The Gilmore Girls Binging Guide

As of this moment, we are 12 days away from the new Gilmore Girls, and I'm not excited at all. 


Today, I'm here to help you. I'm guessing you fall into one of three categories: you love the show and want to catch up before the reboot, you've never seen the show but have always wanted to especially because of the reboot, and you've never seen it because it looks way too stupid but you'll be forced to watch the reboot. No matter which category you claim, I'm here for you. 

You can't binge the series in 12 days (unless you have no children, no job, and no hygienic goals), but you can get the flavor you need to be ready for November 25th. Here's what you need to watch.

The Newbie's Guide

Who it's for: the person interested in the reboot but has no idea what has happened so far
What it includes: bare bones and broad story strokes, especially from the last half of the series, with no episode descriptions to not spoil anything, i.e. consider this your warning if you read the other two lists which are loaded with descriptions and photos
Number of episodes: 16

1. The Lorelais' First Day at Chilton (season 1, episode 2)
2. Love, Daisies, and Troubadours (season 1, episode 22)
3. The Road Trip to Harvard (season 2, episode four)
4. I Can't Get Started (season 2, episode 22)
5. They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They? (season 3, episode 7)
6. The Lorelais' First Day at Yale (season 4, episode 2)
7. Raincoats and Recipes (season 4, episode 22)
8. Written in the Stars (season 5, episode 3)
9. You Jump, I Jump, Jack (season 5, episode 7)
10. Wedding Bell Blues (season 5, episode 13)
11. A House Is Not a Home (season 5, episode 22)
12. Twenty-One Is the Loneliest Number (season 6, episode 7)
13. The Perfect Dress (season 6, episode 11)
14. Partings (season 6, episode 22)
15. Knit, People, Knit (season 7, episode 9)
16. Bon Voyage (season 7, episode 22)

The Skeptic's Guide

Who it's for: the skeptic, the curious, the person married to a Gilmore fan and forced into watching the reboot
What it includes: episodes showcasing the flavor of the Gilmores, Stars Hollow, and what makes the show so beloved
Number of episodes: 10

P.S. I crafted this list with Knox McCoy in mind. He thinks the show is dumb and the reboot will be equally dumb, but he's willing to give it a try for the sake of Popcast listeners. Hound him within an inch of his Twitter life. 

1. Double Date (season 1, episode 12)

One word: Rune. 

Sookie finally has her date with Jackson that includes a reluctant Lorelai and an even more reluctant Rune. Lane convinces Rory to set her up with Dean's friend, Todd, who really likes the movie Beethoven. It's ridiculously perfect.

2. The Bracebridge Dinner (season 2, episode 10)

Rich clients have rented out the inn to host a medieval dinner but bale at the last minute because of snow, so the town gets invited to the festivities, including Luke and Jess. We get romantic carriage rides and Melissa McCarthy at her Sookie-best.

3. Application Anxiety (season 3, episode 3)

Rory starts applying to college and hits her Rory Stress Threshold. Lane meets Dave. Yessssss.

4. A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving (season 3, episode 9)

Lorelai and Rory go to a million different Thanksgiving dinners around town, complete with silent Koreans and a deep-fried turkey. It's so perfectly Stars Hollow.

5. Nag Hammadi Is Where They Found the Gnostic Gospel (season 4, episode 13)

Jess comes back. Oh my word Jess comes back. Plus we meet Luke's sister's TJ. Praise.

6. Raincoats and Recipes (season 4, episode 22)

The Dragonfly opens. All the relationships. Plus Kirk is naked and screaming. Double praise. 

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

Rory investigates a secret rich boys' club at Yale and gets chummy with Logan. It marks a shift in Rory important for the rest of the series.

8. Welcome to the Dollhouse (season 6, episode 6)

Sores and Boils Alley, i.e. Taylor Doose, everyone.

9. I Get a Sidekick Out of You (season 6, episode 19)

Lane's wedding. So. Much. Goodness.

10. I'd Rather Be in Philadelphia (season 7, episode 13)

Richard has a heart attack, and Christopher isn't there. It's a weird place to end this list, but rest of the episodes are lighter. I'm convinced that you'll care too much about the characters that you'll just stop here.

The Lover's Guide

Who it's for: the fan, the lover, the Stars Hollow t-shirt owner
What it includes: episodes that come to mind when we hear the words Gilmore Girls and are accompanied by squeals and/or tears
Number of episodes: 14

1. The Deer Hunters (season 1, episode 4)

Rory is running super late for a huge English test, hits a deer on her way, misses the test, and Lorelai yells at the headmaster. I love seeing Rory fall apart in this episode; she needs to screw up sometimes. 

2. Double Date (season 1, episode 12)

One of my favorites ever. Sookie and Jackson go on their first date, but they drag along Lorelai and Jackson's cousin Rune who hates that Lorelai is so tall. They end up at Luke's where we see the first whiff of possibility. Also Lane is in love with Dean's friend Todd and begs Rory to go on a double date with them. This episode has major Mrs. Kim.

3. Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy (season 2, episode 5)

Introducing Jess. Amen. 

4. Like Mother, Like Daughter (season 2, episode 7)

Lorelai and Rory are both criticized for not being more involved at Chilton, so Lorelai joins the PTA and does that hilarious red-suited fashion show with Emily and Rory accidentally joins a secret club that kidnaps her in the middle of the night, along with a very hilarious Paris. I love the message that it's okay for someone to not be like everyone else and still be just fine.

5. A-Tisket, A-Tasket (season 2, episode 13)

I. LOVE. THIS. EPISODE. It's the picnic basket auction, and Jess steals Rory's basket out from under Dean. The love triangle is full force, y'all. Plus Luke feels sorry for no one bidding on Lorelai's ridiculous basket, AND Jackson and Sookie make things super official. 

6. I Can't Get Started (season 2, episode 22)

One of the greatest episodes. It's Jackson and Sookie's wedding, and Lorelai and Rory both find themselves in unwelcomed romantic situations. 

7. One's Got Class and the Other One Dyes (season 3, episode 4)

Luke and Lorelai get invited to Stars Hollow High School to talk about being business owners, but everyone just asks Lorelai about getting pregnant as a teenager. When she tells off those blond moms, I pump the sky. And this is the one where Lane dyes her hair but then panics because MRS. KIM. 

8. Eight O'Clock at the Oasis (season 3, episode 5)

The Gilmore's new neighbor is a weird dude with a house full of tiki lamps and asks the Gilmore girls to water his lawn while he's away. Remember the sprinkler malfunction? When Rory pages Dean (Holy Ancient Technology, Batman!) but Jess ends up saving the day? A dripping wet Jess forever and ever, please and thank you.

9. The Lorelais' First Day at Yale (season 4, episode 2)

I choose to dismiss the fact that Lorelai DOES NOT have enough money to buy all of that takeout for Rory's entire dorm, but whatever. It's such a great episode as Rory starts college. Plus I love how Luke continuously rages against the mattress in his truck.

10. The Festival of Living Art (season 4, episode 7)

This is a Stars Hollow tribute episode. The town hosts The Festival of Living Pictures where they pose as famous paintings, so that's super cool. We also get to meet Lane's new bandmate, Gil, who can shred and also owns a sandwich shop. Sookie and Jackson hire a midwife, and that chick is awesomely mean. I love how quirky this episode is. P.S. Nick Offerman has a tiny part, too.

11. Raincoats and Recipes (season 4, episode 22)

It's here. The episode to beat all episodes. The Dragonfly Inn has its soft opening, and Rory and Lorelai both make romantic choices that set the rest of the series in motion. 

12. Welcome to the Dollhouse (season 6, episode 6)

Taylor Doose wants to change all the streets in Stars Hollow back to what they were in olden times, and the Dragonfly is on Sores and Boils Alley. I love this episode because of Lorelai having to kiss Taylor's tightly wound behind, because of how entrenched Rory has become in this new non-college life that we're all so disappointed in, and the fact that Lorelai can try all she wants to control her life but things aren't even close to what she hoped for. It's a light episode with a deep underbelly.

13. Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out (season 6, episode 8)

Jess visits Rory to give her the book he wrote, and he meets Logan. Man oh man. This episode is the best. Jess tells Rory everything we've been wanting to say to her for all of season six, and it's marvelous.

14. Lorelai? Lorelai? (season 7, episode 20)

We're almost done with the show, but Luke and Lorelai are still weird with each other. When the ladies are out singing karaoke, Lorelai serenades Rory with Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love you." Then Luke walks in. And she keeps singing. Sob face.

Want to go crazy and binge them all? Watch three episode a day, and you can do it.
Here are all the episodes combined and in order:

  1. The Lorelais' First Day at Chilton (1.2)
  2. The Deer Hunters (1.4)
  3. Double Date (1.12)
  4. Love, Daisies, and Troubadours (1.22)
  5. The Road Trip to Harvard (2.4)
  6. Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy (2.5)
  7. Like Mother, Like Daughter (2.7)
  8. The Bracebridge Dinner (2.10)
  9. A-Tisket, A-Tasket (2.13)
  10. I Can't Get Started (2.22)
  11. Application Anxiety (3.3)
  12. One's Got Class and the Other One Dyes (3.4)
  13. Eight O'Clock at the Oasis (3.5)
  14. They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They? (3.7)
  15. A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving (3.9)
  16. The Lorelais' First Day at Yale (4.2)
  17. The Festival of Living Art (4.7)
  18. Nag Hammadi Is Where They Found the Gnostic Gospels (4.13)
  19. Raincoats and Recipes (4.22)
  20. Written in the Stars (5.3)
  21. You Jump, I Jump, Jack (5.7)
  22. Wedding Bell Blues (5.13)
  23. A House Is Not a Home (5.22)
  24. Welcome to the Dollhouse (6.6)
  25. Twenty-One Is the Loneliest Number (6.7)
  26. Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out (6.8)
  27. The Perfect Dress (6.11)
  28. I Get a Sidekick Out of You (6.19)
  29. Partings (6.22)
  30. Knit, People, Knit (7.9)
  31. I'd Rather Be in Philadelphia (7.13)
  32. Lorelai? Lorelai? (7.20)
  33. Bon Voyage (7.22)