6 Gilmore Girls moments that break our hearts every time

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a massive Gilmore Girls fan. The ups, the downs, the quirky pop culture references – the coffee and doughnuts – I love it all. Putting on an episode feels like an escape for a little while, to a dreamy, funny little town that has a hilarious and wholesome vibe. I stop in at Luke's for coffee, wander Mrs Kim's antique shop and stop by Sookie's for a snack.

And I avoid the drama of the Gilmore Girls at all costs.

Kidding. But my goodness, it would be a quieter town without those two women. Then again, we wouldn't get all these amazing storylines and character development moments without them, so we love them really. You'll notice Lorelai's my favourite from the imbalance of this list, but I'm pretty sure she's everyone's favourite – despite her sometimes questionable decisions – so dive into my top six heartbreaking/all the feels/ oy with the poodles already moments in Gilmore Girls.

Emily visits The Independence Inn and sees where Rory and Lorelai used to live

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Emily Gilmore is probably my favourite character in the entire series, so every moment with her is a great one. Kelly Bishop’s development of the character as the show goes on just gets better and better as we move from loving to hate her, to completely understanding why she is the way she is. Beneath the cold hard exterior, Emily is secretly very vulnerable and hurt by the events of Lorelai’s departure from her childhood home and I think we really get to see that when she sees the boat house where Lorelai lived when Rory was first born.

I think the reality of her 16-year-old daughter’s situation hits home in that moment. That pride, hurt feelings and family rejection didn’t matter as much as she thought it did, and that she should have just been there for Lorelai. I think there’s also the realization of the depth at which Lorelai felt she had to leave her home – that she’d rather live in a literal garden shed than be home with her family.

It’s such a complex moment and we can see all these thoughts playing out across her face and I think it’s one of the most powerful and heartbreaking moments of the show, where we really begin to understand her character.

Lorelai's awkward post-breakup call to Luke

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Luke and Lorelai’s breakup was incredibly painful to all of us. After all the build up, all the failed relationships and Luke’s constancy and loveliness throughout, we really thought Lorelai had met her match in Luke. So when their devastating breakup happened, fans were heartbroken and in disbelief.

Lorelai was apparently feeling similar emotions, as she takes to the bed, Victorian lady style, and concludes her impressive wallow with an emotional phone call to Luke’s answering machine, begging him to come over and comfort her – way over the line considering they’d broken up.

Anyway, she instantly regrets this decision and runs to his house to steal the tape, only to find Luke frantically trying to find her at her house upon her return. All the feels! I feel like this moment so sums them up – he will always be there for her, even when he’s the reason for her pain – it’s like they just can’t stay away. It’s made all the more heartbreaking by the fact that it takes them a while to get back on track after this.

Rory and Lorelai’s Big Fight

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You know the one I’m talking about. The one that felt like it went on for years. Rory and Lorelai have been so close knit up until this point, that it’s incredibly jarring to see them so totally at odds with one another, especially because Rory seems to have a personality transplant and reject everything she and her mother have worked for their entire lives.

Rory becomes very irritating after this point and the estrangement happens for longer than seems warranted. I guess it’s all about character development and how Rory needed to fail to learn how to overcome it, but the time missed together leaves a big gaping hole in their previously untouchable relationship. Lorelai gets engaged, Rory becomes serious with Logan – so much happens that they miss out on with each other, which is really highlighted by Rory finding out Lorelai’s engaged. I don’t have much sympathy for her at this point, but the way her face falls when she finds out hits you in the gut every time.

Lorelai singing "I Will Always Love You" to Luke

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This episode comes near the end of the series, so we’re pretty emotional anyway with Rory and Lorelai’s separation imminent, Lorelai thinking she’ll be alone forever and the fact that Jess doesn’t get the ending he deserves.

But when Lorelai takes to the stage at Miss Patty and Babette’s cabaret/karaoke night to sing ‘I Will Always Love You’, it gets us every time. It was a moment that could have been incredibly cringey, but the fact that Lorelai’s good without being embarrassingly try-hard gives the scene a really realistic feeling. Initially singing it to Rory and then being overcome with emotion when Luke walks in to watch her, the serenade brings tears to viewers eyes at the romance that just never seems to work out. There might as well be no one else in the room as those two lock eyes and it’s an incredibly well-directed scene. Absolutely heartbreaking.

Lorelai's Graduation Day

This is another one of my favourite moments – again, because it involves Emily. The moment when Lorelai graduates and she sees her parents in the crowd tearing up is so powerful and moving, it actually puts a lump in your throat.

Despite all the fuss that they create with trying to film the ceremony and the discomfort they obviously feel, it’s a really important moment for all three of them and Lorelai almost becomes 16 again, graduating business school instead of high school like her parents wanted for her. It’s the do-over they never thought they’d get and when they all pose for a graduation parents photo, you can see how much it means to all of them – not that they’d ever say it.

Lorelai’s ultimatum to Luke

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Yet another one with these two! After a big tumultuous build up of emotions, Lorelai finally lets rip with Luke about eloping to get married and he rejects the idea, essentially rejecting her in Lorelai’s eyes. There’s a lot happening to lead up to this moment, with Lorelai feeling insecure about being the one who proposed, the arrival of an unexpected daughter into Luke’s life and his weird issues with including Lorelai in April’s life.

So the moment feels like the perfect storm for some disastrous break up and boy do we get it. Lorelai begs Luke to run away with her to get married, issuing her ultimatum in desperate, heartbroken words. When he says he needs more time to think, she instantly runs off to Christopher, a move that sickened fans, knowing it would mean the end of Luke and Lorelai.

While I don’t love Lorelai’s actions here, I do understand them. She’s an incredibly emotional person who’s been let down many times before  and she thought Luke was the one person she could count on. His reaction when he finds out the next day is heart shattering.

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