Everyone knows that Lorelai and Rory Gilmore have pretty much become the standard when it comes to mother-daughter duo goals. They can talk about anything, have the perfect quips, and find themselves in some truly ridiculous hijinx side-by0-side. Lorelai wants to give Rory the world, and Lorelai is the whole world to Rory. It’s pretty damn cute. They go through heartbreak, family drama, and one too many cups of coffee together – and (almost) no topic is off-limits when it comes to their relationship.
They’re each other’s biggest fans and best friends. It’s impossible to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls without seeing that. It’s enough to make you wish you had that dynamic with your mom, or to want that type of relationship with your daughter one day. It’s hard to find shows where a mother and daughter are as close as Rory and Lorelai, so they will always have a special place in our hearts.
21. When Lorelai does everything she can to get Rory to Chilton
Even on the very first episode of Gilmore Girls, Lorelai and Rory are proving they’re what mother-daughter dreams are made of. Rory’s dream is to go to Harvard, and Lorelai knows her chances are much higher if she graduates from Chilton, rather than Stars Hollow High School. So when Rory doesn’t qualify for any financial aid from the school, Lorelai goes to the ends of the earth to figure out a way to pay for Rory’s education and make it work. She eventually strikes a deal with the devil her parents, who she doesn’t ever speak to, to pay for Rory’s tuition. Talk about a mother’s love for her daughter.
20. When Lorelai throws Rory a 16th birthday party
When Rory turns 16, her grandma decides to host an extravagant party for her with all her Chilton “friends.” Little does Emily know that’s not really Rory’s scene – those definitely aren’t her friends – and it kind of sucks. Lorelai fights hard to convince Emily not to have the party at all, but she won’t budge. To make it up to Rory, Lorelai throws her the cutest birthday party to celebrate the way she wants. Everyone from Stars Hollow is there, Rory is wearing a tiara and a boa, and she even manages to get her a brand new MacBook. The love that everyone in Stars Hollow — especially Lorelai — has for Rory radiates off the screen, and it’s heartwarming to see.
19. When Rory tells Lorelai about her first kiss with Dean
This is one of those moments that would be awkward for most mother-daughter pairs, and though you’d think it wouldn’t be for the Gilmore girls, it is. Which kind of just makes it even better. Rory actually doesn’t tell her mom right away about her first kiss at all – which is pretty out of character. Instead, she runs to Lane’s house and tells her same-aged BFF, and Lorelai finds out about it from Mrs. Kim. Ouch. She tries to act cool when she asks Rory about it, but she ends up kind of freaking out about it, and the whole situation is just adorable and hilarious. We’ve been there.
18. When Lorelai joins Rory and Dean’s first date
Right after Dean and Rory kiss, Lorelai invites him to her and Rory’s movie night – without asking Rory first. Naturally, Rory’s not thrilled! This boy’s coming over to her house to watch a movie with her and her mom? As a first date? Lorelai helps Rory get ready (a million outfits, etc.), sets out the food and tries to act like the really cool mom who can totally join in on first dates without it being awkward. (It’s still really awkward). Of course, Lorelai decides to give them some alone time, but Rory feels too weird and actually asks Lorelai to come back. That’s what moms are for!
17. When Lorelai comforts Rory after her first heartbreak
When Rory and Dean break up the first time because Rory doesn’t say I love you back to him (because Dean is actually the worst), Rory tries to pretend she’s totally fine. She wakes up early, creates a to-do list for the day, and drags Lorelai around Stars Hollow to take her mind off the breakup. As much as Lorelai tries to convince her it’s okay to be heartbroken, Rory’s not having it. It’s not until she kisses Tristan (also the worst) that she realizes she isn’t over Dean. When Lorelai gets home, her daughter’s sitting on the couch eating ice cream and announces she’s ready to wallow. Lorelai holds her while she cries over her first love because heartbreak sucks, and it’s pretty great to have your mom there to wipe away your tears.
16. When Lorelai and Rory compete in the Stars Hollow dance marathon
Every year, Lorelai competes in the Stars Hollow 24-hour dance marathon in hopes of beating Kirk (who is the reigning champion). She usually tries to find someone who can really dance, but this year, all of her contenders back out on her. She finally convinces Rory to be her partner, much to Rory’s dismay (we can’t blame her, dancing for literally 24 hours straight sounds insane). They dress up in ’50s attire, put their dancing shoes on, and try their very best to beat Kirk. They make the perfect dynamic duo – until, of course, a broken shoe and a love triangle ruin their chances of scoring the W.
15. When Lorelai reacts to Rory being in a car accident with Jess
This may not seem like a cute mother-daughter moment, but really, it’s relatable AF. At first, Lorelai is so angry at Rory that she yells at her as soon as she sees her for allowing Jess to drive her car – and crash it – when they were supposed to be studying together. Rory insists it’s not Jess’s fault but her wrist is broken – and any protective mama bear would not be happy about that, either. She yells because she cares!
14. When Lorelai helps Rory egg Jess’s car
Not many moms would help their kid with such an act, but we already know that Lorelai is not many moms – and also she hates Jess even more than Rory does at this moment. Although Jess is arguably (or definitely) Rory’s best boyfriend, the two go through some very, very rough patches. Jess is a jerk sometimes because he’s an emotionally immature 16-year-old who doesn’t know how to treat a woman. Rory and Jess are not really together at this point, and he buys himself a new car (after he crashed Rory’s). They see it while they’re driving home with a surplus of deviled eggs and just go nuts on Rory’s future boyfriend’s car. While vandalism probably isn’t the best way to relieve frustration, this scene hits you because it’s like two best friends pranking the boy that was a jerk to you.
13. When Rory and Lorelai make a snowman
Every year in Stars Hollow, there’s a snowman-making contest… because it’s Stars Hollow we’re talking about and they do tons of cute small town things like that. Anyways, Rory and Lorelai enter, and their snowman is supposed to be modeled after Bjork, only it sucks. It’s actually the worst snowman ever. Its face is lopsided, the wig is awful. It looks more like an alien than any sort of human. Watching them put together this snowman (and watching Taylor become seriously concerned about it) is super funny because they’re having so much fun doing it. They don’t care about winning (well, maybe Lorelai does). They just want to spend the time together and laugh about their ridiculous antics, which is what makes their relationship so fun.
12. When Rory and Lorelai go wedding cake tasting
Sometimes Rory and Lorelai have serious moments, but most of the time they just act ridiculous and make each other (and everyone else, except maybe Taylor) laugh as well. When Lorelai gets engaged for the first time, she takes Rory wedding cake tasting, even though her best friend Sookie is obviously going to make her wedding cake for her. Rory points this out, but Lorelai is quick to remind her that there’s no reason to pass up free cake. Truth.
11. When Lorelai and Rory visit Harvard
After Lorelai breaks off her engagement to Rory’s old teacher (this show is a lot, okay?), she takes Rory on a road trip just to escape Stars Hollow and process her feelings. But instead of going somewhere she wants to go, she takes Rory to Harvard — her dream school. They take a tour, buy coffee and even sit in on a class so that Rory can experience what it’s like to be a student at Harvard.
10. When Rory admits that she always needs her mom
Let’s face it, Rory goes through a lot when it comes to the on-again-off-again relationship between her parents. Just when things seem to be going great, Christopher tells them his ex is pregnant, and he leaves them again for her. Not only that, but Sherri (the new woman) wants Rory to be in the delivery room when she has the baby – Rory’s half-sibling. Oh, and no one else is coming. Rory calls Lorelai when Sherri goes into labor and begs her to come. As much as Lorelai wants to be anywhere but there (watching your ex’s new girlfriend deliver his new baby? No thanks.), she does it for Rory because Rory really needs her.
9. When Rory thanks Lorelai at her graduation
Sometimes, Rory could come off as a bit self-absorbed. She didn’t always seem to appreciate everything that Lorelai went through to give her the best life possible. But when she gives her valedictorian speech at graduation, she proves that she really was paying attention. Not only is it the best graduation speech ever, but it’s also super emotional when she thanks her mom for everything. WE’RE NOT CRYING, YOU ARE.
8. When Lorelai redecorates room with Yale memorabilia
Despite thinking she wanted to go to Harvard since she was born pretty much, Rory has a change of heart and decides to go to Yale – even though it’s not exactly Lorelai’s no. 1 choice since it’s a school so entwined with her parents. But Lorelai does what she always does, anyway: she supports Rory’s decision no matter what. Rory comes home after making her decision to find that every piece of Harvard memorabilia hanging in her room has been replaced with Yale memorabilia. Just like when Rory wanted to go to Chilton, this is Lorelai’s way of letting Rory know she’s going to get her to Yale and that she’s always going to be her rock along the way.
7. When Rory and Lorelai backpack through Europe
The show never actually documents Rory and Lorelai’s travels through Europe after Rory graduates (although, it was definitely the most fun Europe trip ever and would have made a great episode or two). But we got a taste of their trip from the planning, and from the stories they told upon their return. Backpacking Europe is an adventure for anyone, but especially two people who haven’t spent much time outside of their sleepy little town. While most of us would probably prefer to go on a Euro trip with our gal pals, the idea that this mother-daughter duo did it together just warms your heart.
6. When Lorelai comes back to Yale because Rory is homesick
On Rory’s first day at Yale, they both have a hard time saying goodbye. Lorelai drops Rory off and gets all the way back to Stars Hollow before she gets a call from Rory asking her to come back. Nope, it wasn’t because she forgot shower sandals or her meal plan hadn’t kicked in yet – it was just because she missed her mom. Of course, Lorelai turns right around and heads back to Yale. Going away to college is a crazy experience, and homesickness is almost inevitable. Going to school close enough to your hometown where your family can come at the drop of a hat is kind of the dream. Or a nightmare, depending on your family, ofc.
5. When Rory comforts Lorelai after Luke breaks up with her
Rory isn’t the only Gilmore girl who experiences heartbreak throughout the show. Lorelai usually doesn’t let Rory see how her relationships affect her, especially when they come crashing down, but there was no way to keep her and Luke’s connection away from her daughter – thus the fallout from their relationship breakdown was obviously something Rory had to be there for. Sometimes a kid’s gotta act like the parent when their mom or dad really needs them, and Rory’s ability to help mend her mama’s broken heart was everything.
4. When Rory gets drunk and cries because Logan doesn’t like her
Rory really isn’t the best at picking boys. From the moment she gets to college, Logan sweeps her off her feet with his downright douchey ways. We get it! You like “bad boys”! Rory usually tries to play it cool, but everybody knows once the alc stars flowing, all bets are off. Lorelai finds her crying about Logan on the bathroom floor and let’s face it, we all know how it feels to finally succumb to a feeling you’ve been suppressing. Having your mom there just makes it slightly better.
3. When Rory finally visits Lorelai after dropping out of Yale
Rory goes through this utterly ridiculous life crisis after Logan’s dad tells her she doesn’t have what it takes to be a journalist. She drops out of school, gets arrested, moves in with her grandparents, joins the Daughters of the American Revolution with Emily, and doesn’t speak to Lorelai for months. Honestly, who wasn’t confused during this time? When Rory finally comes to her senses, it’s a relief. She and Lorelai reunite on the front lawn, hugging each other and saying “I love you” to make up for the months that Rory lost her way.
2. When Lorelai reassures Rory of her career choice
As has already been established, Mitchum Huntzberger is a jerk. Even after Rory goes back to Yale to finish her degree, she’s far less confident in her abilities. Whether or not she’s really cut out to be a journalist is a conversation for another time (there was a lot of promise there until Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life), but either way, Mitchum didn’t have the right to shoot down her dreams that way. Rory gets a job offer to follow Barack Obama on his campaign trail, and she’s legit shocked that she’ll actually become a real reporter. But Lorelai isn’t. She tells her none of it’s crazy because Rory deserves it. Always her biggest cheerleader, since day one.
1. When Rory and Lorelai say goodbye in the last episode
Okay, nobody can say they didn’t cry when Rory left Stars Hollow for her first real job. She might’ve gone away to college before this, but she was always back home for weekends and laundry, and mother-daughter time was no less. But this time she’s leaving for real, and it’s rough to watch this iconic duo realize they won’t get to see each other for a while. Everyone in Stars Hollow throws Rory a huge party to celebrate her career. It’s the definition of “bittersweet,” especially when they end the series where they started it – getting coffee at Luke’s.