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‘Gilmore Girls’: The seven most important episodes from season 3

In season 3, Jess and Rory become canon (finally), a band is formed, one of Stars Hollow’s own takes the ultimate long vacation, and Luke really wants a reason to not get engaged. (LORELAI, THAT WAS YOUR CUE.)

I’ve relived the planted pilot for a Jess spin-off, the death (and rebirth) of Friday Night Dinners, and Tobin so that I could narrow down season 3 to the seven most important episodes. I do what I can to prepare you for the upcoming Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life revival—you’re welcome.

So refill your coffee, power up your palm pilot, and put aside those handwritten college applications, because here’s season 3.

Episode 7, “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” (Aired Nov 12, 2002)

During the annual Stars Hollow 24-hour dance marathon, Dean dumps Rory on the middle of the dance floor—in front of the whole town. It’s obvious that she likes Jess, and Jess likes her, too, and Dean can’t do it anymore.

Elsewhere, Sookie and Jackson start talking about kids, Jamie visits Paris at Chilton, and Lane’s crush and bandmate, Dave Rygalski (Adam Brody), begins to work his way into Mrs. Kim’s good graces as a nice, Christian guitar player.

Image credit: Netflix/screengrab

Image credit: Netflix/screengrab

Episode 13, “Dear Emily and Richard” (Aired Feb 4, 2003)

When Sherry messes up and goes into labor before her scheduled C-section, Rory is the only person with her at the hospital until Christopher can get there.

And in a series of flashbacks, Lorelai remembers her own pregnancy, including the Gilmore and Hayden parents reacting to the big news, going into the delivery room alone, and leaving her parents with baby Rory in tow.

Episode 16, “The Big One” (Aired Feb 25, 2003)

Sookie finds out that she’s pregnant, and Jackson freaks out. Lorelai runs into Max, prompting closure and a kiss. So not really closure, then.

Paris loses her virginity to Jamie and then loses her mind in the middle of a big speech at Chilton—broadcasting live over C-SPAN—because she was rejected from Harvard. But Rory gets three big envelopes—acceptances from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.

Episode 17, “A Tale of Poes and Fire” (Aired April 15, 2003)

Luke finds out that Jess has been skipping school to work extra shifts at Walmart. A fire at the Independence Inn forces Lorelai and Co. to get creative with the guests, putting most of them up in people’s houses around town. (And forcing Lorelai to bunk with Luke, where she tells him about this dream, a.k.a. the scene I live for.)

And after multiple pro-con lists, Rory decides she’s going to Yale.

Image credit: Netflix/screengrab

Image credit: Netflix/screengrab

Episode 20, “Say Goodnight, Gracie” (Aired May 6, 2003)

Jess’ dad, Jimmy (Rob Estes), shows up in the diner, and Luke tells him to beat it. Dave begs Mrs. Kim to let him take Lane to the prom (and she shockingly agrees). Dean tells Rory that he and Lindsay are engaged. Fran Weston dies, which is sad, but it also means that the Dragonfly Inn is on the market.

Episode 21, “Here Comes the Son” (Aired May 13, 2003)

Lorelai learns that Rory doesn’t qualify for financial aid because of the $75,000 Lorelai got from Richard. And after a fight with Luke, Jess leaves town without a word and heads to Jimmy’s house in California (because The WB was trying to create a spin-off).

Episode 22, “Those Are Strings, Pinocchio” (Aired May 20, 2003)

Rory and Lorelai prepare for their backpacking trip around Europe while Luke prepares to go on a romantic vacation with Nicole. But he is given pause when Lorelai tells him a trip like that means commitment.

The Independence Inn is closing, and without financial aid, Lorelai can’t swing her half of the money to buy the Dragonfly. So Rory makes a deal for Richard and Emily to pay for Yale if they resume Friday Night Dinners, and Sookie and Lorelai get the inn.

Rory graduates from Chilton as valedictorian and gives a speech that even makes Luke cry. And after receiving multiple silent phone calls from Jess, Rory tells him she’s moving on.

Honorable Mentions and Personal Favorites

Episode 2, “Haunted Leg” (Aired Oct 1, 2002)

Christopher shows up unannounced at Friday Night Dinner, furious that Lorelai has been ignoring his calls and that Rory won’t speak to him, either. But he’s still with Sherry, and Sherry is still pregnant, so nothing has changed.

Episode 9, “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” (Aired Nov 26, 2002)

Rory and Lorelai have to attend four separate Thanksgiving dinners, and Rory tries to figure out how to date Jess in the middle of the town that’s used to seeing her with Dean. Plus, Lane and Dave Rygalski have their first kiss.

Episode 18, “Happy Birthday, Baby” (Aired April 22, 2003)

Richard gives Lorelai a $75,000 check for her birthday from an investment he made in her name on the day shew was born. Lorelai uses (some of) the money to pay her parents back for Rory’s Chilton tuition, thus freeing them from Friday Night Dinners and starting a huge fight with Emily.

Episode 19, “Keg! Max!” (Aired April 29, 2003)

Jess learns that his lackluster attendance has caused him to flunk out of Stars Hollow High, which also means he won’t be able to take Rory to prom. Lane’s band plays their first gig at a house party, but the party is broken up when Dean and Jess get into a huge fight and the police show up.

Plus, a drunk Lane calls her mother and confesses all of her secrets, including the fact that she’s in love with Dave Rygalski, not her fake boyfriend Young Chui. And Max and Lorelai have their final goodbye.

Other Important Tidbits

  • Paris goes on a date with Jamie, and after Lorelai tells her to choose, Rory decides to stay with Dean in “Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days” (season 3, episode 1).
  • Richard and Emily take Lorelai and Rory on a trip to visit Yale—and trick Rory into an interview with the admissions counselor in “Let the Games Begin” (season 3, episode 8).
  • Rory and Dean agree to be friends, and Gran moves back to Connecticut in “That’ll Do, Pig” (season 3, episode 10).
  • Lorelai meets Alex (Billy Burke), and Francie (Emily Bergl) makes Paris believe that Rory is going behind her back about student council business in “I Solemnly Swear…” (season 3, episode 11).
  • Luke meets his new girlfriend (and Taylor’s lawyer), Nicole, in “Lorelai Out of Water” (season 3, episode 12).
  • Rory finds out Dean has a new girlfriend, Lindsay, in “Face-Off” (season 3, episode 15).

What are your season three must-watch episodes? Let me know in the comments. I’m headed to Yale.

All 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls are streaming on Netflix.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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