‘Gilmore Girls’: Amy Sherman-Palladino Once Said Network Wouldn’t Approve a Gay Storyline for 1 Famed Character

Gilmore Girls didn’t have any openly gay characters during its original run. And critics have dragged the show for some of its commentary. They’ve noted that several scenes utilized gay stereotypes and were openly hostile toward the LGBTQ community. In 2016, the series aimed to make things right. In the Netflix revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Michel Gerard is married to Frederick. However, Michel’s sexuality developed organically. The writers didn’t actively plan it, according to several sources. But showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino did plan to include a gay character in the original series. Sookie St. James was initially pitched as gay, but she said the network executives wouldn’t allow it. 

‘Gilmore Girls’ showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino revealed that Sookie St. James was supposed to be gay 

In 2015, Sherman-Palladino and the cast of Gilmore Girls sat down at the ATX Television Festival for a panel. They discussed the show’s early years and how it came into existence. Sherman-Palladino revealed that Sookie St. James, the famed chef of the Independence Inn and the Dragonfly Inn, was initially supposed to be gay.

Amy Sherman-Palladino sits at 'Gilmore Girls First Footage Panel' at Entertainment Weekly's Popfest in 2016, dressed in black and wearing a black hat.
Amy Sherman-Palladino | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly

According to HuffPost, Sherman-Palladino told reporters, “So, Sookie was originally supposed to be gay, but that was a non-starter at that time.” Sherman-Palladino said networks were nervous about having openly gay characters on shows in the early 2000s. But things started to change shortly after the series premiered. In fact, she suggested that if the show had premiered a year or two later, the network likely would have left the character as Sherman-Palladino intended. She noted that Sookie had entered into a relationship with Jackson Belleville by that point.

Sherman-Palladino also said she thought several Stars Hollow residents were members of LGBTQ community, too 

Sherman-Palladino also revealed that there were several residents of Stars Hollow whom she considered members of the LGBTQ community. She never brought up the topic in the original series though. And Sherman-Palladino didn’t share which Stars Hollow residents she was referring to. 

While some community members had their personal lives on full display, Sherman-Palladino only gave a handful of Stars Hollow residents full-blown storylines. So it would make sense that the series wouldn’t mention the relationship statuses of everyone. 

Amy Sherman-Palladino didn’t initially cast Melissa McCarthy in the role of Sookie St. James 

The role of Sookie went through another substantial change: its actor. Melissa McCarthy came to Gilmore Girls after Alex Borstein couldn’t commit to playing the part because of another contract.

Sookie St. James actor Melissa McCarthy in promotional material for the Groundlings peeking out from behind a brick wall
Melissa McCarthy | Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

McCarthy stepped into the part of Sookie, but Borstein wasn’t out completely. Instead, she appeared several times in season 1 as Drella, the Independence Inn’s harpist. Sherman-Palladino phased out the character after season 1. But Borstein appeared again in season 5 as Miss Celine, Emily Gilmore’s quirky stylist. 

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