Gilmore Girls follows the sweet yet hectic story of Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) Gilmore, a mother-daughter duo living in rural Stars Hollow just trying to navigate life through its blessings and obstacles alike. Having coined expressions like “Oy with the poodles already!” and giving us characters that seem straight out of a Fellini film, audiences everywhere fell in love with the early 2000s dramedy.
While there was certainly a fair share of fun moments on the show, there were also several serious ones. Lorelai and Rory are more carefree than Lorelai’s strict and wealthy parents Richard (Edward Herrmann) and Emily (Kelly Bishop); though that doesn’t mean they didn’t get roped into some constricting sets of rules. If you’re a Gilmore, there’s a price to pay, so here are 10 rules every member of the Gilmore family is practically legally obligated to follow.
10 Keep The Humor And Sarcasm To A Minimum
Really, it’s Lorelai that has to abide by this rule more so than the other Gilmores, particularly in the presence of her parents. Richard and Emily simply don’t understand Lorelai’s sense of humor or her sarcastic comments, so they either become annoyed or ignore their daughter entirely.
Lorelai uses these methods as a coping mechanism through uncomfortable discussions, dinners–you name it, there’s an occasion for it. Even Rory from time to time has to remember the boundaries of the elder Gilmores, though she does laugh at her mother’s antics.
9 Get A Good Education
Since birth, Lorelai encouraged Rory to shoot for the stars and to follow her dreams. That included doing anything and everything they could to get Rory into Harvard University one day, even creating their own shrine to Harvard in the process with mementos and a roadtrip to the campus in Season 2.
Surprisingly, they change their minds and send Rory to Yale University, her grandfather’s alma mater, instead. Richard and Emily are prominent members of their community that highly believe in education and that were proud to see Rory accomplish academics in a way that Lorelai never did, though Lorelai later finished high school and even received a college degree. In any case, education is important to the Gilmores; anything less is a disappointment.
8 Dress To Impress
Dressing appropriately is likely one of the top requirements for the Gilmore clan. Notice how Lorelai and Rory make extra efforts to look nice when they go to the Gilmore residence in Hartford for their weekly dinners? It’s for a reason. Imagine if Lorelai dared to show up in jeans and a sweatshirt, or Rory in pajamas. Emily would blow a gasket! This is more of an unspoken rule than not, considering Emily and Richard are always impeccably dressed, they automatically require the same gesture from their guests. Plus, if you’re Rory, she has to stick to blue, considering it’s Emily’s favorite color on her. Oy with the poodles already.
7 Bring The Significant Others For Approval
Remember the disastrous dinner in which Rory brought a black-eyed Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) for dinner with her grandparents? This is one of the more noteworthy examples. Lorelai and Rory have many a time brought their significant others for dinner, instructing them and giving them a heads-up about the functionalities of the Gilmore household and the mannerisms at the Gilmore dinner table.
Sometimes it’s enough to get by on and sometimes not, but the efforts and resulting fallouts (good or bad) tend to be humorous points of the show. Emily was particularly hard on Jess and Luke (Scott Patterson)–perhaps she has a vendetta against the Danes family? In any case, if you’re dating a Gilmore, it means that Gilmore has to bring you to meet the rest of the family. Some prayers and luck wouldn’t hurt.
6 Agreements Are Binding…Honor Them
The very first instance of this strict rule is evident in the series’ “Pilot” in which Lorelai reluctantly heads to her parents’ house to ask for a loan to pay for Rory’s education at the elite Chilton. Just when she thinks she’s managed to secure the money without any strings attached, Emily places a hitch on the agreement–Lorelai and Rory must attend Friday night dinners weekly in exchange. This was indeed a binding agreement that Lorelai and Rory did honor, and Lorelai returned her own binding agreement that she promised herself–she paid Richard and Emily back in full following the end of Rory’s high school career. If nothing else, the Gilmores have this rule down pat.
5 No Going Behind Each Other’s Backs
The Gilmore clan has had their fair share of family drama. It’s obvious Emily and Richard (Emily more so) never quite got over the fact that Lorelai took Rory and ran away to Stars Hollow to make a life of her own. The Gilmore family is already fragile as it is, so they can’t afford any backstabbing betrayals.
One of the most significant examples of this is when Richard and Emily initially support Lorelai’s insistence that Rory return to Yale, but then they turn around and support Rory, taking her in, leading to a fallout between Lorelai and her daughter, plus her parents. This doesn’t end well for any family, and it’s a difficult road to come back from; it just so happens to be complicated on a whole other level when you’re a Gilmore.
4 No Secrets
One way or another, secrets come out. The fallout from a lie tends to be worse than if someone had just told the truth to begin with. Not only that, but not saying anything about something important is also devastating. Take for instance when Lorelai and Luke got engaged, and Rory wasn’t told. Granted she and her mother weren’t speaking at the time, but still, you would think her mother would let her in on this life-changing news despite all. Luke is at least sympathetic (after he ends up being the one to tell Rory), but this was still a wound that haunted Rory for some time. This rule is especially important between Rory and Lorelai, who have always told each other everything. No. Secrets. Period.
3 Don’t Be Late For Dinner
Dinner is always at 7pm. No one messes with it. In one episode when dinner wasn’t served at precisely 7 on the dot, even Lorelai was a little shaken up at the change in routine. If you’re late, you’d better have a good excuse–nothing less than bleeding to death or a multi-car pile-up on the drive over.
Knowing the appetites of Lorelai and Rory especially, you certainly don’t want to put off any meals or else face the wrath of two Gilmore girls that give the cranky and hungry actors in the Snickers commercial a run for their money.
2 Never Miss A Dinner
This goes hand-in-hand with avoiding tardiness to dinner. As part of Emily’s rather cruel agreement with her daughter, Emily requests that her daughter and granddaughter attend Friday night dinners every week for the foreseeable future. This in turn forces Lorelai and Rory to give up their Friday nights and sit through painful dinners that usually end in some sort of misconduct or disaster–it varies upon the circumstances. In any case, you better have a good excuse for missing dinner (something that Lorelai and Rory rarely ever do since it’s hard to get out of any kind of binding agreement with Emily Gilmore).
1 Clean Up Your Messes
Despite the family dysfunction, the Gilmores realize something at the end of the day: family is the most important thing. Lorelai had a fractured, broken relationship with her parents for years until the forced dinners became a part of her life, which somewhat put her back in touch with them and provided Rory the chance to know her grandparents for the first time. It turns out they all needed each other in the end, and no matter how badly-off things may seem, reunions and repairs are still possible. Whether it was between Lorelai and her parents, or Rory and Lorelai themselves, things came together in the end.
Gilmore Girls has always followed certain themes of love, life, family and friendship and all that comes with it. The Gilmores like any family have their sets of both spoken and unspoken rules that are expected to be followed. While family members may not always get these right the first time, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. It just means everyone is human, and that no one is perfect.
NEXT: Gilmore Girls: 10 Rory And Lorelai Memes That Are Too Hilarious For Words