If you’re out on the road feeling lonely and oh-so-cold, Gilmore Girls is the perfect comfort watch to warm you right up.
The series, which premiered in 2000 and was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, follows single mom Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) as she raises her daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel), while trying to reconnect with her estranged parents, Richard (Edward Herrmann) and Emily (Kelly Bishop) Gilmore.
Set in the small fictional Connecticut town of Stars Hollow, Gilmore Girls quickly became known for its quaint, cozy aesthetics and signature seasonal-themed episodes. While the show featured the mother-daughter duo throughout all four seasons of their lives, it’s become most closely known for its association with autumn.
With its warm tone and complicated family dynamics, the generational dramedy found new life streaming on Netflix and ultimately returned for a revival in 2016. Titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the four supersized episodes dropped on Thanksgiving and followed Lorelai and Rory along for one year of their lives.
After exiting the series during season 6 — before returning for AYITL —Sherman-Palladino opened up to Entertainment Weekly about becoming a longstanding source of comfort and relatability for viewers.
“We created an alternate universe that we loved living in, loved having viewers get immersed in,” she told the outlet in 2006. “I did everything I wanted to do, really — it was a gift from God. And look, f—ed-up family drama: that’s a goldmine; problems never get resolved. There’s a richness to conflict and love and stress that makes for great experiences.”
Keep scrolling for the best fall-themed Gilmore Girls episodes:
“Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)
Chunky sweaters, turtlenecks, scarves and lots and lots of coffee. Viewers are first introduced to Lorelai and Rory in the heart of autumn as the mother-daughter duo have their lives changed forever with Rory’s acceptance into Chilton.
As Lorelai tries to figure out a way to pay the private school tuition (Hello, Emily and Richard!), Rory meets her first love interest Dean (Jared Padalecki) while her best friend, Lane (Keiko Agena), dreads taking a “Teen Hayride” with a blind date set up by her overbearing family.
“Kiss and Tell” (Season 1, Episode 7)
Set to the backdrop of the town’s annual Autumn Festival, which includes Rory and Lane dressed as pilgrims collecting canned goods for charity, “Kiss and Tell” may be the ultimate fall episode of Gilmore Girls.
From Luke (Scott Patterson) and Taylor (Michael Winters) arguing over autumn-themed decor to Rory shoplifting after getting her first kiss from Dean — and leaving Lorelai out of the loop on the relationship milestone — the episode set the gold standard for what Gilmore Girls would become.
“They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” (Season 3, Episode 7)
This episode opens with a wide shot of a scarecrow pumpkin before slowly panning all of Stars Hollow to showcase the town’s seasonal decorations. It’s followed by Taylor declaring that it “smells like fall,” making this a great autumn watch right from the jump.
One of the most famous installments of the series, “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” brings drama abound, with Dean finally confronting Rory over her feelings for Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) at an all-night dance marathon. As one relationship ends, however, another begins, and Rory and Jess decide to give their romance a go. Add in the introduction of Lane’s fan-favorite boyfriend Dave (Adam Brody), incredible period costumes and a few deliciously witty moments between Lorelai and Luke, and you’ve got magic.
“Let the Games Begin” (Season 3, Episode 8)
A college tour just screams fall, doesn’t it? Picking right up after the Stars Hollow Dance Marathon, “Let the Games Begin” sees Rory and Lorelai appeasing Richard as he asks to bring them on a tour of his alma mater, Yale.
Between Rory and Lorelai resting their feet (and brains) on hay bales surrounded by pumpkins, the trees changing colors and the brisk New England backdrop, “Let the Games Begin” is the perfect autumn watch.
“A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving” (Season 3, Episode 9)
Call it the fall trifecta. The first actual Thanksgiving episode in the world of Gilmore Girls, “A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving,” watches Rory and Lorelai put their stomachs to the test while trying to attend — and eat at — four separate Thanksgiving meals.
After a stop at Lane’s house, the girls head to Luke’s for a quick bite and visit Sookie’s (Melissa McCarthy), where Jackson (Jackson Douglas) and his family are going crazy over the deep fryer. They then head off to Emily and Richards, where they sit for a traditional Turkey Day feast but leave early when things get heated over Rory’s college plans.
Back in Stars Hollow, Lorelai and Rory end the night right where they belong: back at Luke’s, sipping on coffee (and enjoying the dinner rolls they previously skipped to try to save room for Emily and Richard’s) as Rory’s new boyfriend Jess gets threatened outside by her ex Dean.
“Ted Koppel’s Big Night Out” (Season 4, Episode 9)
Go Bulldogs! College football is the epitome of fall, even if Lorelai and Rory aren’t exactly avid sports enthusiasts. They still show up to accompany Richard and Emily for the big Yale vs. Harvard game, decked out in cozy Yale apparel to support the blue and gray.
There’s tailgating, grilling, fight songs and endless hot beverages. It’s everything a New England fall should be.
“The Fundamental Things Apply” (Season 4, Episode 5)
Season 4 tends to be the least favorite among Gilmore Girls fans, but the set designers really were at their best. The fall decor is out in full force as Lorelai and Sookie walk and talk around Stars Hollow and the golden-colored leaves shimmer outside Yale.
The best part? Fans get to see a new side of Lorelai and Luke’s friendship. The duo enjoy a night on the couch at Lorelai’s watching old movies and attempting to give Rory dating advice. It’s before the pair officially get together, but the show uses “The Fundamental Things Apply” to build up the tension before their big kiss at the end of the season.
“But Not as Cute as a Pushkin” (Season 5, Episode 10)
Rory’s hair is growing, which means a new chapter of Gilmore Girls is brewing. “But Not as Cute as a Pushkin” is all about the autumnal academic vibes as Rory settles into a new year of her college life.
Thrilled after her former headmaster asks her to show a high school student around Yale, Rory finds herself struggling to keep her guest on track when parties and boys are all around her. It’s also another step forward for Rory and Logan (Matt Czuchry), whose sparring is getting suspiciously close to flirtation.
Lorelai, meanwhile, has her first fight with Luke when she buys an old boat that belonged to his father.
‘He’s Slipping Him Bread … Dig?” (Season 6, Episode 10)
The second and final Thanksgiving episode is a bit of a depressing one, with Rory finding out about her breakup with Logan through his sister, Honor (Devon Sovari), Luke reeling from discovering he has a 12-year-old daughter and Lane calling it quits with longtime boyfriend Zack (Todd Lowe).
The good news? The gang manages to get together at the Dragon Fly Inn for a delicious feast, and Rory’s dad, Christopher (David Sutcliffe), agrees to pay for her Yale tuition after his grandfather leaves him a large sum of money.
“A Year in the Life: Fall” (Season 1, Episode 4)
A little bit of a cheat, but we couldn’t resist. It’s impossible to discuss the coziest fall Gilmore Girls episodes without mentioning the supersized Year in the Life installment dedicated to the season.
“Fall” wraps up the three generations of Gilmore women’s stories, with Rory writing her memoir, Emily moving to Nantucket after Richard’s death and Lorelai finally tying the knot with Luke upon returning from her journey of self-discovery in the wilderness.
Despite mixed reviews on the revival as a whole, viewers can agree that “Fall” stands out as a perfect way to end the show, complete with autumn-themed flower bouquets, pumpkins, hay bales and orange foliage … just the way Gilmore Girls was meant to be.