10 ‘Gilmore Girls’ episodes to get you hooked

Story highlights

"Gilmore Girls" has come to Netflix, and fans of the beloved TV series are ecstatic

People unfamiliar with the coffee-obsessed mother-daughter duo may feel left out

Here are 10 must-stream episodes that will hook any nonfan

The series ran for seven seasons, from 2000 to 2007

CNN  — 

Did your friends bail on plans over the weekend?

It’s not you, it’s “Gilmore Girls.”

On October 1, all seven seasons of the beloved television series hit Netflix. Ecstatic fans have since kissed their autumn plans goodbye in order to spend some quality time in Stars Hollow, where it is seemingly always fall.

There’s a good chance everyone around you will start speaking “Gilmore” soon. You might feel lost, but don’t panic. We’re here to help.

Here are the basics (Heads up: Here be spoilers).

“Gilmore” is set in the fictional, leafy town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, and it’s about Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, a mother (Lauren Graham) and daughter (Alexis Bledel) who are best friends above all else.

Lorelai Gilmore, who turned down a life of privilege after becoming pregnant at 16 in order to raise Rory on her own, is 32 in the pilot. She wants 16-year-old Rory Gilmore to be exactly like her, but at the same time be nothing like her. In other words, she wishes for her daughter to have advantages she never had – like world travel and an Ivy League education – but she wants to shield her from the stuffy world of coming-out parties and cotillions that she grew up in.

Throughout the series we see Lorelai grow from inn manager/night school student to country inn proprietress with a business degree. At the same time, Rory blossoms from prep school student who loves nothing more than a good book to Ivy League graduate to journalist.

The quirky townsfolk of Stars Hollow add richness and great humor to the series as well. Thanks to creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and a staff of sharp writers, the characters’ dialogue is witty and fast-paced, with lots of “Gilmore”-specific slang and catchphrases.

Diner owner Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) is a surrogate father to Rory and only has eyes for Lorelai; Lane Kim (Keiko Agena) is Rory’s fiercely loyal best friend and a major audiophile who becomes a drummer despite her strict mother’s rules. Sookie St. James (Melissa McCarthy) is Lorelai’s best friend, a brilliant but accident-prone chef and Lorelai’s eventual business partner.

Dean Forester (Jared Padalecki) is Rory’s first love; Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimilia) is Rory’s bad boy second boyfriend; and Kirk Gleason is a resident of Stars Hollow who works at every single business in town.

Other key players include Lorelai’s blueblood parents, Richard and Emily Gilmore (Edward Herrmann and Kelly Bishop), who love their daughter and granddaughter to pieces in spite of a rocky early start; Paris Geller (Liza Weil), Rory’s classmate and good frenemy; and Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry), Rory’s college boyfriend and heir to an empire.

If you don’t know where to begin and haven’t got time for a full 153-episode binge, here are 10 must-watch episodes – other than the pilot and the finale – that’ll have you wowing your “Gilmore”-obsessed friends in no time.

These episodes aren’t so much a representation of the major plot points. Instead, they embody a nice cross-section of why your friends think this show is pixie-dust magical, though nary a magic wand or unicorn appears. There are garden gnomes, though!

Here’s your proverbial map of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Just don’t take a wrong turn and end up on Sores and Boils Alley. Copper boom!

1. “Kiss and Tell” (season one, episode seven)

Rory gets kissed for the first time in aisle three of Doose’s Market. By the ant spray. Now that’s a good aisle. She also inadvertently steals a box of cornstarch. But when Lorelai invites the boy (Dean) over to watch “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” and eat massive amounts of junk food, Rory panics. It’s all for naught, though, because Dean is smitten.

Why this episode is important: A window into Lorelai and Rory’s unconventional but cozy home life, this episode will make you want to put on a pot of coffee and wrap yourself in a blanket.

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

Jess and Rory

Lorelai and Sookie plan a lavish, Renaissance-inspired, multicourse meal at the Independence Inn. There are period costumes, music, skits and pageantry aplenty. But when the attendees are snowed in and can’t make it, the two invite all their friends. Rory rides a horse-drawn sleigh ride with Luke’s nephew, Jess (you’ll eventually have to decide whether you’re Team Dean, Team Jess or Team Logan), and Jackson (Sookie’s boyfriend and later husband) may or may not lift his shirt and play drums on his stomach as Bootsy (newsstand owner) sings “Hotel California” while banging spoons on his head.

Why this episode is important: It’s a peek into Rory’s life at the prestigious Chilton School in which we learn more about her relationship with her largely absent father. Paris has some fantastic one-liners and seeing Richard and Emily outside their comfort zone is always entertaining.

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

Lorelai and Rory at the dance marathon

Stars Hollow is holding its annual 24-hour dance marathon. The period costumes in this episode are so 1940s you’ll want to start rationing sugar. This year they’re raising money to buy a tarp to cover the Old Muddy River Bridge. Lorelai and Rory are dance partners and with nothing to sustain them but Luke’s coffee and Mrs. Kim’s eggless egg salad, things get ugly. Dean breaks up with Rory, leaving her free to date Jess.

Why this episode is important: This is a great example of how the townsfolk rally together for any and all Stars Hollow cause – and with great style, no less.

4. “Dear Emily and Richard” (season three, episode 13)

Lorelai and Emily: the early years

This episode features a flashback to 1984, the year a 16-year-old Lorelai gave birth to Rory. Lorelai’s mother, Emily, has fired the maid because “she touched the Baccarat unicorn,” which leaves teenage Lorelai home alone with her boyfriend, Christopher (Rory’s father). They raid the liquor cabinet and nine months later, Lorelai goes into labor while eating a pepper sandwich and watching “Quincy, M.E.” At the hospital, she listens to a mixtape that includes “99 Luftballons” while awaiting the arrival of the girl she will later refer to as “a teen with a book and a halo.”

Why this episode is important: It’s the story of Rory’s birth, and a window into the life Lorelai walked away from.

5. “The Big One” (season three, episode 16)

Rory’s elite high school, Chilton, is holding its bicentennial. C-Span will be airing it, and the broadcast will feature one lucky student’s speech. Contenders include Paris, Rory and their “winningly naive” classmate Brad, who has returned to school following a stint on Broadway in “Into the Woods.” Rory and Paris are both selected, but Paris melts down on live TV, having just learned she didn’t get into Harvard. Rory arrives home to a mailbox full of “big envelopes.”

Why this episode is important: We learn that Lorelai’s sacrifices and Rory’s hard work have paid off. Also, the hilarity of Paris screaming, “Pack your chastity belt, Gilmore! You’re going to Harvard!” live on C-Span cannot be overemphasized.

6. “The Festival of Living Art” (season four, episode seven)

Lorelai as the Renoir girl

Rory is happily ensconced at Yale, but that doesn’t stop her from participating in town activities. The Festival of Living Art requires participants to re-create works of art with themselves as the subjects. When Kirk is cast as Christ, he takes the role literally, as only Kirk would, and treats “Judas” as if he’s, well, a Judas. All eyes are on Lorelai, who flinched the last time she portrayed the Renoir girl. Lane finds the perfect musician to round out her band, but as fellow bandmate Zach puts it, “Bottom line: Dude rocks! Dude’s too old.”

Why this episode is important: The recreations of paintings in this episode are stunning. Also, Sookie goes into labor.

7. “Raincoats and Recipes” (season four, episode 22)

Dean and Rory

Lorelai’s dream of owning an inn has been realized, and she and Sookie hold a test run with their friends and family as guests. Everything’s perfect: Fireplaces are roaring, food is scrumptious, guests are cozy and Luke and Lorelai are finally ready to date after years of pining and flirting. But things go downhill fast. Lorelai’s lovelorn ex refuses to leave the inn, Richard and Emily are on the verge of a separation, and shock of shocks – Rory loses her virginity to Dean (who’s married!) and Lorelai walks in on them.

Why this episode is important: It’s a first look at the Dragonfly Inn fully functioning and beautifully decorated. Lorelai’s life is exactly where she wants it, while Rory’s uncharacteristically takes a bit of a dark turn.

8. “You Jump, I Jump, Jack” (season five, episode seven)

Rory and Logan

Rory wants to write an expose on the Life and Death Brigade, a secret society at Yale. When Logan, one of its members, invites her to tag along at one of its events, Rory is immersed in a surreal woodland gathering in which college students fully embody a 1930s vintage African safari theme. Oh, and they mustn’t speak any words that contain the letter “e.” The event culminates in a stunt in which Rory, Logan and a few secret society members leap off seven stories of scaffolding while tethered to harnesses and, naturally, donning formalwear.

Why this episode is important: The Life and Death Brigade gathering is another example of the show’s magic. While most college gatherings depicted on TV feature keg stands, these kids are singing “As Time Goes By,” drinking champagne and playing croquet.

9. “Friday Night’s Alright for Fighting” (season six, episode 13)

Friday Night Dinner

Watch this episode if only for two reasons: The Yale Daily News nearly misses going to print due to Paris’ tyranny. Yes, Paris, the no-nonsense to a fault editor-in-chief, hides in her unventilated bunker heating soup on a hot plate while the rest of the newsroom hustles and Logan and Rory save the day. The other reason is the epic sequence in which Emily, Richard, Lorelai and Rory air every grievance each has ever had with one another. They duke it out in dozens of tiny scenes that look more like a montage over the span of about five minutes.

Why this episode is important: The editing in the fight sequence is unlike anything the show has ever done. and after a slew of fights between all four Gilmores over the previous months, there is finally forgiveness. And dessert!

10. “Partings” (season six, episode 22)

Stars Hollow is teeming with troubadours who got word that the official town troubadour (no name – it ruins the mystique, man!) was discovered by Neil Young. Luke and Lorelai come to blows over commitment issues, prompting Lorelai to run to Christopher’s arms, and Rory throws a British-themed bash for Logan, who will be spending a year in London.

Why this episode is important: This was the last episode for series creator Amy-Sherman Palladino, who departed before the seventh and final season.