Where “Gilmore Girls” leads, actor Scott Patterson follows episode by episode on his rewatch podcast, bringing you into the mind of the person who played Stars Hollow’s most heavily flanneled resident.
But revisiting even the most beloved early-aughts show is an unavoidably cringe journey, which Patterson, who starred in the WB series as diner owner Luke Danes, confronted while watching a scene in the Season 3 episode titled “Keg! Max.”
The actor said he was “shocked” by an exchange between Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Sookie (Melissa McCarthy), in which they admire his butt after the latter accidentally rests her hand on his backside. And, in typical Gilmore fashion, Lorelai fully commits to the bit, proceeding to mention her future husband’s behind multiple times throughout the scene.
“That was disturbing. I realized it wasn’t OK, and it didn’t make me feel comfortable at all. It made me feel really embarrassed, actually,” Patterson said on a recent episode of his “I Am All In” podcast. “It is infuriating to be treated that way — it is infuriating — because you’re being treated like an object. It’s disturbing, and it’s disgusting. And I had to endure that through that entire scene and many takes.”
“It was all about the butt, the butt, the butt, the butt. When we weren’t filming, we were sitting down — people were still talking about the butt, the butt, the butt,” he continued. “It was the most disturbing time I have ever spent on that set, and I couldn’t wait for that day to be over.”
Patterson said the experience left him with a “level of shame” because he never shared his feelings with creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. He went on to describe the behind-the-scenes environment on the series as particularly “rigid,” with actors not allowed to “diverge from the script, ever.”
“Just because it was 2003 didn’t mean it was OK,” he said. “It’s never OK. And I didn’t feel comfortable doing it and it pissed me off. I never said anything, so I was angry at myself for never saying anything. But, you know, I had this job and I didn’t want to make waves and all that.”
“It’s as disgusting for women to objectify men as it for men to objectify women and it’s as harmful,” Patterson added.
While Patterson reiterated that the series, which received a four-episode revival on Netflix in 2016, was a “great job and means the world to me,” the scene in question left him feeling “incredibly small” and like “some kind of meat stick.”
He also feared that the portrayal might have implications for his career and the kind of roles he would be offered. “What are Academy members gonna say when they see this scene?” he said he wondered.
“I mean, really, what am I involved in here? It really questioned why I was doing the show at the time,” he added. “Somebody had to pay the price for that. And I’m still paying the price for it. ”
Sherman-Palladino has yet to respond to Patterson’s comments.
The creator has, however, teased a possible follow-up to the revival in the years since, should scheduling issues and her current series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” allow it one day.
“I really do believe that if the time is right and the girls are where they need to be in their lives,” it could happen,” Sherman-Palladino said in 2020, per TVLine. “They all have things … But if that [kismet] moment presents itself again [we’d do it] in a hot second.”