‘Gilmore Girls’: We Look Back at the Series Finale

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(Credit: The WB)
Photo: The WB

Where the Gilmore Girls lead, we will follow! It’s been nine long years since super mother-daughter duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore drank all the coffee in Stars Hollow, gorged on junk food and Chinese takeout, fell in and out of love, and dropped every pop culture reference imaginable in their rapid-fire banter. Now the Gilmores are back to drink even more coffee, talk even faster, and charm us more than ever in Netflix’s continuation of the series, which premieres Nov. 25.

In four 90-minute episodes, titled “Winter,” “Spring,” “Summer,” and “Fall,” Lorelai (Lauren Graham), Rory (Alexis Bledel), and grandmother Emily (Kelly Bishop) all face big changes in their lives. To get ready for the revival, we’re highlighting all the things we love about the show with our official “Return to Stars Hollow” coverage, from the wacky supporting characters to the insanely clever dialogue to the girls’ complicated love lives. Check back here every day until Nov. 25 to obsess with us over all things Gilmore.

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Some shows choose to go out with a bang, but when Gilmore Girls wrapped up its seven-season run in May 2007, the series finale proved more of a quiet sigh. Some of that had to do with the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the final year, which was produced without the involvement of creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, who had departed Stars Hollow the season before following contract disagreements with the network. (David S. Rosenthal, who had been an executive producer and writer on the series, took over showrunning duties for the poorly received seventh season.)

Related: 15 Gifts for the ‘Gilmore Girls’ Fan in Your Life

At the same time, Gilmore Girls was also never the kind show that would have opted for a grand finale on the scale of Lost or even former channelmate Dawson’s Creek. Instead, the series ended as it began: with mother and daughter Lorelai and Rory Gilmore (Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel) sitting in Luke’s diner drinking coffee and chatting. The message of that final shot was clear: While the series may be ending, life goes on in Stars Hollow.

Nine years later, we’ll see just how life has turned out for Rory, Lorelai, Luke, and the rest of the town in Netflix’s sequel series, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which — unlike the original series finale — is being overseen by Palladino. But before we see where they are now, it’s important to remember where they were then. Here’s our guide to the most notable events of the series finale. And don’t feel bad if you don’t recall any of these moments. Even Lauren Graham herself can’t remember what happened in the show’s final season.

Related: ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’: Everything You Need to Know

Rory Meets Journalism Royalty

Gilmore Girls: Christiane Amanpour, Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel
Christiane Amanpour, Lauren Graham, and Alexis Bledel. (Photo: The WB)

Long before Leslie Knope freaked out about being in the presence of Joe Biden, Rory had a dreamlike encounter with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in a 2005 episode reflecting the aspiring journalist’s interest in world affairs. Albright didn’t return for the series finale, but Rory did get a chance to meet another major player on the international scene: CNN anchor and correspondent Christiane Amanpour, who was staying at the Dragonfly Inn. Recognizing the celebrity in her midst, Lorelai dragged Rory out of her warm bed — still in her pajamas! — to have an extremely informal meet-and-greet with one of her idols. Despite being severely underdressed, the meeting went well — so well, in fact, that Amanpour offered Rory her card and asked her to keep in touch as she pursued her journalism dreams. Here’s hoping that A Year in the Life confirms that Rory and Christiane grabbed drinks in between covering major world events.

Related: ‘Gilmore Girls’: Revisit 10 of the Show’s Wackiest Storylines

Get on the Bus

Alexis Bledel, Kelly Bishop, Lauren Graham, Edward Herrmann (Credit: The WB)
Alexis Bledel, Kelly Bishop, Lauren Graham, and Edward Herrmann. (Photo: The WB)

With Yale in her rearview, Rory’s immediate postgrad plans are to spend a solid month on a roller-coaster tour of America with her mom. But the Coney Island Cyclone will just have to wait because Barack Obama’s calling. Pre-dinner drinks with the editor of an online magazine turns into a job opportunity when that editor offers Rory a seat on then Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign bus. “I’d be filing stories from the road right up to the convention,” a dazed Rory informs her mother and grandparents, adding, “I’ll be leaving for two months or two years if Barack does well.” Two years? More like eight if Rory opts to remain part of the presidential press corps for the duration of Obama’s Oval Office tenure.

Putting Down Roots

Keiko Agena, Alexis Bledel (Credit: The WB)
Keiko Agena and Alexis Bledel (Photo: The WB)

While her best friend is about to hit the road, Lane is settling into motherhood on her home turf. She and hubby Zack have twin boys and still jam together at home, even though he’s occasionally on the road shredding guitar for another band. Since those tykes will be nearing the big 1-0 when A Year in the Life picks up, we’re expecting the whole family to be a big old traveling band.

Related: ‘Gilmore Girls’: 10 Times Music Helped Make the Show So Epic

Party in the Square

(Credit: The WB)
(Credit: The WB)

With Rory leaving Stars Hollow earlier than planned, the townspeople throw together an epic farewell banquet practically overnight. While Sookie bakes enormous quantities of pie, Luke has the protein situation under control with hearty helpings of hot dogs and hamburgers, and Kirk volunteers to spin records right round as DJ. Even a rainstorm can’t dampen the festivities. Luke stays up all night sewing a tent to keep 2007’s “Great Gilmore Goodbye” party on the Stars Hollow calendar of events.

Related: ‘Gilmore Girls’: How to Throw the Best Revival Viewing Party

Goodbye, Mr. Hermann

Edward Herrmann, Kelly Bishop, Lauren Graham (Credit: The WB)
Edward Herrmann, Kelly Bishop, and Lauren Graham. (Photo: The WB)

“It’s not as if the two of you are saying goodbye,” Emily snippily says after Richard and Lorelai have a tender father-daughter moment at Rory’s sendoff shindig. Except, of course, it is. Edward Hermann passed away two years ago, making the Gilmore Girls series finale Richard’s final episode as well. His death plays an important role in A Year in the Life, with Emily adjusting to widowhood. A Richard-less Gilmore Girls is sad to contemplate, but his goodbye moment with Lorelai is, in retrospect, the most moving scene of the series finale.

On Again, Off Again, On Again

Lauren Graham, Scott Patterson (Credit: The WB)
Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson. (Photo: The WB)

At the top of the episode, Lorelai is convinced that she and Luke are 100 percent dunzo, sentiments that her ex echoes to his sister, Liz. But that hard-line attitude softens after she learns of his Herculean effort to make Rory’s party a reality. While everyone is milling about beneath the Luke-sewn tent, he and Lorelai have a bit of a moment in front of the diner. “I just like to see you happy,” he tells her before they fall into each other’s arms. It’s no, “I love you/I know,” but it’ll do.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premieres Nov. 25 on Netflix.