Movies & TV Shows

Gilmore Girls Luke Actor Reflects On Feeling Objectified On Set

Gilmore Girls star Scott Patterson opens up about his feelings concerning an episode that objectified him. Created by Marvelous Ms. Maisel showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino, the comfort comedy-drama set in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, ran for seven seasons from 2000 to 2007. The series was revived for a special four-part mini-series by Netflix in 2016, called Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which provided closure on all the show’s important relationships after the original series’ cancellation. Telling the story of single mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and her teen daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel), the series follows the ups and downs of their relationship as well as their general struggles in life and love.

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Patterson played diner owner Luke Danes in the popular series, a staple figure of the small town and will-they won’t-they love interest of protagonist Lorelai Gilmore. Luke, along with Rory’s love interest and his nephew Jess, was a fan-favorite of the series due to his role as a lovable grump and his loyalty to Lorelai, Jess, and Rory. Though Luke and Lorelai eventually made things work and got together for good at the very last second, there were plenty of times leading up to their union when it seemed like things wouldn’t work out for the couple. And while they shared a very relatable love story, some parts of their journey together haven’t aged well.


Related: Gilmore Girls: Why Luke Didn’t Attend Sookie’s Wedding

During an episode of his Gilmore Girls podcast I Am All In with Scott Patterson, the actor notes that he felt very uncomfortable with the premise of season 3, episode 19, “Keg! Max!”. In the episode, Lorelai’s friend Sookie accidentally touches Luke’s backside, and the women proceed to talk about his butt for most of the episode. After reflecting on the experience, Patterson shares his feelings about that day on set. See what he had to say below:

“I realized it wasn’t OK, and it didn’t make me feel comfortable at all. It made me feel really embarrassed, actually. It is infuriating to be treated that way — it is infuriating — because you’re being treated like an object. It’s disturbing, and it’s disgusting, and I had to endure that through that entire scene and many takes. It was all about the butt, the butt, the butt, the butt. When we weren’t filming, we were sitting down — people were still talking about the butt, the butt, the butt. It was the most disturbing time I have ever spent on that set, and I couldn’t wait for that day to be over. It’s as disgusting for women to objectify men as it is for men to objectify women, and it’s as harmful. Just because it was 2003 doesn’t mean it was OK. It’s never OK, and I didn’t feel comfortable doing it, and it pissed me off. And I never said anything, so I was angry at myself for never saying anything. But I had this job, and I didn’t want to make waves and all that.”

According to Patterson, the ‘butt episode’ was a bad day all around for him, on-screen and off-screen. The experience he is referring to of feeling uncomfortable but not wanting to ‘make waves,’ is as unfortunate as it is common for actors. Especially in 2003, when the ‘Me Too’ movement was still years ahead, the dominant culture in place was one that punished actors for speaking out about feeling objectified or uncomfortable, so it makes sense that he hasn’t felt comfortable opening up about the experience until now. Patterson’s bravery in speaking out about this uncomfortable incident should not be understated.


Though Patterson largely notes his appreciation for his time on Gilmore Girls and has even chosen to revisit those years with his podcast, this specific experience clearly stands out as a dark times for him while on set. His podcast is still exploring the early seasons of the series, so perhaps he will have more insights into his feelings about his character’s later storylines as the podcast goes on. While the storyline he refers to was passed off as comedy in 2003, it was never a laughing matter and definitely wouldn’t be accepted today. Though things have started to change for the better in terms of male and female objectification in film and television, there is a long way to go, and listening to stories from actors of all genders about their experiences is the only way forward.


Source: I Am All In with Scott Patterson podcast

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