Back in 2000, we were introduced to Stars Hollow, a small, charming and eccentric nook of Connecticut. . But most importantly, we were given our first introductions to Lorelai (played by Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel). Gilmore Girls had landed and for the next seven years would grace our screens and share the story of 30-something town inn manager Lorelai and her academically gifted daughter Rory as they navigated life, love, coffee and everything in between.
While on the surface the show was as wholesome and heart-warming as they come, it too has had its share of trouble which has only just come to light.
Scott Patterson, who played everyone’s favourite grumpy diner owner and handyman Luke Danes, has recently spoken out about a particular scene in season three, episode 19 ‘Keg! Max!’ which he called “disturbing.”
In the scene, Luke is helping Lorelai and her friend and business partner Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) by repairing a stove for them. While he is working, both Lorelai and Sookie comment on his bum, saying it has a “nice shape to it.” Once done with his job, Luke asks the two women to “stop talking about my butt” and says what they are saying is “in bad taste.”
Talking on his Gilmore Girls themed podcast I Am All In with Scott Patterson on 24 August 2022, the actor recounted how unsettled he felt while filming this scene.
“Oh, you mean, objectifying somebody’s body part? Yeah, that was disturbing. It is infuriating because you’re being treated like an object. It’s disturbing and disgusting and I had to endure that through that entire scene and many takes,” he said. “It was the most disturbing time I have ever spent on that set. I couldn’t wait for that day to be over.”
Patterson went on to explain how the ordeal made him feel like “some kind of meat stick” and ultimately caused him to feel a lot of “shame” about the scene.
“It’s as disgusting for women to objectify men as it is for men to objectify women and it’s as harmful,” he said. He isn’t the only man in the industry who has spoken out about being treated in such a way either. The case of 90s action legend Brendan Fraser, who recently received a 6-minute standing ovation for his performance in the upcoming film The Whale, is one we know all too well.
While at the time the scene was portrayed as funny, and Patterson has said he understands why it was meant to be that way—both Lorelai and Sookie had been built up to be loveable characters in the first two seasons so their comments were never intended to be insidious in any way—he believes it doesn’t excuse it at all.
“Just because it was 2003 didn’t mean it was okay. It’s never okay. 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.”
While Patterson agrees that the comedic timing was done very well, it still made him feel “incredibly small.”
Gilmore Girls ran from October 2000 to May 2007, with a four-part mini series released in 2016 titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which caught up with the mother-daughter duo ten years on from the end of the original series. All seven seasons and the mini-series are available on Netflix.