‘Gilmore Girls’: 3 Rare Moments When Emily Gilmore Was Kind and Sympathetic

Gilmore Girls fans can all likely agree that Emily Gilmore (played by Kelly Bishop) was not always the nicest character on the show. In fact, most times, Lorelai’s (Lauren Graham) mother was downright mean. In almost every episode of the comedy series, Emily made at least one rude comment to someone. Usually, Lorelai received the verbal abuse, but none of the characters were truly safe from Emily’s blunt attitude and sarcasm.

Emily often came across as a cold and unsympathetic person, but underneath her attitude, she did have some genuinely caring times. Here are some of the rare moments when Emily Gilmore actually showed kindness.

Kelly Bishop at 'Becky Shaw' opening night
Kelly Bishop at ‘Becky Shaw’ opening night | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Kelly Bishop believes that Emily Gilmore ‘adores’ her daughter

Emily may not have shown it all the time, but she really did care for her daughter. At least, that’s what Bishop believed. The actor revealed to Town & Country that she thought Emily very much “adored” Lorelai, but Emily’s stubborn attitude often got in the way of her showing that she really cared.

“She actually adores her daughter, but she just can’t let go of this very stiff cultural life that she had and she expects everyone else to have,” Bishop said.

Throughout the series, Emily reminded Lorelai how much she disapproved of the fact that Lorelai got pregnant at 16 and ran off to start her own life with her daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). Emily very much believed that Lorelai should have married her boyfriend at the time, Christopher (David Sutcliffe), and taken on Emily’s lifestyle. However, Lorelai wanted to maintain her independence. No matter how many times she and Emily disagreed on this matter, though, Emily always had a love for her daughter.

When Lorelai injured her back

It wasn’t often that Gilmore Girls fans got to see Emily’s motherly side. However, in season 1 episode 9, Emily proved that she could channel some sympathy. While putting the finishing touches on Rory’s gown for her school dance, Lorelai fell and injured her back. Later, when Emily arrived at Lorelai’s house to send Rory off to the event, she noticed that Lorelai was in pain. She insisted that she stay with Lorelai while Rory was out in order to nurse her daughter back to health.

“There’s nothing normal about a back spasm,” Emily said to Lorelai after asking her several questions about her injury. Although Emily had an edge to her voice, it was easy to see that she only asked these questions out of concern for Lorelai.

The true caring moment came when Emily wanted to grab Lorelai some food. Lorelai asked her mother for a taco, which Emily offered to heat up for her. When Lorelai said she could eat it cold, Emily looked disappointed. In that moment, it became clear to Lorelai that all Emily wanted to do was take care of her.

When Jess and Rory argued at dinner

Any episode where Emily made a visible effort to not be completely mean is worthy of recognition. In Gilmore Girls season 3 episode 14, Emily invited Rory and her boyfriend, Jess (Milo Ventimiglia), to dinner at the Gilmore house. Despite Lorelai’s worry that Emily would be nasty to Jess, she remained very civil during the brief dinner, even when Jess arrived late and had a sour attitude.

However, there was one thing that Emily would not tolerate: Jess being rude to Rory. When she overheard Jess and Rory arguing in the foyer, Emily sternly suggested that Jess needed to leave. Even after he left the house, Emily still did not take the opportunity to make a snide comment about him. Instead, she simply wrapped her arm around Rory and brought her back to the dining room for dinner.

When Emily bought Luke and Lorelai a house

No matter how terribly she treated her daughter sometimes, it was clear that Emily wanted the best for Lorelai. That’s why, in season 6 episode 21, Emily bought a house for Luke (Scott Patterson) and Lorelai. She even made sure to find a home on the outskirts of Stars Hollow, because she knew how important it was to Lorelai to remain near the town.

As Emily began to explain that the home would be perfect for children, a stable with horses, a fishing pond, and more, Lorelai broke down. She revealed to her mother that her relationship with Luke had become rocky and their future together seemed unlikely.

“Luke and I, the wedding, it’s not gonna happen,” Lorelai said.

Fans might have expected Emily to make a snide remark about Lorelai not being able to keep a man. Instead, Emily approached her crying daughter and simply placed a hand on her shoulder. The gesture may have seemed small, but it was a very big moment for Emily and Lorelai’s relationship.