Shade in Stars Hollow
The Netflix Gilmore Girls revival is happening – four 90-minute episodes, Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall are being shot literally right now. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino explained that they’ll be about “three women (Lorelai, Rory, and Emily) in transition”, because that mirrors the structure of the pilot. It will be about the three of them, and about the sad absence of Richard Gilmore, as Edward Herrman died in 2014.
If you weren’t a Gilmore fan, you might not know that Melissa McCarthy, who played Sookie St. James, was arguably the fourth Gilmore Girl, sometimes sharing that title with Lane and/or Paris. She didn’t just guest star or appear in the town, she was a series regular and a real person with stories and tone.
And she’s apparently not in the Netflix revival.
This would not ordinarily have made me blink. Gilmore Girls had a massive cast, and it would be hard to coordinate all the schedules to begin with. Where McCarthy’s concerned, as a huge movie star and often THE star of the movies she’s in, her schedule may require her to be on HER sets all the time. Amy Sherman-Palladino said as much in an interview with TVLine:
“She’s really f—ing busy,” Sherman Palladino acknowledges. “But the thing I have said [to her team] is, ‘Look, if Melissa is available and has an afternoon free, I’ll write her a scene. Melissa was one of us. If she has a spare moment to run over [to the set] — even if for just a cameo — we would be totally game. And if it’s a last-minute thing, I would write her in and we would figure it out.”
Totally get it. She’s busy, you can’t pin your hopes on landing that kind of a star who’s now their own industry – after all, this revival is happening now, when neither Lauren Graham nor Alexis Bledel is full-time on something else.
Except McCarthy says it never happened:
Thanks for the invite, but sadly no one asked me or Sookie to come back to Stars Hollow. Wish them all the best!! https://t.co/II2Atug4wx— Melissa McCarthy (@melissamccarthy) February 2, 2016
What I want to be true is that Melissa’s reps, who have a huge investment in her being the lead in giant, moneymaking movies, got the request but gave it a blanket ‘she’s unavailable’. This is totally possible. Huge stars get an enormous number of requests and just fielding them all would be a full-time job, which is why they employ people to do it. Netflix has incredible cache, of course, but to ‘movie people’, it might still seem like asking her to go back to be #6 on the call-sheet, and not worth her time.
Buuuuut it’s not like AS-P said she reached out to McCarthy personally. Maybe she’s not able to do that, maybe they haven’t kept in touch. But McCarthy’s tweet is pretty definitive, right? It’s possible that she went off on Twitter without asking her people whether the request is languishing on some assistant’s desk, but given that she knows how the business works, you’d think she would have sussed this out. Again, though, I wonder whether her people or her day rate made this an impossibility - I can totally see a young agent saying Melissa doesn’t show up for less than $X because they’re so sick of being approached for everything under the sun, and because she’s a comedy star and this isn’t that. Still...
McCarthy’s also saying, in this tweet, that she would have shown up, would have worked for the (necessarily low) pay that would have been on offer, wouldn’t have minded being part of the supporting cast. It’s possible she’s taking offense to the ‘oh we’ll throw her a scene’ phrase which sounds like an afterthought.
Again I say OOF.
Now, go deeper…here’s some more for you to consider…
McCarthy is easily the biggest name to come out of the Gilmore cast (give or take that Danny Strong has a massive, Empire-creating writing career, and that Padalecki might be running a race for being the richest – 11 seasons of Supernatural). So…big names like to be treated like they’re big. Even if their egos aren’t huge, they get used to fruit baskets and stuff, or so I’m told.
McCarthy didn’t participate in the ATX Gilmore reunion panel that started the most recent wave of Gilmore nostalgia. She was promoting Spy at the time, which she’s contractually obligated to do, and which was probably planned months in advance. But it’s not like she doesn’t have access to private planes.
Also: Amy Sherman-Palladino is the undisputed queen of the Gilmore Girls universe. She created it, she ran it. When she left the show before it ended, a lot of people did not consider that last season to be part of the show. She IS the show, more than any of the Gilmore Girls, she’s the biggest star there, you know? In fact, at one of the interviews during ATX, AS-P has said she had to fight for McCarthy to be cast in the first place.
I’m just going to leave all of that there.
So, to get back to the issue at hand, there are three possible scenarios here.
i) AS-P didn’t actually ask for McCarthy, or
ii) McCarthy declined but wants her fans to think she still respects the Gilmore brand that brought her up, or
iii) It’s all a hilarious misunderstanding.
I want iii). I really do. But…
If I’m being completely honest, to spend six hours with the Gilmore Girls now, today, there are a lot of issues to get through and unpack. It’s not that I don’t really want to see Sookie, but if I were AS-P and had to make a choice between having her for a day and, say, shooting in whichever romantic city Rory now lives in, you service the story. Gilmore Girls was always dark pretending to be light. Stars Hollow was a jolly backdrop for deep familial issues and paradigms. Those are the issues I really want to get into, and banter about cooking and the Dragonfly falls lower on the necessity list, if we’re being reductive.
If I were betting, I’d say this one falls into radio silence. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tell me what you think was most likely...