‘Gilmore Girls’: 3 Times We Couldn’t Stand Luke Danes

Luke Danes (Scott Patterson), a favorite character on Gilmore Girls, had times in the show’s seven-season run when viewers weren’t happy with him. For all the nice things he did — remember when he surprised Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) with a chuppah for her and Max Medina’s wedding? — there were still plenty of moments that had fans, ourselves included, frustrated with Luke. 

Only without his signature plaid shirt and backward baseball cap on very rare occasions, Luke owned an eponymous diner in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Conn., visited by Lorelai and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) at least once a day. Part of a will-they-or-won’t-they scenario with Lorelai for more than half the show’s run, fans rooted for them to admit they had feelings for each other and start dating. As viewers know, that, of course, did happen with a massive build-up to Luke and Lorelai going on their first date.

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It's about time they went on a date!

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But for all of the reasons that made Luke a fan favorite, from his hilarious rants to being a good friend to Kirk Gleason, he still had some missteps. 

When Luke avoided Rachel

In season 1 of Gilmore Girls, Luke’s old flame, Rachel, made a surprise return to Stars Hollow. Known around town as the woman Luke still pined for years after her abrupt departure, Rachel showed up on a whim and wanted to figure out if she and Luke could rekindle their relationship. 

Afraid she’d leave again and not used to having someone else around all the time, Luke avoided talking to Rachel or even seeing her. Despite her making it clear to Luke she wanted to make things work with him in Stars Hollow, he couldn’t believe it. Instead of sharing his fears with her and saying he’d grown very used to living alone, Luke dodged Rachel by taking it upon himself to do odd jobs at Lorelai and Rory’s house.

He avoided Rachel so much that she went to Lorelai for help. Rachel eventually left town but it would’ve been much more grown-up of Luke to simply talk to Rachel about the lingering fears and say that he’d need time to adjust to having a live-in girlfriend. 

When he didn’t follow Rachel’s advice about Lorelai

There were countless times in season 1, 2, and 3 when Luke almost told Lorelai he had feelings for her. But there’s one moment in particular that still bothers us more than a decade — yes, a decade — after Gilmore Girls went off the air. And that is when Luke ignored Rachel’s parting advice to tell Lorelai he was in love with her sooner rather than later.  

Cast of 'Gilmore Girls' standing in the Stars Hollow gazebo
Cast of ‘Gilmore Girls’ | Warner Bros./Delivered by Online USA

When Rachel broke the news to Luke that she was leaving town he told her she hadn’t changed and that she’d always be the “anywhere but here” woman. Rachel insisted that wasn’t the reason for her departure, telling Luke she decided to leave because it was clear to her Luke had feelings for Lorelai. Just as she was leaving the diner Rachel told Luke not to wait too long to tell Lorelai how he felt. 

That was in the finale episode of season 1, according to Fandom. Season 1! Had Luke gotten up the courage to tell Lorelai how he felt it may not have been years before they started dating. But alas, Lorelai had already rekindled her romance with Max when Rachel left, and not long after they got engaged, closing the window of opportunity Luke had to share his feelings. 

When Luke didn’t tell Lorelai he had a daughter

Sensing a theme here? For all his good qualities, at times Luke lacked good communication skills. When he found out he had a daughter, he didn’t tell Lorelai but instead he kept it from her. Lorelai got blindsided when she showed up to the diner and Luke’s daughter, April, unknowingly broke the news to her. This is yet another instance when Luke should’ve been honest with Lorelai.