25 Inimitable Men 21/25
Luke Danes (Gilmore Girls)
I’m a firm believe that every good coffee shop needs a grumpy, plaid wearing, huge hearted owner. Who’s in agreement? Luke Danes was often the voice of reason in everything, and the most honest resident in Stars Hollow — making it so that any person who stepped into Luke’s felt like they were at home in spite of the fact that he didn’t agree with the way they lived their lives. And that’s easily what’s made Luke stands out — his nature to forgive and open up no matter what went on. His ability to love and be proud of people even if he didn’t have the most traditional way of showing it. Ultimately, if seven seasons taught us anything it’s that behind the grumpy diner owner is actually an openly giving man with a huge heart and outstanding wit.
Luke Danes’ mood is all of ours — just not having any of the nonsense people attempt to spew but in spite of not agreeing, going along with it just because, what can you do? The thing about Luke is the fact that although almost everything made him roll his eyes, he wasn’t mean about it and that speaks ridiculously highly of his character. It allows us to see that his bluntness isn’t out of spite but rather the desire to just live a simpler life than the one Stars Hollow residents preferred. And let’s be perfectly clear for a moment here, we’d all be grumpy if people kept trying to test our patience. It’s always been interesting that even when he’s at his angriest, Luke’s never the bad guy — it doesn’t come from a place of malice or unfair hatred, but rather the person in front of him has messed up and 90% of the time, he’s protecting someone else. (That someone else is probably Rory who isn’t actually his daughter but is definitely his daughter.) Point being, even when he screws up, even when he takes it far, he learns from the mistakes and rises above. Luke’s desire for simplicity, especially the choice to ban cell phones from his diner deserves some kind of an award. I don’t know what that award is or what it should be titled, but he needs it because enforcing that kind of detachment even temporarily is how it should be.
What’s easily stood out about Luke is the fact that even where he hasn’t agreed, he’s always extended his hand showcasing the importance of being a team player. And sure he’s had his moments of ridiculous childlike pettiness, but at the end of the day, he’s delivered what he’s promised and he’s shown up wherever he’s needed to be. He’s been the very anchor in Lorelai’s life when things fell apart giving her everything he knew she wanted not because she asked, but because he knew she deserved it. When it came to the town and what they needed, although reluctant, Luke’s always showed up. And my absolute most favorite moment? The goodbye party he put together in the rain for Rory — Luke’s admiration towards her — the absolute joy in her successes is the very revelation of the fact that his heart is always open to love in spite of his personal beliefs on “societal norms”. It doesn’t matter how much he and Christopher disliked one another, he’d do anything he could for Rory because he appreciated everything that she stood for. His anger towards Dean was fueled by the tremendous fear that he’d break and ridicule Rory too much. If you asked him, no one was worthy of her, not even Jess — his own nephew. He loved her just as a father should, and if that doesn’t showcase the vast capacity of love in his heart, then I don’t know what will.
Luke didn’t have to agree with everything that went on in Stars Hollow and celebratory manners for certain occasions, but because he knew that his assistance would benefit people, he always came through with offerings. Finally, only a man as incredibly sarcastic and witty could be deserving of Lorelai Gilmore. Someone had to be her equal, right? Someone had to be able to challenge her point of view and perspectives in ways that’d make her laugh and simultaneously help her grow. Someone had to be able to keep up with her perfectly fast paced talking. And because he loved her so fervently, he loved the town, too — he did things because of his love for her.
And Luke’s wisdom transcended every other person’s in Stars Hollow masterfully. He is the kind of special breed that every town needs in order to remain anchored. He is the kind of person to bluntly remind people of what they may be forgetting in the hasty moment of harvest festival planning or the ridiculous bitterness because something somewhere is going wrong and every little thing is presumably everyone’s problem. Those town meetings, man. I’d be exhausted, too. But interestingly, Luke also made it clear that sheer, perpetual happiness is impossible. No person in the world will ever have it together, and sometimes, bad days are inevitable. Sometimes you wake up to a world that isn’t sunshine and rainbows but instead exhaustion and stress, but in spite of all those things, the show must go on. And Luke’s choice to get up every day in order to open the diner showcased a remarkable form of bravery that allows viewers to understand that in everything, human beings are capable of persevering.
Luke Danes is one of the good ones — the purely selfless souls whose sole happiness is the happiness of the ones he cares for. When you think about it, Luke rarely asked for anything — he only ever wanted Rory to have the best education, Jess to grow up and rise to his potential, and for Lorelai to be at her absolute happiest every moment of the day. The people he loves, they’re his world. Luke didn’t sugarcoat anything because he knew that life in a sense could lead to disappointment, but he also didn’t shut the world or his heart off to the potential of happiness, and as a result, he received the best kind in the end. Where his beliefs were concerned, they never wavered, but that never meant that he wasn’t open to learning or growing and with great wisdom and unceasing love to give, there’s nothing Luke couldn’t do. Plus if a man’s cup of coffee is that great, is any further explanation needed? This entire post could’ve been avoided and his greatness could’ve been summed with “makes the best cup of coffee — the end.” A hearty round of applause for Scott Patterson whose means of bringing the character to life were outstanding through and through.