Amid negative reviews from critics and fans alike about Netflix’s Gilmore Girls revival, Lauren Graham and the rest of her co-stars are defending the show and addressing why some of the characters came off as “awful” and “selfish” in the new ending.
During a panel discussion hosted by SAG-AFTRA in New York City on Tuesday night (Nov. 29, 2016), Graham was joined by Alexis Bledel, Kelly Bishop and Scott Patterson to discuss the much talked-about series. When moderator Gazelle Emami mentions Paul (Jack Carpenter), the boyfriend that Rory (Bledel) keeps forgetting to break up with over the course of a year, Graham rolled her eyes and explained that it was all in jest.
“I know what you mean, but the show has a sense of humor, and that’s its sense of humor. And I think maybe [the revival] feels a little different,” she said. “Rory’s not in high school anymore, so yes, as grown women, constantly forgetting [about Paul], I just thought it was a funny runner.”
“To me it was more of a metaphor for, ‘This isn’t the right guy,’ and this is how they communicate about it,” she continued. “And does it go 10 steps too far? I don’t know, but it was 90 minutes. We had a lot of time to fill!”
Patterson, who plays Lorelai’s live-in boyfriend Luke, noted, “Paul was a sacrificial lamb, and he knew it! The audience knew it.”
Though Rory’s questionable choices in the romance department — particularly sleeping with an engaged man and having a one night stand with stranger dressed as a Wookiee — raised a lot of eyebrows, Bledel believed it was a refreshing change of pace to see her ambition-driven character struggle with the adult world as a single 30-something.
“I really wanted her to have some great rewards, or enjoyed quite an interesting life from all her hard work. I wanted her to be on top of the world,” Bledel said. “So to learn that we were picking up with her sort of scrambling a bit and trying to find her footing, I don’t know. I think I wanted to imagine that she got there after having some success and a lot of personal triumphs. I just had to imagine that for her.”
“I think I’m always trying to understand where Rory’s coming from in the choices she makes in her romantic life, because she’s so together and so successful in everything she does, really, until these episodes start,” she shared. “But she’s just so hardworking, and I think it’s an interesting part of her character, but one that I’ve always struggled to understand — she always kind of picks people who are very different from one another and who challenge her, fortunately, but who don’t necessarily bring out the best in her.”
In regards to that major news Rory drops in finale, Bledel added, “I think Amy [Sherman-Palladino] just didn’t want her life to be wrapped up with a bow by the end of these stories, at least, because she’s so young.”
Watch the full discussion — below.