Five reasons the Gilmore Girls revival needed Melissa McCarthy

By Jessica Contrera

Melissa McCarthy as Sookie St. James on the TV show Gilmore Girls.
Melissa McCarthy as Sookie St. James on the TV show Gilmore Girls.

The Gilmore Girls fandom breathed a collective sigh of relief this weekend when news broke that Melissa McCarthy will be returning for the show's Netflix revival. McCarthy, whose career skyrocketed after Gilmore ended, made the announcement on Ellen DeGeneres' show.

McCarthy makes it sound as if the reason she was not signed on until now was a scheduling conflict.

"There was a whole thing, and I was going to be out of the country and blah blah blah," she said.

Actress Melissa McCarthy has said she will return for the Gilmore Girls revival. Photo / AP
Actress Melissa McCarthy has said she will return for the Gilmore Girls revival. Photo / AP

That story was contrary to previous reports, which made it appear there was miscommunication - and possibly hurt feelings - between McCarthy and showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino.

"She's really f***ing busy," Sherman-Palladino told TVLine in February.

She's right: McCarthy is the co-founder of a production company, the creator of a plus-size clothing collection and according to Forbes, the third highest-paid actress in the world. But McCarthy responded on Twitter, saying that it wasn't just her jam-packed schedule in the way:

"Thanks for the invite, but sadly no one asked me or Sookie to come back to Stars Hollow. Wish them all the best!!"

Now, it's clear the rift has been smoothed. That's big news for the Netflix revival, and if we may be so bold, big news for McCarthy herself. Doesn't every superstar need to go back to her roots? She may not be a Gilmore by name, but you can't have Stars Hollow without Sookie St. James. Here's why:

1. The Lorelai-Sookie friendship is what TV lady friendship should be

Ever heard of the Bechdel test? It asks whether two fictional women discuss something other than men. Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Sookie pass with flying colours every episode. They run their own business. They are funny and flawed. They lean on each other, and not just after one of them has a breakup. Though the show's name references the grandmother, mother and daughter Gilmores, its success was just as much built on the relationships between the Gilmores and their best friends.

2. Without her, there would be a major plot hole

Sookie and Lorelai own an inn together, where Sookie is the head chef of the restaurant. She's married to a local farmer, Jackson, with whom she has some adorable kids. She has never expressed a desire to leave Stars Hollow. So how would the show explain it if she was no longer around? The only reasonable explanation would be that she had died, which they can't do, because ...

3. Edward Herrmann is dead

There is already major sadness in the air at the Gilmore's house. Edward Herrmann, who played grandfather Richard Gilmore, died of brain cancer in 2014. The revival is said to begin eight years after the end of Season 7. According to Entertainment Weekly, Herrmann's character Richard has passed away and his wife, Emily, is a widow. The death "looms large" over the set. Two major character deaths in one feel-good show would just be mean.

4. Who would cook for us?

The beauty of Gilmore Girls is the combination of fast-talking characters in a slow-moving script. There are many episodes in which not a whole lot happens. Sookie might break something while cooking, go on a rant about the inn's menu or discover her husband's crop fields are filled with marijuana. These bits don't usually move the main plot along - this is not Game of Thrones. And that's why fans love it. Seeing Sookie hanging out in the Dragonfly's kitchen arguing with Michel will make the revival seem like the good ol' days, even if her presence doesn't change the plot.

5. McCarthy will bring new fans to the show

Bridesmaids launched McCarthy to international fame. She then proved she wasn't a one-hit wonder, making fans laugh with strange, action-packed comedies, and contemplate life with sobering films like St. Vincent. Having a comedy superstar on the promotional materials will do nothing but give the show a boost. And given the fate of similar revivals, a do-over like this needs all the help it can get.

But Gilmore will surely have a strong viewership regardless from the fans who fell in love with the family in the early 2000s to the next generation who discovered it on Netflix. They'll all be waiting to find out the famous final four words that Sherman-Palladino has been keeping secret for years.

Entertainment Weekly published a new revelation about those words this week: They're not said by one person, but by two.

"It's not as resolved as I thought they would be," Graham said. "I thought they would be 'Honey, I'm home!' or something like 'Goodbye, small town!' So I was like, 'Oh, really?'"

Alexis Bledel, who is sparsely quoted in the article, said the ending "does kind of throw you."

- Washington Post

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