9 Times Lauren Graham Rocked Lorelai Gilmore

There are a few things that I simply cannot deny were formative in my development. There was my family, of course, but there was also, for so much of my life, Gilmore Girls lessons to live by, and the phenomenal performance by Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore, in particular, inspired me so much. She was effervescent, witty, intelligent, strong, vulnerable — and she was one of my personal heroes. But one cannot underestimate Graham's part in the Lorelai Gilmore equation: Graham took all of the qualities Lorelai possessed on paper and brought them to life. She made it all feel real.

Celebrating Graham hand-in-hand with Lorelai Gilmore makes sense to me. Graham may have had other memorable roles worthy of celebration (Sarah Braverman on the also-beloved Parenthood, for example), but it's through Gilmore Girls that she entered our living rooms every night, performing as Lorelai and sealing herself forever as a part of the cultural memory of this underrated gem of a show.

She has other accomplishments that should be lauded (she was on Broadway, after all), but no biography of Graham would be complete without Lorelai. And so let us walk through the moments where Graham's performance really brought Lorelai to life.

When We First Saw Her Stand Up To Her Parents

Lorelai made it clear in the very first episode what her life had been like — and how hard she'd worked for it. Graham embodied both the humor and the pathos of Lorelai, and cemented it in the first fight we see between her and her parents.

When She Graduated

Let it never be said that Lorelai Gilmore didn't work hard for everything she felt she deserved.

When She Watched Rory Graduate

Rory wasn't perfect by any means, but, y'know, she was a pretty solid kid overall — and one who was absolutely grounded in her worship of her mother.

When She Was Honest About Her Broken Heart

Lorelai was headstrong so often, but, when she actually opened her mouth and talked about how she was feeling, it could produce really powerful moments.

When She Busted Her Butt For Her Dreams

Lorelai worked her way up from being an impoverished single mother working as a maid to being a relatively middle-class mother running an inn. But she always wanted more: To open her own inn with her best friend Sookie. Four seasons in, she got that dream, but not until after a lot of hard work and some tears. Lorelai was never more real than when she was reaching for what she wanted.

When She Opened Herself Up For Love

Lorelai was good whether she was single or in a relationship, but the slow (slooow) burn of Luke and Lorelai is borderline iconic.

So good.

When She Tried Connecting With Her Mother

Lorelai's dynamic with her mother was one of the most complicated relationships on the show. So, in the moments when they were truly honest with each other, when Lorelai was actually trying to bridge their notorious divide? Graham killed every second.

Seeing How Much Respect & Love The People Around Her Have For Her

Watching the fruits of Lorelai's labor pay off was always the greatest. That especially came out in episodes like the season finale, when the whole of Stars Hollow came out to show her how much they love the family she built.

When She Inadvertently Laid Her Heart Out On the Line For Luke

After her break-up with Luke, things got rough for a little while, but Lorelai (drunkenly and/or subconsciously) sings her heart out to Luke with an amazing rendition of "I Will Always Love You." Graham sells the scene so completely that it feels like our hearts are on the line, as well.

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