now.
I'm not sure how much else to say about the plot. There are lots of ups and downs when it comes to friendships, family relationships, and romantic relationships. As I said, Lorelai dates Max, but when Christopher returns to become more involved in Rory's life, there's a possibility of renewing his old relationship with Lorelai. And it always seems like Lorelai and Luke should become more than friends. (Seriously, this was a major ship among fans of the show.) But an ex-girlfriend of Luke's named Rachel returns to town near the end of the season, and resumes their relationship. She's also the one who finds an old inn called the Dragonfly, which will become important in subsequent seasons. But by the end of the season, Rachel breaks up with Luke. And Max proposes to Lorelai. And throughout the season, of course tons of other things happen.
Lorelai accepts Max's proposal, but later calls it off. But before the wedding was called off, Luke made a chuppah for Lorelai and Max. Luke's sister, Liz (who lives in New York), sends her teenage son, Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia) to Stars Hollow to stay with Luke, to keep Jess out of trouble. Christopher begins dating a woman named Sherry Tinsdale (Mädchen Amick). Rory and Paris pledge a secret sorority called the Puffs, which is led by Francie Jarvis (Emily Bergl). Tristan's father takes him out of Chilton to send him to military school. Lane becomes a cheerleader. (I fondly remember a scene where all the cheerleaders do a routine to the Madness song "One Step Beyond," and I was sure Lane must have chosen the music. And of course I was right.) Jess begins competing with Dean for Rory's affection. And... in reading recaps to help me write my own recap, I find that a Chilton student named Henry Cho, who had been dating Lane (a secret they kept from her mother) since season one, broke up with her. I didn't even remember he existed, I'm afraid. Jackson and Sookie get engaged. Rory's wrist is injured in a car accident while Jess is driving, which prompts Jess to leave Stars Hollow. (I learned about Emily the Strange because of a sticker Lane put on Rory's cast.) Kirk premieres a short film he made called "a film by kirk." (On a personal note, this inspired a subgroup of Kirk fans of which I was a part on a Gilmore Girls message board to call the group "Auteurs.") Richard decides to come out of retirement and start his own consulting business. A woman named Sophie Bloom (played by Carole King, who sings the series's opening theme song) opens a music shop, which leads to Lane deciding she wants to learn to play drums. Lorelai graduates from business school (which I had forgotten she was attending). The season ends with Sookie and Jackson's wedding. Also, Lorelai sleeps with Christopher, while he is having relationship problems with Sherry. However, when Sherry becomes pregnant, he goes back to her. Paris becomes student body president at Chilton, with Rory as her vice president. And Jess returns to Stars Hollow. Oh, and I also wanted to mention that this is the first season that we see another townie, a car mechanic named Gypsy (Rose Abdoo), who will make occasional appearances throughout the rest of the series. It's also this season that Lorelai invented the memorable expression "Oy, with the poodles already!"
Rory returns from a summer internship in Washington, D.C. (I still remember Lorelai's allusion to "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," though sadly, I've still never seen that movie.) Rory learns that Jess is now dating a girl named Shane. Paris starts dating a guy named Jamie. Sookie gets pregnant. Lane decides to start a band, and advertises for people to join. This is how she meets a guitarist named Dave Rygalski (Adam Brody), whom she soon begins dating. (I always thought he was a great character and a great match for Lane. Oh yeah, I definitely shipped them.) They start a band called Hep Alien, which also includes Dave's friends, a bass guitarist named Brian Fuller and lead guitarist Zack Van Gerbig. Dean eventually breaks up with Rory, believing she'd rather be with Jess... whom she soon starts dating. Rory applies to her grandfather's alma mater, Yale, despite her lifelong dream of attending Harvard. Also, in the Thanksgiving episode, there's one of my best-remembered moments of the series, when Lorelai quotes a line from "Lady Marmalade." Luke starts dating a lawyer named Nicole Leahy, and Lorelai starts dating a guy named Alex Lesman (Billy Burke). Christopher and Sherry's daughter, Georgia (aka Gigi), is born. Dean starts dating a girl named Lindsay Lister (Arielle Kebbel). Jess moves to Venice, Califnornia to live with his father, Jimmy (Rob Estes). The Independence Inn closes; Lorelai and Sookie buy the Dragonfly Inn. Rory graduates from Chilton.
Rory and Paris begin attending Yale, where they'll be roommates, along with Tanna Schrick (Olivia Hack) and Janet Billings. We learn that Luke married Nicole, but then planned to get divorced... before changing their minds and giving their marriage another try. Luke moves to Litchfield to live with her. Lorelai and Sookie start a side business as caterers, while preparing to open the Dragonfly Inn. Dean and Lindsay get married. Kirk starts dating a third grade teacher named Lulu Kuschner. (I love them as a couple!) Dave moves to California for college, and is replaced in Lane's band by a much older guitarist named Gil (Sebastian Bach). Richard takes on a business partner named Jason Stiles, who later begins secretly dating Lorelai. Sookie and Jackson's son, Davey, is born. Richard introduces Rory and Paris to Asher Fleming (Michael York), a former classmate of his who is now a professor at Yale. Paris soon begins a relationship with Asher. Rory and Paris both start working at the Yale Daily News, which is edited by Doyle McMaster (Danny Strong). Mrs. Kim kicks Lane out of the house after discovering she's in a rock band. She stays with Rory at Yale for awhile, then moves in with Lorelai. She also gets a job at Luke's diner. Dean gets a job on the construction crew that's renovating the Dragonfly. Jess briefly returns to Stars Hollow, to get his car. His mother, Liz, comes to town for her high school reunion. We also meet her boyfriend, T.J., whom Luke doesn't like. Lane eventually gets an apartment with Zack and Brian. Rory maintains a friendship with Dean, even when Lindsay insists they stop seeing each other. Luke eventually divorces Nicole. Richard and Jason eventually end their partnership on bad terms, and Lorelai breaks up with Jason. Liz and T.J. return to Stars Hollow later in the season, to get married. Jess returns to town for the wedding. The Dragonfly Inn finally opens, and Michel gets a job there. Luke and Lorelai finally start dating. After having marital difficulties throughout the season, Richard and Emily separate. And Rory sleeps with Dean, who is still married to Lindsay.
Lorelai is upset about Rory's tryst with Dean. And when Lindsay finds out about it, she kicks him out. Rory later starts dating Dean again. Asher dies of a heart attack. Rory meets a rich Yale student named Logan Huntzberger, who turns out to also be on the staff of the newspaper. Sherry moves to Paris, so Christopher has to take care of Gigi on his own. This brings him back into Lorelai's life, which upsets Rory. Jackson runs against Taylor for town selectman, and wins. Lane starts a relationship with Zack. Sookie gets pregnant again. Liz and T.J. move to Stars Hollow. Dean eventually breaks up with Rory. Paris starts dating Doyle. Richard and Emily get back together and renew their wedding vows. Emily encourages Christopher to try and get back together with Lorelai, before she and Luke get too serious. This leads to a serious rift between Lorelai and Emily. It also leads to a brief separation between Luke and Lorelai. Rory and Logan eventually begin dating. She later gets an internship at one of the newspapers his father, Mitchum, owns. Sookie gives birth to her and Jackson's second child, a daughter named Martha. Rory decides not to return to Yale next year, and instead moves in with her grandparents. Lorelai proposes to Luke.
Luke accepts Lorelai's proposal, but things are complicated by the fact that Lorelai and Rory aren't currently speaking to each other. Also, Lorelai adopts a dog which she names Paul Anka. Rory takes a job at Emily's Daughters of the American Revolution office. Jess returns once again, and criticizes Rory's decision to drop out of Yale. Subsequently, she returns to Yale. She also reconciles with Lorelai. And Luke learns that he has a 12-year-old daughter named April Nardini (Vanessa Marano) he never knew. Her mother is a former girlfriend of his named Anna Nardini (Sherilyn Fenn). April is a very smart kid who's into science. And Luke tries to become involved in her life, though he isn't sure how to tell Lorelai about her. (A lot of fans didn't like the addition of April to the show, considering her a Cousin Oliver type of character. But personally I always liked her.) Lane breaks up with Zack and moves back home. Paris becomes editor of the Yale Daily News, but the rest of the staff hates her, and decide to replace her with Rory. This prompts Paris to kick Rory out of her apartment, so she moves in with Logan. Zack proposes to Lane, and she says yes; their wedding happens just a few episodes later. Liz gets pregnant. Logan graduates from Yale and goes to London, to work for his father's company. The season ends with trouble for Luke and Lorelai's relationship.
This was the final season, in 2006-07. It's also the year that The WB merged with UPN to form The CW. But due to contract negotiations, series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel, had to leave the show. This was disappointing for many fans, but while I'm sure the season would have been better with the Palladinos' involvement, I still liked it well enough. Including the finale... although for years, fans had been waiting for "the final four words," which Amy had been planning on, I think, since the very start of the series. And of course, they now couldn't be used, and fans wouldn't know what those words were... at least until the show was rebooted for an eighth season (of four movies) on Netflix, in November 2016.
Anyway... at the start of season seven, Luke and Lorelai break up. Lane gets pregnant. Rory tries to maintain a long distance relationship with Logan. Lorelai begins to date Christopher. Richard becomes a guest lecturer at Yale. Rory makes new friends named Lucy (Krysten Ritter) and Olivia. Lorelai and Christopher take a trip to Paris, so Sherry can see Gigi. While there, they get married. Liz and T.J. have their baby, a daughter named Doula. Anna decides to move to New Mexico and take April with her, which leads Luke to fight for partial custody of their daughter. Sookie gets pregnant again. Richard has a heart attack, but survives (after a memorable episode with his family waiting in the hospital). After various sources of strain in their marriage, Lorelai and Christopher break up. Lane and Zack have twins, Steve and Kwan. Rory considers various options for what to do after her impending graduation, including a job offer at a newspaper or a possible internship at the New York Times. Rory and Paris graduate from Yale. Logan proposes to Rory, but she needs time to think about it, and eventually says no. Everyone in Stars Hollow organizes a graduation ceremony for Rory. She and Lorelai plan to go on a trip over the summer, but later Rory has to cancel, as she gets a job reporting on Barack Obama's presidential campaign, for an online magazine. And it seems as if Luke and Lorelai will get back together.
And I guess that's all I can say. Maybe if I ever rewatch the series, I'll edit some bits of my review, add any important details I may have forgotten (and that the internet didn't remind me of), and change any mistakes I may have made. Certainly I've left out countless details that don't really need to be included here, and possibly some important characters. (For example, "Marty" is a name that kept popping up when I read stuff about Rory's Yale years, and I had totally forgotten about him, and didn't feel the need to mention him in my actual plot recaps. Sorry, Marty.) I feel like... this series is just so great, that I am failing to remotely do it justice. I wish I could do better.
Followed by Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life