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The ultimate Gilmore Girls bingewatching guide

Lorelai and Rory Gilmore
Lorelai and Rory Gilmore

Every season of Gilmore Girls arrives on Netflix Wednesday, and the series is more than worth watching in its entirety. But watching all seven seasons, each with 22 episodes at 44 minutes a piece, is no easy adventure to embark on, so we've laid out the perfect episodes to end each session of your binge and break each season into disparate, easily digestible chunks. With this schedule, you can make it through the whole series in 20 sessions. It's a binge that will go quickly enough to increase your conversational speed to Gilmore levels, but not so quickly as to push the rate past that which is comprehensible by the human ear.

If you want to only watch one episode, we've got you covered there, too. But if you need to see the whole series, here are your guidelines:

gilmore girls season one

A scene from season one of Gilmore Girls (WB)

Session 1

Season 1, Ep. 1 through Ep. 5: "Cinnamon's Wake"

Your first breaking point is after "Cinnamon's Wake," where Rory has to choose between attending the funeral of a distant family member or the funeral of the neighborhood cat. By this point in the series, the characters are set up, and "Cinnamon's Wake" is a great place to pause, eagerly anticipating your return to the beautiful world of Stars Hollow.

Session 2

Season, 1 Ep. 6 and Ep. 7: "Kiss and Tell"

This is only a two-episode hop, but take a break after "Kiss and Tell." This is maybe the only point in the series where Rory's love life is sweet, stable, and easy to support. It also gives you the first glimpse of some of the Rory/Lorelai fights the series will dig more deeply into later on. Take this break to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself.

Session 3

Season 1, Ep. 8 through Ep. 17: "The Breakup, Part 2"

After a 10-episode binge, we stop after "The Breakup, Part 2," to try and regain our composure, the way that one character does after the titular event. This episode serves as the catalyst for so many bad romantic decisions in the show.

Gilmore girls season 2

A scene from season two of Gilmore Girls (WB)

Session 4

Season 1, Ep. 18 through Season 2, Ep. 1: "Sadie, Sadie"

Finish out season one, and take your next break after the season two premiere wraps. The first season wraps with a whirlwind of action and departures, so you'll want to leap immediately to the second season's first episode. The reason you'll need a break after this one, though, is Emily's line after she realizes Lorelai is engaged:  "Our daughter is getting married. She is getting married, and she didn't tell us." Devastating.

Session 5

Season 2, Ep. 3 through Ep. 7 "Secrets and Loans"

The break here isn't for emotional recovery. It's because "Secrets and Loans" is one of the worst episodes of the series. It's stressful and overwhelming, and none of its plotlines continue into the rest of the season. Turn away from Netflix for the day, and try to forget about Lorelai's termites.

Session 6

Season 2, Ep. 8 through Ep. 19: "Teach Me Tonight" 

After "Teach Me Tonight," you deserve a break to appreciate the sheer scope of the show's teenage love triangle, which has grown so overwhelmingly emotional in the second half of season two.

gilmore girls season 3 Warner Bros.

A scene from season three of Gilmore Girls (WB)

Session 7

Season 2, Ep. 20 through Season 3, Ep. 7: "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?"

You're in one of the show's best stretches now. Finish out season two, then power through the first third of season three, stopping at one of the best episodes of the series. The episodes between "Teach Me Tonight" and "They Shoot Gilmores" are fraught with college worries, drama with Rory's dad, and bad boy Jess. This episode brings much of that to a head.

Session 8

Season 3, Ep. 8 through Ep. 16: "The Big One"

An episode with all the stress of being a virgin and trying to get into Ivy League schools? It's also one of the best episodes for Rory's chief rival, Paris. Take a break to luxuriate in how satisfying it is.

Session 9

Season 3, Ep. 17 through Ep. 22: "Those Are Strings, Pinocchio"

At the end of season three, pause as the writers intended. Season three is probably the best season of Gilmore Girls, and it deserves a moment of silence before you follow Rory to college. (Try not to hold the season's penultimate episode — intended as the pilot for a spinoff about Jess — against the show.)

gilmore girls season 5

A scene from season four of Gilmore Girls (WB)

Session 10

Season 4, Ep. 1 and Ep. 2: "The Lorelais' First Day at Yale"

This is only a two-episode binge, but Rory and Lorelai leaving each other is hard. You'll need the emotional space.

Session 11

Season 4, Ep. 3 through Ep. 16: "The Reigning Lorelai"

"The Reigning Lorelai" positions grandmother Emily as the true matriarch of the family and wraps up much of season four's lingering family drama.

Session 12

Season 4, Ep. 17 through Ep. 22: "Raincoats and Recipes"

As the show moves toward the close of its fourth season, it becomes as serialized as it ever was, telling a surprisingly complex story about business maneuvering. And this episode ends with a stunner of a cliffhanger. Take a break to experience what everyone who watched it live felt in miniature.

gilmore girls season 5

A scene from season five of Gilmore Girls (WB)

Session 13

Season 5, Ep. 1 through Ep. 7: "You Jump, I Jump, Jack"

Here, we meet preppie Logan (and, yes, he plays Cary on The Good Wife now). He will be Rory's primary love interest for the next two seasons of the series. Mourn the loss of certain other characters if you must, but take a moment to absorb how beautiful everything at Yale is portrayed to be. This is where Rory belongs now.

Session 14

Season 5, Ep. 8 through Ep. 13: "Wedding Bell Blues"

After "Wedding Bell Blues," season five ties up any lingering drama with Emily and Richard. It's also the 100th episode of the series. Celebrate with cake!

Session 15

Season 5, Ep. 14 through Ep. 22: "A House Is Not a Home"

In all honesty, there's a good argument to be made to just stop watching the series after season five, but you're probably devoted by now. There are just two more seasons, and this episode features a nice little cliffhanger. Let's blow through years six and seven.

gilmore girls season 6

Scene from the sixth season of Gilmore Girls (WB)

Session 16

Season 6, Ep. 1 through Ep. 15: "A Vineyard Valentine"

That's right. 15 episodes of Gilmore Girls later, you are halfway through season six and have gotten through all of the silly plots at the beginning of this season. Move right past Rory's incarceration, Rory and Lorelai's big fight, and Luke's big secret. Maybe save this binge for a weekend.

Session 17

Season 6, Ep. 16 through Ep. 18: "The Real Paul Anka"

Say goodbye forever to one of Rory's long-time love interests. Take a big cry break.

season 7 gilmore

A scene from season 7 of Gilmore Girls (CW)

Session 18

Season 6, Ep. 19 through Ep. 7: "French Twist"

Series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino was pushed out of the show after its sixth season, so you may need to just blitz through the end of that season and the first part of this one to get over your shellshock.

Session 19

Season 7, Ep. 8 through Ep. 20: "Lorelai? Lorelai?"

Stop here to give yourself room to breathe. You're probably exhausted by now. But things are wrapping up, and there are only two episodes left until your time in Stars Hollow ends. Even though this episode is one of the slowest in the season, give yourself another session to say goodbye.

Session 20

Season 7, Ep. 21 and Ep. 22: "Bon Voyage"

The story wraps up with some good news for just about everybody. Take your break and then go back and watch seasons one through three on repeat forever.

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