Gilmore Girls: Every Episode Ranked

UPDATED! To include the new Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life episodes!

From the sick mind that ranked every episode of modern Doctor Who, comes the biggest, dopest, Stars Hollowy-ist ranking of every last freakin’ Gilmore Girls episode ever made–all 157.

This was no easy feat, mind you. Ranking these episodes required months of re-watching every season (for the upteenth time) and countless hours of careful thought, criticism, and plenty of coffee, my friends. Let me tell you right off the bat that I’m a Jess fan, and I thought Digger wasn’t so bad. There. Phew. I got that out there. And Christopher? King of the Ruiners. I hate him the way Taylor hates the long-haired town troubadour (I just start pulling at my hair and mumbling to myself about vegetable soup, carts, kiosks, and cart-kiosks.). But more than focusing on a single character, I did my best to weigh how much I enjoyed each episode, and how much they fit in with the show and characters that we know and love. Lorelai playing racquetball? No. Mrs. Kim serving tofurkey? Yes. Rory going to the gym? No. Taylor convincing the town to build a giant haybale maze? Yes.

If you’ve ever “been to” Stars Hollow, I really hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane as much as Kirk enjoys crinkle-cut carrots. So, sit back and turn up the BooZoo Barnes, and get ready to completely disagree with my heavily subjective (yet clearly perfect) list.

This list is dedicated to my little sister Meri, without whom I never would have traveled to Stars Hollow, and who sadly did not live long enough to see the “Year in the Life” episodes.

157. “Go Bulldogs!” (season 7, episode 6)

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This episode is so badly written that it’s really difficult to sit back and enjoy it. Christopher’s cheesy, Lorelai’s a giant petulant child, and Rory is self-important. Not feeling it. And all those creme brûlée “to die for” jokes? [gag] [blurp] are like something out of a corny 50s sitcom. Not one scene of this episode works, and the series would be better if it never existed. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: The idea that Rory would have “fans”, being an undergraduate student editing a student newspaper for one semester–especially not to the extent that other parents recognize their names. Nope. Lorelai’s Been Hit With the Stupid Stick Moment: She is practicing French without really trying and with a cartoonish accent. I’m sorry, hasn’t she already been to France and other francophone nations? Lorelai’s Been Hit With the Stupid Stick Moment #2: “Extra Provost on that, please!” Tons of points lost for: Having to watch Luke’s wretched date with the really horrible gross swim coach. Super points lost for: A cappella groups. They made me listen to fucking a cappella groups! My ears! They bleed!

156. “Santa’s Secret Stuff” (season 7, episode 11)

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This whole episode is a bunch of terrible about Lorelai trying to write a character reference for Luke. I’m not sure we needed a whole episode to do this–though I get that she’s supposed to be examining her feelings. But you know what that leaves us to do? Listen to Gigi be a moron. And re-live the nightmare that is holiday shopping at the mall. The only redeeming part was the talk Lane and Zack had about life. I never would’ve guessed that they’d end up being the all-star couple of the series, but that’s what it’s looking like. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Wait, Lorelai and Chris actually suspended Christmas–tree, gifts, and all, until Rory got back from England? How incredibly unfair is that to Gigi??? She’s a little kid who had to go to bed on the 25th believing that Santa was visiting everyone but her. I would have sobbed and been deep-down genuinely hurt by the universe. I mean, that is traumatic shit! But they had to all because of fucking Rory and her boyfriend booty call plans. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: While I don’t mind that there’s no snow (it’s common, plus it’s symbolic of Lorelai’s unhappiness), all of those trees outside should not have green leaves. Go, go California foliage! Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #3: I just realized that in the outdoor shots you can see that the Crap Shack has some pretty fancy basement windows. Hmmmm. Lorelai’s Been Hit With the Stupid Stick Moment: “Hockey puck, rattlesnake, monkey, monkey, underpants.” Points lost for: “The redcoats are coming.” Gigi, you are NOT cute. Not even a little. Points awarded for: Michel: “You know what, I cannot do this, let us just stand here and let the awkwardness wash over us.”

155. “A Vineyard Valentine” (season 6, episode 15)

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Taking us out of Stars Hollow was always a really bad idea. Then add in a splash of Luke acting like a complete grumpy dickface, not to mention a social spazz (who brings food rations on a romantic weekend?). Seriously, everything about Luke in this episode is what I hate about this character. Complete insensitivity and rudeness. Buy her a present, asshole. Don’t you love her even a little? Then throw in a zippity-pow of Rory being so fake, playing “Look, I’m a fuckin’ Real Housewife” with Logan. Since when does Rory like to cook big dinners? Or go to the gym? The GYM?? No she doesn’t like to do any of those things, and, frankly, without Lorelai there to keep her company, what is it she does at the gym while Logan’s shooting hoops? I bet she sits in a corner nibbling the ends of her hair and praying she never gets poor. This episode makes me angry and depressed all at once. I’m smad. Points lost for: Lorelai’s really tacky and unfunny spermaceti jokes. Points awarded for: I would normally say Boozoo Barnes and his zydeco band, but fuck this episode and this season. No points awarded.

154. “French Twist” (season 7, episode 7)

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You feel sticky? Because this episode is full of sap! (Ha, get it? I made a funny.) Some of the sap is sweet and moving, like Mrs. Kim’s reaction to the pregnancy news. But most of it is a little gross. First of all, Lucy and Olivia are terrible fake friends with whom Rory doesn’t seem to have anything in common with, or even like very much. In fact, they seem to just be using Rory for her cool apartment and country house. So I’m not really moved by their road trip to dye their hair and make Rice Krispies treats, especially since Rory’s realistic meltdown might have been touching was it done in the company of anyone who actually cared about her. I bet you’re wishing you had actually made real friends now, eh Rory? Ach, I’m surprised they didn’t dust off Madeline and Louise just for this episode. Lorelai’s sappiness is the worst, though. She spends her time in Paris mocking the French and worshipping a douchebag man-child who once ditched her with a daughter to raise. So, no, Lorelai, I don’t think it’s all that sweet that he gave you some pizza from his pocket. You know what would’ve been sweeter? Child support. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Yeah, even with money, there’s no way an American who speaks no French can instantly arrange for waiters and chefs to appear at a restaurant at 4 or 5am. I call more Tito bullshit (see: “But I’m a Gilmore”) Lorelai ‘s Been Hit With the Stupid Stick Moment: Her pantomiming of hunger is embarrassing. Can’t she point to the bread or something? Again, she’s been to Paris before! Bonus points awarded for: Rory had a meltdown and didn’t run away!

153. “’S Wonderful, ‘S Marvelous” (season 7, episode 4)

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Nope. No. No to Christopher’s ridiculous convertible and over-the-top date. Stop trying so hard! Pathetic. No to Lorelai trying to pretend that she’s actually falling for Dopey. Nope to Lucy and Olivia, who are the most forced, obnoxious fake friends a TV character ever had. I get that the season 7 writers correctly wonder after 6+ seasons, “why doesn’t Rory have more than one friend at a time??”. But Lucy and Olivia? No. They’re too dopey. They’re too fake. Nope. No. And no to us having to see more of April now that she means nothing to us. ‘S Terrible. ‘S Unbelievable.

152. “How Many Kropogs to Cape Cod?” (season 5, episode 20)

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Kropogs, indeed. What in the name of Palladino were the writers thinking? It’s painful to watch Logan as a moronic thief, while Rory spends the episode as a timid, confused kiss-ass bouncing after her employer. What happened to our bookish girl, the valedictorian? What happened to the idea that Logan was charming or clever? I hate Kropogs. I hate lapels. I would just like to pretend that this episode was a nightmare and didn’t really happen. Okay? Thank you.

151. “The Long Morrow” (season 7, episode 1)

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So. Much. Anger. Christopher? CHRISTOPHER?! You have GOT to be kidding us! We were owed so much more than this, ASP! I know you left the show on terrible terms and we are paying the meta price for it, but leaving Lorelai in bed with Christopher is like moving out of a house and leaving a steaming turd in the duct work. A steaming turd named Christopher. So “The Long Morrow” has to deal with the turd and its lingering odor. The down side is that the writers were clearly clueless and decided to have the girls play racquetball. (WHAT???) Very few times have any two characters been so grossly misunderstood or misrepresented in the history of television. RACQUETBALL??? Plus, rocket gum? Isn’t sweeping the nation. It’s a dumb distraction. On the positive side, Kirk slamming into the diner was pretty spectacular. By far, though, the best scene was Lorelai’s explanation of the breakup to Sookie. I felt like the writers were sitting down and having a heart-to-heart with the audience. And for me, it worked. This was the catharsis we needed after a really terrible season six. For me, that really keeps this episode a few Kropogs shy of being the worst.

150. “Partings” (season 6, episode 22)

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If you’re feeling a little blue, maybe don’t watch this episode. It’s just absolute pure misery. I really cannot fucking believe this is how the Palladinos wanted to go out. This was their last contribution to the show ever (okay, until the revival), and this was a joyless disaster that did irreparable harm to the series. She ends up at Christopher’s? Really? I’ve rarely been so viscerally angry at a TV show. I know there was some acrimony between ASP and the network, but her fans deserved better. Now, this episode actually isn’t the worst. I only say that because at least the horrible emotions feel genuine. And Rory and Logan’s parting was at least pretty touching (Alexis Bledel pulled it off!), as was the moment when Lorelai told Luke that she had to go. Sigh. Oh, the horrah! Points lost for: Rory’s bad British accent and terrible party costume. Plus, does the Brit-themed party remind anyone else of when Hurley’s mom threw him a welcome home party with a tropical island theme? Seems a bit insensitive. (LOST reference!)

149. “Just Like Gwen and Gavin” (season 6, episode 12)

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… and now we welcome you to another very special Gilmore Girls episode: Our 2nd Ever Special Edition of: An Hour-Long Awkward Suspension of Reality! (See also: “Blame Booze and Melville”.) Were you able to spot all of the issues in this episode that had no connection to reality? (Count them all!)
#1: The idea that anyone would ever wake an entire town at 3:13 am for any reason other than imminent death. That’s grounds for lawsuit, yo.
#2: The phony A.V. setup at the town meeting–how is Taylor hearing Kirk? How are the townspeople hearing Taylor? This is eighteen kinds of wrong.
#3: Timing. So Taylor is in Maine, which is on EST, just like Connecticut. So he’s apparently fully dressed at 3:15am, and his nephew is awake and throwing ping pong balls at that hour? Plus, I mean, seriously, as psychotic as Taylor is, why couldn’t this wait for the morning? (And this was all before the title sequence!)
#4: Rory opens four locks on her door with a single key? That doesn’t make sense.
#5: April rode her bike in winter? Nope. Chick wouldn’t make it 3 feet.
#6: Paris. I know she’s over the top, but this is mental breakdown over the top. This is the-administration-gets involved-fearing-a-lawsuit over the top. Ease off the gas there, writers.
#7: The coffee cart came into the school building. Nope, that thing does not fit through a standard size door.
#8: The coffee cart came into the bar. Nope, not only would it not make it through the door, but the staff would have kicked him out right away (no outside food or drink!).
#9: Lorelai and Sookie are bashing the syrup tasting and their only standing about four feet away from the group–those people can totally hear them and their rude (if true) judgement! Every word. Bad inn owners.
#10: Lorelai pulls Chinese food cartons out of a paper bag that has clearly never been folded, crumpled, or carried anywhere. Brand-new, even looks like the first take for the scene.
#11: The food cartons are clearly empty–watch them wobble!
#12: That goddamn Doggy Swami booth. This is supposed to be for charity, right? So who’s building (and professionally painting) that goddamn booth? That’s easily over $700 in materials and dozens of man hours for that stupid custom booth that Lorelai just cooked up.
#13: Only slightly less ridiculous is the Kim booth where people pay a dollar for a religious pamphlet. And why does Mrs. Kim need an apron for that duty?

And all of this is my way of avoiding how horrible, awful, cruel, and miserable Luke is in this episode. Points awarded for: Mention of the dirty pasta.

148. “The UnGraduate” (season 6, episode 3)

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POOL HOUSE EPISODE. The season 6 train of depression just keeps chugging down the tracks. T.J. and Paul Anka vie for attention this episode, and between T.J. and his golden hammer, and Paul Anka and his chocolate and scrambled eggs, I just really don’t give a shit. We’re obviously treading water here, so let’s get on with it. Points lost for: Lorelai is back in a fucking ugly sweater vest. Super points lost for: Lorelai’s really un-cute pizza-pizza-salad Paul Anka trick and the Miss Piggy laugh she does afterward.

147. “Always a Godmother, Never a God” (season 6, episode 4)

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POOL HOUSE EPISODE. Look everybody, Rory dresses up like Hortence VanUppity, and then lets her boyfriend and his shitty friends treat her like a doormat (and a milkmaid, too!). Awesome! Great episode, folks. No, Rory, I don’t want any of your fucking salmon puffs. I want you to get on with the story already, and stop wasting our time. Phew. That felt good. Now, the saving grace for this episode is the reappearance of Jackson’s brother, Bo, who is only second to Rune in my book. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Lorelai and Rory are so incredibly thoughtless by interrupting the baptism that I just about explode off my couch. Dudes, there are a lot of people who traveled a long way for a sacred religious ceremony–everything isn’t always about you. Super points awarded for: Bo licking his key. It’s just so wonderfully wrong. More points awarded for: Rory and Lorelai’s awkward discussion about religion. Well-written and funny as hell.

146. “Here Comes the Son” (season 3, episode 21)

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I don’t think I really need to say much about why Jess’s adventures in Venice Beach aren’t ranked any higher. We’ll just leave that alone. Horrible, Blood-Curdling Suspension of Reaily Moment / Further points lost for: Lorelai acting like Rory really needs financial aid for Yale. Lorelai, she doesn’t. I know you are outraged that the $75,000 is gone, but the very fact that you even had $75,000 to pay off your debts is more than most families get. And, you apparently have enough in your savings account (or in available credit) to spend an entire summer backpacking around Europe very shortly. PLUS, you are somehow also able to put a downpayment on buying a very expensive inn, and begin remodeling it, all within the next three months. When you consider how much most families struggle just to send their kids to community college, or even put food on the table, I do not want to hear the words “Rory is the most deserving kid there is” coming out of Lorelai’s mouth. Gross! Really, writers, this scene really makes me gag and heave.

145. “Driving Miss Gilmore” (season 6, episode 21)

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This is another really, just utterly depressing episode. I don’t care about Logan’s recovery or Sookie and Jackson’s pickles, or Emily’s lasik surgery. The whole thing is overshadowed by Luke and Lorelai being on the outs, and her just being miserable. I mean, she even cried to her mom. The joy of this show just isn’t there. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Okay, I’ve had lasik, and let me tell you, not only shouldn’t Emily leave the house like that (she’s supposed to be sleeping and administering countless eye drops), she physically couldn’t. The sun would hurt more than anything–even with the hat, the shades, and the SUV.

144. “The Prodigal Daughter Returns” (season 6, episode 9)

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Rory is ascending, and Lorelai’s on the fast shit slide down to the bowels of season 6 (which, by the way, I fully assert is the worst season of this show–yes, worse than 7). I’m so proud of Rory for getting a fake new job, which she will instantly forget she has because she’s about to take an overload of classes at Yale, and she quits every job ever within two days. But then…then we have to watch Luke and Lorelai fight all episode because Christopher (or as Luke calls him, Christoffuh), King of the Ruiners, calls and leaves a message and because Luke has ugly old furniture. Plus, April shows up. Gaaah. April. This is when I suspect that the contract negotiations started to go badly for ASP. She wasn’t getting the money she wanted and so she started to tank this shit. April is a giant poop grenade, and ASP just pulled the pin. So as much as I cheer for Rory, this is the episode where the show really dies. Points lost for: Rory sticking her leg up in the air when she hugs Lorelai. Knock it off, Alexis Bledel.

143. “The Real Paul Anka” (season 6, episode 18)

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Between the Paul Anka cold open and the April-centric bus trip from hell, this episode was just designed to piss me off. And here’s the thing, I really TRIED to look for something enjoyable in this episode–anything. The closest I got was when Lorelai sort of beat the shit out of Luke’s bag out of spite. I like spite. And it’s good to see Jess, even though Luke and Rory dragged their ugliness right to his doorstep. Did I mention we’re on episode number TWO of the mysterious Gilmores looking for a house in Stars Hollow plot? I’m just done with this season.

142. “Gilmore Girls Only” (season 7, episode 17)

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Another road trip. Damnit. I wish we could’ve had more Stars Hollow time, especially knowing the clock is running out.  Regurgitated Plot Idea: Rory runs away from a conflict. Regurgitated Plot Idea #2:  Emily and Mia square off. Lorelai ‘s Been Hit With the Stupid Stick Moment: That poem. It wasn’t endearing. Points lost for: The new Mia. I liked Elizabeth Franz better (season 2) as Mia, and I don’t buy that she “wasn’t available”. She’s alive and still acting, but didn’t have any work during that period. So short of some sort of personal crisis, I think this was a casting poop. And that’s a shame. If they couldn’t get the original Mia, they should’ve picked a different topic for the episode.

141. “Red Light on the Wedding Night” (season 2, episode 3)

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Everything that was playful and magical about the previous episode just was flushed right down the toilet with this horrid display of the GGs being self-centered, thoughtless, and cheesy. I actually have a serious problem with them running Fran ragged to taste cakes that they will never buy. And hiring Kirk to photograph their wedding for really no money at all. And not giving Max a key to the house. And how Lorelai refused to change her life even a teeny-weeny little bit for anyone else–because her precious little life is just so damn perfect and untouchable (this is a theme to be repeated oft during the series). The only half-way fun part is the idea of bringing Emily Gilmore to a drag club–a gag that never really played out to its full potential. At least we got the Lorelai wedding bailing part out of the way quickly–sort of like when someone who is hanged has their necks snap so there isn’t all that writhing and you’re like, “well, that’s a mercy at least”. Same thing here. Awkward suspension of reality moment: There are some major flubs regarding the cakes Rory is sampling. Bites appear and disappear. The cake is whole and then it isn’t. Watch, you’ll see.

140. “I’m OK, You’re OK” (season 6, episode 17)

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Call it a personal quirk, but if there is one character flaw that really grates on me, it’s passive-aggressiveness. If you’ve got something to say, just say it! I’m talking to you, by the way, RORY! Running away and hiding, I know, is your m.o., but it just shows that you’re still weak and childish. She only slightly redeems herself by checking out Anna against Lorelai’s wishes. Oh yes, and then there’s the road trip. Jesus, the contract negotiations must have been going really, really badly at this point for ASP to punish us this way. Over on the Lane track, it still seems like she is making a giant mistake marrying Zack, but at least his scene with Mrs. Kim is very sweet and enjoyable.  Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Zack says that he sound-proofed Lane’s room with wall-to-wall Pier One cushions. How about, no. Those fuckers cost $20-40 each, and it looks like he’s got about 60 of those. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: Now, we know, because we’ve seen this show a bajillion times, that Lane’s wedding takes place “next week”, while Luke’s on his trip. But he and Lorelai appear to have no knowledge of this yet. Did the Kims really plan the wedding in under a week? For such a big wedding, that doesn’t seem right. Points awarded for: Lorelai asking the spider not to hurt Luke.

139. “Introducing Lorelai Planetarium” (season 7, episode 8)

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Oof. Lorelai is just eight thousand kinds of awkward and I hate it. And when Rory found out about their marriage, I wish she would’ve just exploded all over them on the spot and saved us a whole bunch of time. Plus, I continue to give no shits about April and her issues. Regurgitated Plot Idea: Rory writes something that is mean and hurtful, much to her own surprise. Remember the hippo ballerina? We’ve already been here. Points awarded for: Logan telling off Rory about how she’s really a Von1% and for her to stop pretending she’s all “salt of the earth”. Thank. You.

138. “That’s What You Get, Folks, For Making Whoopee” (season 7, episode 2)

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Shall we start with the good notes? Because it mainly involves the harrowing tale of Lane and Zack’s honeymoon with Pedro. Poor Lane. I, too, have that feeling sometimes when I see my husband figuratively leaping at a Pedro and also think about how I married him with a certain amount of awe. Lane and Zack: Two of the better parts of season 7. Now on to the lingering poop smell: Lorelai decides to throw an Asia-themed day of excitement for Rory to cheer her up. Nice thought, Lorelai. Remind her of all the fun she could be having overseas. But with her mom. And not boning across the continent with her boyfriend. Of course, none of that is as glaring as Lorelai’s psychotic tap-dance away from the issue of her giant Christopher bang. Thank goodness Rory took her to task, and yelled everything I was thinking. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: How the hell did Lorelai could come up with all that “Asian” crap so fast and without spending thousands of dollars–even with Miss Patty’s hookup? Points awarded for: Luke punches Christopher. Rewind. Play. Rewind. Play. Rewind. Play.

137. “Road Trip to Harvard” (season 2, episode 4)

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Oh no, we’re away from Stars Hollow, where all the magic is. Every episode that leaves the Hollow fully is usually a mistake. Truth. While I appreciate a little tradition of road-tripping fun to deal with a dramatic upheaval, this one is fairly painful. The Cheshire Cat stuff was a funny gag for a while…until I actually felt like I was the one stuck chatting with the Boston dentists. And Harvard? Zzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Plus Rory’s contribution to the lecture? Actually not that poignant or clever. Nice work, dingus. Quit feeling so great about yourself. Points awarded for: “Sat and forever am at work here”–the way I will forever sign a guestbook (inns, weddings, funerals, etc.).

136. “Say Something” (season 5, episode 14)

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Man, this episode’s just hard to watch. Soul-draining hard. Watching Lorelai wring her hands and then mourn makes for one of the most depressing–if realistic hours of television this show has to offer. At least Lauren Graham really pulls it off. But still, this episode just sucks. On the lighter side, Rory Von1% gets called out for trying to play games with Logan instead of just being straight. This might be controversial, but I actually really like Logan here. He’s honest, he’s considerate, and he is just himself. He’s also pretty damn concerned and helpful when Rory needs a lift. But the way Rory rolls in a limo? Shows that her transition into SnobBot is nearly complete. Points lost for: Taylor’s ribbons. Even in nutty Stars Hollow, this doesn’t happen. Even Taylor has a sense of human feelings and respect. This was a really failed attempt at town zaniness that went very wrong.

135. “Fight Face” (season 6, episode 2)

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POOL HOUSE EPISODE. From the pits of dog hell comes PAUL ANKA! Anything to do with this dog and Lorelai is just terrible. His quirks aren’t cute, his name isn’t cute, and Lorelai treating him as a surrogate isn’t as touching as it’s supposed to be. I really hate the Lorelai-Paul Anka relationship with a heated passion that feels like flames–flames up the side of my face. Breathing-heaving flames. Oh yeah, and there’s Rory Von1% joining the DAR. It’s what she signed up for so I don’t pity her. In fact, it’s pretty horrible that she comes pouting into Luke’s in a shitty passive way instead of just fixing her damn mess.

134. “Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller” (season 5, episode 1)image

Let’s talk. For most of season 4, Rory was an awful human being (with really bad hair and clothes). She was overly sheltered, narrow-minded, reclusive, aloof, and self-centered. To her roommates and classmates, she was Debbie Downer about everything. To her mom, she was a whiny child. And then came Dean. Married Duh-Dean. And she sleeps with him because he was hers first! [pout, pout], and it’s Lindsay’s fault! And “why isn’t Mom thrilled with this? Shouldn’t she be happy for me?” Listen, I get that she’s 19 and young people are naive and make dumb mistakes. Life-altering, harmful mistakes. But it just is so untrue to Rory’s character, whom they flushed down the toilet this last season. So, here we are. A new season. Is Rory repentant? No. She’s a snot. A privileged snot who sleeps with another woman’s husband one more time for the road, and then runs off to Europe (for free), leaving behind a giant mess in her wake. Coward. This episode makes me hate this girl. Sure, I’ll get over it, but for now, I hate her. The only thing saving this episode from the dregs of the “Vineyard Valentine” rankings, is Lorelai and Emily. They have some tough, but tender moments. And Emily even made me smile a bit. Big points awarded for: Emily’s big exit and the way she slaps the houseplant on the way out.

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133. “It Should’ve Been Lorelai” (season 2, episode 14)

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What a waste of an episode. If I care nothing about Christopher, King of the Ruiners, how much less do you think I care about his new girlfriend Sherri, and the drama that results from her appearance? Classmate Brad and a jogging Michel are the only half-way nice moments. Otherwise, I wouldn’t waste even my crappiest Halloween candy or any of my apple juice on this episode. Points lost for: Lorelai’s HORRIBLE pink dog sweater.

132. “New and Improved Lorelai” (season 6, episode 1)

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POOL HOUSE EPISODE. Okay, I should be thrilled that L&L are actually engaged, but the episode starts horribly with the least romantic post-proposal saga ever. First of all, people who are in love usually hug or kiss or grope when they decide to get married. These two didn’t even touch. And then Lorelai “shoos” all of the bikers out of the gazebo. This episode would’ve been amazeballs if one of the bikers had turned around and clocked Lorelai right in the face. But I never get my way. Anyway, the whole episode is about crapping on their proposal and Rory partying…until she gets sentenced to a lot of community service. I love that judge. I want to send her cookies. I love her speech. I love her decision. I love the confused look on Rory’s face. JUSTICE IS SERVED! That court scene saves what is otherwise a pretty gross and depressing season opener. Okay, even though Rory’s party looked a little fun. But there’s no way they would’ve invited me, so fuck ‘em. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: In Doose’s Market, they buy a case of Zima and are looking for cooking sherry because $6 champagne is too beneath them?? And apparently all the bikers agree because they, too, bought all the cooking sherry instead of $6 champagne. Y’all are snobs. That cheap Cook’s champagne is friggin’ delicious. Stupid Lorelai. Where’s an angry biker when I need one?

131. “He’s Slippin’ ‘Em Bread…Dig?” (season 6, episode 10)

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Terrible title. Terrible secret keeping. Terrible men ruining things for women around them. Zack ruins the bands big shot because he’s jealous. Logan ruins his relationship because he’s a douchey man-child. Christopher ruins everything because he’s King of the Ruiners–more specifically, he poisons the well of Rory’s relationship with her grandparents, and L&L’s relationship. And then there’s Luke. Luke who ruins the entire show by keeping a really dumb secret. The only good thing about this episode is that the ladies are back to their routines. Well, and Gil’s tackle was pretty spectacular, so even though the Hep Alien thing is a cryin’ shame, it was fun to watch. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Sookie apparently makes the ladies an enormous banquet of food that is both expensive and wasteful. Even the chef who likes to emotionally feed people wouldn’t have done that. Stupid set designers. It’s just like the time Sookie put cakes in every room. Knock it off! No wonder your accountant hates you, Sookie. Super points awarded for: Joel the tambourine player. He is the greatest thing ever. He might even be better than Rune. I LOVE JOEL THE WOLFMAN TAMBOURINE PLAYER.

130. “Welcome to the Dollhouse” (season 6, episode 6)

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POOL HOUSE EPISODE. Well, Rory’s all aflutter because her boyfriend is treating her horribly and he bullies her into yelling at her grandparents–who normally deserve it, but not so much this time. And on the Lorelai side we have some wacky Stars Hollow shenanigans as the town gets new street historical street names. I mean, there’s no way that any town would have street names like “Sores and Boils Alley” or “Crusty Bulge”. But whatever, at least Kirk gets a little more screen time. Points awarded for: Lorelai’s “then he patted me on the head” story about Taylor. I’ve had too many moments like that in my life, and I completely relate.

129. “A Family Matter” (season 4, episode 12)

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I can takes it no more! This is the absolute WORST that Rory has ever looked. Not another overly tight turtleneck sweater!!! So ugly! Between that and the really hideous, clashing plaid skirt, her terrible short hair, and that awful old lady camel-colored dress coat with a lace doily scarf that she wears around, I can’t stand it. What college student dresses this way?? Where are your jeans and t-shirts???? I know this shouldn’t bug me so much, but it actually ruins a lot of this episode for me. It makes it hard to believe the Jess chasing her scene, because that punk would take one look at her and make a smell-the-fart face (okay, I guess that’s next episode, but it’s all rolled into one in my brain). Plus Rory is still a pretty rude bitch. To wit, did you see her talking on the phone to her mom in the same room where Paris is trying to sleep. Dick move. Go out into the common room to talk! For the record, Lorelai isn’t much better in the ugly pink coat with gold buttons. Points awarded for: First appearance of Liz, who actually looks really adorable. Thank goodness.

128. “The Great Stink” (season 7, episode 5)

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Welcome to some brand-new season 7 special themes: First, Lorelai gets really dumb, like she hit her head a few episodes back. And secondly, because the new writers are lost, they recycle old plot ideas. So that’s happening. Just warning you now. Mostly, though, this episode is harmless. As much as I really don’t like C&L together, at least it’s nice to see her in a quasi-functional relationship where he treats her like a human being. By the way, I’m with Michel on the whole government pickle conspiracy theory. Lorelai ‘s Been Hit With the Stupid Stick Moment: She thinks it’s funny/clever to compose music using TiVo sound effects. Sigh. Points awarded for: Phew! More town antics. I’ve been missing them. Points lost for: That horrible phone conversation about pickle train conducting. More points lost for: So they kept in the pickle train conducting phone scene, but they deleted a great town bonfire scene? Not fair. The deleted scene is sweet and enjoyable, unlike most of the episode they kept.

127. “Emily Says ‘Hello’” (season 5, episode 9)

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What is this episode about? Seriously. I can’t even remember, mostly because I just don’t care. A lot of minor, forgettable things happening here. Yale-side we have quaint Marty hangout time. Fine, fine. Luke-side, he has more T.J.-is-a-pest time. Fine, fine. Emily is freaking out about fake-dating. Snore. And then we have Christopher. Fucking Christopher. Thanks to a heinously awkward segue by Sookie into the conversational world of Christopher, we now have to see him ooze back into Lorelai’s life, even in spite of his daughter’s warning. I’m Team Rory on this one, even though I wish girlfriend was a little less passive-aggressive. You hear me, Rory? Cause a scene, damnit! This is a television show! Drama is allowed! Points lost for: The writers deciding to tank L&L already.

126. “Merry Fisticuffs” (season 7, episode 10)

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Time to undo the Christopher calamity! So now we have to spend an entire episode with Lorelai acting selfish and petulant–save for the five minutes during which she bonds with Luke and Doula. Melt. Swoon. Sigh. So sweet. We could all see it, couldn’t we? Really, though, aside from that, this is the episode where Lorelai and Rory shit on the people around them and then act confused as to why everyone is upset. Not that I care about Lucy’s shitty boyfriend or her superficial connection to Rory. Regurgitated Plot Idea: Lorelai’s man wants to buy her a mansion that is more befitting of her wealth (even though the Crap Shack would actually be worth millions on its own), and she refuses because she is absolutely paralyzed in 1993 with her Crap Shack and her Jeep and her overly tiny television, none of which may ever change. EVER! Points awarded for: The fisticuffs! That was one of the most realistic portrayals of a fight I’ve ever seen on screen. And we’ve earned it.

125. “I Solemnly Swear” (season 3, episode 11)

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That’s it! Francie and The Puffs are too much to bear. I just can’t even, with this episode. Any enjoyment I might have drained from the Lorelai deposition–which never goes anywhere, by the way–is lost in the shit storm of Francie pulling the lamest trick ever to fool Paris and Rory. Sookie’s even a bore with her non-date. I guess this is watchable, but just barely. Keep the fast-forward button within easy reach.

124. “Application Anxiety” (season 3, episode 3)

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Yeah, no. I really do not dig the trip to visit the Springsteen house for the Harvard dinner. The whole thing was gross–from the entitlement of the Chilton hookup, to the fact that Lorelai didn’t think to bring a bottle of wine or a cake or anything. Rude! I feel like our time was super wasted here, especially since I know, you know, Emily knows, and even Lorelai knows that Rory is going to get into every frickin’ school she wants to. She comes from a white, rich privileged family that sent her to an elite prep school, has a ton of money, and is full of Yale legacies. Maybe this was supposed to represent typical teenaged angst, but Rory is completely not typical by design, so I wish the writers wouldn’t act like she’s the same as everyone else. I feel like a shower after this episode. Points awarded for: The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. More points awarded for: First appearance of Dave Rygalski! Even more points awarded for: The Soda Shoppe town meeting, which might just be one of my all-time favorites, giant horse and all. These last few points really affected this episode’s ranking.

123. “Richard in Stars Hollow” (season 2, episode 12)

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This episode’s just no fun. Like, less fun than actually watching Showgirls. I mean, at least that has the waterfall scene, which makes me laugh so hard I pee a little. Richard is just a giant anchor on his wife and on us. The only reason to include this in a regular re-watch cycle is for the “Rory Curtain,” and Paris’s inspiration for an expose. Points awarded for: Lorelai’s comparison of her day to a Lifetime Television movie starring Nancy McKeon. “I am Jo.” Plus, the way she mocks Rory’s line of “Be nice.” Heh.

122. “Back in the Saddle Again” (season 2, season 18)

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Ugh, a Richard-centric episode. Let me just say that a locker first aid kit is a TERRIBLE idea. Really horrible. They totally deserved to lose. Just like Duh-Dean, stalker extraordinaire.

121. “Like Mother, Like Daughter” (season 2, episode 7)

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The premise of this episode is completely befuddling and gross. And a little weird, especially on the heels of “Presenting Lorelai Gilmore”. So, first a debutante ball episode where nothing happens, followed by a secret rich sorority hazing where…still nothing really happens? (Ringing a bell does not count as something happening.) It’s a weird duo. And worst of all, this Puffs plot makes much less sense than the debutante thing. Ya know, Chilton, I almost get it. It is really bizarre that a kid so focused on college applications has only one extracurricular (by her age, I had three major extracurriculars and a part-time job scooping ice cream, but I get that teaching Dean to read must be a part-time job of its own). But instead of asking Rory to join more clubs–a request that would make sense–the writers have her accidentally join a…[yawn], I don’t care. The characters really don’t even care. And the fashion show is both obnoxious and pointless. The good news is that all the characters are true to form and pleasant enough…but they don’t do anything worth watching. Pass!

120. “Help Wanted” (season 2, episode 20)

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Blech, we just had “Richard in Stars Hollow” AND “Back in the Saddle Again”, and now we have to have another episode centering around him and his antiquated notions about business. His helplessness is, frankly, unbelievable, and I cannot imagine how Lorelai can take so many days off of work for this garbage. Even if I could suffer this, Lorelai’s lingering attitude about Jess is loathsome. I normally oppose Rory running away when things get tough, but just this once, I totally believe that she’s justified in bolting next episode.

119. “Farewell, My Pet” (season 7, episode 14)

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Goodbye, Christopher. Boy, I’m tired. Does this episode make anyone else tired?

118. “Unto the Breach” (season 7, episode 21)

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Gaaa, this episode needed to happen, but it’s at least eighty shades of awkward as Logan proposes to Rory and she rejects him at her graduation. The whole episode makes me want to hide my face. In the end, though, I really do agree with Lorelai’s advice that Rory should only say to someone when she doesn’t want to hesitate. Still, boy my heart breaks for them a little. Points awarded for: Emily and Richard Gilmore’s song. Adorable. Points lost for: Return of Christopher, King of the Ruiners. More points lost for: Lorelai’s really ugly graduation-day outfit. Nuh-uh, honey, I’m not feelin’ it.

117. “I’d Rather Be in Philadelphia” (season 7, episode 13)

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It seems rather appropriate that this lands on my list right next to its twin, “Forgiveness and Stuff”. In her attempt to handle Papa Gilmore’s heart attack and subsequent surgery, Emily is positively enchanting in her devotion. For that matter, so are Logan and Luke (Luke!). And obviously this signals the inevitable end of the Christopher marriage. So, this was very much a house-cleaning episode where the men finally step up to support the women in their lives (well, except for Christopher, King of the Ruiners, of course). Touching and revealing, but not full-on enjoyable, either. Points lost for: The way Lorelai treats her mom through most of the episode–which is really a continuation of the wedding planning nightmare from “Merry Fisticuffs” and hearkens back to “Secrets and Loans”. Can she really be that oblivious to her mom’s fragile emotional state? Jerk face. Points awarded for: Zack.

116. “The Incredible Sinking Lorelais” (season 4, episode 14)

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Boy, we’re still carrying on with the season 4 disaster that is Rory’s freshman styling, and now Lorelai’s fallen victim, too! Physically, both girls look like hot messes here (RUN, Jason, Luke, and Dean!), and it turns out they’re hot messes on the inside, too.

RORY: Rory deserves it because she’s still in Uptight Overly Sheltered Ugly Haircut mode where the universe revolves around her. Yeah, Rory, if you fudge over a paper, then you’re not going to get the pat on the back you thought you deserved. Ass-wipe. Then her one and only college job is almost like real work. Big ass-wipe. And I won’t even get into how clueless she has to be to ignore the impact of Lane’s presence on all of her suite mates. You deserve to cry, Rory. You deserve to cry for being so naive and self-satisfied all the time. Oh, and what’s that? How are you going to solve your problems? Yes, run into the arms of a married man. Perfect. I swear, she is taking out her own failures on Lindsay, because, if we remember back to season 1, we know that Rory can be a little psychotic and evil when she doesn’t get her way. Lindsay was already on her revenge list, so she decided to check one off. I bet after crying and snotting all over Dean she went back to her dorm, pulled out her revenge journal, and drew a giant black Sharpie “x” through a picture of Lindsay while giggling and spritzing on some of Lindsay’s perfume.

LORELAI: Dude, you have to pay your contractor and not hide the financials from your partner. Period. And you are a charity case. Get over it. Boo-hoo.

Still, at least we get a dose of pretty believable drama and a good reality check that life isn’t all yellow daisies. It was a worthy meltdown. Points lost for: Lorelai’s really awful hair. I mean it was supposed to be bad, but wow. And that brown dress with all the holes cut in it? Com’on stylists! More points lost for: Rory failing to cause a scene at the Dragonfly, even though the script clearly says Dean needs to rush her out because she’s causing a scene. Still more points lost for: Oops! Alexis Bledel forgot to cry actual tears during Rory’s giant sobbing scene. Not even one drop. Even more points lost for: Richard’s mustache. Points awarded for: Emily’s brief moment of glory over Gran.

115. “To Whom It May Concern” (season 7, episode 12)

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This episode primarily succeeds because it has a lot of heart-wrenching scenes. Straight away, you know I’m talking about Lorelai’s letter, but also the look on Rory’s face as Papa Gilmore hits the floor. Even Paris gets in a few oddly sweet words about friendship. But for all of this, we sacrifice town shenanigans and humor. Eh. Regurgitated Plot Idea: Sookie is acting completely zany because she’s….aaah! She’s pregnant! Regurgitated Plot Idea #2: Richard has a heart attack.

114. “A Messenger, Nothing More” (season 5, episode 2)

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Half of this episode I just don’t give a shit about. I don’t care about Rory’s adventures in Europe, because she’s still being a pouty snot, all not talking to her mom all summer because she dicked a married guy. Hardly Lorelai’s fault. Then there’s Lorelai’s half of the episode which is completely boring and missable–she’s stressed and tired…again. The only reason to watch this episode is to see that colossal Duh-Dean-Lindsay fight and the town square showdown later. The Lister ladies have every right to these scenes, and I’m glad we got them out of the way in one big kaboom. This episode cleaned house nicely, but isn’t enjoyable to watch (save for those 5 minutes of screaming by the Listers). Also, I would’ve respected it a lot more if the Lister-Gilmore showdown got physical. Break off part of the gazebo and nail her with it! Stupid G-rated show.

113. “A Tale of Poes and Fire” (season 3, episode 17)

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Controversy! I know a lot of people love this episode, but I most definitely do not. Yes, Kirk’s shirts are enchanting and all of the college and Paris stuff is entertaining. And the Poe Society is much better than other groups that come to stay at various inns (read: New England Maple Syrup Council), and the scene with the dual takes on “The Raven” is very “Poe”, indeed. I love it. I was hooked right up until Rory busts into Lorelai’s room with the phone. Everything about the inn burning down is heinous for me. I really hate Lorelai’s self-satisfied reaction, especially given that I wasn’t impressed with her management style. She was in complete emotional freakout mode while even Sookie and Michel seemed more together and responsible. I really, really hate that they took over Luke’s diner. Here’s an idea! Just tell everyone that breakfast at Luke’s diner is comped by the inn. Why make new food? Because I gotta tell ya, I really don’t think the inn management really needs to feed, clothe, entertain, and house everyone forever and ever. People need to take what shit they have and get the fuck out of town. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: There are so many here, but I can’t imagine Rory would really check in on Paris when her mom is so busy in a fire tizzy at home. Wouldn’t the Gellar visit have waiting for a day or two? Priorities, girl. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: The town takes in guests. I don’t even know where to start. A. The guests would never agree to that, because it’s creepy and icky. B. There’s no way the townsfolk pitch in like this, because it’s creepy and icky. Shuttle those shit-kickers out of town to far-away motels, if you have to, but you do not house them in your private residences! And you just left them there unsupervised? No way. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #3: The Hattlestats. Nope. I can’t even deal with this episode from the moment they knock at Lorelai’s door (and how did they even find her?). I’m over this.

112. “Christopher Returns” (season 1, episode 15)

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See, this is a tough one to like. Everything I loathe about Christopher is squished into this one episode: He’s smarmy, weak, bumbling, inconsistent in his attention (not believing for one moment this was really his first trip to the Hollow, people!), unfulfilling in his promises, and worst of all, he makes Lorelai turn into a mindless moron who hurts others. But let’s ignore that as best we can and say nice things about an otherwise very powerful episode: Yea for Kirk becoming a wacky character for the first time. Yea for Emily’s touching speech to Rory in the kitchen after the blow-up. Cheers to Luke for his awkward banter about how the gutless wonder did a good job impregnating Lorelai with Rory. And can I say that I still chuckle out loud every time I see Rory do that curtsy to Straub and Francine? Points lost for: Christopher. Just Christopher.

111. “A House is Not a Home” (season 5, episode 22)

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POOL HOUSE EPISODE. Tricky episode. It’s dark and sad and there are some very unlikeable things that the girls do. However, the drama is off the charts and the ending with the tune “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” is heartbreaking. After a season of not personally connecting with Lorelai’s character very well, I’m right back there with her, looking through that pool house window and wondering where it all went wrong. Rory went wrong. And let’s face it, fans, she’s been wrong for a long time. Rory Von1% has been used to getting her way and being praised, and she is scared and weak otherwise. So I love that they gave her a good and proper breakdown. It happens in real life. And it felt real that the girl who has always run away (see: “P.S. I Lo…” and “Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller”) whips up a few fake tears and plays Richard and Emily like one of Zack’s banjos. It feels like how it would really go down. Real life, man. All the other stuff that happens–Luke’s Twickham subplot and Lorelai’s Mike Armstrong subplot, both of which are awful, are just filler. Lane is the only other person who breaks through this episode. At least that gave me a smile. Points lost for: Lorelai annoying the police station officer by crowing that her daughter goes to Yale and never gets in trouble (except for that time she stole a boat and got in trouble). Points awarded for: Mrs. Kim and her kickass tour plans.

110. “Blame Booze and Melville” (season 5, episode 21)

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…and now we join a very special Gilmore Girls episode: An Hour-Long Awkward Suspension of Reality! Were you able to spot all of the issues in this episode that had no connection to reality? (Count them all!)
#1: There is allegedly a launch party for an issue of a magazine profiling inns of Connecticut (do they throw a party like this for every issue??).
#2: This print magazine has the funds to send an interviewee a limousine (I hope Sookie got one, too! Why aren’t Sookie and Jackson in the same limo?).
#3: This same fictional crazy-ass, lavish magazine offers “advance copies”. Uh-huh.
#4: The writers are actually wasting a THIRD fucking episode on this magazine plot line. #5: Lorelai believes she may be pregnant based on an apple craving ONE DAY after insemination, which makes no biological sense, even a little.
#6:
She is alarmed enough to not only quiz a busy doctor (use the internet like the rest of us, freak!), but to wig out her daughter before she had even missed a period.
#7: The Jackson vasectomy–in real life, men need to consult with a urologist, then schedule a surgical date, consult with insurance, etc., etc.
#8: Sookie rushes out of the house in surprise labor…and where is her other baby? Shouldn’t Lorelai be offering to watch him? I don’t think they have any family living in town. I mean, Lorelai could at least ask if they’re covered for childcare.
#9: Town elders that meet in a STEAM ROOM…who have never existed even for a moment during any other Stars Hollow gathering. Are they elected officials?
#10: Emily is collecting and trading ballet students like pets.
#11: Rory steals a boat, which her character would never do–even though this sheltered brat is not used to rejection, or even criticism. I mean, maybe I’m wrong here. She did sleep with a married man when a professor told her to drop a class, so…yeah.
#12: Maybe Logan and Lorelai should be a little more worried about Rory–that Melville quote she used was originally in the context that it was Ahab’s only alternative to suicide. “This is my substitute for pistol and ball”. But yes, let’s worry more about inky fingerprints and soap. Not a cry for help.
Points awarded for: Kirk: “I’ll bring children into the house…maybe not my own.” More points awarded for: Kirk and Taylor topless.

109. “Bridesmaids Revisited” (season 6, episode 16)

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The main thrust of this episode (if you’ll pardon the Logan pun), is that Christopher is a really bad parent and wants to use Lorelai some more, which she allows because Luke is shitting all over her. Man, I give not two shits about Gigi. I can’t believe that dangler has been holding on since season 2. Rory is treading water until the awful bridesmaids scene, during which she wears a really ugly, ill-fitting dress, and the other ladies are styled like drag queens. More problematic, though, is the way that Rory handles Logan. Get ANGRY, dammit! Swear! Yell! Don’t pout and sulk and wait for it to be a good time for him to hear what you think. Again, if this was any other network, Rory would’ve broken some chairs over those bitches and then burned the wedding hall to the ground. She didn’t even splash champagne in their faces! Oh well, at least the CW let her go get drunk, which is an actual normal human reaction. Then Lane goes and gets engaged, and I never like it, because even though I sort of adore Zack, this has “terrible idea” written all over it. Points awarded for: Sebastian Bach singing “Holla Back Girl” Huge points awarded for: Rory’s “I’m sick of people touchin’ my stuff!” scene. I quote this constantly and love the way she delivered it. Perfection. More points awarded for: JOEL THE WEREWOLF TAMBOURINE PLAYER! Points lost for: Alexis Bledel’s inability to make the “stop” hand gesture. Huge points lost for: Rory’s fugly coat. I really want to burn that fucker and send it back to ugly hell. No, Doyle, it’s not lovely.

108. “Forgiveness and Stuff” (season 1, episode 10)

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The Gilmores aren’t big on Christmas episodes, so it’s a shame that this one take on it goes dark really fast. I mean, I’m with Luke. People in hospitals with tubes sticking out of them freaks me out, too. Even moreso than a Santa burger. Hospital gowns aside, though, I have real respect for how they hammered out some delicate family turmoil. It’s just too bad that this drama overshadowed what could have been a lot of holiday spirit. This will never be a Christmas classic. Too dark and corny at the same time. That said, Luke and Lorelai are positively cute in this episode and oddly, we get more PDAs between them in this episode than most of the time they were later dating. It’s just a shame that the scene with Lane felt so weirdly tacked on and pointless. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Luke kicks everyone out of his diner to drive Lorelai to the hospital. That’s can’t really be a viable business plan. And I’d be pretty pissed if I was one bite into my French Dip and got kicked out because some stranger is melting down about a taxicab in the middle of the diner. But, hey, all is forgiven in the spirit of Christmas and Santa burgers.

107. “Dear Emily and Richard” (season 3, episode 13)

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Great concept, terrible execution. The flashbacks just don’t work due to really terrible casting decisions. Young Lorelai and Christopher do not look, sound, or act ANYTHING like their modern day counterparts. And also, they can’t act. So what should’ve been the sweet part of this episode is really fake. If you can’t do it right, people, DO NOT DO IT. Gaaah. Oh yeah, and then we have another episode focusing on Sherry. Guess who has two thumbs and gives no shits? This lady! The only little shred of this episode that I do like is the very last moments when Lorelai leads Emily up the stairs to install her new DVD player. So, when re-watching, maybe just skip to the last two minutes, ‘kay? Points awarded for: Use of the song “99 Luftballoons”. Fitting and beautiful.

106. “Concert Interruptus” (season 1, episode 13)

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And now, ladies and gentlemen, the Palladino Foundation proudly presents this public service announcement on the dangers of teenage girls and beer: They just don’t mix. Brought to you by The Bangles!

Points lost for: Sappy After-School Special Moment: Rory explains her special relationship with her mom to other youngsters. Points lost for: Selfish Lorelai Moment: Sookie went to all the trouble to get those tickets, and she just gives away Sookie’s ticket without asking?? That ain’t cool. That ain’t cool at all.

105. “Pulp Friction” (season 5, episode 17)

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Oh, Rory, you’re in a shame spiral. You’ve been lying to yourself that you can be a casual dater, and now you have to play games to hide it. A lot of us have been there. We get it. Her antics are realistic, if childish. At least we get a cool Quentin Tarantino party to distract us from the cringe-worthiness of her situation! Lorelai, on the other hand, has no Tarantino costumes to distract us from her throwing a colossal hissy fit over Michel’s The Price is Right prizes. It’s a complete bummer and I usually have to fast forward through her conniptions over that really, REALLY lame travel magazine article that is nothing to get so worked up about. Like, at all. In fact, it might be a scam. Did they ask you to pay money to be in the magazine? Knock it off, Lorelai. You tanked an otherwise adequate episode. Points awarded for: Lulu’s run to save her ribbon. Perfection! Points lost for: Logan in a turtle neck. Gross!

104. “To Live and Let Diorama” (season 5, episode 18)

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This is a rough one as far as plots go. Rory, Lane, and Paris are all wrecks over their men–even though Paris and Lane need to learn to gather information before writing a mental novel over this kind of crap. Rory, on the other hand, is in doormat city, population: Her. And, sigh, Lorelai is on episode #2 about the lame-ass travel magazine article. And I can’t even. That interview and Lorelai’s handling of this whole terrible article. No. I can’t even. It’s too gross and obnoxious. No, Lorelai, the room doesn’t hug you–it’s a stupid waste of space and a dumb business move. Gaaaaa! The only redeeming parts of this episode? That beautiful, poetic diorama, and the second appearance of Drunk Paris and Drunk Lane. The diorama alone almost saves the episode…almost. Points awarded for: Kirk and his cereal box forts. Points lost for: Lorelai’s continued season 5 sweater-vest affliction. Super points lost for: That ongoing, horrible, gag-inducing magazine article plot

103. “Spring” (season 8, episode 2)

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First, I promise to start with some nice words, because there are just a few. First, there’s the first mention of the Secret Bar (which admittedly isn’t much yet). Second, there’s the wookie. Hey, you can hate the idea of sweet little Rory shacking up with a wookie-attired dude all you want, but it’s one of the few ways we can tell that she’s grown up. The girl is still dressing like she’s in high school, still uncertain of her life goals–but damnit, she now drinks a lot of bourbon and sleeps with wookies. So, okay then. I like to see this flawed, yet saucy side of her. Third, there’s Kirk’s new film. Nicely done, Palladino. And now on to the many, many bad things. Let’s start with the town meeting, which was actually pretty mean and weird. Why the hell are they trying to compile a list of gay people? And where did the whole gay pride parade kick come from? That never played out and was really creepy. And speaking of awkward and nonsensical, what the hell was that Chilton scene? What was any of it? Paris is still in love with Tristan? Pshaw! No she isn’t. Now I have to bring up Rory and Logan. Goddamnit, Rory! That spinning moral compass of hers showed that our girl hasn’t grown a whole lot and is even more messed up than we had hoped. And now we find out that he’s engaged? ENGAGED?! I’m only glad Papa Huntzberger popped in and gave them a good scare. Good to see him. Oh, and therapy? What a freakin’ boring and odd interjection! It went nowhere funny or enlightening. And that therapist came across as incompetent and then insane–and not in a funny way. And what in the name of Kirk is up with that mystery hateful letter that Emily was talking about? Answers! Awkward Suspension of Reality: Nope, there’s no way Lorelai magically gets free things all over the place from strangers. She isn’t 30 and rocking the size 2s anymore. Not to say she isn’t gorgeous, but she might, realistically, be past the point where men and Mae Whitman are dropping to their knees at the crook of her finger. I hate this idea that she’s just magical. Points Lost For: The cheesy-ass cameos by Rachael Ray and Mae Whitman. Gag. More Points Lost For: The over-the-top food antics at the Black, White, and Read Movie Theater. Daniel Palladino got way too cutesy here and it played badly. Points Awarded For: The closing line of the episode–“Moving home!”. Perfect.

102. “Rory’s Dance” (season 1, episode 9)

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This is a season one “take your medicine” type of episode. The writers had to address Lorelai’s fears head-on at some point, given that her 16 year-old daughter is dating. And while Rory’s a perfect lady who didn’t even let her gentleman caller go to second base (it’s the CW, after all!), the result is a much expected explosion that is more than a little awkward to watch. I mean, really awkward. I usually leave the room to go clean something, mainly out of a sense of awkwardness. Graham and Bishop do an amazing job, but this is far from enjoyable. And I’m never sure if Rory’s hair and dress are awesome, or make her look like an ill-fitted old lady. Can’t decide. One thing’s for sure, though: The combat boots made the whole thing 1000% better. Points lost for: Appearance of Tristan and Dean’s election to call him “DRIST-an” (nasal spray burn!).

101. “Lorelai’s First Cotillion” (season 7, episode 3)

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After the ASP Christopher turd bomb, this is the episode where things start to settle down back to almost-normal. The CW does its best to address the idea of sexting without being lewd even a little bit, which is both soberingly dull and crafty all at once. Lorelai’s cotillion experience feels a little forced (geez, Michel, begging to go to a frilly little girl party is more than a little creepy), but it’s still a little fun to watch her and Emily spar over Lorelai’s childhood. Also, Zack’s reaction to finding out about the pregnancy? Priceless. He and Lane just make me smile. This type of episode makes me not regret diving into season 7.

Hey, We’ve Reached the Top 100!
How are you Doing?

The “Firelight Fesitval” of episode rankings continues, and we are getting to some of the better episodes, finally. A little more romance, a few more town festivals, and a little less crying and racquetball. Definitely fewer Doggy Swamis. Oop, there goes the rage again. Gotta tamp that down and start picturing Kirk running the strobe light at Miss Patty’s. That’s better.

100. “Paris is Burning” (season 1, episode 11)

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Sookie and Paris just became real multi-dimensional characters! Yeaaaaaaaa. It’s a nice evolution that helps out as Lorelai’s love life becomes tiresome really fast. Max angst, Max angst. More Max angst. Ugh. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Chilton would really host a “parents day” during which parents stand in the back of a classroom for hours at a time? Sloppy writing, Ms. Palladino.

99. “Sadie, Sadie” (season 2, episode 1)

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Will she marry Max or won’t she? Dumb question! We all know straight away that she will agree to and then back out of it, because even Rory, Sookie, and Luke know it’s gonna happen. Bleh. Otherwise, the biggest drama was Richard interrogating Duh-Dean, which is more of us taking our medicine about Lorelai’s past. It’s all fine, but just forgettable…with only one little exception–Luke. Points awarded for: Luke’s “are you ready for marriage?” interrogation that was artful and perfect. Points awarded for: Lorelai’s amazing dog outfit. Points also awarded for: Lorelai’s oddly perfect barking noise she makes over her ring choice. Hmm. Lady can bark! Points lost for: There is no WAY that was only a thousand daisies around Stars Hollow. Maybe fifty thousand. Not one thousand. Liars.

98. “You’ve Been Gilmored” (season 6, episode 14)

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Phew! We’re getting a break from Luke being a horrible human being, at least briefly. But as calming as that is (like the downtime between contractions, or those moments after you heave where you feel okay), the plot they gave him and Lorelai this episode was a retread of what they’ve basically done before. We’ve seen Luke be awkward at the Gilmore house. We’ve seen him upset afterward. This, my friends, ushers in an era where Gilmore Girls regurgitates old plot lines. Still, the insurance stories are actually pretty amusing, and are an oddly sweet way of welcoming Luke into the family. It’s a shame that the relationship is already doomed to failure. Rory’s bit is a lot more interesting and fun, as she gets her privileged butt booted out of Paris’s apartment. All of this works pretty well, even though it makes us live through Chri[blurp]….Chris [blurp]. The Ruiner. There. The Ruiner shows up just long enough to cause trouble and then disappear again. Points lost for: What in the name of sores and boils is that outfit (above), Rory?  Points awarded for: “Now he’s working at the gift shop at the Grand Ole Opry.” “Horrid music.” “Sells cowboy shirts and toy banjos.”

97. “The Deer Hunters” (season 1, episode 4)

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It’s early in the show’s run and the writers really haven’t found their groove yet. So we get this: An entire episode is taken up with Rory stressing over Chilton grades. And while I want to care, it’s pretty hard to, since A.) For Rory to get a “D” on a paper, it must’ve been pretty awful. Like, just smeared poop on some paper awful.  “Learn from your mistakes. Poop doesn’t go on paper, Rory.” and B.) Rory’s running late for the test has nothing to do with the deer–which wasn’t a funny gag, just irritating–and more to do with Lorelai failing at parenting the night before. But, what saves this episode from being pitiless is Rory and Lorelai’s fits and rants. Both are beautiful and Rory’s, in particular, has inspired me to shout “What’s up, Quippy? Why so silent?” more than a few times.

96. “Twenty One is the Loneliest Number” (season 6, episode 7)

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POOL HOUSE EPISODE. This episode is a mixed bag of nuts. First, let me say that the girls’ plan to do Reno is just a little creepy for a mother-daughter duo. And the sulking by both parties is getting stale as fuck. Plus, man, Lorelai’s Halloween skit idea is TERRIBLE! You couldn’t pay me enough to sit through a skit like that, and I’m telling you, no kids would either. What the hell? On the plus side, though, Rory’s talk with the reverend is a perfect takedown of the slut shaming that dude tries to pull on her.  Between that and the moment she tells Logan that the grandparents know he’s slippin’ her the sausage, Rory is on fire with attitude. And then she yells “damn” at Luke and Lorelai! Lordy, it’s about time that girl got a fire in her belly about anything. And, sure, WB, I get that “damn” is supposed to be all surprising, and Rory really should be yelling that her mom is a raging bitch because, yo, that would be realistic, but I get it. So rage on, Rory. Yell “damn” as much as you want! Points lost for: Sookie clearly went out and bought, like, eight kinds of sausages all based on Lorelai’s skit idea. And she lays them out and presents them, and Lorelai can’t even be bothered. She’s not in the mood. Poor Sookie. She deserves a better friend. Points awarded for: “It even tastes pink”. More points awarded for: Madeline Albright’s cameo, which is the one and only time I have liked a celebrity cameo (stupid Norman Mailer and Christiane Amanpour!).

95. “That’ll Do, Pig” (season 3, episode 10)

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Another fuckin’ Francie and The Puffs episode. It’s too dumb. I mean, really. And then we have the Winter Carnival, which due to circumstantial experiences (current and future) is by far my least favorite Stars Hollow town freakout. Jess is a jerk. Duh-Dean is gross and makes custard pie look gross. Clara is a mosquito that I wish I could squish under my giant lady palm. Trix is…fine, I guess. Wait, why is Trix in this episode again? Definitely this is a lull in the spectacular third season.

94. “The Perfect Dress” (season 6, episode 11)

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Let’s just start with the fact that Rory just can’t wear a hat. What the fuck is happening with her head in the first scene of the episode as the ladies storm the diner straight from Reno? She looks stupid and prissy. No. And her entrance proves once again that Alexis Bledel never learned how to hug. I don’t know, maybe she forgot hugging because she spent so much time working on her big crying scene that came up later, which was exquisitely awkward. Anyway, as much as the Luke plot is working really hard to tank this season, there are some amazing things eclipsing the Nardini stink. Rory is fending off Logan nicely, Lorelai is sweet and hopeful about her wedding–snowflakes and all. And the Lane and Mrs. Kim bonding is phenomenal. The moment Lane yelled “You break it, you buy it!”, I realized exactly how Mrs. Kim became the way she is. A broken heart. Points awarded for: Paris and Doyle’s krav maga and their safe word. Points lost for: Is it the perfect dress? It isn’t very flattering or brilliant. Hmmm. More points lost for: More Alexis Bledel acting problems. To wit, “Oh dear, you got caught in a circle of freakout!”

93. “Will You Be My Lorelai Gilmore?” (season 7, episode 16)

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Man, I missed so many town shenanigans over the last season or so. This is much better, as we focus on Kirk buying a boat and Rory throwing Lane a pretty amazing baby shower.  Logan is the only real bummer here as he regresses back to his crappy old self. Regurgitated Plot Idea: Sookie reads outdated gossip magazines while she’s pregnant. (And plots Lorelai’s grizzly death because she never got a baby shower like this.) Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: So Rory ordered chairs for the shower? Where are the chairs going?? I mean, maybe it could’ve been outside on the Crap Shack’s front lawn, but it’s a bit cold for that and all the decorations were inside. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: How the hell much is Rory spending on this freakin’ baby shower? Stacks of onesies, professionally painted giant signs, chair rentals, giant blown up photos, etc. Is Rory pulling $1,000-2,000 out of her trust fund for this? Points awarded for: The Monkees reference. More points awarded for: Appearance of Lulu! Points lost for: Cheese factor. It’s up there at, like, Velveeta level. Even the title points to how cheesy this whole episode is.

92. “Knit, People, Knit” (season 7, episode 9)

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Considering Lorelai is miserably awkward all episode, this is a surprisingly enjoyable effort! The cold open is absolutely classic–between the “Wolf Girl” etching and the Lorelai voicemail message played over and over–which is perfection, by the way–I’m a happy camper and actually laughing with my Gilmore Girls again. Jackson’s talk with Christopher is actually pretty sweet, and who doesn’t love a good ol’ Stars Hollow town festival, eh? I mean, sure, the set designers are still snorting cocaine when they decided to put giant-ass yarn balls in the town square, (there is no way Taylor’s renting those things when they’re scraping together charity funds). I even love that Luke told off that horrible baby mama. Points lost for: Anna Narshitty making an appearance. Points awarded for: Paris and Doyle dancing! More points awarded for: Lorelai’s “knit or go home” shirt.

91. “Secrets and Loans” (season 2, episode 11)

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Termites and Jackson’s pajamas star in this pretty uneventful and tidy little stand-alone episode. There’s some really cute small stuff between some of the characters, but a big hangup here is Lorelai’s bad attitude. First off, I think it was creepy of her to ask Rory to lie to her grandmother (by omission) and then bust her for not sticking to the pretense that Lorelai’s headache was merely a touch of Consumption. Then we spend the whole episode with Lorelai treating her mother like a jerk for no good reason. I wouldn’t be so haughty if I were in her shoes. Lane’s cheerleader dance, Mrs. Kim’s garden hose, and Jackson’s pajamas are pretty much the only enjoyable parts of this dud. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Lorelai breaks through her porch, and then in the time it takes to get dressed and for Rory’s Eggo waffles to finish popping out of Poppy, they’ve managed to get Exterminator Kirk out to do an inspection?? And why is Lorelai so shocked it’s termites? Isn’t that what she suspected when she called Exterminator Kirk instead of a contractor?

90. “Summer” (season 8, episode 3)

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In the land of split decisions lands this third installment of the “Year in the Life” episodes. Jess, and poser April, the Logan breakup, the Gazette–it’s all really enjoyable and perfectly on-note for where the characters are coming from and where they’re headed. And the pool stuff is all pretty great. But this episode has one giant, never-ending achille’s heel: The fucking musical. Stars Hollow: The Musical is an affront to everything holy about this show. No regulars are cast, nothing we love is depicted, and it’s a huge, big-fat waste of time. Holy shit, was that bad. BAD, BAD, BAD. It was like a bad SNL skit that just wouldn’t end. Oh, the hurrah of the unfunny jokes about everyone loving it. I swear, Sutton Foster must be finger banging ASP, because she had no business otherwise being in this show. Period. The therapist, Sutton Foster, no to all of it! What a spectacular and boring waste! I don’t get it and I don’t like it. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #1: Wait, the therapist from Hartford is in Stars Hollow to audition for their musical? What the hell is going on with this therapist character? Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: There’s no way the Gazette ran a headline about a single mom taking a job at the inn. It’s weird and unbelievable. Points Awarded For: The cute auto-dialing of Logan. Sure, their relationship is beyond shady, but Rory’s got some comic timing. Super Mega Points Awarded For: The Secret Bar!

89. “Friday Night’s Alright For Fighting” (season 6, episode 13)

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Another split decision episode. See, this episode is in the bowels of the worst season. Luke is being a dick of ridiculous magnitude, Paris is no longer quirky and is just insane, and Alexis Bledel still can’t remember how to act (I tells ya, it’s her bangs!). I don’t think there’s a single moment in all of GG that makes me cringe more than when Rory claps to get the newsroom’s attention. And that is closely followed by the cringe from “And that’s how we do it at the Daily News!”. And THAT is closely followed by the cringe when Lorelai yells “Hey! This is not going to happen!”, calling the clan to a halt in the living room. Gah, so awkward the way they all freeze on the spot! All of this is just plain fecal. However, the Gilmore Friday night fight scene then makes it all a lot better, like ice on a wound. It felt beautifully cathartic and fun, while appropriately dramatic. Attach that end scene to almost any other episode, and it might rank among my faves.

88. “The Breakup, Part 2″ (season 1, episode 17)

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Very few things make me relate less to Rory than this episode where she becomes some kind of neurotic robot in reaction to her Duh-Dean breakup. Acting like she’s too good to wallow. Pshaw! Her crazy-eye denial face makes me think she keeps sneaking into the her room to scribble kill lists on the back wall of her closet (or cupboard, I guess. Rory has a cupboard, right?). It isn’t that I don’t appreciate that she’s a “type A”, but the execution here made Rory less pitiable and more axe-murderer / make-a-Dean-skin-lampshade kind of crazy. Notice how I’m trying to pivot around the Max content of this episode, which is just depressing? Yep. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: So let’s get this straight, it’s been firmly established that Lane isn’t allowed to go anywhere without a chaperone–including the movies and a Bangles concert–but all of a sudden she can go to a coed party in another city? And even if they lied about it, Lorelai’s on board? No “mom code”? Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: Who wears a frilly dress to a high school house party? I get funky skirts and skimpy outfits, but Rory’s frilly dress belongs at church, and all of a sudden grown-up me wants to fling spit wads at her. I really hate Sheltered Princess Rory and miss funky Real-Girl Rory.  All of this criticism heaped on, though, this episode had amazing Paris scenes and acting. That French Soda Monitor makes the episode. Points also awarded for: Luke’s asthmatic reaction to keep Duh-Dean out of his diner. Points lost for: Tristan and his complete fake acting. Can I say right now that if they had found a more capable actor, the Tristan/Rory dynamic could have been really emotional and exciting? Instead it’s just a big fatty-fat waste of time.

87. “It’s Just Like Riding a Bike” (season 7, episode 19)

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Finally, season 7 has gotten to a much better place (almost entirely because The King of the Ruiners is gone! Take that, Amy Sherman-Palladino! We DID get the b.o. out of that car! HA!) (Seinfeld reference!) Anyway, not everything about this episode works–Lorelai has some horrible outfits and she’s punchable in her obstinance when Jeep shopping. I mean, Jesus, lady! Luke learned that change is good and inevitable, why can’t you? Oh well, several things actually do work. It’s perfect seeing Lorelai back at Luke’s, and Kirk is on fire as usual. Paris’s reaction to getting her letters is frickin’ pitch-perfect. First, her over-the-top excitement is a thing of beauty, and then her paralyzing anxiety is spot-on. I love how much of myself I see in her, and I eat up every minute of it. Plus, is it really, really wrong that I am glad Rory didn’t get the internship? I’m pretty sick of Rory getting everything she wants. She turned down a really great job offer in the middle of a recession, so I have some schadenfreude watching her squirm about getting work.

86. “We Got Us a Pippi Virgin” (season 5, episode 5)

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Oops, Duh-Dean and Rory are making positively everyone uncomfortable by now with their adultery (I mean, Dean’s divorce almost certainly hasn’t been finalized yet, so technically, he’s still married, right?). So, instead of being real with her daughter–about how there are loads of other fish in the sea, and she needs to let Dean re-build his life and learn to be a man, and until then he’s off-limits–Lorelai, instead, is going to date with Rory. Sigh. I mean, I love (love!) the Pippi singalong, but the only redeeming part of this episode is Luke’s reaction. Granted, on any other show, they would’ve come to blows instead of playing Bop-It–this show’s so precious that way–but at least Luke is being a little real about how not cool everything is. This episode is winning because it’s honest in its awkwardness, but with a Pippi backdrop. PS – Hey Lorelai, you want to know how to attract more businessmen to the Inn? Maybe tear down that ridiculous library and put in a business center. Make it a space without floral and porcelain doll decor. Points awarded for: Just imagining Cool Hand Kirk.

85. “Super Cool Party People” (season 6, episode 20)

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After a mostly magical wedding episode, we get hungover Lorelai, including her fantastic talk with Sookie in the kitchen. Super cool party people bid you super cool adieu! I can’t yell this at people enough. The rest of the episode is full of our ladies just absolutely shining–Rory decides to grow some big fat ovaries and yell at Mitchum Huntzberger (with swearing!), and Lorelai hosts a kick-ass slumber party for April. The whole thing feels like we’ve turned a corner…unfortunately for Lorelai, we’ve turned straight into a brick wall. Anna Narshitty (ha!) throws a temper tantrum about the party, which is ridiculous and ruins the whole thing. And now we know, along with Lorelai, that everything really is doomed between L&L. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Lorelai takes all those little girls into the beauty shop and tells them to fill their little baskets with anything they want. Let’s see, I’m guessing there had to be about $60-100 in products per basket (maybe more), times 13 girls, means Lorelai probably just dropped about $1,000 on this party. Which, I could allllllmost buy since she’s so desperate to get in good with April, but then I really think Anna and Luke should’ve backed the fuck off. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: It appears that someone (Rory?) has filled Logan’s hospital room with a TON of giant crap from home–floor lamps, the suit or armor, and even a giant-ass painting that probably took a lot of work to get through the door. Not only would they have needed a moving van to get all this stuff there, but there’s no way the nurses would allow it. Plus, just, WHY??  Points awarded for: Paris and her takedown of the E.R. doc.

84. “Emily in Wonderland” (season 1, episode 19)

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Sometimes doe-eyed Rory is just a little too naive and precious for words–like that time she hauled Emily to Stars Hollow to go antiquing and eat at Teriyaki Joe’s–and then rub Emily’s face in the life that was the potting shed! I have trouble believing that a 16 year-old would still be that clueless (8 year-old, maybe), which leads me to suspect that Rory is secretly just a little evil and enjoyed making her grandmother feel all awkward and unloved. After Emily bolted from the potting shed she probably rubbed her palms back and forth in evil delight. Actually, this is probably part of Rory’s psychotic breakup meltdown. She breaks up with Duh-Dean and now she decides to kidnap her grandmother so she’ll pay. They’ll all pay. This episode has some otherwise cute stuff from the Luke/Rachel tension, but mainly its charm hinges on whether or not you believe Rory is a head trauma victim or The Bad Seed. Either way, this episode isn’t great. But it isn’t bad either. Points awarded for: Rune. Rune and Michel. Michel and Rune.

83. “The Lorelais’ First Day At Chilton” (season 1, episode 2)

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The warmth and charm of the pilot dissipated quickly to give way to this caricature of an episode where mean girls rule, and we have to meet….[gag]…Tristan. Still, there’s something classic and old-school about the first trip to Chilton, so I’ll ignore how not very likable the episode is. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Asking us to believe for one moment that ALL of Lorelai’s clothes are at the cleaners except for the cowgirl outfit. For shit’s sake, grab a pair of jeans out of the hamper and put on your high heel dress shoes, which are, what? Out at the cobbler’s? The saving grace of this episode is that the show’s still in its classic early days where everything is new and fresh. Points awarded for: Paris. Just, Paris. Points lost for: Tristan. Points also lost for: The ugly Ian guy that hits on Lorelai. They couldn’t find anyone attractive? ‘Cuz that dude be ugly!

82. “Take the Deviled Eggs…” (season 3, episode 6)

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Oh shit, it’s another Sherry-centric episode. And this time she’s in a really bad blonde wig (what’s with all the wigs this season??). I skip all of this, because I care nothing for Christopher or his fiancee. So what we have left is actually quite enjoyable. I love the town loner bits, the pigeon town meeting, and even the deviled egg throwing. I mean, Jess doesn’t actually deserve it because he’s recently been a pretty good kid. But, I’m all for hijinx and pointless spite, especially when it’s good and creative like this. Points awarded for: Luke at the town meeting. If you pay attention, he is grinning the whole time. I’m not sure why. And I like it!

81. “Die, Jerk” (season 4, episode 8)

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Lane frets over a marriage jug, which is a silly and dull waste of our time, and Rory finds out she isn’t as good of a writer as she thinks. Ha. Listen, Rory, as someone who has been reviewing hundreds of Gilmore Girls episodes over the past few months, I can tell you that it’s really hard not to be really mean. It’s fun and easy to do. And I respect you more for having a nasty streak. Really. But then you have to grow some big fat hairy ovaries and not get all torn up about people not liking you. The exception to this rule, in this case, is the idea that you fat-shamed this fellow student publicly. That was out of bounds and probably ruined her life. Even I know that certain insults are off-limits. Shame, Rory. Shame. Points awarded for: Paris’s plan to “take care” of the “Die, jerk” situation. I believe her.

80. “Norman Mailer, I’m Pregnant” (season 5, episode 6)

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Oof, I’m splitsville on this episode. On one hand, Sookie’s special-appearance-by-Norman-Mailer drama is irritating as fuck. I ALWAYS fast forward through all of it. The episode even loses big points for its grating title alone. BUT, on the other hand, sometimes-douchey Logan is actually really cute here. Gaa, thus begins the great Logan dilemma: He’s a smarmy jerk, but he’s also attractive as hell. I get it, Rory. And the “Press” hat gag was charming as hell. Plus, the over-the-top cheesy introduction of the Life & Death Brigade is actually pretty welcome. Rory might make friends! Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Doyle stands in front of Rory bitching about Logan pretty loudly, and there is no way Logan didn’t hear that. Points awarded for: The excellent background jokes about Taylor’s new trucker slushies-and-nachos scheme. Points lost for: Fucking Christopher. Rory’s on the money (and redeeming herself fast, here)–he needs to call anyone else. Anyone else!

79. “Haunted Leg” (season 3, episode 2)

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Jesus, not a Francie plot. The whole thing is beyond stupid, and it makes Rory look really simple for falling for it. How does our heroine get owned by frickin’ Francie??? Nope. So I don’t feel bad for her when she also gets schooled by Jess. Get your shit together, Rory! You’re better than all of this! Or at least I wish you were. Okay, on the Lorelai end of things, she’s still mopping up the fiasco that was her affair with Christopher, King of the Ruiners. I want to fucking high-five Emily Gilmore for how she boots that turd out of her home. (And then punch Lorelai for undercutting it and running out to comfort him.) But on the plus side, she did get asked out by Kirk, which is maybe one of the sweetest things ever. I’m almost sorry I laugh at him so much for it. That actually took a lot of chutzpah! Points awarded for: The “haunted leg” line. More points awarded for: Emily: “At least she had a husband to kill.” Even more points awarded for: “Hello Headmaster Charleston, this is my stepfather Kirk, please don’t make any sudden movements, he’s a fear biter.”

78. “The Fundamental Things Apply” (season 4, episode 5)

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Blah, blah, blah, Rory goes out on a bad date with a douchey-looking guy who probably went on to date-rape a whole bunch of women and join the polo team. Lorelai hires a former porn-star, who opens her mouth too much, as a decorator (even though in a later episode’s magazine interview, Lorelai will take all of the credit for decorating the inn herself), and manages to get in a fight with her mom in the process. It’s all pretty tame and lame. The only juicy part is Luke’s movie night with Lorelai, which is sweet on so many levels. Points lost for: Rory’s bad skirts, despite her insistence that “preppy” isn’t her thing. Yuh-huh. Have you seen a mirror?

77. “Luke Can See Her Face” (season 4, episode 20)

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So much bursting potential in this episode, which leads up to one of the greatest episodes of all-time for Luke-Lorelai fans (which is probably you, if you’re reading this). But episode 20 here? It’s a little “eh”. Luke’s epiphany, along with Paris’s, make this a sweet and emotional episode, especially when you add in the reconnection between Luke and Jess. (Jess!) But overall, Lorelai is annoyingly stressed and Rory doesn’t really have her own story going on right now. Our girls are spinning their wheels while things happen to people around them. That’s not all bad, but combined with a lack of townsfolk (delightful pop-in by Andrew aside), this episode can’t quite reach the level of great. Points lost for: A lack of Kirk.

76. “Run Away Little Boy” (season 2, episode 9)

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So long, Dris-tan! (One last nasal spray burn for the road!) Tristan has to go star in another TV show, so he has to make an exit with some really, really flimsy drama about Duh-Dean being jealous. And, seriously, at this point, Rory should dump Duh-Dean for being way too stalkery and jealous, and just get on with the Jess thing already. Oh, and I guess there was another plot about Lorelai trying to return an ice cream maker? And accidentally dating a young dude? This episode was convoluted from top to bottom and is easily passable upon re-watching. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: We see Lorelai open an ice cream maker that doesn’t come in a box or factory wrapper?? Was this a used ice cream maker? Was this re-gfited? Because, if so, we’ve wasted an entire episode worrying about wedding etiquette for no reason. And didn’t the box it was shipped in have a return address anyway? Yeah, makes no sense at all. And now I want apple cider ice cream. Points awarded for: Lorelai’s impression of Dean. Score! Points also awarded for: First appearance of Brad, the second-best Chilton student ever (behind Paris, of course).

75. “The Nanny and the Professor” (season 4, episode 10)

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The Yale plots here are so gross, I have to mostly hide my eyes. Rory needs to stop with the ugly too-tight turtleneck sweaters and should get to a doctor about that Puritanical stick up her butt. Yes, the Asher Fleming thing is creepy, gross, and inappropriate, but she should laugh it off and move on. Over to the Lorelai side, I continue to love her relationship with Jason–though we know it’s only temporary. He’s so much more interesting and weird than her other bland dopey love toys. He is the human Cyrus. Plus, I would totally stay in that guest room. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: The maintenance man working on Rory’s radiator is absolutely considering whether or not to murder her. Watch his face. “..it’s all quiet..snow’s pretty, too.” Then, if this was reality, he would go on to say “And there’s no one here to hear your screams.” Points awarded for: Glenn’s newspaper hat. Super bonus points awarded for: Cyrus and his ability to move a little to the left (much like Hillary Clinton–zzzzing!).

74. “The Hobbit, the Sofa and Digger Stiles” (season 4, episode 3)

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Uptight freshmen Rory is on a roll, this time wanting to shut her room off from a party, against the wishes of her suitemates. I want to hug Paris when she calls Lorelai. Nice! Paris is trying to grow and embrace the college experience. Learn from this, Rory. I’m telling you, Paris makes this episode completely. Then, after stick-up-the-butt girl gets $25,000 worth of really high-end furniture and electronics, she pouts about it. She is being ungrateful and small-minded, just like pretend Emily said. Um, Rory? Grandma and Grandpa Moneybags have already paid for your prep school, your college, and a car. Just thank them for the fucking sofa and get over yourself. “The Hobbit” portion of this episode is pretty empty. Sookie and Lorelai and their catering business are a very temporary distraction, and all that happens is Sookie’s meltdown. I totally understand her feelings, and kids are pretty gross and rude–but I’m not sure why the show went there. The “Digger Stiles” portion is the only vignette that actually furthered the plot, and I immediately like the new addition to the cast.  Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Continuity error! When Rory’s studying on the couch and being badgered by Paris about the party, the pink sheet on the couch keeps changing position from shot to shot. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: The Independence Catering Company is the worst catering company ever, from a business standpoint. Sookie made hundreds of extra dollars worth of food that the client didn’t order? And how are they affording to buy dozens and dozens of LOTR costumes? And hire extra kitchen staff?? I doubt the mom is paying $5,000 for this party, so what gives? Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #3: Wait, Madeline and Louise traveled across the country because they heard about a single party taking place? What? On any given weekend there are thousands of college parties taking place between New Orleans and New Haven. Com’on writers, give us ANY better excuse than that. Points awarded for: Lorelai sensing her mother’s presence in the dorm room–“guilt and Chanel No. 5″. More points awarded for: Lorelai’s leather jacket at the end of the episode. My Precious!

73. “I’m a Kayak, Hear Me Roar” (season 7, episode 15)

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After some really heavy plots in the last couple seasons, this episode is a nice, light treat. I love the bonding between Emily and Lorelai, and the dinner with Mitchum Huntzberger. It’s even nice to see Liz and TJ, who had recently been used only as irritating filler. But they’re back and they’re sweet. Listen, I know that the bottom of my list here is riddled with season 6 and 7 episodes, but this one is good enough that it really could have come from an earlier season.  Regurgitated Plot Idea: Mitchum Huntzberger interrupts Rory’s plans for a Logan party by taking him out to a celebratory meal of his own. Regurgitated Plot Idea #2: Logan describes how Rory has been “Huntzbergered” in almost the exact same way that Lorelai described Luke getting “Gilmored”. Points awarded for: Drunken accounting. More points awarded for: Paris and Doyle’s yoga. They are just magical.

72. “Let the Games Begin” (season 3, episode 8)

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Let me just start by saying that I covet Lorelai’s coat in the opening scene. I don’t know if I could pull it off, but I want to try. Okay, this is a mostly out-of-town episode, which I am never very fond of, as a general rule. The Gilmores all visit Yale, because clearly they need to set it up for Rory to go to a nearby school since the show has been renewed for more seasons. None of it’s terrible, just a little boring. The Jess-Rory is stuff is awfully cute, though, and keeps the whole episode as a worthwhile watch. Points awarded for: The Frank Lloyd Wright story with Mr. Angry-Puss.

71. “I Get a Sidekick Out of You” (season 6, episode 19)

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During a traumatically awful season of people in relationships treating other people badly, it was refreshing to see a little love in the air during the wedding of Lane to Zack. It felt like a fun celebration and I always want to be eating hot dogs and fries as if I’m there. On the downside, we have Luke on The Trip That Never Ends with April’s class (one week, my ass)–because apparently, as fans, we deserved to be punished–and ASP used that as a wafer-thin excuse to bring Christopher into the picture. Fucking Christopher, King of the Ruiners. But on the upside, Lane is gorgeous in both of her wedding outfits, and Mrs. Kim is absolutely endearing from start to finish. If we ignore Christopher and Luke (and that’s admittedly hard to do), this episode is a dream to watch. Points lost for: Christopher appearance and Rory’s fugly dressy WASP coat. I really, really want to burn that coat. Points awarded for: Lane’s amazing wedding dress and the Yummy Bartenders who were just yummy enough.

70. “Happy Birthday, Baby” (season 3, episode 18)

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We finally get an episode about Lorelai’s birthday! Well, at least, partially. This episode is really scattered with Rory planning a giant pizza, Kirk’s cheese burns, Jess skipping school, and Luke wigging out on Nicole’s parents. The big problem, though, is yet another fight between Lorelai and her parents over her paying back the Chilton money. It’s pretty aggravating, especially when I really wanted an entire episode just at a Lorelai birthday party. So, not a whole lot of joy. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: The actress who plays Nicole’s mom is maybe 10 years older than her. If that. Thanks, Hollywood. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: Without her mom’s express consent, Rory is paying how much for that party? I’ve planned big parties before, so I know how expensive they get pretty quickly. And between the specialty giant pizza (complete with crane rental to move it), about 13 cases of pop, a professionally printed custom banner, and what I can only assume is whole bunch of other crazy stuff, this party had to cost thousands of dollars. And how did she pay for it? Does Lorelai know that Rory has her credit card and just charged that much? Points awarded for: As the crane is lowering the completely fake, totally impossible stupid pizza down, Kirk can’t help but reach for it and is being held back by his coat. It’s just a little thing, but it cracks me the hell up. Gods, I love Kirk.

69. “The Lorelais’ First Day at Yale” (season 4, episode 2)

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This was quite the magic trick–we went from normal, bright, cute, well-adjusted Rory last episode to this uptight freakazoid who looks about 12 years old as she moves into her dorm. What is with the hair and the ugly outfit?? Haven’t you heard of first impressions, Rory? Boy, I know people think this episode is sweet, but Rory hasn’t seemed this overly sheltered and neurotic since “The Breakup, Part 2″. Not a fan. Plus, I don’t care how tight their bond is, Lorelai should’ve done Rory the favor and not stayed the night. That was a huge social retardation of Rory’s development. Oh well, at least I can agree that it is surprisingly fun to howl. If you haven’t tried it lately, I insist you do. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: When the first lawyer comes in to see Luke, he grows impatient and clicks his pen, with an audible click sound. EXCEPT THAT I own that style of pen, and it isn’t clickable; it’s a capped pen. He’s just pretending to click the cap. Busted! Points lost for: The bitches in the photo ID line. Not only would I have punched them in their stupid faces for being so nasty, I definitely wouldn’t have fed and befriended them later. Yikes, Rony. Points awarded for: “Copper boom!” More points awarded for: “When I think of nothing, I think of Luke Danes.” Still more points awarded for: Terrence, the life coach. Even more points awarded for: The still-conspicuous absence of Christopher, King of the Ruiners. Guess he’s too busy with his new family, Rory.

68. “Nag Hammadi is Where They Found the Gnostic Gospels” (season 4, episode 13)

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Yikes. If you want my opinion, Rory looks ridiculously awful in this episode. I’ve railed on the old-lady camel-colored dress coat from the back of some old white guy’s closet, especially in combination with the white doily scarf, but this time she added tights and leather gloves to the ensemble. And the hair is super-duper short. Com’on, guys! She’s dressing like she’s 60 and going to a bridge game. I’ve already mentioned that I feel pretty embarrassed for her that this is what Jess sees–not the spunky, quirky brainiac, but this stuffy repressed imitation. This is not to suggest that Jess “deserves” any better, but for Rory’s sake, he should be eating his heart out. Instead, I’m surprised he isn’t doing an intervention a la “Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ring Out”. “What are you doing Rory? Living in turtle necks? Being seen in a circa 1970s old man’s camel dress coat? No jeans–why did you stop wearing jeans?” I know I should be focusing on more than this, but really there isn’t a lot more to the episode. Jess and Luke hammer out their issues and Lorelai keepings lying to her mom. Naturally, the best part of the episode is the Firelight Festival! The Firelight Festival! Luke gives Lorelai the earrings and I completely melt. Plus, Liz is pretty amazing with T.J., and I’m glad they’re becoming regulars. Points awarded for: A very clever episode title.

67. “Winter” (season 8, episode 1)

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We’re back in the Hollow after many years away, and it feels spectacular to see our old friends–some of whom look older than others (poor Zack!). Everything is mostly just how I would want it until we get to this awful part about the now-divorced Paris running a ritzy fertility center that Luke and Lorelai visit for no reason and without any comedy. That holds this episode back from being a lot more exciting and delightful. But for Kirk’s Ooober business alone, I have to give a nod of approval. Points Lost For: Appearance of the real Paul Anka again. I hated that gag the first time. More Points Lost For: Why the hell did they cast Gypsy-in-a-bad-wig as the maid? It’s a pretty central role. So tacky. So unbelievable. It takes away from Emily’s whole arc. Points Awarded For: Digger! I still liked their relationship in all its brief glory. He looked good and classy (and I’ll ignore the fact that his character hates going to funerals and probably wouldn’t have come). More Points Awarded For: Alex Kingston. Her role was weird but delightful!  Even More Points Awarded For: Throwing the bagels at Kirk’s Ooober head. That sequence made me snort. Go Lorelai.

66. “Afterboom” (season 4, episode 19)

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So long, Digger. I know it isn’t official yet. But really, yeah. I’m going out on a limb here to say that I always liked Digger a fair amount, unlike a lot of GG fans. His weirdness seemed pretty perfect for a temporary whatnot and it was nice to see her with someone “off-center”, instead of smarmy guys (see: Christopher, Max, Alex, et. al). He was bright, ambitious, and just a little evil, which is fun. Eulogizing aside, the episode is endearing for bringing us into the modern era of Hep Alien living together. Points lost for: The fact that Asher Fleming isn’t hunky at all. Not even a little.

65. “P.S. I Lo…” (season 1, episode 20)

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Moody 16 year-old Rory seems disturbingly real in this episode. Finally. Rory misses Duh-Dean, and I almost do, too. That big lug takes Rory’s attention off of her psychotic little cupboard kill-kill list and kidnapping her grandmother to clean her shoes. Note to future beaus: Breakups make Rory a nut job. And in this installment of Rory goes mental, she decides to run off to Hartford because she can’t deal with Lane’s science partner or Lorelai’s re-dating of Max. I totally get this type of freak-out, but on the other hand Rory running away to her grandparents’ house now lays the groundwork for her to drop out of Yale and hide out in the pool house later. Life gets tough? Run away, Rory. Run away.  (And how was she going to pay for the cab if her grandparents weren’t home? Huh?). Okay, aside from Rory’s angst, the highlight of the episode is Lorelai dressing Luke for a Rachel birthday dinner, which quickly turns inappropriate and cheer-worthy. Gods, I love the WB. Any other show/network, and Luke and Lorelai would’ve fallen into bed together, and Rachel would’ve walked in on them. At the CW? Nope! Rachel walks in on…belt threading! It’s so damn wholesome it hurts! But at least it was all 5000% off.  Lots of bonus points awarded for: high end-of-season drama.

64. “Swan Song” (season 3, episode 14)

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The Jess era may technically be my favorite, but he is a huge jerk in this episode to Rory and to Emily. I mean, Rory’s pretty naive to think that Jess should meet her grandmother after they’ve only been dating for, what, a couple months? Too soon. And he’s not Dean. Some guys you just don’t bring home to rich grandmama. I don’t know. Maybe Psycho Rory is back and she was bored leading up to graduation, so she set Jess up to fail. She knew it would be a disaster, but enjoyed watching the other parties squirm. I mean, there’s no way she can be so clueless (see also: “Emily in Wonderland”). And technically, this is Rory dealing with a breakup (from Dean)–and what have I always said about Rory and breakups?? Yes, they make her psychotic. She probably even planted that swan to attack Jess. Heh. Okay, no really, Jess gets plenty of blame here for not handling a crappy situation well, and I hate the writers a whole bunch for doing this. The only good part was when Jess took Luke out on the boat looking for the offender. Oh, and the kissy-kissy part at the end was pretty steamy. Points lost for: More Duh-Dean time. Oh, go get married already! Points awarded for: Luke knowing all about Lorelai’s wardrobe options. More points awarded for: Kirk: “Doll, you’ve got the gams, but I’ve got a body in the trunk of my car.”

63. “Lorelai Out of Water” (season 3, episode 12)

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This is a sweet and sad episode all at once. Luke is actually helping Lorelai to get a boyfriend who is harmless, but not her lobster. And this drives Luke into the arms of Nicole, who is clearly a dull-as-toast prerequisite before Luke can date Lorelai. Clearly. That’s okay, though. This is fine filler while Rory and Paris fight in a most childish way. What makes this episode really likable, though, is the wedding at the Kim house. The whole thing was sadly beautiful, and Rory’s time bonding with Lane felt nice and natural. Points awarded for: Lorelai’s fishing outfit and the description of the trout: “They’re all going ooop! Like they’re singing in a trout choir.” More points awarded for: The ladies trying to actually learn how to fish out of a book. Dorks.

62. “Chicken or Beef?” (season 4, episode 4)

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There are many things I don’t dig about this episode: Rory’s new uptight haircut, Dean getting married at age 18, especially when he’s clearly not in love with his bride, and finding out that Dave Rigalski left to go star on The O.C. But otherwise, the theme of this episode is people looking out for other people. Kirk looks out for Lorelai, the “pretty spinster who lives alone”, in the sweetest way possible. Luke looks out for Duh-Dean, even though the two aren’t friends. Okay, I’m having trouble jamming the Taylor plot into my theme, but it was awesome nonetheless. As a matter of fact, the Taylor plot is what makes this episode as good as it, and adds the much needed humor in an otherwise sappy effort. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Oops, Rory’s totally not driving a Prius. Magic car change! Points awarded for: Michel’s offer to lecture on the uses of deodorants. Super points awarded for: Lorelai’s Taylor freakout where she grabs his jacket and yells in his face (pretty much the most violent thing to ever happen on the show thus far, by the way). “The hoops! The hoops with the jumping and the fire and the HOOPS!”

61. “Love, Daisies, and Troubadours” (season 1, episode 21)

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We’ve been building toward this season finale for pretty much the entire season, and most of the big drama–BIG DRAMA!–is completely expected, and even a little overdue. Ta-ta, Rachel! Get your fabulous ass outta Stars Hollow! Rory and Duh-Dean finally get back together, and it’s done in the most cringe-worthy way possible. What the fuck, Rory? Standing up at a town meeting and ranting about musical expression? It’s so G-rated and sappy that I throw up a little every time I see it. And then there’s Max and Lorelai wasting more of our time. I knew it the first time I saw the show. Big. Fat. Waste. Of. Time. That being said, the moment with the thousand yellow daisies was touching and powerful–and Graham sold it really well. Sure, it was actually waaaaay more than a thousand. And sure, the proposal is ludicrous and unbelievable, but it’s still fun drama. Points lost for: Tristan. Points awarded for: A thousand yellow daisies and high drama.

60. “Kill Me Now” (season 1, episode 3)

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Rory golfs and wears the best hat in the whole wide world! Rory’s half of the episode feels like it was written by a lonely grandparent somewhere, sitting in an old folks home closet, dreaming about what the perfect grandchild would be like. That would be overly innocent Rory, who is charming throughout the episode. It’s notable, though, that this whole uneven golf-riffic effort came from a one-time writer for the show, which means Grandpa Louie got shoved back in the closet after penning this fantasy. The best parts of this episode come from Lorelai’s half, which depict a comical wedding at the Inn. Drella, Michel, Miss Patty, Jackson, and Sookie are hilarious throughout, and it’s a refreshing respite from how much emotional baggage the writers try to unpack in early season one. Points lost for: The earliest glimpses that Rory might just fit in well in the upper crust world. I mean, we already knew she looked down her nose at public schoolers, and now with her love of country club gossip, I’m all bummed right alongside Lorelai. I am kind of glad the steam gave her a a rash.

59. “So…Good Talk” (season 5, episode 16)

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Let me just say this, if a diner owner ever started screaming at customers and violently throwing people out of a restaurant, cops would be called. Charges would be filed. Action News teams would park outside. Republicans would throw him a press conference with “Eye of the Tiger” blaring in the background. So even though I smile-frown that Luke is so torn up inside because he misses Lorelai, Luke needs to pull his shit together. Glad he’s not armed. Everything else is the writers cleaning up the “Wedding Bell Blues” mess, including the big kiss finale which usually makes me stand and cheer. I will give it to Rory, though, she and Logan are obnoxious cutey-patooties here, and the stylists have Rory looking hot. Best Lines of the Episode: “I’m dying to see what your take on ethics is, for instance, are you for it or against it?” and “Not in front of the books, Lane!” Points lost for: ANOTHER sweater vest for Lorelai. Season 5 is all about her in sweater vests. I don’t get it. More points lost for: Rory’s insistence that she’s so broke (uh-huh) that she’ll take “any job”…except a blue collar job, apparently. Such a snob! But then she bails on Andrew two days in, so maybe the constructions crew is better off. Oh, Rory Von1%, what are we going to do with you?

58. “But Not As Cute As Pushkin” (season 5, episode 10)

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Gaa! Freshman-year uptight Rory is back for a limited one-episode special sophomore appearance where she rudely snarks at Paris and Terrance and then gets her granny panties in a big bunch because Logan bursts into her class. Jesus, Rory, get over it! What the hell has happened to this girl’s sense of humor? It’s cute, alright? It just is. Logan’s being adorable and having fun. As T.J. would say, he’s grabbing life by the ping pongs. Lordy, Rory needs to loosen up a little. Anna, Paris, and Marty all know it and nearly say as much. Now, over on Lorelai’s side of things, I’m just going to ignore the whole “Luke’s Dark Day” thing, because Punky Brewster already did this plot, and I thought it was cheesy and dumb back in the 80s. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: By my count, knowing how much college bookstores charge, Rory bought Anna at least $250 worth of Yale merchandise…for a school this kid might not even attend. Has this show just given up pretending that Rory isn’t wealthy? Bonus points awarded for: Paris and Doyle hooking up. It’s just so right!

57. “We’ve Got Magic to Do” (season 6, episode 5)

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POOL HOUSE EPISODE. Finally, the tide turns. First off, I actually start to like Nora from the D.A.R. (”..and I’m far too sober to put it in any perspective!”). And secondly, Rory–in her absolutely horrid D.A.R. outfits, finally starts to show cracks in her ugly 1% porcelain veneer. In a really tacky and depressing season, we are finally just starting to have a little fun here with some swing music and Paris taking down the ruling class. Points awarded for: Sookie and Lorelai’s fear of performers coming into the audience. I’d be freaked out too. That glitter blowing thing? Very stressful. More points awarded for: Emily’s takedown of Hoebag Huntzberger. You go girl! Points lost for: The whole “inn’s on fire!” “Fooled ya!” moment. It wasn’t gripping the first time. Knock it off, Palladinos. More points lost for: Rory’s hair. Damn, the hair stylists couldn’t give her a better 40s look?? Even more points lost for: Grandpa Gilmore bragging about Rory. There is no fucking way she could name the state capitals at age 3, or the periodic table at age 4. That shit would be in the news. Fuck baby Rory.

56. “Lorelai’s Graduation Day” (season 2, episode 21)

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I know I should be super touched by Lorelai’s graduation, but I’m just not. Sorry. Yes, her parents are sweetly irritating in their need to go overboard, but I’m just not blown away by her accomplishment. No, what little is charming about this episode comes from Rory’s ride to New York. Lorelai drove her to this, so I don’t actually feel bad for the ceremony screw-up. Okay, Paris gets a little blame, even though I thought her tirade about the pathetic teacher with the half-eaten banana was magnificent. And Rory in New York is just adorable–with the hot dogs, and the record shopping, and Jess. It was the closure that we all needed (for now).

55. “Say Goodnight, Gracie” (season 3, episode 20)

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Poor Fran. They killed off that little old lady just so Lorelai and Sookie can open the Dragonfly in season 4. Oh well, the antics (yes, antics) of Fran’s funeral are fine and all, but the best parts of the episode involve Dave begging to go to the prom with Lane. He’s so adorable. Even better than when Zack later tries to imitate this very move when asking for Lane’s hand. Otherwise, I give not two fucks about Jimmy coming to town–even though I’ll admit to almost liking that “Suffragette City” moment. What is much more fulfilling is the Luke and Jess showdown that needed to happen. Well-written and well-acted. Now, Dean getting married? Boy, that’s a big ball of mess waiting to happen. But, sure, Lindsay. I can totally see how romantic it is that your boyfriend just defended the honor of his ex-girlfriend and then turned around and proposed to you. That makes sense and sounds reasonable. Good life choices. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Rory tries to take credit for the cop raid at last night’s party. Let’s hold on there, Tonto. The cops showed up less than 5 minutes after the fight started, which means they were already probably headed there on a noise complaint. And while the fence may be broken indirectly because she set up Dean to take out Jess and simultaneously ruin Lindsay’s life (you know Lindsay went home and furiously scribbled on a piece of paper a thousand times “I am Lindsay Forester. I am Lindsay Forester. I am Lindsay Forester, DAMNIT! She can’t take that away! No one can!”) , the litter on the front lawn was there because of a party. Not everything’s about you, Rory. Stop singing, Lorelai. Not everything’s about Rory. Gaaa!

54. “The Third Lorelai” (season 1, episode 18)

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Oof, this episode is thiiiiiiiis close to being amazing. If only they had slightly reined in the Trix caricature just a smidge, she really could have been one of my favorites–especially the way she makes Emily squirm so beautifully. You know, maybe if they dialed down the long black burqa-style dress and made her just slightly less overtly cruel. Still, I can’t help but giggle through most of the Gran lines. The Paris-Rory bonding is pretty great, even though Paris gets dolled up looking a little old for her age. All in all the episode is tame but sweet. Points lost for: Lack of Stars Hollow townsfolk. Points also lost for: Such casual treatment and handling of a quarter of a million dollars, as if it’s just a small little blip. That would (still) be a life-changer for me, but it’s treated like a brush-off. Turns out Lorelai still doesn’t really believe that she’s truly working class, and must realize that she has a wealthy safety net that makes a quarter mil seem all “easy come, easy go”.

53. “Girls in Bikinis, Boys Doin’ the Twist” (season 4, episode 17)

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Rory does spring break and reminds us all that she is the biggest square that ever lived. Freshman Rory really is like dry toast, if toast whined about how irritating fun is. At this point, I think it’s really a shame that she doesn’t just get laid already (by an unmarried dude), take a bong hit, and realize that life is too short. As usual, while Rory is desiccating in front of us, Paris is a champ. Her willingness to have a brief girl kiss moment, enter a banana-eating contest, and drink random Solo cups of booze make her the highlight of spring break. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Madeline and Louise show up. Why? Because Rory has made NO OTHER FRIENDS outside of her suite mates while at Yale. The writers actually had to pull her Chilton friends out of a storage trunk somewhere so someone would be there to make Rory drunk-dial Married Duh-Dean. Points awarded for: Glenn and his freak-out at the mention of hot dogs, which I aim to re-enact frequently this summer at BBQs. Points lost for: Special appearance by the shitty band and their shitty song, which we are forced to listen to in its entirety.

52. “The Ins and Outs of Inns” (season 2, episode 8)

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Finally, we’re back to town shenanigans after a few episodes of watching Rory train to be a good and proper little WASP. Well, aside from Rory having a formal portrait painted of her. I guess WASP boot camp is still going on. Season 2 really is a little creepy in this way. Anyway, if we put aside the swan and the painter, there is a whole bunch of fun town crap going on. Sookie is on fire with the jokes, we get to meet Mia and reminisce, Fran is confused about The Dragonfly, Mrs. Lanahan snoozes, Luke and Bootsy feud, and there is an outstanding Jess-themed town meeting. Just good fun. There isn’t anything landmark about the happenings, but it’s just darn enjoyable. Points lost for: Lorelai’s blow-up at Sookie, which was really snotty.

51. “There’s the Rub” (season 2, episode 16)

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Split decision. I really hate the spa stuff with Lorelai and Emily, mainly because Lorelai’s petulant and rude. Nah, pass. But Rory’s part! Oot! OOT! I love Rory’s night with Dean and Paris and the final revelation that Jess got the idea to bring over all of that food. Paris is only the second person we’ve seen Jess be really nice to, and the whole thing is magical. Points lost for: The terrible 60/40 bar scenes with bad piano jazz. Points awarded for: Rory’s Mr. Peanut pajamas.

Hey, it’s the Top 50
Copper Boom!

Now we’re down to it: The Top 50. There are no bad episodes in the top third–only dead cats, biscotti, Tevye, and horoscope clippings.

50. “Scene in a Mall” (season 4, episode 15)

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Here is a lovely continuation of season 4 themes: All three generations of Gilmore Girls are struggling–Emily being in the spotlight today. Her world is changing too fast, and she breaks down while Rory and Lorelai try to pretend they’re broke. It’s kind of cute, in a way. This is a fresh, light episode that succeeds outside of Stars Hollow (mostly). Most of all, Emily is the most relatable she’s ever been, and her sad face at the state of the apples that Richard “has always liked” is just perfectly and beautifully devastating. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: The girls are so broke they cannot buy even a single sad little blouse…but then pop for over $100 in foodcourt goodies and drinks, which is way more than even the three of them can eat. Points awarded for: Emily’s burning loin. More points awarded for: John, Paul, Keith, and Bingo. Super bonus points awarded for: Kirk’s completely pointless awesome dog-sitting service. Cookies! Cookies! Points lost for: Alexis Bledel forgetting to act when reciting the line “’til tomorrow, Ava dearest.”

49. “Women of Questionable Morals” (season 5, episode 11)

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Stars Hollow is the real star of this episode, so I’ll focus on the joy that is Kirk in a dress and Taylor on a horse, and try to ignore the pretty horrible Christopher-centric things that the ladies are up to. Straub’s death is just a really cheap ploy to throw Christopher, King of the Ruiners, back into the mix and sabotage L&L. We can feel it building. We know it’s coming. But, like I said at the start, let’s ignore that and pay tribute to the historical nameless woman who, apparently, saved the town by seducing a British dude and is now labeled a prostitute, even though she was probably just a really selfless person willing to sacrifice her body for the greater good. I bet she didn’t even charge. Again, because she probably wasn’t a prostitute at all. Poor lady. Points awarded for: Andrew and his “hot mutton” suggestion–how did that actor even say that with a straight face? More points awarded for: Pretty much everything Michel says this episode “What do I care? I’m French.”

48. “In the Clamor and the Clangor” (season 4, episode 11)

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The episode opens with Rory openly weeping at the funeral of the never-seen or mentioned “Stan”. Seriously, if I saw a young non-family member girl weeping so much at an old dude’s funeral, I would assume she was boning him. People probably did think that. It’s just so weird–Rory didn’t cry much at all for Fran. I mean, it makes you wonder. What is going on here?? Anyway, I think the bells are really beautiful, and as someone who lived on a campus with bells like this for four years, I have to say, you really do adjust to them easily. But what do I know? Apparently it’s too much change and Luke and Lorelai have to go hella-flirt so strong that their mutual romantic heat actually breaks the bells.  Points lost for: Introduction of Rory’s ugly old-lady lace scarf. Did she tear that off an old biddy’s curtain rod? Points lost for: Rory dumping on Paris for getting her into the International Relations club thing. She seems lost by the idea that her good looks won’t get her everything in life, and laughably thinks that good grades will look good on her resume. Oh, precious Rory. Giggle. Employers give not two shits. Points awarded for: Paris’s very true life advice: “Even if you have nothing to say or add, be vocal. Very few people in life listen to what anyone says anyhow. It’s all about volume.” More points awarded for: Lane’s CBGB’s outfit, which was really rockin’.

47. “Ted Koppel’s Big Night Out” (season 4, episode 9)

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I’m always surprised at how much they can cram into this episode–Friday night dinner, the Froggy plot, the Yale game, a huge fight, Paris pursuing Asher Fleming, and then a full, long-ish date with Digger. Phew! It’s a lot, but it doesn’t feel forced. First, let me address the awesome Froggy bit, because I find this incredibly true to life, and I, myself, have cringed at “butt napkins”, and have subsequently started referring to confused, gross waitstaff as “Froggies”. It’s a nice little B-plot. Okay, on to the Yale game. Considering we saw zero moments of sports (for which I am grateful, stock footage would’ve been cheesy), this felt exactly like it should. The tailgating is fun, and the Pennilynn Lott conflict was plenty interesting (how DARE you, Richard!). But even more than that, I really love Lorelai and Digger’s date. It’s awkward in all the natural ways, but ends up being really sweet and indicative of how their relationship would play out. I think I would’ve stayed in the private room if no other tables were available, though. Guess I would’ve missed out on the Pringles and dixie cup Fun Flask toast.

46. “An Affair to Remember” (season 4, episode 6)

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Here is the second episode to feature the terrible Independence Catering Company, which makes hundreds of dollars worth of broccoli tarts just to practice. Does money really matter to no one on this show? Oh well, that’s not even the worst part–I’m more upset that we wasted so much time on Rory bawling and whining over a study tree. Thus begins my blooming hatred for Rory. It’s just at a simmer now, but it will grow. Oh, yes. I am so relieved when Lorelai lays into her for not being more flexible. Emily’s plot is fine, but a little stale. Even the blooming romance between Lorelai and Digger is cute. I love that he gets her and seems a lot quicker than Christopher, King of the Ruiners. No, but the star of this episode is Kirk’s date prep and actual date. It’s magnificent, creepy, and sweet all at once. Welcome, Lulu! And does anyone else think that Luke and Kirk’s friendship is one of the best and most functional on the entire show? Luke and Kirk forever! Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: The gardener in front of Emily’s house is slowly picking up one leaf at a time by hand. Hey, paid extra? You’ve never actually cleaned up anything before, have you? Points awarded for: Emily’s talk about flying, thumping balls. Giggle. More points awarded for: Luke’s reaction to Kirk’s question about where he’d seat Tom Cruise: “In an acting class.” Heh. Yeah. Even more points awarded for: Lorelai messing with the maid: “When I give the signal, you cause a distraction and I’ll run in and take her down, got it?”

45. “But I’m a Gilmore” (season 5, episode 19)

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This is another strong Rory drama episode where Lorelai is just floundering in a crappy subplot. For Rory’s part, she’s back to full-on Rory Von1%, dining in mansions and being squired about, except, uh-oh! Muffy’s been rejected at the Club! Logan’s family rudely asserts that she’s only Rory Von2%, and that’s not good enough. The whole thing plays out a little cheesily, but is good juicy drama nonetheless. And I’m with Mitchum, even if the internship is probably nepotism and is some kind of trick, take it anyway! Lorelai, on the other hand, is being absolutely 10,000% ridiculous by getting Luke to abandon his own business to come run the inn’s kitchen for one shitty dinner, because the inn’s totally unbelievable staff of five (not counting Sookie) can’t possibly do it. I swear to the gods, I would have beaten that pregnant woman with that ladle.  Suspension of Reality Moment: So, wait…they all got drunk in what appears to be the late afternoon / early evening on about 3 cups of punch each, and they’re super hungover the next morning?? Didn’t they sober up by, like, 9pm and hydrate then? Geez, guys. Suspension of Reality Moment #2: Lorelai got “Tito” to open up his fast food restaurant early for her? Yeah, how about no. She has no friends named Tito, and there’s no way Tito is calling in a worker and opening the kitchen and turning on the fryers for her. How did she even find Tito? I call Tito bullshit. Suspension of Reality Moment #3: Just the entire Dragonfly subplot. Nope. Points awarded for: Paris’s reaction to sick Doyle and her “When you’re hot you’re hot” speech. Exactly how I feel when my husband or daughter are ill. Points lost for: Lorelai’s Season 5 sweater-vest plague continues. Will it ever end??

44. “Tippecanoe and Taylor, Too” (season 5, episode 4)

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Great town shenanigans as Jackson runs for Town Selectman, which is a frivolous (and very temporary) diversion, but I’m mostly okay with that–and Kirk’s borrowed pants. And I’m enjoying watching Duh-Dean and Rory squirm with the awkwardness of their gross relationship. Excellent schadenfreude. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: I think this is the first time we’re seeing the Dragonfly’s library, and wait–what? Why does it have a ginormous library? What the fuck? What guest is reading that much? Isn’t that a huge waste of real estate in a not-very-large inn? I mean, that could’ve been an office center or a wine tasting room or a coffee bar. Or anything but a useless library! Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: There’s no way the printing press fit through that door. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #3: Where the hell did the Bellevilles come up with all that money to rent a stage and sound system, etc. for their rally? That was an expensive set-up and Sookie just opened the Inn. Ach! I give up. This show and money, I tells ya. Points awarded for: Gallup Poll slam!

43. “Eight O’Clock at the Oasis” (season 3, episode 5)

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The oasis part I like. I actually wish that Dwight had become a regular character–maybe a town serial killer, or something. Anyway, it’s just a shame that him and his tiki kitsch were a one-time only gag. Tip for Lorelai, though: Not only should you be scared of the man who just popped out of the bushes at you, but you might not want to tell him all about your teenaged daughter and how to identify her. Right? Everything else about the episode is pretty boring, honestly. Lorelai’s date with Peyton feels realistic, but I just don’t give a hoot about the ensuing pseudo-drama. I think the writers really ran out of ideas this week. Eh. That’s okay. Props to them at least bringing Alex Borstein back as Dwight’s psycho ex-wife’s voice. Side note: I can’t prove it, but I swear that Dwight’s living room was built over the Independence Inn lobby set. The fireplace and doors line up. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: When Lorelai’s talking to Peyton on the phone (in Dwight’s house), she parrots that he just flew back in his private jet from Maui. BUT, when she says “Maui” it’s clearly dubbed over the original line, and does not match what her mouth says. Oh, how many times have I tried to figure out Peyton’s trip location! (Brussels? Mali? Oh it bugs me.) And more importantly, WHY would they change the line? WHY? Points awarded for: Soaking wet Jess. He’s too young for me to aa-oo-gah! at, but I’m not dead, either. More points for: Jon Hamm. Just, Jon Hamm.

42. “Cinnamon’s Wake” (season 1, episode 5)

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Much like the Donna Reed episode, this is just a weird one. Not many shows could run a full episode about two ladies’ love lives hitting the skids because of a cat funeral in a miniature house. Sally Struthers is just completely sweet in this episode, and I love the goofy town camaraderie that we see here. It’s the first glimpse at the Stars Hollow charm we all fall in love with. If I have to criticize any moments, it is that Duh-Dean comes across as a little creepy and aggressive. But that ends up being true to his overall character, so okay.

41. “That Damn Donna Reed” (season 1, episode 14)

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Okay, this is a weird-ass episode. Let’s just say it. A Donna Reed homage? Really? I know that it’s supposed to be a contrast against the GG’s very modern lifestyle. But yeah, it’s still weird–so weird that I like it. I think. Maybe. But then again, it is a Duh-Dean-centric episode. So that’s a bummer. But I can ignore Dean’s mouth breathing just to see Luke and Lorelai’s touching moments sharing Luke’s past. This whole episode was a basket of crazy, and really, isn’t that why I like this show so much? Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Where on earth did Rory get a perfectly fitted 1950s-era dress and apron?Points lost for: Overzealous set decorators making the “before” Luke’s look like poop has been smeared on the walls. Who would eat in such a poop factory? Points awarded for: First appearance of the town troubadour. Points also awarded for: The Painting Song, which I always sing when it’s time to paint my house.

40. “Kiss and Tell” (season 1, episode 7)

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Oh, young love! The two goofballs, Dean and Rory, are so nervous about their own hormones and whatnot that they have to invent a really dopey game out of grabbing free pop (I’m there with ya, Dean) in order to give each other the most G-rated peck on the lips ever. I really think this is similar to how I kissed my first-grade boyfriend. Eh, it’s a Thanksgiving-themed episode, and the Puritans would’ve been proud. So, there. What I maybe like most–if I have to analyze a sugary sweet adorable fest–is that Rory starts to peel away from Lorelai a bit. After dozens of viewings of the series, I’ve come to see Lorelai as oddly controlling (a topic that was addressed in “Kill Me Now”, and will come up again in “A Very Korean Thanksgiving”). She decided for Rory that she has to go to Harvard, love Pop-tarts, snub the rich crowd, backpack across Europe after graduation (because that’s what Lorelai had planned to do), and has to be her absolute best friend, no matter what. No matter what. I’m mostly okay with that, because it works for the two of them, especially given that Rory is a fairly waify, malleable spirit. And Europe is fun. But here we see her eek out a little independence and have a secret of her own for a little while. It’s her growing up on several levels. Points lost for: The corny “sing for your supper line”, Duh-Dean! Points awarded for: Lorelai’s love of Oompa Loompas, and a spazzy movie night of fun.

39. “Presenting Lorelai Gilmore” (season 2, episode 6)

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This hearkens back to the Donna Reed episode. The WB really tried to hit it big with an episode about a debutante ball–one that didn’t involve any sex, intrigue, or violence? I mean, really? It’s just weird. And while Rory’s fan dance is spectacular (and could make good cosplay, no?), the whole plot is just a little twisted and dull at the same time. I mean, mocking the wealthy is always a good time, but the whole thing stinks of a plot device to bring back Christopher. NOT CHRISTOPHER!!!! Okay, he actually isn’t that bad this episode. Almost charming. Dammit. Points awarded for: A few pretty good lines from Christopher: “A crazy game of key exchange at the car wash,” “I kept getting it confused with nap.” Points also awarded for: Lorelai and Christopher’s dance, which actually is pretty great. Still more points also awarded for: Jess showing up for a shift at the diner in a Luke outfit. Ha!

38. “Come Home” (season 5, episode 12)

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Ooh, something big must be coming up soon, because Rory has FANCY HAIR! So she’s rockin’ a gorgeous ‘do and is way more likable than last episode, mainly because her painful attempts at flirting fell flat. Ouch. I feel that pain, Rory. Between that and the Lunar New Year Dinner, Sookie’s Dark Shadows references, and Lorelai’s adorable kitch-lit fascination, this episode is a pleasure. And best watched when hiding from your family and eating a Toblerone. Points awarded for: Brian’s “I hope that’s not my girlfriend’s husband” and Zack’s “Aw, that’s fresh!” Watch. Laugh. Rewind. Watch. Laugh. Rewind. Points lost for: Absolutely anything to do with Emily and Richard this time ‘round.

37. “The Festival of Living Art” (season 4, episode 7)

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Oh! I love the Festival of Living Art! It’s worth the price of admission alone. Kirk’s girlfriend thinks so, too. PLUS, we get Sebastian Bach as a series regular? Boy oh boy, we must have been good boys and girls to get this kind of treat. Yes, Rory is terrible this episode, but Lorelai, Lane, Kirk, and Sookie all support the effort and make it fantastic. Awkward Suspension of Reality: Lorelai says that Rory “IS” the young girl named Antea. No. Have you seen the original? It’s a young, skinny brunette girl, but she really doesn’t look much like Rory. Plus, Rory’s performance isn’t super spot-on like you’d think. Less than awesome, dipshit. Also, I’m just gonna suggest that Lulu looks like a better fit than Lorelai for the “Dance at Bougival”. But maybe now I’m being picky.  Points lost for: Rory’s decry of “I’m a Yale student, for God’s sake”. Gross. Fuck you, Rory. No one cares. More points lost for: Rory coupon-shaming Lorelai. Excuse me, Rory? Do you have any concept of money? I’m totally grossed out that she’s embarrassed by the idea of budgeting and saving money. This earns the episode’s second “Fuck you, Rory!”

36. “Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ring Out” (season 6, episode 8)

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First, let me point out that this is the highest ranked season 6 episode here, and it took all the way to #34 to make my list–further evidence that season 7 is actually superior to season 7, as I’ve been saying all along. Anyway, on to the episode: It’s Jess! It’s Jess! After so much suckitude this season, this is the episode that makes me punch the air and high five my cat. Go right ahead, Logan, act like the biggest douchebag in the whole friggin’ world, because here comes Jess. JESS! He’s here to slap Rory in the boobs and wake her up. I love that the writers did this! And afterwards, it doesn’t take much to bring back Sassy Rory who storms out on her grandmother. Plus, even though I don’t give two figs about Paul Anka’s comfort, I thought Luke was incredibly sweet to Lorelai (which we have to appreciate because we know it won’t last). Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Jess is skulking around the Gilmore driveway…at about 3:00am?? Why didn’t someone in the rich neighborhood call the cops by 2:00am? How long was he out there? He could’ve been sitting in the bushes for, like, four hours. So did he urinate in the bushes and everything? I’ve thought about this too much now. Neutral points: Anyone else notice how much arm-crossing Rory does in this episode? It’s excessive.

35. “Lorelai? Lorelai?” (season 7, episode 20)

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Oooh, the romantic tension is palpable as Luke and Lorelai inch toward a reconciliation, and it feels so damn good. Plus, I am still in love with Lane and Zack, and their entire story. For me, the bar night at K.C.’s (or Casey’s?) is the big draw here (note: the poster for BooZoo Barns in the background! Props to the set designers!). It’s nice to see some night life and the townspeople kicking back, and reminds me that I actually wish there was a karaoke place around here. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Babette and Miss Patty are trying to save their voices by whispering? I’m no expert, and I really hate choral performances, but isn’t whispering the worst thing you can do for your voice? Points awarded for: Kirk’s performance of “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” Super points awarded for: The song. Oh the song! I do wish them joy and happ-i-ness!

34. “Love and War and Snow” (season 1, episode 8)

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This is the episode that almost makes think fondly of snow. And then I remember it’s the sky pooping frozen water crystals on us, and the charm is gone. Lorelai, on the other hand, acts like it’s catnip and has a crazy romantic night with Max, who hasn’t quite overstayed his welcome yet. The Rory-grandparents stuff is pretty boring, as is Lane’s freak-out. Luke is the one that really melts my snowy heart, though. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: That is some fake-looking snow. I know snow, and what they’re all prancing around in is soap flakes. Points lost for: Rory being so naive about her grandparents’ issues with Lorelai’s past. She’s sixteen, not nine. She has to be aware that she’s in dangerous waters and that her photos are going to hurt them on some level. This clearly is an omen of crazy, hurtful Rory to come in “Emily in Wonderland”.

33. “Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy” (season 2, episode 5)

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It’s Jess! Jess is here! Jess is here! Us seasoned viewers know this heralds in the peak seasons of GG. But down to this episode: Jess’s intro is a little rocky in lots of ways. Yes, he’s a big jerk to Lorelai and yes he’s a caricature of a smoking punk. But, in his defense, Jess has just been through a big upheaval and is lashing out in an angsty, rebellious way that a lot of teens might. Here’s the thing, though: He isn’t the one who bugs me. Lorelai does. She is waaaay self-righteous and out of line in her attempts to therapize Luke and the Jess situation. Telling Jess he’s lucky to be in the Hollow? Completely obnoxious. And trying to freak out Luke that this kid is way messed up? That’s manipulative and dramatic. Can I just maybe hope that Lorelai was really drunk at the dinner party and that’s why it go weird? Thanks. Because once I do that, the rest of the episode is pretty great–Lorelai soliciting kids for coffee, Jess stealing gnomes, Rory and Paris going head to head, and–oh–Jess and Rory meeting and connecting right off the bat. Let the games begin! Points awarded for: Psycho Rory is back! Remember how I theorize that break-ups and big life changes make Rory a little evil? Watch as she interviews Max and tells this poor broken-hearted sad bastard a charming, nostalgic anecdote about the wonderful woman who ripped his still-beating heart out of his ribcage. Rory has to know that cut him up inside. Cold shit, Rory. Cold shit. More Points awarded for: Luke pushing Jess in the lake. A classic scene that is executed perfectly. Rewind. Play. Rewind. Play. Question of the episode: Which six languages do they teach the Pledge of Allegiance in, exactly?

32. “One’s Got Class and the Other One Dyes” (season 3, episode 4)

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There’s no landmark drama here, just a really solid Stars Hollow episode filled with Rory vibing Shane (that girl’s a freak!), Lane dyeing her hair, and Lorelai getting yelled at by a bunch of mom-bots. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: In the opening sequence, Lane takes the teeniest nibble of hamburger bun, and Lorelai still says “swallow” as if she’s about to choke. I mean, I get it from an acting standpoint, but it’s weird. Also weird is that Rory does the same little bun nibble just a moment later. Eat, people! Points lost for: Lorelai’s wacky dreams, which are just a little too wacky to be funny. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: Lane’s purple hair is super obviously a wig. Points awarded for: Meeting Zack and Brian for the first time! Eeeeeee! More points awarded for: Lane running through the town square in the background.

31. “Rory’s Birthday Parties” (season 1, episode 6)

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There is a part of me that wants a homemade coffee cake and balloons for breakfast every birthday, followed by an out-of-control, silly-string kind of party. Rory’s parties are pretty amazing, and so is this episode. Sort of. Kind of. The two parties are both pretty fabulous on the surface. Yeah, that’s right, I think Emily’s party is actually a really sweet gesture, and I do think the girls are a little ungrateful for a fully catered soiree and well-intentioned guest list. It isn’t so crazy for Emily to assume that classmates would be a great choice. And really, there is a glaring weird issue going on in this episode: The guest list for the Stars Hollow party. It’s a “sweet sixteen” party with only one teenaged guest–Lane. All adults. All neighbors and townsfolk. It’s a little creepy, right? I mean, who the hell are those people? And Lane is a great friend, but shouldn’t Rory know at least two or three people from the TWO high schools she’s attended in the past year? Where are all the kids that went to her past birthday parties where clowns got arrested and scavenger hunts took place? Or was it always Babette, Miss Patty, and Gypsy running around at a kid’s 8th birthday party? It makes Rory seem snobby and sheltered. And since Emily didn’t want to just invite Lane and Gypsy, what was she supposed to do? Still, Rory’s gift from Duh-Dean is sweet, and the whole episode is enjoyable and enlightening. Plus I love Lorelai’s homemade dress.

30. “Face-Off” (season 3, episode 15)

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Hooray for more Stars Hollow cuteness! This time, the city is hosting some high school hockey playoffs, with the Doose clan in town for the big event, and Luke plenty hostile to the team’s dubious accomplishments. Lane and Rory are still best-friending it up and learning about the joys of sporting foods (mmmm, nachos!). Everything about Lane is pure joy this time, and the Rory interactions with Lindsay (welcome, Lindsay!) and Duh-Dean are pretty good. Jess, of course, is the big problem of the episode. He’s being inattentive, which upsets Rory Precious, because someone isn’t worshipping her ‘round the clock. No really, Jess is being a terrible boyfriend, but that makes this episode and their relationship pretty real. I love Lorelai’s advice to her girl about how not to sit around and wait for a phone call. Points awarded for: Lane pointing out the “Chilton thing”. More points awarded for: Announcer Kirk. If he called all sporting events, I would actually like sports.

29. “Tick, Tick, Tick Boom” (season 4, episode 18)

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The episode title really says it all. The Gilmores have acted awful and this is where it starts to blow up on them. Rory says spiteful, inappropriate–if very true–things about Lindsay and is overheard. Boom. Telling you now, that would happen to me too, Rory. I feel your pain. Lorelai has been hiding her relationship like a bratty child, and now that blows up in her face. Boom. And Papa Gilmore has been screwing over Floyd, so now poor Jason gets screwed over. Boom. Exxxxcept…that one doesn’t fully boom because Papa Gilmore never pays a price. He’s just awful and gets away with it. That sucks. I’m glad Emily’s already started packing her bags. Anyway, lots of amazing drama gets packed in here, nestled in among Kirk’s rotten eggs and Taylor’s toupee. Stars Hollow may take a backseat here, but the episode does a good job finding balance and I never want to miss a moment. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Hmmm, that golf course that Richard chills at so much seems to have an awful lot of palm trees for Connecticut! Points awarded for: Kirk’s Howard Dean moment.

28. “You Jump, I Jump, Jack” (season 5, episode 7)

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Okay, we can be candid about how much this episode suspends reality (list to follow), and we could dump on how goddamn dangerous it is for a young woman to let herself be kidnapped and taken out into the woods with no thoughts for her personal safety. (I mean, people, that could’ve ended, very, very badly for Rory–especially if this was any other show.) But I choose to allow myself to be swept up into the fantasy of it instead. Because it’s Gilmore Girls. Because I know that ASP would never let anything actually bad happen to Rory. Because Rory needs more adventure and to crawl out of her hole. I’ve been screaming this for five seasons now, and this is a version of what I’ve been waiting for. And damnit, she looks radiant in her (unbelievable) dress, and finally has a unique college story! And because the show didn’t mention the copious amounts of cocaine that had to be blowin’ all over that campsite, the trip seemed like a lot of harmless fun. Denial. I’m all for it. Because if you don’t think about it too hard, it’s all just really romantic, and clearly is this season’s set piece. Just go with it. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Rory’s hair is extra pretty for Friday Night Dinner, which can only mean a big event is coming up where she requires a “naturally gorgeous” look (also see: “Wedding Bell Blues”). Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: There is no way in hell that dress fits so well. Or the shoes. What the hell?? Just no way. Points awarded for: Lorelai’s Friday Night Dinner ramblings, including her bumper sticker crusade and Hortence VanUppity. Points lost for: Having to watch the Gilmores treat Luke so terribly. No fun.

27. “Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days” (season 3, episode 1)

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Can we just start with that dream sequence? Luke and the twins? It’s every dream I ever had for them. So sad we never got it (at least in the original run!). Okay, back to reality. The Paris stuff is a bit frivolous, but still pretty fun. We all know what we’re really waiting for is to get Rory back to the Hollow to straighten out her love life, which it turns out became a huge mess while she was gone. I’m ever-so-grateful that Lorelai gave the verbal smackdown to Rory and then went slithering on her belly to make up with Luke. Welcome back, Mimi. Points awarded for: Two words: Hay. There. Points lost for: Sookie’s completely insane freakout that makes no sense and is too far gone to even be cute. Which leads to… Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: There’s no way Sookie would be able to purchase so much crap and so thoroughly redecorate the house so quickly.

26. “The Big One” (season 3, episode 16)

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Sure, sure, Rory gets accepted to every college. Even the ones she didn’t apply to. Who the hell cares, because Paris has something to say. Take my breath away, Gilmore Girls writers. Now THAT was finally some real drama. I’m only sorry (in a giggly way) that Papa Gilmore slept through the whole thing. Poor Paris. Of course, I think she probably ends up being a better person than Rory for her struggles. But Rory is praised with shopping and karmic acceptance to Harvard for keeping her knees shut. Gods, this show is so Puritanical it hurts! Big points lost for: Max Medina. What in seven hells is he doing back?? No!!!! More points lost for: The after-school special feel of this whole endeavor. Points awarded for: Paris singing songs from Into the Woods and otherwise aptly intimidating her competition. I bet Brad really was winningly naive.

25. “Keg! Max!” (season 3, episode 19)

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Aside from a really stupid title, this episode has a lot of exciting stuff going on. This is Part 1, really, of the Jess total breakdown, which–though ugly and cruel–feels realistic and built up appropriately. It’s hard to watch him meltdown, not just for Rory’s sake, but for his, too. He could’ve been such a great character. And by the way, Rory? You don’t get to go to the Stars Hollow High prom, because you were too good for that school. You can’t have your prep school cake and eat it, too, so suck a dick. Anyway, on to the party! It’s the official debut of both Hep Alien and Kyle (who I’ve missed since his The Sandlot days). Dave is full cute-jealous here and the performance is lots of fun. I still can never believe when Lane calls her mom, and I love this set-up. Lane has been ramping up the rebelliousness, and it’s brilliant. Then, yes, Jess is a big jerk. But Rory’s also a little willfully naive and doe-eyed. Maybe even a little psycho. “I’ll teach him to say mean things! He’ll pay. They’ll ALL pay!” She had to know that if she ran into the party openly sobbing, that Dean would see her and would start with the punchy-punchy. Otherwise, any other lady would hide the tears so no one would see her. I think Rory wanted to be seen. She wanted Dean to clean up her Jess mess, and show Lindsay that she still has her claws in him. Revenge! Yes, Rory can be that psychotic (see: “Emily in Wonderland”, “Swan Song”, etc.) I’m sure after Rory went home, she closed her bedroom door, quietly smiled, and then started to fashion a Lindsay voodoo doll out of dryer lint, yarn, and, of course, the Mark Twain magnet.  Huge mega points lost for: Max. Why the hell are they dusting him off? I really, really don’t understand. I know Alex is gone because he had to go star in Twilight as Bella’s dad, but Max was 10,000% unnecessary and horrible. Points awarded for: Kyle and his swim towels, Hummels, and his military icon collector plates. Welcome, Squints!

24. “Pilot” (season 1, episode 1)

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Hearing the opening notes of “There She Goes Again” always makes me feel like I’m gong home again. Home to Stars Hollow. The pilot, while rough around the edges like every pilot ever (except LOST, which was just a freakshow of awesomeness), is classic and fun. Sure, getting into a really rich, exclusive prep school in Connecticut seems like the whitest problem of all time, but from the first, the leads are lovable and fun. And it’s hard not to worship the episode that started it all.

23. “Hay Bale Maze” (season 7, episode 18)

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Oh, I love me some Spring Fling fun! And the new writers seems to have found a bit of a groove here, as we start out with a deftly handled classic Sookie-Michel fight. And the hay bale maze itself, was great! I loved everyone’s reaction to it–from Zack’s crazy sensory overload–“No, man, I can smell the hay!”–to Luke and Lorelai’s joint apology. I’m only sorry we missed the town meeting where Taylor was clutching hay and crying. The only other thing that would’ve made it better is if Kirk had a stand outside the maze selling his “Hay There” products (though, understandably, they’re buried in a lead container underground). Note to Matt Czuchry: When you’re talking about Colonial Williamsburg, you really, REALLY need to annunciate the line “fewer knickers”. That one took me aback the first time I watched it–had to rewind and check what the heck that boy just said. Otherwise, this was just a lot of fun. Enjoy the Kirk-as-a-minotaur gif.

22. “Bon Voyage” (season 7, episode 22)

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Seven seasons of ups and downs. Kirk and all of his jobs. Miss Patty and all of her romance and props. Sookie and Jackson fighting over watery peaches and Lane pretending to play drums. Luke’s fake daughter chasing away his love. Richard and Emily serving quail and marzipan. Taylor installing traffic lights and Jess drawing fake body outlines. Firelight festivals and knitathons. Town meetings and clown bleedings. It’s so much. Too much. I feel just like Lorelai, not ready to let go, feeling like there has to be more. How can just one episode possibly say an adequate bon voyage to a series that has meant so much? Most people say that this didn’t hit the mark. But I’m going to surprisingly disagree. I love how Luke and Lorelai got back together (FINALLY!)–Luke had to show her a big gesture of love to win her back. And I love that Rory’s farewell was a giant town party. I mean, sure, if you weren’t invited, AWKWARD! Poor Lindsay is at home folding her arms and throwing darts at the Rory board. Mrs. Kim is plugging her ears. And Town Troubadour gets no love. I’m not going to lie though, there were some sniffles the first couple times I saw the town clapping for Rory. Because, really, it was them taking their bow and it felt spectacular. A giant town event was the way it should have gone out. The finale did its job and I ate it up. Points lost for: Mousy, scared Rory meeting Christiane Amanpour in her jammies. What a waste of our precious time. Stupid Rory. Now I have to root for you to fail.

21. “The Party’s Over” (season 5, episode 8)

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Ah, Rory’s hair is back to normal. But, fear not! Her transition into Rory Von1% is still going forward!  Richard and Emily have concocted a very silly plan to set Rory up with all of male society at a special dinner–which is really gross, but damn girl! There are women who would pay a lot of money for a chance to be at the Male Yale party. Anyway, Rory is swept upstairs to have her hair done against her will (which, no lie, happened to me the exact same way when I showed up to my mother-in-law’s second wedding) and she comes down looking like the heiress she was meant to be. And damn my shallow heart, I loved that Logan swept in with Colin and Finn to save Rory and form a sub-party, and I desperately want to see Finn’s Passion of the Christ.  The whole thing is grotesquely over the top, but still looks like fun. Well, if the diamond tiara fits, I guess you wear that shit! And too bad if Lorelai is mad. She’s been cherry-picking her access to the world of wealth, and this is the risk she’s been running. I love that the writers are now playing with Rory’s choice between the two worlds, along with the look Lorelai gives as Rory drunkenly staggers out of the limo. Perfect. Oh, and buh-bye, Dean. Don’t let the door hit your married dick on the way out. Points lost for: The T.J. b-story, which is a giant waste of time. More points lost for: A lack of townsfolk–though so much drama! Kirk had to be sacrificed, I guess. Points awarded for: Mrs. Kim’s freakout in the street. Poor Zack.

20. “Hammers and Veils” (season 2, episode 2)

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As phony as the premise is, I find that Lorelai’s wedding shower is just about the most beautiful, perfect party ever. I love the music, the little wedding dancers, the cookies, and poor Luke suffering through part of it. And that’s not all this episode has to offer–we get a full-on Luke rant about marriage (including chicken kiev landing on cake, and Uncle Momo).  Not enough? Add in a splash of Paris being a perfect hammer-wielding jerk, and I am in love with the episode. I can even ignore Duh-Dean being a mopey dope over…blah, who cares? My favorite line of the episode, by the way, is the sly way in which Sookie yells that Michel is stealing. If only the whole damn thing didn’t revolve around Max and Lorelai. The doomed couple of boringness.  Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: It appears that at least 400 people attended the wedding shower, and they apparently brought 4-5 presents apiece. It’s the “thousand daisies” issue all over again! Points awarded for: First appearance of contractor Tom (sans beard). Big points awarded for: Lorelai’s magnificent impression of Duh-Dean’s longing. Missed opportunity for points: When Duh-Dean storms off after his Rory fight, if he had tripped over the fire hydrant, this would’ve been the greatest episode ever.

19. “I Can’t Get Started” (season 2, episode 22)

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Rory’s life is still hot stuff, completely on fire, as it has been through most of the season. And, par for the course, I’m not really feeling Lorelai’s antics. I hate, hate, hate Christopher, King of the Ruiners, and am almost a little relieved when he predictably bails on the girls again. It’s super icky that he’d cheat on his girlfriend with Lorelai. So, let’s ignore his cheating and focus on Sookie and how absolutely beautiful she looks. I heart her dress in a serious way. But I’m getting ahead of myself–first we need to consider how hilarious Paris is while campaigning. The Chilton plot was well done and fun–though Paris should have physically bitch-slapped Rory when she recoiled at the idea of being on the Student Council. Does she actually want to get in to Harvard/Yale? Okay, back to the Hollow, everything about Sookie’s wedding is beautiful and magical. Plus, as if that all isn’t enough we get the Rory-Jess kiss. Hooray! Woohoo! Points lost for: Bad costuming choices–we can see the outline of Lauren Graham’s thong as she walks down the “aisle” (and Rory’s headlights, too).  Kind of kills the beautiful mood that they’re trying to capture. More points lost for: Lorelai’s post-coital face as she sucks on a spoon and blushes while admitting to Sookie in the kitchen that she just boned a cheater. You’re not cute. Points awarded for: “Oy with the poodles already!” More points awarded for: Kirk: “I’m so damn lonely, not even Animal Planet does it for me anymore.”

18. “Lost and Found” (season 2, episode 15)

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Let’s just get something straight here: In my opinion, Jess did not steal the bracelet. Rory dropped it and he picked it up, eventually returning it, but after he held on to a memento of her for a little while. Once he saw what a big deal it was, he did his best to sneak it back without anyone realizing what a sap he was. He may steal gnomes, he may steal baseballs, but he didn’t steal that bracelet, Lorelai! Holy smokes, is this episode adorable and still full of tension. Rory and Jess flirt beautifully and I love the moment when Jess eats food in the Crap Shack kitchen. Plus, my husband will forever lament the moments when Jess and Luke banter about “and then we’ll hold hands and skip”. He hears that line most times we’re in the home improvement store. Heh. Ahhh, that sledge hammer moment. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: When Taylor chucks Luke’s application in the trash, it always bugs me. I mean, that had a lot of sensitive information on it, and it’s just blowin’ in the breeze for anyone to see or grab. Taylor would know better. Silly dramatic writers.

17. “Teach Me Tonight” (season 2, episode 19)

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Oh lordy, Jess and Rory are cute together. Here’s the thing, this show is so damn sugary sweet on the CW, that we need to CG in some bottles of Jack Daniels in place of the ice cream cones. Picture it: Jess convinces Rory that they need a drink to loosen up, and in order to be a “cool girl”, she reluctantly agrees. Now, there’s beer at the diner, but not the good stuff (read: it’s better in “conessss”), so they need to go out to grab his bottle of Jack from the dock where he hides it. Then they go driving around, swigging from the bottle, and talk about life. Rory opens up about how scared she is. Why? Not because she’s drunk on ice cream! Jess makes her take the wheel so he can chug the bottle (suck on ice cream cone drips? Puh-lease!). And then he offers that they can keep cruising and drinking unless she really wants to go back to boring studying, but she declines. She has her buzz on, and she’s finally feeling mellowed out (especially because Dean and her mom have been bugging her). Then Jess crashes the car into a bench because he’s been drinking. This makes a lot more sense when we see Lorelai’s over-the-top reaction, and we find out that Jess ran away from the crash site after calling the ambulance. Why did he run? ‘Cause he didn’t want a DUI. I mean, that makes waaay more sense than him running away because he was eating ice cream and a fuzzy animal ran out in front of the car. It also explains Luke putting him on a bus, and the rest of the town shunning him and treating Rory weird in ensuing episodes. Jack Daniels in place of ice cream. That’s how it would’ve gone down on any other network.

Anyway, good drama. And the only sucky part is that Christopher, King of the Ruiners shows up. Gag! Points lost for: Lorelai’s reaction, proving that she really is a self-righteous douche sometimes. Mega super-duper bonus points for: Kirk’s film. KIRK’S FILM!!!!!!

16. “Double Date” (season 1, episode 12)

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There’s just so much to love in this episode–mainly Lorelai’s amazing dream date with Rune. Now, aside from Sookie and Jackson getting together in this episode, not a lot really happens here–it’s mainly about setting tension and mood between characters, but ASP does it well with some really awesome lines. “Oscar! Felix!” And, of course, there’s Lorelai and Luke playing poker together, which just seems so right. This is an episode to watch over and over. Thanks, Lune!

15. “Ballrooms & Biscotti” (season 4, episode 1)

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This episode is about ten kinds of adorable as Rory effectively says farewell to her Stars Hollow homeys while going on a panicked errand binge, that includes her passing on the role as the Ice Cream Queen. It’s all a really nice “welcome home” for us, too, since presumably we’ve been away all summer, impatiently awaiting the new season, and are in no way bingeing this on Netflix. The best part, for me, really is Emily’s role in kidnapping Rory. It’s comical and sweet all at once, and I think I’d really enjoy watching some 1980s ballroom dancing late on a Friday with biscotti snacks. Even better than Sofia dying (which wasn’t that great anyway). Points awarded for: Skydiving Kirk. Oh, Taylor!

14. “Dead Uncles and Vegetables” (season 2, episode 17)

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Finally, both of our ladies have excellent story lines, and even Taylor does, too. I adore watching Lorelai and Rory running the diner, and what it symbolically means to Luke. The diner talk, sure, is a little over the top–but at least it’s fun. And Rory dragging Jess around? Priceless. Even the Taylor/Troubadour showdown is brilliant, and actually makes me crave vegetable soup–and I don’t even like vegetable soup very much. “Hope I don’t put the good people of Campbell’s out of business.” But the star of this episode, beyond the ensemble of townies, is Luke. Luke the curmudgeon learns in this episode just how loved he is by…everybody. Stars Hollow perfection. (Okay, if we ignore Sookie’s diversion.) Points awarded for: Taylor’s turnip rant. More points awarded for: Luke’s Petey the Parrot voice, which is surprisingly realistic! Between that and Lorelai’s bark, the two are a perfect match. Even more points awarded for: Sy and Kirk’s stories of how Louie afflicted their wife and dog, respectively.

13. “Jews and Chinese Food” (season 5, episode 15)

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Three words: Kirk as Tevye. I mean, that’s all I really need. Lorelai’s making some pretty admirable attempts to move on and I love her strength and spirit in this episode. Rory is even pretty believable and likable, trying to balance her shriveling friendship with Marty and her downright dirty crush on Logan. Part of me loves the bawdy, yet tender ending scene where Logan “climbs through Rory’s window”. Get it? Huh? Yea for dirty double entendres!  Overall, the girls and their boy drama are spectacular, but none of that matters because, Kirk as Tevya. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Logan climbs in Rory’s first-floor window (hee-hee) where people are walking by, and they don’t think to close the curtains. Dudes, people can SEE YOU. It’s the Rory-Logan Peep Show (brought to you by The Bangles) Bonus points awarded for: Doyle’s awesome bag of chips.

12. “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” (season 2, episode 13)

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Oh, this wacky town! A picnic basket auction? To benefit the Stars Hollow Retirement Home? Oh, okay. I love all the outfits, I love Lane’s crazy-ass plan to have a lunch date, I love the Jess and Dean showdown, I love the Sookie-Jackson engagement, I love the Luke-Lorelai gazebo date, but most of all–MOST OF ALL–I love the Kirk exposition about his childhood and his craving for crinkle-cut carrots. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: In the time it takes for Lorelai to beg Luke to bid on her basket, the auction would’ve been just entirely over. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment #2: I never understood the gag with Rory getting Jess to eat some of that pasta salad (?). If Dean never would’ve eaten it, why acquire it and pack it in the basket? This is a weird joke. Points awarded for: The Doose’s Market signs joke in the opening few moments. This is especially apt if you notice all the sign flub issues in the last two seasons of this show. Cute, set designers, cute. More points awarded for: Luke’s take on picnics: “And every time I’ve seen a picture of people eating on the ground I thought, ‘what the hell are you people doing sittin’ on the ground? Spring for some beach chairs ya cheapskates.’”

11. “The Bracebridge Dinner” (season 2, episode 10)

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It’s another rare glimpse of yuletide cheer from the Gilmores! This time ‘round, the spirit of the season is pitch-perfect as the Independence Inn group has the convenient excuse of throwing an elaborate period dinner party that’s (I hope) already been paid after a paper company bails on participating due to weather. Let’s ice skate right past the weirdness of that whole premise and dive into Bootsy playing spoons, Miss Patty flirting with everybody, the “ugly Christmas card baby” stalking Rory, and Paris pointing out anachronisms. Plus there’s Jess–JESS–hopping into Rory’s lonely sleigh and pointing to a snowman that he demolished. Isn’t he just the right amount of bad? Yeah, the whole thing’s a little corny, but it’s the kind of corny that feels right for a Christmas on a G-rated show that thinks Rune’s long underwear is a wickedly naughty sight. The whole thing is warm and cozy and enjoyable, with an amazing ensemble. I only wish we had been able to see the late night hijinx at the party (Jackson playing drums on his stomach!). Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: So, even if we assume that the food, the rooms, and the staff labor, etc. is all paid for by the paper company (which is pretty dickish if the Independence Inn really charges them fully for every last bit, right?), Lorelai heavily implies that she’s footing the bill for the sleighs–and wouldn’t that be hundreds and hundreds of dollars? Oh well, I can just pretend she had a Groupon or something. Points awarded for: The Bjork snow-woman. More Points awarded for: Jess’s amazing sleigh jump! More points awarded for: Ugly Christmas card baby, plus Lorelai and Emily having the same bedtime routine. Even more points awarded for: Ending the episode with my favorite Bjork song, “Human Behavior”. Points lost for: Rune being surprisingly unfunny compared with normal. Oh well, I still adore him.

10. “Written in the Stars” (season 5, episode 3)

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The Rory Rehabilitation Project is under way–her hair is getting better, her clothes are looking more like what a 19 year-old would wear (phew!) and she has a new incoming love interest (finally!). Logan is here! Logan is here! Now, I know Logan is a polarizing sometimes-douchebag, but he is rarely boring, pretty cute, and–get this–NOT MARRIED! Between Logan’s grin at the line “okay, put my number” and L&L’s adorable date and hubba-hubba time afterward, I’m in. I’m all in. This season’s finally gettin’ good! Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: The completely unbelievable town meeting. Nope. Not even in Stars Hollow. Points awarded for: Guest appearance by Mrs. Landingham! (West Wing reference!) More points awarded for: Lorelai’s money shot she gave the diners–she wasn’t wearing panties, and that shirt flapped open at the bottom! Points lost for: Rory arrives at her new dorm and starts off by threatening the movers (what??) and then ditching them to say hi to friends. Such a dick! More points lost for: Wait, who’s paying for professional movers?? What college student has professional movers? Neutral points: Can’t decide if I like the new dorm room. On one hand, it’s fabulously decorated. On the other hand, what college kids–even with money–decorate like that? Vases of flowers and framed art? More Neutral Points: First appearance of the pool house. Not sure how I feel about that. Oh yeah, angry.

9. “The Reigning Lorelai” (season 4, episode 16)

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Trix is gone, and I hear that woman was a saint! Everyone’s reaction is absolutely priceless (except Rory, of course, who’s still like freshman oatmeal). I can’t possibly decide what I like best: Could it be Lorelai’s discovery of her cousin on cousin kin? Could it be Richard’s gorgeously awkward bathrobe hug that never ends?! Jason’s reaction to that hug? Fresh clothing? No, no, of course the absolute best part of this episode, if not the entire series, is Emily’s reaction to “The Letter”.

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The book, the drink, the smoking, and the robe! The Gilmore house really has gone casual and it’s amazeballs! What would Pennilynn Lott do? I can guarantee she would just put the cheese cubes in the coffin with some toothpicks. Nice one, Emily! Oh, and props to Kirk’s lip reading. For a funeral episode, this makes me happier than I could ever imagine. Points awarded for: I want to thank Pennilynn Lott just for being Pennilynn Lott.

8. “Raincoats and Recipes” (season 4, episode 22)

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At the outset, let me just say that I’m going to reserve most of my wroth for Rory and her terrible hair and terrible outfits and terrible soul until next episode. I won’t let her spoil this otherwise amazing episode. I won’t! Not during the episode where Lauren Graham does two of the greatest pratfalls I’ve seen in ages. Play. Rewind. Play. Rewind. Play. The opening of the Dragonfly is sweet and a beautiful cavalcade of town zaniness. Between Kirk’s streaking, Lorelai’s turn-the-tables manipulation of her parents, the flowers from Luke, Lulu’s newly established presence, Jason’s house “catching fire” (I can just picture that phone call being made by giggling Michel and Sookie, huddled in the pantry), and THE KISS, this episode is a breathtaking, fast-paced finale that really defines what it means to love Stars Hollow. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Jason walks off stage to the mysterious, non-existent “bathroom” off the dining room, even though we just saw earlier in the episode (and for many episodes to come) that there is no doorway or bathroom on that side of the dining room. Is he drunk and squatting in the corner? Also, I always feel very tense that the whole magic of the L&L kiss is predicated on Jason having to take a really long dump, so as not to interrupt upon his return. I dunno, maybe he was flossing in the imaginary restroom? Bonus points awarded for: A perfect Bad Seed reference. More bonus points awarded for: Lorelai’s very appropriate smackdown of cheater Rory. Millions of points lost for: Rory. Rory and her selfish, bad, ugly life choices.

7. “Those Are Strings, Pinocchio” (season 3, episode 22)

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You know what’s great about this episode? I mean, apart from the very conspicuous absence of Christopher, King of the Ruiners? Our goodbye to Chilton is perfection. Paris, Madeline, Louise, and Brad (Brad!) are all great. And Rory’s speech is pure gold. Sure, I guess a team of Hollywood writers should be able to craft something pretty memorable, but for a moment I really believed it came from Rory’s heart. In fact, the only change I would make in the whole ceremony scene, is that when Lorelai complains about the grandparent loan, I want the line to go: “Just once I want for me to get what I want, for them to get what they want, and for Rory to get nothing!” I continue to be annoyed that the girl has never been denied anything in her life. Suck it, valedictorian Rory. (At least Paris had the presence to remind her how likely it is that her life will be shit. Heh.) Otherwise, the Herb Alpert send off to the Independence Inn is absolutely as it should be, and Luke’s dream is a nice bookend for the season. This episode marks a real turning point in the series, and I thought they did it remarkably well. Cheers, season 3! Points awarded for: Paris’s parting words to Headmaster Charleston. More super points awarded for: Brad’s rendition of “Cherish”. You definitely went out a winner, Brad!

6. “Wedding Bell Blues” (season 5, episode 13)

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Classic episode alert! No Gilmore viewing is complete without watching Gypsy laugh at schlong pasta, Luke get Tottsied, and Rory grab that poorly attended champagne bottle. Sure, it’s a silly party and a silly concept, but the high drama is worth it. And I can’t hear the song “Wedding Bell Blues” without thinking of this show. Too bad it ends on such a dark note. Points awarded for: The “Sheldrakes” reference, which totally comes from Dirty Dancing, starring Emily Gilmore as Baby’s mom. More points awarded for: Rory’s suit look. Hot. Points lost for: Lorelai’s dress was actually pretty awful, right? More points lost for: Rory’s awful run as she’s leaving the house. Why the hell so bouncy and psychotic? Did she just ruin another marriage or something?

5. “Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers” (season 1, episode 16)

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It’s the Firelight Festival! It’s the Firelight Festival! One of the best traditions to ever pop up in the Hollow gives us some amazing bitter Lorelai snarkiness. I, too, love my coffee with a shot of cynicism, Lorelai. And I think there’s a part of me that always imagines myself as Rachel–the gorgeous stranger who shows up just in time for some Founders Day Punch and to snap a few shots of the townspeople by firelight. Maybe the only dulling element of this episode is how over-the-top cutesy-wootsy Dean and Rory’s relationship has gotten, but ending on a dramatic swing like it does, my inner Lorelai is satisfied. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Seeing Rory and Dean walking through the town after school and seeing mountains in the background. Oops, that doesn’t look like Connecticut! Points awarded for: Lorelai’s gurgling coffee pot story, which is so much like real life. Points lost for: Screen time wasted on girls fawning over ugly Tristan.

4. “Fall” (season 8, episode 4)

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If we can set aside Lorelai’s Wild breakdown and excursion, we are left with one of the most touching, beautiful, and exciting episodes that the series has ever offered us. I am in love with the magical Life and Death Brigade night of glamor, followed by Emily’s brilliant and freeing new life and the wedding. With the waltz! The magical waltz! I especially love all of the ghostly memories that float through the soon-to-be-sold Gilmore house. I’ve said before that the whole thing kind of rips of Little Women, but I don’t care right now. Plus we got the amazing FINAL FOUR WORDS! The ones that rock everything we know about our Gilmores and what trajectory they are on. Rory will be tied to Logan for the rest of their lives, Jess still loves her, and Lorelai is going to be a grandmother. Yes, she’s getting the child she thought she wanted, just not in the usual way. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: So they pull Lane out of bed for the elopement, but not Sookie or Jackson? This is eight kinds of awkward. Points Lost For: Cameos by Peter Krause and Jason Ritter from Parenthood. Fuck you, cameos. Quit bringing us out of the moment. This is ourshow, not yours! Points Awarded For: Emily swearing. Emily said “tits”!!!! More Points Awarded For: Michel’s greeting of Sookie, “You bitch!”

3. “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” (season 3, episode 7)

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This dance marathon is 100% 1940s magic (without all the horrible war and killing and bombing and rations). From the opening moment song through Lorelai’s pursuit of a dance partner, and Jamie stealing Paris’s books to Lorelai’s broken heel, me and Mr. Potato are completely jazzed. And don’t forget Andrew’s Liam Neeson freakout. And Jess encountering Mrs. Kim for the first time. “Ma’am.” Heh. Taylor thinks he’s a magician. Luke tells Lorelai he wants kids. We love glue! Chatty squash! There’s just so much goodness to highlight–and the team needs me! Pick a team, it needs me! The whole thing, of course, ends with a bang as Dean very appropriately and belatedly dumps Rory. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: Dave is coming to flirt with Lane at 5am? I mean, it is Sunday morning, so I guess Mrs. Kim buys that people would get up that early for a pre-church Bible Study and drag their teen along. Maybe. But knowing that’s all a fraud, what the hell is Dave doing at that hour? Ach, he’s in love.

2. “Last Week Fights, This Week Tights” (season 4, episode 21)

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There’s nothing like a big party in Stars Hollow. Nothing. Where to start with all the fun as season 4 builds toward its big finale? How about Liz dancing with a stripper in the middle of Luke’s? (oh, my delicate feminine sensibilities!) Or the troubadour’s song (”Yahtzee, I’m winning…”) and L&L desperately trying not to laugh? Brian and Zack straightening their ties to make a good impression? TJ’s obsession with tights? And the WALTZ. THE WALTZ! Granted, these two actors cannot actually waltz–in fact, they’re glaringly terrible, but the sweetness overcomes my judgey voice. Ach, I can even ignore Rory’s sad little story line where she throws herself at a married man after being single-shamed. Rory, you’re a jerk. But I’ll get to you later…over the next two episodes. My wroth will wait. Awkward Suspension of Reality Moment: During the entire wedding ceremony AND reception in the town square, not a single car drives by. Not one. Stars Hollow looks zombie-apocalypse abandoned, except for the people in the wedding bubble. Bonus points awarded for: Mrs. Kim’s double-entendre smackdown of Lorelai. And, [giggle], James Madison’s love of big knockers. More bonus points awarded for: Liz’s really gross group of friends that are so tacky, they’re fabulous. “…except for tigers, but they’re retarded.” Even more bonus points awarded for: The super strange, but awesome Leslie VanHouten shout-out. Super bonus points awarded for: THE WALTZ. A couple points lost for: Liz’s underwhelming wedding dress, which looks nothing like she described–where are the bell sleeves? Ah well, I won’t even deduct points for the mean-spirited mockery of renaissance festival culture.

1. “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving”  (season 3, episode 9)

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Cat Kirk. Tofurkey. Jess. Dinner rolls. Sookie getting drunk on margaritas on the front lawn. There is just so much to love about this episode. It’s fun and sweet, and the only real bit of drama comes from Lorelai, who finally gets the picture that manipulating your daughter into going to Harvard isn’t going to necessarily work. I’m glad she got over it quickly and moved on to more dinner rolls. This is not only a GG classic, but a full-on Thanksgiving tradition of its own. I only wish Rune was there. Otherwise, perfection.

In closing, I would like to thank Pennilynn Lott for being Pennilynn Lott. Super cool party people bid you super cool adieu!

4 comments

  1. Hi! I included your rankings in an analysis I just posted on my blog. I made sure to link to your blog. Thanks for taking the time to compile the rankings list. Let me know what you think!

    Like

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