Gilmore Girls Panel: The Cast Reflects on Returning for A Year in the Life

So you’ve already watched all six hours of Netflix’s Gilmore Girls revival, and you’re starting to experience symptoms of withdrawal — like you haven’t had your usual six cups of coffee yet. (Don’t worry: We’re right there with you.)

Luckily, the stars of A Year in the Life — Lauren Graham (Lorelai), Alexis Bledel (Rory), Kelly Bishop (Emily) and Scott Patterson (Luke) — sat down with Vulture’s Gazelle Emami in New York on Tuesday night to ease our withdrawals and look back on the experience of returning to Stars Hollow nearly a decade after the original series ended.

Now since some audience members hadn’t seen all four episodes yet — what’s wrong with these people? — the cast didn’t get into any spoilers, so your burning questions about those last four words will have to wait. But the actors did discuss the experience of slipping back into their old roles, the most emotional scenes to shoot, and the fan backlash to Rory’s treatment of poor Paul. (Who?)

Here, the highlights of Tuesday’s Gilmore Girls panel:

Gilmore Girls A Year in the Life Netflix* Graham said she was filled with conflicting emotions as she prepared to play Lorelai Gilmore again: “It was the same, but totally different. Everywhere we went, people were excited… which put a different pressure on it, too.” But the overriding emotion, she said, was gratitude: “Mostly, it felt like an opportunity to go back to something and just appreciate it.”

* Bledel was frankly taken aback when she saw how messy Rory’s life was as the new episodes picked up: “I really wanted her to have had some great rewards, or to have enjoyed quite an interesting life… I wanted her to be on top of the world, so to learn that we pick up with her scrambling… I just had to imagine that for her.” She later added that creator Amy Sherman-Palladino probably wanted to inject some conflict into Rory’s existence: “I think Amy just didn’t want her life to be wrapped up in a bow.”

* So why were Lorelai and Rory so mean to Rory’s forgettable boyfriend Paul? Graham brushed off any talk of online backlash: “We don’t pay attention to anything. None of us are on the Internet.” She defended the running joke at Paul’s expense: “The whole show has a heightened, theatrical quality. Just like Donald Trump, don’t take it literally. Does it go ten steps too far? I don’t know.” Patterson chimed in to add: “Paul was the sacrificial lamb, and he knew it.”

* Bishop (who, it should be noted, got a rousing round of applause from the crowd) seemed confused by the audience’s affection for Emily Gilmore: “I’ve always been baffled by that. I’ve always enjoyed playing what I call the nasty, rich women. Because I can’t stand them. So I try to make them as awful as possible.” She did find something nice to say about Emily, though: “She is funny… if you don’t have to live with her.”

* When asked about the most emotional scenes to shoot in the revival, Patterson picked the scene in “Fall” when Lorelai returns to Luke after her Wild excursion. “It was so fraught with tension,” he remembered, “and I just started to bawl my eyes out. That was the most impactful scene that Luke’s ever been involved in. It might be the most impactful scene I’ve ever done.” But the waterworks didn’t really work for Sherman-Palladino, who directed the episode. As Patterson remembers, “Amy says, ‘Cut. Scott, that’s really not what we want to do…'”

* The loss of co-star Edward Herrmann (Richard) was deeply felt on the set of A Year in the Life, and Bledel recalled how great he was to work with: “We’d have those long Friday night dinner scenes, and he would share so much. He was such a generous actor.” Bishop added that she believes Herrmann really would’ve enjoyed being a part of this revival: “I thought, ‘He would’ve loved to have done this. He would’ve relished this.'”

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  1. Lauren Graham mentioned that Nov. 5th (Luke and Lorelai’s wedding date) was an important date in the original series, but I can’t place why. Anyone else??

    • FatherOctavian says:

      The same night Lorelai issued her ultimatum to Luke, Logan moved to London and told Rory he’d see her on Guy Fawkes Day (Nomember 5th).

    • Mo says:

      Close, but it actually references this dialogue from Red Light on the Wedding Night:

      FRAN: This is a very crucial decision, young lady. Cake is the glue of the wedding, so you will stand here and eat until you decide.
      LORELAI: Okay, if you insist.
      FRAN: I do. After all, what’s more important then your wedding day?
      LORELAI: Well, it ain’t Guy Fawkes day.

  2. Dannie C says:

    Seriously why are they there if they haven’t seen it!! I feel bad for Lauren,Alexis,Scott & Kelly. Greatful for there anecdotes though.

    • emily says:

      this is exactly what i’m thinking — like if you care enough to see this, you should have made time to watch it. i really wanted to hear what they thought about more spoiler-y things.

  3. SM says:

    The more I think about it, the more disappointed I am. Yes, real people are flawed. No one is perfect, but Rory’s pathetic relationship with Logan was completely out of character. She demanded more from him as a college student, do we really expect her to be so complacent with him now? And Logan?! It’s so completely frustrating and unfair to the fans that AS-P pretended that S7 didn’t happen. Logan matured during S7 and AS-P made Logan regress into a spoiled brat.

    • Cas says:


      I don’t know anyone who was actually halpy with the revival besides TVline staff.

      • Whatevah8 says:

        hello! I loved it. Sure there were “issues” but it was like a warm blanket for me. And Fall w/ Lorelai and Luke was everything. So..I’m waiving over here.

      • Robert says:

        I loved it too, and although I am a few years younger than Rory, I had a similar upbringing, wealthy family, single mother who ran away from it all, only to reconnect later on, etc. And I get it. I get Rory floundering. She followed her passion, and while she is a talented writer, her journalism skills don’t seem to be all that great. She had her whole life set up for her when she began Chilton and began her relationship with her grandparents. She went to Yale, and while she got lost for a bit, she, for the most part fixed herself up. But lets not forget why she got lost in the first pace, she was told by Logan’s dad she didn’t have what it takes. She has never been a person who handles loss or rejection well. So, with her grandfather’s death, her running back to Logan seems entirely plausible. With her journalism career going nowhere, at that moment, she looses herself again. She has never been Lorelei. Lorelei has always been sure that whatever she is doing was for the best, even when she was wrong, she always believed in herself. Rory has never had that kind of confidence and with her career in shambles, her grandfather dead, her sleeping with an engaged guy (which you can tell she knows is wrong, but Logan is her comfort person), she has another break. It is totally in character for her. While I may personally wish she had her life more together, I understand why she does not. Her story line is totally in character for me. I know a lot of people in their late 20s, early 30s, who are going through similar minefields, especially those of us who have grown up somewhat privileged and sheltered.

      • Cindy says:

        Exactly! I actually preferred how season 7 ended over the revival. Now if Rory seemed to have act together, was not having yet another affair with a ‘taken’ man, if they had left that whole play crap out, showed more of a resolution to the whole Luke, Lorelei & April saga, had ended with Rory settled with one of the 3 guys (preferably Jess) – well then I might have been happy with it. As it is I feel like I wasted that time.

    • Mary says:

      I took their relationship differently. Rory was busy concentrating on her career and becoming an established writer and Logan was her safety net. When it didn’t pan out then I think she wanted more but the ground rules were already established. It was out of character how she treated Paul. Anyway, I loved it and wouldn’t mind another one in about 5 to 10 years.

    • While I agree it does seem like AS-P ignored big chunks of character development for Logan I got the impression that Logan still loved her very much. All it would take was Rory saying lets do this for real and I think he would have dropped everything for her. It seemed like he was waiting for her to say that at the tango club. I really liked Logan after Season 7 so this whole idea that Logan = Christopher does not sit well with me.

      • emily says:

        I agree. I feel like the only reason Rory didn’t say anything was because she had messed with his life plans when she turned down his proposal and didn’t want to be responsible for that again, she was just happy to take what she could get. It’s also why I believe she really does love Logan, even more than Jess (and I’m 100% team Jess), and that she will tell Logan about the baby, contrary to what people think.

    • sarah t says:

      I agree. I used to be bummed that AS-P was missing from the end of the series but not anymore. Honestly, I think she would’ve screwed it up even more. I feel like she’s playing out what Rory would’ve done 10 years ago. The problem is, Rory is 32 now. I felt like this was rehashed from her “difficult” years we watched her go through when she hooked up with married Dean, etc. By the end of the series, she had matured and was moving on. I even understood her turning down Logan’s proposal. But now? I get her life not being “perfect” (no one’s is) but I was hoping for a more settled Rory. Definitely not one that was still hooking up with an engaged Logan, having one night stand’s and cheating on her own boyfriend. Very disappointing. I feel like Amy took a character that I loved, related a lot too and grew up with (I’m about the same age as Rory) and basically butchered her. Gone was the thoughtful Rory who wouldn’t want to hurt a boyfriend (even a forgettable one), who wouldn’t want someone else’s sloppy seconds. Instead we got one that clearly had no clue how to operate as an adult. Rory was more of an adult when she was 16 and the show first started than she is now.
      Also, I felt they kind of made Christopher and Logan take backwards steps. Christopher had grown quite a bit by the end of the series. Now, It almost seemed like he and Rory didn’t really have much of a relationship at all. Same with Logan, he grew from a party boy to someone who genuinely cared about Rory. Now, he cares about her but not enough to leave Odette… and now Rory’s pregnant. The more I think about it, the more I’m disappointed with the entire series and almost wished we would’ve gotten nothing at all.

    • lkh says:

      Logan turned into his father.

    • CJ says:

      I loved the show but I was very disappointed that Rory wasn’t more together on some level. I really liked Logan during S5 and S6, and I think he was an important relationship for her – but I don’t think Rory needed a “Christopher”. The Rory I loved in the original series is smarter than that. I think Logan makes Rory stupid. And I still love all of the characters, but if I think too long on it, that is my deep feelings on the subject.

    • jj. says:

      I honestly think that rory’s messy work/personal life is because amy wanted to keep the original she had in mind. However I don’t see how that works now that rory is 10 years older. She has written for the new yorker and slate but she is still going into interviews unprepared? Especially one that she had been looking forward to for weeks and weeks such as conde nast? In an increasingly digital age she just wallows at home waiting for some job to pop up instead of starting a blog or increasing her online presence? ASP has always said that she ignores season 7 which to me seemed most evident through both rory and logans storyline. In the end i’m glad that she didn’t head season 7, it would have been HIMYM levels of disappointment if those last 4 words occurred right after rory graduated

  4. Adi says:

    I echo SM’s statement. I really felt Rory would have had her life more together. I had so looked forward to this revival and was left feeling cheated and unsatisfied.

    • Mary says:

      I don’t know, during the whole series Rory’s life was all planned out. I didn’t find it odd that when she actually grew up and had to face reality that it doesn’t end up that way. Sometimes the journey into adulthood is when one truly discovers who they really are. Maybe at 32 she should of had it more together but unfortunately that doesn’t always happen.

  5. Jill says:

    Maybe Rory’s life will all have been a dream, like the end of Newhart. Or a book she wrote, like the last season of Roseanne.

  6. Lauren says:

    As-P. Always said that she saw Logan as Rory’s Christopher. She never intended for him to mature or want a mature relationship. Just like Christopher he was always meant to be selfish and spoiled and a little bit weak willed when they came to standing up to his family. The way that the show was written Logan was supposed to be her Christopher and Jess is supposed to be her Luke. I don’t agree with it because I hate Jess but it is her prerogative to go back to the character as she originally envisioned it. There have been a lot of backlash from people who liked the seventh season. I think if you enjoyed the seventh season you will not enjoy the revival. I quite frankly loved it and I’ve already watched it twice but I enjoyed the seasons where Amy was in charge of writing more than the ones where she was being edged out.

  7. Luli says:

    There was fan backlash for Paul?!?! Why?!

    • Douglas says:

      Most people took him seriously and got offended by the way he was treated, manly because of [spoilers] Rory “cheating” on him [/spoilers]. I liked him and thought it was a really clever joke though

      • Luli says:

        I kind of found it hilarious… so I just don’t get how they can be any backlash about that!!! What actually bothered me more was the Life and Death Brigade… some things are better left in the past.

  8. Why was Lauren’s emotional retelling of the process she used to accomplish her lengthy monologue in Fall not included? She was so open and vulnerable. I just wanted to hug her.

  9. Amanda says:

    I don’t get the backlash either but I only watched the entire series this past summer and fall and not when it originally aired so I probably saw things different. If you look back especially during season 5 and 6 things that happened in this revival were foreshadowed especially with Rory’s relationships with Logan and Jess. Even Emily and Richard talked about Rory having a child with Logan. If you think in the way this was supposed to be season 7 Rory and Logan would’ve still been a couple when she got pregnant so with the 9 year gap Amy had to figure out a way to get them back together but also make it not permament. I really loved the revival and it warpping up Lorelai and Emily’s stories but Rory’s is just begining and why I’m hoping for more episodes to see her raise the baby, tell Logan about his child, and find her way back to Jess and wrap up the other loose ends for other characters like Paris.

  10. Whatevah8 says:

    Awe…I really hope they do a 90 minute movie a year. I would be down with that!

  11. Taylor says:

    not as disappointed in the Paul treatment as I am in the body-shaming swimming pool nonsense.

  12. Onna says:

    I loved LOVED the episodes!!!! I hope that Rory and Logan actually get back together and become the opposite of her mom(Lorelai) and Christopher. Meaning instead of Rory reliving what her mom endured logan(if he’s the father) would step up and be there for the baby and Rory. You know they’ll finally be together. Yes odette is his fiancé, but Rory has been his love since Yale and vice versa. Ahhhh!!! So excited. #TeamRoryandLogan