Gilmore Girls Retro Review: Welcome to Stars Hollow

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New programming may have picked up across the dial, but let's face it: Summer is still a relatively slow time to be a television fan.

But instead of looking forward to the fall and counting down the days until your favorite show(s) returns, why not stop and take a look back?

All the way back to October 2000, in fact, as TV Fanatic will be reviewing the beloved drama Gilmore Girls over the next several weeks, helping long-time fans remember why they fell in love with the series and/or familiarizing newbies with why they SHOULD fall in love with it.

Ready to go? Let's revisit Gilmore Girls Season 1 Episode 1 below...

Gilmore Girls Pic

Welcome to Stars Hollow!  The most quaint, adorable, fairy tale-esque (and therefore a bit ridiculous) New England town you could possible imagine.  

Lorelei Gilmore, early 30’s, coffee addict extraordinaire, simultaneously charms the surly diner owner Luke while shooting down the overeager kid hitting on her.  

Enter her 16-year old daughter Rory (yep, teenage mom situation) and the quick wit that made Gilmore Girls famous begins! CDs, lip gloss, a RuPaul AND a West Side Story refernece all in the first three minutes!  Exactly what you would expect, the overeager kid starts hitting on Rory and hilarity ensues!  

Cue the opening credits, mother/daughter love and MELISSA MCCARTHY in her pre Bridesmaids glory!

The Independence INN... where Lorelei is the manager and employs her motley crew of friends. including Michele the french concierge and Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) as the clumsy chef!  We get a feel that Lorelei manages the Inn with a smile but an iron fist.  

Next we move onto Rory and her Korean friend Lane, who’s mom has no idea she’s a lover of punk rock and all things American so she hides it, usually with Rory’s help. Lane’s mom is obsessed with setting her up with suitable Korean boys, so enter the first of many silly and fun events in Stars Hollow - the Hay Ride!

Rory is clearly an outcast in school due to her being smart and actually working hard in school.  Lane’s family owns Kim’s Antiques and Mrs. Kim is hilarious. Best line: “Boys don’t like funny girls."

Back at the Independence, Sookie is being clumsy in the kitchen and we learn that one day, she and Lorelei want to open their own Inn together. Lorelei finds out that Rory was accepted to prestigious Chilton School! Enter Rory to get the good news!

Lorelei hands her a bag and Rory pulls out a plaid skirt.  She makes a comment about being in Britney Spears video that reminds me that this show debuted in the early 2000’s when Hit Me Baby One More Time was still a thing.  

But of course they would hit a snag! The enrollment fee at Chilton is more money than Lorelei can afford. She jokes her way through a call with the school about bank jobs but realizes more drastic measures are in order.  

Sookie tries to help come up with ideas while Rory tries on her new uniform so Lorelei decides to suck it up and visit her very wealthy parents (where we also quickly learn she’s in school for business.) Clearly, there are tensions between Lorelei and Emily, her very WASPy mother and Richard, her wealthy father.

Lorelei decides to ask them for the money, but it doesn’t come without strings attached. Emily insists on weekly dinners with Lorelei and Rory and a once a week phone call.  Lorelei agrees as long as the agreement is kept hidden from Rory about the money.

As Rory cleans out her locker, she makes a Rosemary’s Baby reference at the tall and cute boy that just moved to Stars Hollow from Chicago. He introduces himself as Dean and we learn that Rory’s name is actually Lorelei because when her mom had her, she thought that women should be able to name kids after themselves the same way men do.  

Dean flirts with Rory, asks her to show him around and his chivalrous side comes out when he carries her box full of stuff from her locker. Rory is clearly a bit dorky and unsure around Dean, but it’s cute how he knows what books she’s reading and her schedule.

Due to the Dean situation, Rory decides that maybe she doesn’t want to go to Chilton. We see the Hay Ride go by, as well as meet the town dance teacher, and she rats Rory out for being with Dean. Lorelei quickly realizes that Rory doesn’t want to go to Chilton because of the boy and Lorelei doesn’t want Rory to make the same mistakes she did, throwing away her life because of a boy.

We learn that Lorelei had Rory when she was 16 (clearly a lot of exposition in this pilot.)  Lorelei pleads with Rory to not do this because of a boy and tells Rory she needs to play the “mom card” and force her to go to Chilton. While they both go sulk in their respective rooms, they both put on the same Macy Gray song (so 2000).

At work the next day, Lorelei is still upset about the fight with Rory, mainly because they never fight! She’s dealing with Sookie blowing up the stove and a really surly Rory. They go to dinner at the grandparents house.  

Cue Menendez brothers reference while they stall outside and when they finally go in, things are strained. A champagne toast (appropriate for a 16-year old, right?) and let the awkwardness resume!  

Richard clearly doesn’t know how to chat with his granddaughter considering he hands her part of his newspaper. We find out that Rory’s dad is named Christopher and lives in California. Lorelei gets upset and goes in the kitchen to calm down which entails cleaning dishes until Emily comes in and they start fighting.

The issues between Lorelei and her parents stems from Lorelei not marrying Rory’s father and her parents couldn’t handle that. She moved away, refused help from her parents, started working as a maid and now she runs the place.

Emily thinks Lorelei is too proud to ever accept help and is upset to have been kept from Rory’s life for all those years. Yelling, drama, but in the end, Rory’s going to Chilton and all will continue!

And that's a wrap! Visit our Gilmore Girls quotes section now to relive the best one-liners from this opening episode!

Pilot Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (16 Votes)
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Gilmore Girls Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Does he have a motorcycle? If you're gonna throw your life away, he'd better have a motorcycle!


Lorelai: Please, Luke. Please, please, please.
Luke: How many cups have you had this morning?
Lorelai: None.
Luke: Plus...
Lorelai: Five, but yours is better.
Luke: You have a problem.
Lorelai: Yes, I do.
Luke: Junkie.
Lorelai: Angel. You've got wings, baby.