Gilmore Girls first premiered on network television in the Fall of 2000. It's first season was a smash hit with critics and viewers all over the world. The first season laid the groundwork for all of the story arcs that were to span the following six seasons, and it is important to start from season one of Gilmore Girls to truly understand all of the references and relationships that take place throughout the entire series.
Season one of Gilmore Girls opens with an introduction to the fictional Stars Hollow, Connecticut, where we are introduced to Lorelai Gilmore, played by Lauren Graham, and her fifteen year old daughter Rory. Rory, played by Alexis Bledel has a history of high marks in school which lead to her being accepted at the local prep school, Chilton Prep. Lorelai, a single mother and manager of a local Inn, does not make enough money to be able to foot the tuition to the Chilton, so she must seek out her wealthy parents who she deserted years before to help out with money. This sets the tone for a tense relationship story arc between Lorelai and her parents which lasts throughout the majority of the Gilmore Girls series. Lorelai's parents agree to pay the bill for Rory's tuition, so long as she mends her relationships with them. This idea was mainly the brainchild of Lorelai's mother, who especially wants ties to be mended between herself and young Rory.
We begin to see the bond between Lorelai and Rory as more of a friendly, sisterly type bond as opposed to mother-daughter type bond. Lorelai gave birth to Rory very young, so their ages, relatively speaking, are not too far apart. They discuss mature topics with each other openly, like girlfriends or sisters would. This exposition in season one helps to explain many situations involving their relationship and relationships with others to come. Lorelai and Rory use their sister-like relationship to be able to relate on problems with dating, friends, and responsibility.
Rory has a difficult time fitting in at her new school. She is portrayed as someone who is an outcast to her peers. While she had the grades and her Grandparents' money to make it into Chilton, she did not come from the same elite status as others at Chilton Prep did, due to Lorelai being so estranged from her parents and from her never marrying Rory's biological father. Her counterpart in the series is Paris Geller (played by Liza Weil), a prototypical snob and the editor of the Chilton Prep newspaper. This is a relationship which causes struggle for Rory, especially when she finds herself involved in a love triangle between herself, Paris, and the class delinquent, Tristan (played by Chad Michael Murray).
Eventually, Lorelai begins to start dating Rory's teacher, Max. Max, played by Scott Cohen, nearly loses his position at the school when this relationship is discovered, and it becomes further complicated by the eventual marriage proposal of Max, and the return of Rory's biological father, Christopher (played by David Sutcliffe). Season one of Gilmore Girls ended with Lorelai contemplating marrying Max, which left audiences hanging for more.
At an estimated 3.5 million viewers, it is safe to assume that Season One of Gilmore Girls was a success, especially when considering that it was competing with Friends, an already-established smash hit year in and year out.