At its core, Gilmore Girls has always been a series about the relationship and love between a mother and daughter, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Over the course of seven seasons on The WB and The CW, as well as a mini-series revival on Netflix, Gilmore Girls explored the ups and downs of this relationship as it grew and changed over time, and as Rory developed into an adult and made her own share of mistakes that Lorelai never wanted her to make.
Yet as much as the series focused on this central relationship, it also often veered off into different directions, especially when the romance department was concerned. As a teenager and eventual young adult, Rory had her fair share of romantic relationships – most of which are, in retrospect, fairly troubling if not outright insulting. The gender politics of the series was never at its best when it came to Rory’s formative relationships, which is a shame, considering how strong it could be in other areas.
When it came to Lorelai’s relationships, however, the series had a much better grasp on the world of gender dynamics – but still managed to fall down on the job time and again. There’s no possible way to make her relationship with her ex, Christopher, into anything remotely palatable.
However, as it turns out, Lorelai’s central romance with diner owner Luke had its fair share of faults, too.
With that said, here are the 20 Things That Make No Sense About Luke And Lorelai's Relationship.
20 Their entire season seven storyline
Gilmore Girls’ seventh season is widely considered to be the series’ weakest for many reasons. It was the first – and only – season to air on The CW following the merger of The WB and UPN. Making matters worse, however, was the departure of series creators and writers Amy Sherman Palladino and Daniel Palladino. Without their signature brand of wit behind the wheel, the series quickly lost its footing – and, in the process, the relationship between Lorelai and Luke took a real turn for the unfathomable.
Following the essential explosion of their relationship at the end of the sixth season, Lorelai goes on to engage in a relationship with Christopher, while Luke keeps his distance, brooding and stewing from afar. It takes almost half of the entire season for the two to even talk to one another again after the initial tension subsides, which is just… not Gilmore Girls.
19 Everything that happened in A Vineyard Valentine
Every series has an episode or two where you really just have to sit and wonder, “wow, someone wrote this, and thought it was a good idea?” For Gilmore Girls, there’s no other way of approaching the overall awful sixth season episode “A Vineyard Valentine”. The episode finds the series’ two current couples – Luke and Lorelai, and Rory and her privileged college boyfriend, Logan – going away for a Valentine holiday on Martha’s Vineyard.
The episode seems only to exist in order to portray Luke and Lorelai in unflattering lights, together and apart, and to prop up the relationship between Rory and Logan with no real grounds as to why. No one’s behavior in the episode makes sense, and in a series full of otherwise consistent characterization, it’s an episode best left unseen.
18 Lorelai was never really that bothered by Luke fighting her ex
As much as Gilmore Girls presented itself as a show about women, and for women, the series really struggled with a serious masculinity problem when it came to men overexerting their stake in relationships. Macho displays of violence and possessive behaviors happened on a far too frequent basis whenever anything remotely resembling a love triangle threatened to appear. Luke Danes was particularly guilty of having undue feelings of jealousy, even long before he was in a relationship with Lorelai.
But it was his behavior with Lorelai’s ex, and Rory’s biological father, Christopher, that raises the most eyebrows. Christopher was hardly a saint, and never a character worth rooting for at that, but the number of times that Luke and Christopher got into physical altercations is truly alarming – especially considering Lorelai never really seems all that bothered by it, or the pattern it suggests.
17 Lorelai expected Luke to side with her over his family, even before they were together
The second season of the series finds Luke’s troublesome nephew, Jess Mariano, abruptly arriving in Stars Hollow to stay with his uncle. Jess causes nothing but conflict between Luke and Lorelai for his entire stay in the sleepy little town, culminating in the episode “Teach Me Tonight”. After Jess and Rory get in an accident while driving around town, Rory winds up with a fractured wrist, and Lorelai places all the blame on Jess.
Beyond that, however, Lorelai expects Luke to immediately side with her and Rory, rather than his own nephew. She oversteps and tries to tell him what to do with Jess, the teenager he’s been raising on his own for the past year, and the two wind up getting into an extremely intense fight that jeopardizes their own friendship.
16 Luke keeps Lorelai's horoscope in his wallet for 8 years and nothing ever happens to it
It took four long seasons for Luke and Lorelai to finally get their acts together and admit their feelings to one another. So when the fifth season finally allowed the two to go on a real, proper, traditional date, it was a moment fans had waited more than long enough for. The date was about as sweet as it could get, with Luke at the most romantic that he had ever been in the series.
Yet within all the schmaltz and cuteness that the night allowed for, something truly puzzling occurs. During his romantic speech to Lorelai about the moment they met, Luke produces from his wallet the newspaper clipping horoscope Lorelai had given him over eight years earlier. Somehow, we’re to believe that Luke kept this small scrap of paper in his wallet for all that time, and nothing happened to it? It didn’t disintegrate, or fade, or get messed up in any way? We don’t think so.
15 Luke often oversteps and tries to parent Rory on his own
It’s an inevitability, given how long Luke and Lorelai have been friends and how close they have grown over time, that Luke would feel a real sense of attachment to and protectiveness over Rory. It’s something that Lorelai encourages, and that Rory welcomes, especially given how absent her own father has been for much of her life. Yet, for as close as this proto-family unit may have been all this time, the fact still remains that, for much of the series’ run, Luke is in no way yet her father.
However, that doesn’t stop him from overstepping on countless occasions and trying to parent Rory on his own, even when it goes directly against Lorelai’s and Rory’s own wishes. One particularly egregious example can be found following Rory and Dean’s early break up, when Luke decides he suddenly has a vendetta against the poor kid.
14 The total lack of clear communication
Communication is a key part of every relationship succeeding. Unfortunately, since this is a soapy television series we’re talking about here, miscommunication comes as natural to these characters as anything else does in their lives. Luke and Lorelai are both incredibly stubborn, incredibly independent characters who will almost never admit to fault in any circumstances. As a result, they really struggle with the whole communication thing, especially when it has to do with feelings of any importance.
It’s practically impossible to count how many scenes, especially in the series’ sixth season, culminate with one or both of them staring off with a faraway look and myriad unexpressed emotions in their eyes. It’s frustrating for fans, and even more frustrating for the storylines themselves, which would be resolved much more smoothly and with better writing had these characters ever truly developed and grown in any meaningful ways in this area.
13 Luke tries to set his nephew up with Lorelai's daughter - despite their own feelings at the time
Almost as soon as Jess sets foot in Stars Hollow, Luke is going out of his way to try and set the troubled teen up with Rory in whatever way he can, even if it just means that Rory takes Jess under her wing and tries to set him on the straight and narrow however she can. Lorelai, of course, is entirely resistant to this idea, not wanting Rory to get caught up in the appeal of the bad boy the way she once did in her youth with Christopher.
But of course, over time, a spark develops between Jess and Rory – which leads to some real problems for the both of them, and the town as a whole. Yet, all of this goes on while Lorelai and Luke are struggling with their own attraction to and feelings for one another, which makes Luke’s initial intentions somewhat uncomfortable.
12 Lorelai just goes along with postponing the wedding without expressing her feelings
When Luke and Lorelai get engaged at the start of the series’ sixth season, it should be a moment of pure joy for these characters. However, the moment of bliss is nonetheless dampened by the fact that Lorelai can’t share in the celebration with her daughter, Rory. The couple decides not to get married until fences have been mended between mother and daughter.
Eventually, the bond is repaired, and a date is chosen for June 3. As the wedding date approaches, however, it becomes clear that Luke is having some doubts – and as we know, even if Lorelai doesn’t yet, this hesitation stems in large part from the fact that he has just learned he has a daughter. So when Luke eventually requests an additional postponement of the wedding, one would expect some substantial conversation to happen here. Yet nothing ever does, leaving Lorelai to bottle up all of her feelings in an unhealthy manner.
11 He keeps major life events from Lorelai and lashes out when she's hurt at learning them
We’ve already expressed our frustrations regarding the lack of communication between these two thick headed characters. However, what really grinds our gears where Luke’s concerned is not only his total refusal to communicate with Lorelai regarding important, emotional matters, but the way in which he frequently then gets mad at her when she’s hurt by his lack of openness.
When Luke takes his annual dark day and hides away from her, Lorelai is left to fill in all of the blanks on her own – and when she makes a genuinely compassionate gesture to connect with him as a result of it, he lashes out at her. Similarly, after hiding the truth of his secret daughter, April, from Lorelai for almost half a season, Lorelai eventually meets April in a very public, humiliating way – and any attempts at communicating with Luke regarding this matter are guaranteed to result in one fight after another.
10 Luke doesn't let Lorelai have a relationship with his daughter, despite his own relationship with Rory
Speaking of the whole secret daughter storyline, did we mention how utterly hypocritical Luke’s behavior is once Lorelai is in the know about April’s existence? Lorelai attempts to forge a relationship with April, which is understandable, seeing as she and Luke are engaged and she has every right to want to get to know this important part of his life. Yet, as soon as she expresses interest in getting to know the young girl better, Luke shuts her down completely, refusing to allow any communication between the two of them.
This, of course, flies directly in the face of the relationship that Lorelai has allowed Luke to have with Rory all this time – which is especially upsetting, considering how much of a father figure Luke has become for the younger Gilmore girl. Lorelai wasn’t trying to parent April at all, simply just trying to get to know her.
9 He breaks up with her because of her parents' elitism and judgment
Class conflicts are just as key to the overall storyline of Gilmore Girls as coffee itself is. Lorelai rejects the world of wealth she grew up in, forcibly removing herself from her parents’ orbit to instead seek out a world of hard work and the lower to middle classes. Luke Danes is about as blue collar as they come, running a greasy spoon and living in the old fashioned apartment above it.
So when Luke breaks up with Lorelai in incredibly public fashion after a blowout argument at her parents’ vow renewal in the series’ 100th episode, it feels like the series is trying way too hard. Luke already knows that Lorelai came from a world so very far removed from his own, and he already knew that her parents were judgmental, especially concerning their relationship. To have him break up with Lorelai purely because of their involvement in the relationship simply rang hollow after all the two had already been through together.
8 Their complete inability to commit in relationships
Some people just aren’t meant to be in long term committed relationships. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, because relationships really aren’t meant for everyone, especially when their hearts just aren’t in them. Yet the series clearly expects us to believe Luke and Lorelai will be in a relationship for the long haul each time it pairs them together – and yet, time and again, it finds ways to show us that maybe they aren’t suited for forever.
However, really, why should we ever have believed they would be? Luke was never able to commit to his past long term girlfriend, Rachel. Lorelai runs out on her fiancée, Max Medina, and literally leaves the state. She also repeatedly refuses offers of marriage from Christopher. Commitment has never been either of their strong suit. Is it any wonder, then, that they never got married between when the original series ended and the revival took place?
7 Luke married someone else when he was in love with Lorelai
Speaking of shaky commitments in long term relationships, Luke goes off on a cruise with his girlfriend, Nicole, and comes back married. It’s one thing for two characters to get entirely caught up in the moment, especially in a potentially romantic situation like a cruise. However, what makes this relationship completely impossible to support is the fact that, just before they left on their vacation, Luke had a romantic dream about Lorelai begging him not to go on the trip.
It’s clear, therefore, that his heart was never really in his relationship with Nicole – and rather, that it was already firmly with Lorelai, even if he wasn’t at this point. So how are we meant to view Luke, then, when he’s so willingly marrying someone else, all while having feelings for Lorelai?
6 Their total opposite tastes in pop culture
At least in the world of television and film, opposites seem to attract far more often than they repel. It makes for engaging storytelling to see two totally disparate characters fall in love with each other, so it definitely makes sense that this would be the route writers would so often take. However, sometimes, certain differences are just mind boggling, especially when they crop up early in a relationship that viewers would hope to see last for a very long time.
Take, for example, the total difference in Luke’s and Lorelai’s relationship to popular culture. When Lorelai and Luke have their first movie night together, the results couldn’t possibly be worse. First of all, Luke talks through the film the entire time, an absolute no no in the Gilmore house. He then proceeded to fall asleep during one of the signature cheesy bad movies that are so often shown during Gilmore movie nights.
5 He enables her poor eating habits, then belittles her for them
The Gilmore diet is basically a guide to how you should never, ever eat. Neither Rory nor Lorelai seems capable of cooking or eating anything healthy, at least when they’re at home and not at their usual Friday Night Dinners at the Gilmore grandparents’ home. They eat at Luke’s often multiple times a day, or stop for snacks at Doose’s Market or take out from Al’s Pancake World. Their fridges are filled to bursting with leftover junk food at all times – to the point that they often don’t know how old the leftovers are.
And yet even as Luke stands as their primary supplier of junk food, and the both of them represent some of his longest paying customers, Luke repeatedly belittles them for their eating behaviors, especially Lorelai, even telling Rory on a few occasions that she doesn’t have to grow up in her mother’s footsteps.
4 Luke rejects Lorelai's well-intentioned parenting advice as if she isn't qualified
When Jess shows up in Stars Hollow to stay with Luke, Luke is hardly qualified for parenting a wild and unruly teenage boy who’s had a pretty tough life. Luke has never raised anyone at this point, apart from his secondhand parenting of Rory, and Rory is a very different kid than Jess, despite their occasional similarities. Yet even though Lorelai’s parenting experience comes from raising the perfect child in Rory, Lorelai does know what she’s talking about when it comes to dealing with rebellious teenagers.
So when Lorelai begins to offer Luke advice on how to deal with Jess, it comes from both the point of view of an experienced parent, but also the point of view of someone who was once in Jess’s position. And yet, Luke brushes her off time and again, and rather rudely, at that, as if her advice means nothing and she has no qualifications to back up her expertise.
3 Luke talks to Rory behind Lorelai's back during their rift in season six
The fight between Lorelai and Rory that ends the series’ fifth season isn’t so much a fight between mother and daughter themselves, but rather the inevitable, ugly clash and collapse of the series’ two central worlds – the world of wealth in Hartford, and the world of work in Stars Hollow. As mother and daughter spend nearly half of season six not speaking to one another, it is clear that there are sides that are meant to be taken.
Emily sides with Rory and supports her time off from Yale, and Richard initially does, too, although he soon seeks out Lorelai and tries to return to the initial plan of getting her back into school that he had balked on. However, Luke is supposed to be on Lorelai’s side all throughout as her voice of reason – and yet, eventually, he communicates with Rory behind Lorelai’s back, too, showing that he’s capable of sneaking around “behind enemy lines” if push comes to shove.
2 Luke shows his worst sides around Lorelai
It’s one thing to expect your friends to accept you at both your best and your worst, but it’s another thing entirely to choose the same friend, over and over again, to view you at your absolute lowest moments. For Luke, that lucky friend is Lorelai, who gets to be the one who picks him up from jail after he’s arrested for beating up the car of the man his wife, Nicole, is cheating on him with.
She also gets to be the one who finds him, drunk and bleeding and crying, after he went on a small bender following a tiff with Jess, and then decided to try and do some handiwork around the Gilmore house. Neither of these moments are flattering for Luke, but the fact that Lorelai goes along with caring for him so willingly both of these times doesn’t exactly speak particularly highly of her level of willingness to put up with bad behavior either.
1 He lends her $30,000 no questions asked
Keeping track of finances has never been Lorelai Gilmore’s strong suit. Thankfully for her, she usually has the bank of Richard and Emily Gilmore to make a withdrawal from. However, in the fourth season episode “The Incredible Shrinking Lorelais”, she decides to look elsewhere for her current financial needs – by tearfully asking a totally stunned Luke for $30,000 to invest in the current development of the Dragonfly Inn. It’s quite the substantial ask, one that most friends could never ask of one another.
Yet, somehow, Luke totally goes along with it, no questions asked. It’s impressive enough that he, as a small diner owner, has that kind of money to give away. However, the fact that he goes along with Lorelai’s request without requiring virtually any proof of its use or plans or anything in return… That may be the most inconceivable thing of all.
What do you think makes the least sense about Luke and Lorelai's relationship in Gilmore Girls? Let us know in the comments!