Lauren Graham & Alexis Bledel on Why ‘Gilmore Girls’ is Returning: ‘The Whole Thing Was Unfinished!’

Arya Roshanian
Variety

Even after nearly a decade since the last episode of “Gilmore Girls” aired, the mother-daughter series has remained relevant thanks to both Internet fandom and network syndication. And with the premiere of Netflix’s “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life” right around the corner, fans across the globe can barely contain their excitement at the thought of returning to Stars Hollow for another hurrah, as the beloved series returns with four 90-minute episodes.

Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, who portray the show’s iconic duo, share in their fans’ anticipation. “It’s surreal a little bit like we never left,” Bledel tells Variety. “It’s exciting to be back and get this chance to revisit something that was really dear to all of us.”

Set in the fictional Connecticut town of Stars Hollow, the original series followed single mother Lorelai Gilmore (Graham) and her teenage daughter, Rory (Bledel). Since its initial premiere on the now-dissolved WB in 2000, audiences grew attached not only to the Gilmores themselves, but also to the show’s vibrantly eccentric supporting characters and Americana aura. 

“You never get to start something already feeling the love, you know? Never!” Graham says on reprising her role. “People were so happy to be working on the show, if they hadn’t before. And if they had, they were happy to be back.”

It is difficult to pinpoint when exactly “Gilmore Girls” became such a hit, as the series was usually (and notoriously) omitted during awards season when on the air. However, “Gilmore Girls” continues to reign as a cult-classic, almost exclusively due to the devotion of its fans, as recently seen at the revival’s Los Angeles premiere, which overflowed with fans trying to catch a peek of their favorite characters on the red carpet.

Perhaps its appeal is due to creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino’s fast yet sharp writing, saturated with obscure and offbeat pop culture references. Graham, however, believes its success is attributed to audiences’ need for mental comfort food. “I think there are a number of reasons why the show stuck around, but I think at the end of the day, there is something to be said for something you want to watch with a family member or a friend that isn’t too stressful, but is still so intelligent and is really about something [important],” says Graham, speaking with Bledel to Variety and other reporters earlier this year. “I mean, the show has its own voice.”

And boy, does “Gilmore Girls” have a voice — known for its rapid-fire dialogue, a typical script per episode usually ran over 80 pages, according to Graham, as compared to the 50-60 pages of a standard one-hour drama. After seven successful seasons, both felt it was hard to move forward from the show’s unorthodox and lengthy production schedule. For Bledel, whose first major gig was “Gilmore Girls,” shedding the show’s persona proved to be especially difficult as the actress expanded her career. However, as she says, returning to Stars Hollow after nine years allowed her to cultivate more depth into Rory.

“Having the time in between the end of the series and beginning of the revival does give us a lot of perspective on what this show meant to people and what it means for us creatively,” says Bledel. “And coming back to [Rory], it’s different because she’s grown up now. It was interesting to go back to the characters in real time because I had grown up the same amount probably, but in a very different environment.”

Though the Gilmores are all grown up, there are stories that have yet to be told. Even after 163 episodes, the creators still have unfinished business — when The WB merged with UPN to form The CW in 2006, Sherman-Palladino and Palladino departed as showrunners and writers over a contract dispute. With the final season out of their hands, fans were deprived of the show’s true ending, most notably the final four words Sherman-Palladino wrote that were be exchanged in the finale’s last moments. Graham and Bledel also felt that their work was unresolved.

“The whole thing was unfinished!” Graham says. “We were all up in the air. And so, I think that’s why we’re sitting here to some degree it’s not a grab for more attention, but really, we didn’t get to end the show. We have, in Amy and Dan, people who not only have more to say, but more and more to say.”

Besides Bledel and Graham, “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life” also welcomes back Kelly Bishop, Melissa McCarthy, Jared Padalecki, Scott Patterson, Milo Ventimiglia, Liza Weil and more to Stars Hollow, among a myriad of new faces, including “Younger’s” Sutton Foster. 

“There are like 150 characters in the new show so good luck!” jokes Graham.

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