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Amy Sherman-Palladino and her partner, Dan Palladino, spent six years crafting episodes of Gilmore Girls. The husband and wife writing team found their voice early on and rarely deviated from the show’s branding. Because of the series’ well-established flow, fans were quick to notice when things felt off-kilter. And many fans agree that one Gilmore Girls storyline felt too “off-brand.” 

Jess Mariano and Luke Danes sit in the window of Luke's Diner in 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'
Jess Mariano and Luke Danes in ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ | Netflix

Most ‘Gilmore Girls’ fans agree that Jess Mariano’s mission to find his father felt ‘off-brand’

Gilmore Girls has an extremely loyal following. To fans, the show has almost infinite rewatch appeal. Still, there are a few episodes that many skip. “Here Comes the Son,” season 3 episode 21, is one of them. The episode, which follows Jess Mariano as he attempts to find his father in California, feels contrived and decidedly off-brand, as one fan once described.

In short, the episode doesn’t give fans a feeling of comfort. In fact, it does the opposite. The entire situation, from Jimmy Mariano’s lack of remorse to Jess’ wardrobe, feels uncomfortable. One Reddit user pointed out that Jimmy had no redeeming qualities. The assessment is correct. Even Christopher Hayden, who similarly abandoned his child, felt remorseful. If the episode didn’t feel like a cozy Gilmore Girls story, there is a reason.

The ‘Gilmore Girls’ episode was originally intended to be a backdoor pilot

Here Comes the Son” felt off-brand because it was. The episode wasn’t supposed to be a part of Gilmore Girls. Instead, it was meant to kickstart a new series. The network originally intended for the episode to serve as a backdoor pilot to a spinoff series.

The spinoff, Windward Circle, was designed to follow Jess’ life as he navigated young adulthood and figured out exactly who he was after finding his father. Unfortunately, more information on specific plotlines is not available. The unaired pilot doesn’t give much of the intended storyline away either. 


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Why wasn’t ‘Windward Circle’ picked up?

The one-off Gilmore Girls episode is the only evidence that Windward Circle was going to be a thing. The pilot never aired to the public. While fans would have loved to see more about Jess’ life, especially if it included a metamorphosis brought on by living on the opposite coast, it just wasn’t meant to be. According to The Huffington Post, the network thought the show would have been too costly.

Gilmore Girls filmed on a studio lot, but Windward Circle would have been filmed on location in Venice Beach if it had gotten to air. The WB, the show’s network, found that filming on site would have been too expensive. So it scrapped the idea and brought Jess back to the East Coast, where he popped up in Rory’s life again and again. Jess lived in both New York and Philadelphia after returning from his trip out west. He showed up in Stars Hollow from time to time, too.