Learn all about Gilmore Girls and the top 20 reasons to watch it now based on all the things super fans have loved most about the coming-of-age tv show for over two decades.
Whether you’re a diehard fan yourself looking to savor every last detail or totally new to the series and trying to figure out why it’s so beloved and whether you should watch it too, you’ll get everything you need to know right now.
Below is a summary of the general plot, followed by all the little things that make it so great, like the town, the supporting cast, the pop culture references, the coffee, and more!
What is Gilmore Girls About?
So, it’s a show?
It’s a lifestyle.
It’s a religion.
And the theme song and opening credits (above) so perfectly captures exactly what Gilmore Girls is about. Here’s a quick synopsis of the plot:
Gilmore Girls is a turn-of-the-21st century television series about a thirtysomething former single teen mom, Lorelai Gilmore (played by Lauren Graham), raising her now teenage daughter, Rory Gilmore (played by Alexis Bledel) in the small (fictional) town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut.
Lorelai is a quirk and offbeat, fast-talking woman who was raised as an only child by two very buttoned-up, wealthy parents, Richard Gilmore and Emily Gilmore, who live in a Hartford, Connecticut, mansion nearby.
After giving birth at age 16, Lorelai ran away from her home and high school boyfriend to start an independent life for herself in Stars Hollow, an extremely charming and quaint place with very colorful characters who are all involved in each other’s lives.
At the present time, Lorelai has worked her way up from a maid to a manager at the local Inn, and she aspires to open an Inn of her own. Rory is an extremely studious and ambitious 16-year-old herself, and Lorelai wants to foster her intellectual drive by sending her to a prestigious prep school. So, she makes a deal with her parents: they will pay Rory’s tuition if Lorelai and Rory have dinner with them every Friday night.
This sets the stage for light family drama coping with the past and present, but there’s also a lot of friendship and romance in store too. As both Lorelai and Rory essentially come of age together, they navigate all that is life, including Rory’s first love and Lorelai’s “will they or won’t they” friendship with the owner of the town diner, Luke Danes.
Gilmore Girls was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. It premiered on The WB network in the United States on October 5, 2000, becoming a cult favorite for its American audience, beloved for details like its witty dialogue, countless pop culture references, and vibrant supporting cast (including stars like Kelly Bishop, Edward Herrmann, Scott Patterson, Keiko Agena, Melissa McCarthy).
The original Gilmore Girls series ran for seven seasons and one hundred and fifty-three episodes, ending its run on May 15, 2007 on The CW. In 2016, Netflix released a four-part Gilmore Girls miniseries revival called Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
Top 20 Reasons to Watch Gilmore Girls
The first reason to watch Gilmore Girls is obvious: the girls! Lorelai and Rory make the most heartwarming mother and daughter duo, along with their friends: sweet chef Sookie, loyal classmate Lane, loud-mouthed frenemy Paris, and more!
Technically, matriarch Emily Gilmore is a “Girl” too — and, while not often likable, her nuanced mix of vulnerable and terrible, with a sharp wit, makes her my personal favorite.
Gilmore Girls is not just about girls! There’s so much love in the lives of Lorelai and Rory. While Lorelai maintains her flirty friendship with Luke, she also balances interests like her high school sweetheart (and Rory’s father) Christopher and Rory’s teacher, Max.
And Rory experiences three great loves over the course of the series that are so unique fans take sides among “Team” Dean, Jess, or Logan.
Since the “Girls” are family, Gilmore Girls is very much a story about navigating complex family relationships, which are sometimes better than others. Often, this comes out at Lorelai’s and Rory’s “Friday Night Dinners” with Emily and Richard, with whom free-spirited Lorelai has always had tension.
My personal favorite scene of the entire series is one in which the foursome have a dinner in which they laugh so hard they fight, then fight so hard they laugh, in an incredibly true to life cycle that repeats.
Stars Hollow, Connecticut, is the most idyllic New England town — the kind of place where everyone knows your name and there’s some sort of festival or other local event happening every weekend.
One of my personal favorites: The Old Muddy River Bridge Knit-a-Thon. And my favorite episode revolves around an elaborate Elizabethan feast, known as The Bracebridge Dinner.
While the show is called Gilmore Girls, the supporting cast of non-Gilmore townspeople is so vibrant any one of them could have their own series.
Case in point: Kirk, an eccentric twenty-something who works every job imaginable, from swan deliveryman to human hot dog (yes, really).
Then, there’s also Taylor Doose, local grocery store owner and self-important town selectman, making everyone’s lives more difficult with his utterly unnecessary “improvements,” like installing a traffic light that actually causes an accident.
With its quaint New England setting, Gilmore Girls takes advantage of the seasons, from the iconic fall leaves in the opening credits to Winter scenes in which Lorelai famously states “I smell snow” coming.
In fact, the seasons are so important to the show that the four episodes in the Netflix revival are names: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.
The Catch Phrases
Have you ever heard someone say, “Oy, with the poodles already,” and wondered what they were talking about? Or, how about:
- “Copper Boom”
- “A film by Kirk”
- “Babette ate oatmeal”
- “In Omnia Paratus“
Only a show as quirky as Gilmore Girls could have such memorable one-liners.
In case it isn’t already clear, Gilmore Girls could never be a success without its stellar writing: witty, sharp, smart, emotional, and complex.
The great ones simply aren’t great ones without a story told well.
The Fast Pace
In conjunction with the writing of Gilmore Girls comes its characteristic fast pace. There are A LOT of words in the show, and they are always spoken really fast. This lends to the sharpness of the characters themselves, and it’s a true signature of the show, unlike any others.
You may have heard its by-line: “Life’s short, talk fast.”
The Pop Culture
Another signature of Gilmore Girls is its thousands of pop culture references. Yes, thousands. While talking fast, the Girls like to incorporate both explicit and more subtle references to everything from celebrities to slang.
They also love to binge-watch popular movies and tv shows. By my count, The Godfather and The Wizard of Oz alone were mentioned dozens of times.
And the BOOKS! Over FIVE HUNDRED books were mentioned on the Gilmore Girls, primarily by avid book lover, Rory, who took a book with her everywhere, and became a hero for bookworms around the world.
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First, you’re simply bound to find yourself humming the catchy theme song “Where You Lead” by Carole King.
But, Gilmore Girls is also chock full of great music, some of the most popular of which hails from the enchanting Sam Phillips. Featured prominently in scenes to set the mood is also the Town Troubador.
The Gilmore Girls love food. Seriously, they eat all the time. While Lorelai and Rory love junk food like Pop-Tarts and Red Vines, Luke whips up fast diner food, and Dragonfly Inn chef Sookie creates farm-to-table delicacies.
There’s also something new and swanky to eat at each of Richard’s and Emily’s Friday Night Dinners.
With two cookbooks based on the Gilmore Girls, it’s clear food is a really big deal on the show.
Luke’s Diner is also known for its coffee, which they drink every single day (and many nights too).
Since bookworms love Rory, they also love Rory’s school: the elusive Chilton prep school and the Ivy League Yale. They are gothic and gorgeous, with prominent buildings and traditional classrooms where Rory fosters her education.
I’ve even heard so many people apply to Yale because of Gilmore Girls.
The G Rating
All ages can enjoy Gilmore Girls, either on their own or together. Like the generations of the Girls themselves, the show reaches all generations. It’s smart and deep while also being light and saccharine.
I personally enjoyed the show two decades ago as I do rewatching it today!
You’ll be angry when the characters mess up (which they do… A LOT).
And finishing the series is another level of sadness like turning your back on a comforting friend.
The Ability to Have a Netflix Binge
One thing that’s really helped Gilmore Girls stand the test of time is the easy access to stream the entire series at home on Netflix. It spawned re-watches, as well as new generations of fans, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when people really needed a virtual escape.
One of the favorites I’ve seen was a 24-day Gilmore Girls advent calendar with two dozen separate themed treasures.
Gilmore Girls is definitely the type of show you can wear “out loud.”
Last, but not least: the top reason to watch Gilmore Girls is the fans. No tv show can flourish without passionate viewers, and this group is simply the best, sharing their unique fan stories in books like But I’m a Gilmore!, and hosting events like fan fests even two decades after the show began.
When you hear from those who love the show most and, more importantly, why, you’ve learned everything you need to know about Gilmore Girls.
Those are all the top reasons to watch Gilmore Girls.