The Gilmores have dropped on Netflix. Those of us who already know and love Lorelai, Rory, Emily, Sookie, Lane and the rest of the gang have probably already blocked off a few weeks on their calendars to binge watch all seven seasons. For those of you who are new to the show, who maybe disdained it in high school or college but are ready to give it a second chance, I’d like to make a couple of suggestions.
Don’t start with season one. Look, I’m not saying skip it altogether. But like all network shows, the first set of episodes isn’t exactly the Platonic ideal of Gilmorianness. It’s very much a WB teen drama in the first year. It’s great, but you’ve got a fair bit of surly teen attitude from Rory, which the writers thankfully do away with season two. The town characters aren’t allowed to be as character-y yet. Sean Gunn isn’t Kirk until episode 5. Kelly Bishop’s makeup and hair are weird.
The One Tree Hill guy hasn’t jumped ship yet. Lane inexplicably becomes a cheerleader. Lorelai and Rory uncharacteristically are into the same Macy Gray song. As a whole, season one is still 10 times better than any other show that aired in 2000, but it’s best not to have this be your first impression.
Season three is where you need to begin (as D has pointed out before, this is true of most shows). The most important aspect of the show, Rory and Lorelai’s banter, is LOCKED IN. There are problems to be sure, beginning with [spoiler alert] the most boooooooring backdoor pilot ever where Jess goes to California to meet his dad and Twins Peak stepmom. For the most part, though, the show has really found its groove. Lauren Graham KILLS every scene she is in:
In one of my favorite episodes, Lorelai and Rory manage to make the old “multiple Thanksgivings” sitcom storyline charming:
You may then proceed chronologically to season four, where you will meet Lorelai’s true soulmate, Chris Eigemann as Jason “Digger” Stiles. This season also finds Rory man-less, which actually really works.
From there, you may go back to seasons one and two. Marvel at Rory’s baby face and Lorelai’s late-90s dark berry lipsticks and mini-skirt suit sets. Understand how lucky the creators were to have cast Melissa McCarthy as Sookie instead of Alex Borstein (who makes a cameo as Drella the harpist). Cycling back this way also allows you to get a second viewing of seasons three and four. And yes, watching these seasons again is necessary, because there will be about five hundred jokes you missed the first time around. Also, Rory’s graduation speech is way more poignant after watching her grow up.
Watching the show this way also gives you a nice, long buffer before the heartbreak that awaits you in seasons six and seven.