Personally, I find anyone who doesn't love Gilmore Girls suspect, but there are surely some unfortunate souls out there who simply have not had the opportunity to visit Stars Hollow yet. If you know one of those people, then as a Gilmore Girls fan, it is your duty to introduce them to Lorelai and Rory, preferably before the Nov. 25 Netflix premiere of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life . Now, it will be tempting to simply start at the beginning or skip to a universally beloved outing like "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?" but if you need to get someone hooked on Gilmore Girls in a hurry, then the Season 1 outing "Rory's Birthday Parties" should be your go-to episode.
As an early Season 1 episode, "Rory's Birthday Parties" is an ideal entry point into the world of the Gilmores. The episode takes place after the awkward establishing episodes, but it is not so deep into the series new viewers will feel lost. Most importantly, it puts Rory, Lorelai, and Emily right at the center of the action while clearly defining the roles they play in each other's lives. "Rory's Birthday Parties" is the first great episode of Gilmore Girls and with its focus on the dynamic between the Gilmore women it is sure to turn non fans into fans by the time the end credits roll.
"Rory' Birthday Parties" finds Rory celebrating turning 16 in two drastically different environments. For the first time, Rory's grandparents are involved in her life and Emily wants to make up for all the birthdays she missed out on by throwing Rory a sophisticated party with all her classmates. Meanwhile, Lorelai has a bright, goofy Stars Hollow bash planned for her daughter. The two gatherings could not possibly be more different, and that is why this episode works on every level.
Through Emily's party, new viewers will be introduced to the elder Gilmores' world of refined society, and see all the reasons why Lorelai never felt she belonged there. The party doesn't just pit Lorelai and Emily against each other, it features Rory's first ever fight with her grandmother. Every angle of the family dynamics are on display and it is a rich exploration of just how deep the divide that existed between Lorelai and her parents was at the series' beginning.
At the halfway point, the story flips to revel in the charms of Stars Hollow. The party Lorelai throws Rory brings the town together for a bash revealing the warmth and sense of community Stars Hollow exudes. As an added bonus, Richard and Emily are invited to attend the party and for the first time they are given a chance to see firsthand the world Lorelai built for herself and Rory. While the scenes are more lighthearted overall, they are just as densely emotional as the ones that occur at the party Emily throws for Rory.
In between the deep dive into the Gilmore family are charming character moments designed to make viewers fall in love with Rory, Lorelai, Emily, and Stars Hollow. The episode opens with a beautiful mother/daughter scene between Rory and Lorelai that finds Lorelai recounting Rory's birth while the two snuggle in bed, and later Lorelai shares a similarly touching scene with her own mother as she takes Emily shopping to pick out a birthday gift for Rory. By the time Stars Hollow's cast of quirky characters all file into Lorelai's living room for a bash celebrating Rory, the Gilmore Girls noob in your life will be hooked.
If for some reason they need even more reasons to watch the romance should do the trick. After all, this is the episode where Luke blurts out a fake proposal to Lorelai to get her to stop talking, sets up an elaborate birthday breakfast for Rory, and later is Lorelai's hero when he shows up at Rory's party with ice. Emily even predicts Lorelai and Luke's future love connection. Meanwhile, it is on her 16th birthday that Rory receives the infamous handmade bracelet from her first boyfriend, Dean.
"Rory's Birthdays" contains a dash of everything wonderful about Gilmore Girls. The multi-generational relationship between the Gilmore women, the warmth of Stars Hollow, and the romantic undertones that have left so many fans still fervently shipping their faves more than a decade later. The next time your friend who has been avoiding the Gilmore Girls buzz stops by, innocently queue up this episode and try not be too envious as you watch them fall in love with Lorelai and Rory for the first time.
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