Skip to main content

Gilmore Girls' Scott Patterson Gets Candid About 'Infuriating' Scene That Left Him Feeling Objectified And Embarrassed

Scott Patterson in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Gilmore Girls has to be one of the most feel-good TV series of all time, right? The quick banter between Lorelai and Rory, the quaintness of Stars Hollow, the passionate Team Dean/Team Jess/Team Logan arguments. Nothing is ever perfect though, and Scott Patterson, who expertly played diner owner Luke Danes for the series’ seven seasons and the Netflix miniseries, got real about feeling objectified during one Season 3 scene that he still feels is “infuriating.”

On his podcast I Am All In, Scott Patterson was discussing the episode “Keg! Max!” which included a scene where Luke was lying on his stomach on the ground helping Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Sookie (Melissa McCarthy, whose career took off after Gilmore Girls) with repairs at their Dragonfly Inn. The women commented on his backside, and even after he told them to knock it off, Lorelai continued to make jokes about and compliment his butt. 

Watching the episode back apparently brought up a lot of suppressed emotion for Patterson, who remembered how uncomfortable he was doing that scene. He recalled: 

I realized it wasn’t OK, and it didn’t make me feel comfortable at all. It made me feel really embarrassed, actually. It is infuriating to be treated that way — it is infuriating — because you’re being treated like an object. It’s disturbing, and it’s disgusting, and I had to endure that through that entire scene and many takes. It was all about the butt, the butt, the butt, the butt. When we weren’t filming, we were sitting down — people were still talking about the butt, the butt, the butt. It was the most disturbing time I have ever spent on that set, and I couldn’t wait for that day to be over.

Regardless of if it was appropriate for the characters to behave that way (it wasn’t), it was still Scott Patterson’s body, and his butt that was the topic of conversation in a scene he had to do in table reads, then rehearsals and for multiple takes on set. And he pointed out the conversation about his backside continued amongst the cast and crew even after the cameras stopped rolling.

He spoke at length about it on the podcast, admitting that he was so uncomfortable that his character was reduced in that way that he questioned why he was doing the show. Scott Patterson also said he never spoke up about his feelings, which angered him even more. He continued:

It’s as disgusting for women to objectify men as it is for men to objectify women, and it’s as harmful. … Just because it was 2003 doesn’t mean it was OK. It’s never OK, and I didn’t feel comfortable doing it, and it pissed me off. And I never said anything, so I was angry at myself for never saying anything. But I had this job, and I didn’t want to make waves and all that.

It’s true that times have changed — and it’s hard to believe that scene would have happened if the show was made today — but that doesn’t mean it was OK to do it back then either. While he said he’d gotten over it (but then laughed and said that obviously he wasn't over it), he thought that scene not only reduced the character of Luke to a body part, but it reduced Lorelai and Sookie’s characters as well. 

I’m sure that as uncomfortable as that scene was to film, it was no walk in the park to open up about it on the podcast and talk about why being objectified like that bothered Scott Patterson. It’s important to talk about those things, though, so similar situations can be avoided on today’s TV sets. 

If you want to relive some of the more feel-good moments from Stars Hollow, all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls and the four-part miniseries are available for streaming with a subscription to Netflix. You can also check out some of the other best shows Netflix has to offer

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.