A version of this article originally appeared on EW.com.
During a panel discussion hosted by SAG-AFTRA in New York Tuesday night and streamed via Facebook Live, Graham was joined by Alexis Bledel, Kelly Bishop, and Scott Patterson. Moderator Gazelle Emami, an editor at New York Magazine, noted that some viewers have criticized Gilmore Girls characters for being “kind of awful sometimes and a little bit selfish.” She pointed to Paul — Rory’s neglected boyfriend whose name Luke and Lorelai can’t seem to remember. “There’s been a little bit more of a backlash against their characters this time around,” Emami said.
“We don’t pay attention to anything,” Graham, 49, responded. “We don’t know. None of us are on the internet, almost at all. So I know what you mean, but the show has a sense of humor, and that’s its sense of humor. And I think maybe it feels a little different; Rory’s not in high school anymore, so yes, as grown women constantly forgetting… I just thought it was a funny runner. But the whole show has a kind of heightened theatrical quality. I mean, just like Donald Trump, don’t take it literally. But unlike that, to me it was more of a metaphor for, this isn’t the right guy, and this is how they communicate about it, and does it go 10 steps too far? I don’t know, but it was 90 minutes. We had a lot of time to fill.”
Patterson, 58, added, “Paul was a sacrificial lamb, and he knew it! The audience knew it!”
Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean the show’s stars are always on board with the decisions their characters make; Bledel said she was bemused by Rory’s choice of beaus. “I think I’m always trying to understand where Rory’s coming from in the choices she makes in her romantic life, because she’s so together and so successful in everything she does, really, until these episodes start,” Bledel said. “But she’s just so hardworking, and I think it’s an interesting part of her character, but one that I’ve always struggled to understand — she always kind of picks people who are very different from one another and who challenge her, fortunately, but who don’t necessarily bring out the best in her.”
Bishop said the revival offered some of the first dramatic changes for Emily Gilmore’s character in the entire series. “In the first seven years, never — and this is the most amazing thing about Amy Sherman-Palladino — I never had a moment where I thought, ‘She wouldn’t say that,’” said Bishop. “Now strange things start happening to Emily, as you might have noticed, which is really fun, because she was so severe and so structured. … Now this character is going off in a very wild way.”
She added that she’s surprised her character has become a fan-favorite. “I’ve always been baffled by that,” she said. “I kind of enjoy playing these, what I consider these nasty rich women, because I don’t like them. Personally I can’t stand women like that, and we see a lot of them in New York. And Florida and Hollywood. So really I just try to make them as nasty as possible, because that’s just my comment on them.”
For more from the cast, including their memories of their late friend and costar Edward Herrmann, what it was like to shoot four episodes at once, and why Gilmore Girls stands apart from other TV today, watch the entire panel discussion in the video below.