11 things nobody wants to admit about Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls - Netflix
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Gilmore Girls

5. Season 4 is an exemplary high school to college transition

Plenty of teen-centered series have made the jump from high school to college, and some have been more successful than others. While Beverly Hills, 90210 and Dawson’s Creek kept the drama coming a mile a minute with new locations in higher education, others like Gossip Girl and Glee struggled a bit to maintain the magic of the high school years.

Some shows, such as One Tree Hill and Riverdale, opt to skip college altogether and jump ahead in time, again to varying degrees of success. But Gilmore Girls followed Rory to Yale right after her graduation from Chilton and showed all the others how its done. Admittedly, it probably helps that the show isn’t a total teen drama that’s dependent on Rory’s stories to keep it afloat.

Whenever a series with an established setting welcomes change, it can spell disaster. But Rory’s transition to Yale was seamless, a natural progression for both the character and the show. She was still coming of age, though the new setting, circumstances, and characters allowed for more maturity for Rory, as well as for Lorelai, who grappled with being without Rory at home for the first time.

Rory experiences dorm life, living with two quirky strangers and her high school best frenemy Paris, and comes into her own in an atmosphere she had been looking forward to her entire life. Studying journalism and working on the school newspaper allow for hilarious interactions with new characters like the wonderfully high strung Doyle. Also, she tries her hand at dating boys who aren’t Dean or Jess (justice for season 4 Marty!)… but we know how season 4 ends.

Lane, too, embarks on the next chapter of her life post-high school with her band, and somehow it all just works. Nothing’s lacking, nothing’s too distractingly different. The first three seasons are magical, perhaps the objectively strongest of the series, and likely still the preferred favorites of diehard fans. But season 4 was as close to a perfect high school to college transition as we will ever get from a television show and a series-best collection of episodes.