On Friday, Netflix will stream the first new installments of Gilmore Girls since the show went off the air in 2007. The revival, titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, takes the form of four 90-minute episodes, each taking place over a different season in the span of a year. In anticipation of this momentous event, Flavorwire’s resident Gilmore Girls obsessive (that’s me!) makes the case for the primacy of these five episodes from the show’s original run.
5. “Friday Night’s Alright for Fighting” (Season 6, Episode 13)
Season 6 takes us on a bumpy ride, as Rory leaves Yale in the wake of her disastrous decision to steal a yacht with Logan, moves into her grandparents’ pool house, and joins the Daughters of the American Revolution. But midway through the season, Jess surprises Rory with a visit and reams her out for all her life decisions — particularly the choice to quit college. In episode nine, “The Prodigal Daughter Returns,” Rory and Lorelai finally reunite, as Rory leaves the pool house and goes back to Yale.
So, four episodes later, Rory and Lorelai head to Hartford for their ritual Friday night dinner — their first following the news that Rory’s dad Christopher is going to pay for her tuition at Yale, which releases Rory from her obligation to attend the weekly meal.
The episode builds to this final doozy of a scene, a five-minute-long argument between the four Gilmores that breaks from the show’s house direction in hilarious fashion. Lorelai is simmering over Luke’s terrible decision to keep his long-lost daughter, April, out of her life, upending their engagement plans, and Rory has just swept in to rescue the staff of the Yale Daily News after Paris, the editor-in-chief, has a tyrannical breakdown and builds a bunker in the newsroom.
In the aftermath of all that, the Gilmore girls dutifully show up for dinner at Emily and Richard’s house, where things are a bit off — Emily, for one, is out on the patio, painting moonscapes. But when the group sits down for dinner, the gloves come off, and a roving camera sets the tone for this epic, expertly edited sequence. Nothing is off-limits: Lorelai’s refusal to marry Christopher when she got pregnant as a teenager; Rory’s moving in, and then out, of her grandparents’ house; the time Emily tried to time-share a plane. At one point, the gang pauses to marvel at the passionfruit sorbet. The scenes cut quickly into each other, emphasizing the pile of issues that this WASP-y family has left untouched for so long. In the end, Rory and Lorelai emerge from the house in emotional tatters. “I think we’ve officially reinstated Friday night dinner,” Lorelai says.
Best Line: Lorelai [re: Paul Anka, the dog]: “He’s totally fine having his personal freedom slowly stripped away, as long as he’s completely unaware that it’s happening. Just like a true American.”