Renewal’s biggest missed opportunity
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premiered on Netflix in 2016. While fans of the original series clamored for a reboot for years before it was announced, not everyone liked the final product. The reasons for fans’ lackluster feelings about the reboot are varied. Some hate what Rory Gilmore had become; others argue that the four-part special felt disjointed. Not everyone agrees on what went wrong. They mostly agree that the Netflix reboot missed a golden opportunity. The revival did not use Melissa McCarthy, the actor who spent seven seasons playing Sookie St. James.
Sookie St. James only appeared briefly on ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’
Melissa McCarthy played a major role in Gilmore Girls. McCarthy portrayed Sookie St. James, Lorelai Gilmore’s best friend, colleague, and later business partner. The character appeared in 153 of the series’ 154 episodes and provided plenty of levity and intensity. For some people Gilmore Girls fans, McCarthy’s character was their absolute favorite.
When Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was announced, fans widely assumed that Sookie would be where they last left her, hanging out in Stars Hollow, cooking in the kitchen of The Dragonfly Inn. This does not happen; she was absent from almost all of the four-part revival. Sookie’s absence was explained as a sabbatical from the inn and her career as a chef. McCarthy ended up reprising the role, but only for one largely insignificant scene.
Melissa McCarthy explained why Amy Sherman-Palladino didn’t include her character
McCarthy only appeared in one scene of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, but it wasn’t because she didn’t want to be part of the revival. McCarthy sat down with E ! New in 2016 to discuss his work and the reboot. She said she wasn’t asked to join the cast, but she was sure the production team assumed she was too busy to be involved. McCarthy didn’t harbor ill will, however. She said she was proud of her work on the show and excited to see the revival.
Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls, reiterated that there was no lack of love for McCarthy or the celebrity chef she played. Sherman Palladino said Weekly entertainment that when she presented the revival, there was no story for Sookie because she was sure McCarthy would not be available for two months of filming. McCarthy’s camp confirmed this, according to Sherman-Palladino.
Everything that happened in 2016 seems to have been resolved. McCarthy and Lauren Graham, the actor who played Lorelai Gilmore, took a selfie together in 2020. McCarthy also recently appeared in God’s Favorite Idiotalongside his former co-star, Yanic Truesdale. God’s Favorite Idiot is a Netflix Original.
Would adding Sookie have improved Netflix’s revival?
Gilmore Girls fans have mixed feelings about the revival. Parts of it, like the odd musical mixed in with the eight-hour special, felt weird and ill-fitting. Other storylines lacked the depth and nuance that fans have come to expect from the beloved series. For the most part, however, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong.
Looking back on it, it seems very clear that the show felt a bit off because it lacked key cast members from the show. Some absences were unavoidable. Ed Herrmann, who played Richard Gilmore, died before the revival was announced. Other absences didn’t need to happen. The fact that Sookie didn’t get a juicy storyline feels like an entirely missed opportunity. After all, her Season 7 storyline, including a surprise pregnancy because Jackson Belleville lied about having a vasectomy, seems to need some further clarification. Maybe in a second season revival, if that ever happens.
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