The Most Tear-Inducing 'Gilmore Girls' Moments Ever, Ranked
Stars Hollow can be the happiest place on Earth. There are festivals for every season, Miss Patty is always ready to regale you with a tale, and those Gilmore ladies sure know how to tell a joke. There is a sadder side to the Gilmore Girls though, and that side is full of tears. In fact, the number of Gilmore Girls ' tear-inducing moments are staggering. For a happy show, there were enough family fights, break-ups, and crises to keep all the tissue manufacturers busy for years. Not all of the moments that left me bellowing over my popcorn were sad. The real art behind Gilmore Girls was its ability to make you happy cry. The show got you from both sides — either it was breaking your heart or making it grow, Grinch-style.
Ranking the happy moments against the sad is like creating an emotional Gilmore Girls thunderdome, but ultimately I have to decide whether Rory's graduation speech or Lorelai's tear-stained voicemail to Luke induced more tears. You see this is a highly scientific ranking, that will start with scenes that made me sniffle and end with the ultimate ugly cry moment from the show's seven seasons. Gilmore fans, brace yourselves because just thinking about these moments will probably leave you sobbing. Don't say I didn't warn you...
12. Rory's Ready To Wallow Now
At the end of Season 1's "The Breakup, Part 2," Rory shares an impromptu kiss with Tristan which just proved to her how very much she was not over Dean. The moment when Lorelai finds Rory home alone, crying and eating ice cream, is such an accurate representation of a first breakup, that it is impossible not to cry when Rory says, "I'm ready to wallow now."
11. Paris' C-SPAN Breakdown
Paris is such a strong, determined young woman that seeing her have a breakdown on national TV was startling, to say the least. What is even more affecting is the scene that comes after when Rory tries to help her friend grapple with the reality that she didn't get into Harvard. Funny and somber, this moment truly is quintessentially Gilmore Girls.
10. Emily Sees Where Rory & Lorelai Used To Live
Emily's tour of Stars Hollow takes a turn when Rory shows her where she and her mom first lived when they moved to Stars Hollow. There's so much power in what's not said in this scene. Emily sees not only all that she missed, but just how far Lorelai was willing to go to raise Rory on her terms, and the emotion on Kelly Bishop's face is all too real.
9. Rory & Lorelai Reunite
It felt like decades had passed since Rory and Lorelai's big fight, but their reunion was worth the wait. I don't think there was a dry eye anywhere in the country when they ran into each other's arms.
8. Jess Thanks Luke
Yes, I think Jess finally telling Luke "thank you" for everything the diner owner did for him is slightly more heartwarming than Rory and Lorelai's reunion. And that's because neither Jess nor Luke were especially expressive people. Both of them admitting how they felt was a big deal and a beautiful payoff to their story.
7. Rory & Lorelai's Breakdowns In "The Incredible Sinking Lorelais"
Rory needs her mom, and Lorelai needs someone to lean on. Dean and Luke are there, but it doesn't make the pain of their inability to connect any less heartbreaking.
6. Rory Sleeps With Dean
Season 4 was soul-crushing all around, but nothing tops Rory losing her virginity to a married man. When the weight of what happened hits her, my soul pretty much crumbles in my chest every single time.
5. "You've Given Me Everything I Need"
The final episode offered one understated doozy of a line when Rory cuts off Lorelai's anxious rambling to tell her mother, "You've given me everything I need." Yep, still crying over that one.
4. Lorelai's Post-Breakup Phone Call To Luke
After all of that waiting, breaking up Luke and Lorelai was a dastardly move, but Lorelai's phone call? That was a whole new level of pain. To this day, I cannot make it through this scene without losing all composure.
3. Lorelai Sings "I Will Always Love You"
Lauren Graham can rip my heart out like no other actor on the planet. When Lorelai's joke of singing "I Will Always Love You" turns serious when Luke walks in, some essential part of me just crumbles. It's a breathtaking, iconic moment and one of the last great Luke and Lorelai scenes ever.
2. Rory's Graduation Speech
Rory graduates from Chilton and makes the whole world cry with her beautiful, poignant speech. It's hard to believe anything could top Rory's ode to books and her mother, but there is one scene that, in retrospect, will make you cry even harder.
1. "Yes, Emily, You May Go First"
Season 1's "Forgiveness & Stuff" was always one of the show's most wrenching hours. Almost every scene is a cry-inducing masterpiece, but in light of Edward Herrmann's passing, the episode has taken on a whole new level of poignancy. Richard promises Emily that she may go first, and sadly, everyone knows he couldn't keep that promise, making this scene retroactively the most tear-stained moment in all of Gilmore Girls' long and beautiful history.
As much as Gilmore Girls could make me smile, I am always amazed by just how much it could make me feel. Looking back on the most tear-inducing moments is bittersweet because each moment is a testament to the show's unwavering greatness.
Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy