Where you lead, we will follow, Luke and Lorelai, because we hardcore ship your relaysh. On the anniversary of the final "Gilmore Girls" episode on May 15, 2007, The Huffington Post took a look back at one of the early '00s most tantalizing on-screen romances.
True will-they won't-they believers known the most exciting TV romance moments are often in the slow build-up before a couple gets together, or the quiet, tender exchanges that remind viewers why the characters fit together so well.
So while we're huge fans of the big, iconic scenes in Luke and Lorelai's relationship -- the dance at Liz's wedding, the kiss at the Dragonfly Inn, the spontaneous diner proposal -- we wanted to commemorate some of the more underrated exchanges from their long, tumultuous, amazing, anxiety-provoking, very romantic affair.
Read on for our picks of the 10 best Luke-Lorelai moments that we cannot let fade into obscurity.
1. Lorelai helps Luke paint the diner: Season 1, Episode 14, "That Damn Donna Reed"
"Gilmore Girls" devotees often remember "Forgiveness and Stuff -- a.k.a the Santa Burger episode -- as the defining Luke-Lorelai hour in "Gilmore Girls" Season 1. Luke brings Lorelai to the hospital after her Dad has a heart attack, wherein Emily tells Luke, after he says he and her daughter are just friends: "You're idiots. The both of you." (Yeah.) But this other Season 1 installment, "That Damn Donna Reed," could basically be renamed OMG THERES AN EXTREME CONNECTION BETWEEN LUKE AND LORELAI AND EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT. After a season full of building tension, both Sookie and Emily comment on the blatant chemistry between Luke and Lorelai in this episode, naming twice in one hour what is so many times only hinted at. The Lorelai-Luke mentions would be fodder enough for all the shippers crying their way through their exchanges, but the show throws even more scraps to the hungry dogs with a scene in which Lorelai visits Luke's diner after hours. She shows him some paint color options, he opens up to her about his Dad, and the two end up crouched behind the counter looking at a spot on the wall where Luke's dad once wrote a hardware order. The two have an intense stare-into-each-others'-eyes moment that gets interrupted by Taylor and his town members posse banging on the door. When they leave, Luke remains crouched very close behind Lorelai, seemingly trying to keep the heat of their stare moment alive. Then she says "I should go."
Everyone watching is like "WHY!?!?!?" and at the end of the episode, Christopher rolls into town on his motorcycle. Basically a metaphor for Luke and Lorelai's entire future relationship.
2. Rachel leaves Luke because he loves Lorelai: Season 1, Episode 21, "Love, Daisies and Troubadours"
Luke’s girlfriends all eventually pick up on the fact that Lorelai is his true love. In this Season 1 episode, Rachel leaves Luke because she can tell he and Lorelai aren’t “just friends,” as he claims. (It's his, like, favorite line.) Lorelei’s boyfriend at the time, Max, also picks up on a vibe between her and Luke when he sees them together later, but she too says it’s nothing. The denial on both Luke and Lorelai’s parts — in this episode and at many points throughout the series -- is truly masterful.
3. Lorelai has Luke "forever": Season 2, Episode 9, "Run Away, Little Boy"
Years before marriage was on the table for Luke and Lorelai, the two solidified their forever-importance to each other in a little exchange in Season 2. After her breakup with Max, Lorelai goes on a casual date with a business school classmate, who Stars Hollow revels to discover is quite a few years her junior. Luke's prods about her young date err more on the side of mean than funny, and the very-much-in-denial Lorelai wonders about his 'tude problems to Sookie. Sookie, who has been a Luke-Lorelai proponent from the early days, spells it out for Lorelai: Luke is into her, he watches her date literally everyone but him and it sucks. Lorelai isn't necessarily buying it, but when she goes back to the diner, she makes sure Luke knows what he means to her:
LORELAI: I don't have very many people in my life who are in my life permanently forever. They will always be there for me. I will always be there for them, you know? There's Rory, and Sookie, and this town and ... you. I mean, at least I think I've got --"
LUKE: You do.
LORELAI: Good. Just checking
The glossy eye contact going on between these two is, once again, too insane.
4. Lorelai and Luke talk about meeting "the right person": Season 3, Episode 7, "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?"
The “Gilmore Girls” dance marathon episode is a huge turning point in the Dean-Jess-Rory love triangle. Dean publicly breaks up with Rory, instigating a series of events that leads to her new Bad Boy (and Good Chemistry) relationship. With all the younger generation drama going on -- poor Shane, really -- viewers may not recall the heart string-pulling moment that happens between Luke and Lorelai as he fixes her shoe on the bleachers. Kids are the topic of the evening after Jackson tells Sookie he wants “four in four,” and Luke clarifies here to Lorelai that he isn’t as anti-children as he may have seemed earlier. Luke and Lorelai both admit they’d consider having kids if they met the right person. Then they kind of glance at each other and it’s just like … hello, you guys are each others’ persons.
5. Lorelai tells Luke about her pregnancy dream: Season 3, Episode 17, " A Tale of Poes and Fire"
The dream Lorelai has in the Season 3 opener is an important part of the "Gilmore Girls" cannon -- in it, she's married to Luke and pregnant with his twins, long before the two every actually even kiss in real life. (Also, Rory's analysis is that it means Lorelai's secretly in love with Luke. Which, on point.) But less appreciated is the episode later in the season when Lorelai tells Luke about the dream. When The Independence Inn burns down, Lorelai lends her house to displaced guests and crashes for the night at Luke's. He does not tell his girlfriend Nicole this when she calls, because Lorelai has become a sore point in their relationship. Luke and Lorelai aren't looking at each other as she tells him the details of the dream, but when she mentions that they were married, they both grin from their separate spots. Lorelai stops herself as she's about to tell him about the kiss -- but we can guess his smile at that revelation would have been PRETTY GIGANTIC.
6. Lorelai doesn't want Luke to move: Season 4, Episode 11, "In the Clamor and the Clangor"
The church bells in Stars Hollow are once again functioning, and Lorelai discovers Luke moved in with his girlfriend Nicole three weeks ago and never told her. When the bells begin to be a true scourge on the innocent town peoples' ears, Luke and Lorelai sneak into the church to break them. On the way, Lorelai goes up with Luke to his old apartment to grab his toolbox, and can tell from the lived-in space that he isn't spending too much time at his supposedly new place. At the church, she confronts him about it, leading him to ask why she cares whether or not he moved:
LUKE: How much adjusting did you have to do? Nothing's changed! I still see you everyday, I still cook your food, I still serve your coffee. What do you care?
LORELAI: I care.
LORELAI: Because I don't want you to move.
LUKE: Why? Why don't you want me to move?
At this point, the Reverend walks in, effectively ending their conversation. We never get to hear exactly how Lorelai would spin the fact that she wants Luke to just be around the corner. But the moment is powerful.
7. Luke comforts Lorelai during her breakdown: Season 4, Episode 14, "The Incredible Shrinking Lorelais"
Luke and Lorelai's diner banter is, obviously, a true life force of the show. But their meatier emotional moments -- especially in the period before they get together -- are an equally vital indicator of their potential as a couple. In this episode, Lorelai is flailing as preparations for the Dragonfly Inn begin to spiral. She breaks down to Luke, crying into his chest that she is failing. He tells her she's not failing, and is generally a solid shoulder to cry on. It's a great reminder that even though Luke can be a real grump machine, he can actually handle emotional situations and be there for Lorelai when she needs support.
8. Luke comes running after Lorelai's voicemail: Season 5, Episode 14, "Say Something"
After Luke breaks up with Lorelai in Season 5, she leaves him a devastated voicemail asking him to come over. Realizing mid-way through that she's crossing a line, she hangs up and runs to Luke's place to steal the answering machine tape before he hears it. When she gets back home, she finds Luke frantically scanning the place for her. He'd heard the voicemail before she nabbed it and rushed over. Even when they were broken up, Luke's heart always beats for his OTP Lorelai G.
9. Luke is patient with Lorelai about setting a wedding date: Season 6, Episode 3, "The UnGraduate"
Luke and Lorelai are engaged, but there is still no wedding date on the calendar. Sookie pushes Lorelai to set a date, thinking the lack of plans stem from a fear of commitment. But in a vulnerable moment later with Luke, Lorelai reveals her true hesitation about setting the date is because she wants to wait until she makes up from her fight with Rory. Luke totally gets it because he totally gets Lorelai, and jumps right on board like the super supportive romantic partner of everyone's dreams. Cool!
10. Luke steps in during Lorelai crisis: Season 6, Episode 8, "Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out"
Another example of Luke totally getting Lorelai, and Lauren Graham totally getting HOW TO ROCK AT ACTING. During Lorelai and Rory's infamous, horrible not-speaking-to-each-other time, Lorelai's dog Paul Anka gets sick. Luke finds Lorelai in the rocking chair in Rory's room near where Paul Anka is lying, where she's been all night. She's teary-eyed, and as she talks about her worry about Paul Anka, it's clear she's actually talking about what's going on with Rory:
LORELAI: I did this wrong. I did this all wrong. How could I have let this happen? How did I not see it coming? How didn't I step in and do something, and why can't I fix these things? ... I'm a bad mother!
Luke reassures her she's not a bad mother, and calls Sookie to let her know Lorelai will be late to work so she can get some sleep. It's a totally heartbreaking "Gilmore Girls" moment -- talk about SOBS -- and another perfect example of successful emotional support.
Happy anniversary "Gilmore Girls." Luke and Lorelai forever!!!