9. Take the Deviled Eggs (Season 3, Episode 6)
Baby showers are terrible. This is common wisdom. What's even more terrible is having to go to one in honor of your ex's girlfriend, whose pregnancy is the reason you can't be together. This, combined with party games that involve sniffing diapers, sends Lorelai over the edge and inspires her to trash the bathroom. So punk rock. Rory gets in on the troublemaking later when she throws deviled eggs at Jess' new car. No one temper tantrums like a Gilmore.
8. A-Tisket, A-Tasket (Season 2, Episode 13)
So much drama over picnic baskets! Stars Hollow holds a charity picnic basket lunch auction, in which women put together cute lunches for men. Obvious gender role issues aside, this episode is great television because all the relationships on the show are shaken up. Dean doesn't bring enough money (loser) for Rory's basket and is outbid by resident bad boy, Jess (teen-girls-bawling-at-Beatles-concert.gif). Town busybody Miss Patty tries to pimp out Lorelai or turn her into a polygamist by sending three different men to bid on her basket. And Jackson passive aggressively refuses to bid on Sookie's basket because she doesn't want to move in with him and later bullies her into accepting a marriage proposal. Consider this episode a lesson in why women shouldn't be auctioned off and how you shouldn't act in relationships (except for the Jess thing; always ditch your boyfriend to hang out with him).
7. Like Mother, Like Daughter (Season 2, Episode 7)
Some people misunderstand reading a book at lunch as a cry for help. In this case, those people are the headmaster and guidance counselor at Chilton, Rory's prep school. They tell her she's a "loner freak" and force her to eat lunch with boring girls who talk about homecoming and are part of a secret club (lots of secret clubs on this show). Lorelai is also scolded for not participating enough at Chilton and is forced to join the booster club. Both of these experiments in becoming more extroverted end spectacularly: Rory ends up being kidnapped in dessert-covered PJs and yelling in the headmaster's face, while Lorelai ends up wearing matching outfits with her mother in a fashion show. You're in, you may leave the runway (*Heidi Klum voice*).
6. The Big One (Season 3, Episode 16)
So much of the first half of the series is about Rory's Ivy League ambitions. Lorelai makes a painful deal with her estranged parents to get Rory into a good school that will look good on her college applications, Rory builds a house with a bejeweled hammer to diversify her extracurriculars, they break into some random girl's dorm room, etc. Everything leads down the path to Harvard, and this is the episode where she finds out if she gets in or not! Antsy waiting by the mailbox eventually gives way to the real reason this episode is a classic: a televised meltdown, during which Paris Gellar tells everyone watching CSPAN (like 12 people) that she lost her virginity and explains how sex will ruin your entire life. Preach it, girl.
5. The Festival of Living Art (Season 4, Episode 7)
Another quirky town event episode! This time, Stars Hollow gets together to pose as famous works of art. Lorelai wants to reclaim her role as Renoir girl in "Dance at Bougival," but has still not been forgiven by the town for flinching the last time around. Meanwhile, Kirk, easily the strangest resident of the series, goes total Daniel-Day Lewis and stays in character as Jesus Christ the whole episode. Will Lorelai be able to resist the flinch, even when her Sookie-is-going-into-labor beeper goes off? Will Kirk stone the dude playing Judas to death?
4. The Deer Hunters (Season 1, Episode 5)
In public school, Rory was considered a genius, but when she gets to Chilton, all bets are off when she gets a D! (Et tu, Max Medina?!) The Gilmores proceed to panic and memorize the dates random Shakespeare plays were published, but all for nothing, as Rory oversleeps. On her mad dash to school, she gets hit by a deer. The episode could end right there, but goes on to feature Rory and Lorelai letting an assortment of stuck up white people have it!
3. One's Got Class and the Other One Dyes (Season 3, Episode 4)
Lane's strict mother doesn't let her date, listen to music that isn't about Jesus, apply to non-religious colleges, go to school dances or Bangles concerts. Finally, one day (this day!), Lane snaps and decides that she no longer has any you-know-whats to give and buys some purple hair dye. Take that, Mrs. Kim! This rebellion is short-lived because fear of immigrant parents runs deep, as does the pain that comes with bleaching dark hair (see: Lane's manic sprint through the town square with a burning scalp). Meanwhile, Lorelai is asked to give a speech about being a bad ass entrepreneur and is swiftly slut shamed by all the moms. Never a dull moment in Stars Hollow.
2. A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving (Season 3, Episode 9)
Thanksgiving is easily everyone's second favorite holiday and, to honor that, this episode sees Lorelai and Rory attending four Thanksgiving dinners. The girls party with tofu-loving Korean Seventh Day Adventists, uptight WASPs, deep-fried rednecks, and a pair of cute boys. Every episode of the show seems like it takes place the week before or after Thanksgiving, with all its warm golden light, fallen leaves, and cozy sweaters, so it makes sense that they would know how to do it right. Also in this episode: Kirk is attacked by his cat, also named Kirk, while completely nude, Lane finally gets to first base, and Jennifer Aniston's dad shows up.
1. They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They? (Season 3, Episode 7)
It doesn't get better than this. Inspired by Jane Fonda's They Shoot Horses, Don't They, the town gets together for their annual 24-hour dance marathon. Lorelai wants to win really badly, but her partner flakes cause his wife is insecure, paving the way for Rory to step in (aww!). And the rest is classic Stars Hollow with a '40s twist. All the townsfolk are at their weirdest (i.e. best, except for Jackson who spends the majority of the episode pressuring Sookie to have more children than she wants) and Rory's love triangle finally reaches a head and ends in tears. If you only watch one Gilmore Girls episode in your life, make it this one.