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'Gilmore Girls' actor Scott Patterson gets real about being objectified during 'uncomfortable' scene

'Just because it was 2003 didn’t mean it was OK. It’s never OK.'

Gilmore Girls Stars Hollow

"Gilmore Girls" was set in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut.

"Gilmore Girls" is one of those TV shows that's easy to judge negatively until you actually watch it. The fast-paced dialogue, quick-witted humor, colorful characters and surprisingly smart cultural references can take you by surprise if you're not expecting them.

The show was moderately popular when it aired on the CW, but it got a huge second life thanks to DVD and streaming services. However, like every show, not every element has stood the test of time. Since its creation, we've been through some major cultural shifts that have shone a spotlight on problematic tropes and forced us to reexamine what we find funny.

The "Me Too" movement brought into focus the ubiquity of sexual harassment and sexual assault against women. That conversation included the problems with objectifying women's bodies. But objectification can happen to—and hurt—both women and men, as "Gilmore Girls" actor Scott Patterson shared on a recent episode of his podcast.


Patterson played Luke Danes, one of the primary love interests of the show's main character Lorelai (played by Lauren Graham). Patterson's adorably grumpy, flannel-shirted character was a fan favorite, and for the first time, the actor is rewatching the whole series and giving scene-by-scene commentary in his podcast "I Am All In" (named for one of his most swoon-worthy lines).

Most of what he shares in the podcast is positive, but while watching an episode from Season 3 ("Keg! Max!"), he shared an experience that bothered him. One of Patterson's podcast cohosts pointed out what she called "the butt scene" in the episode. In that scene, Lorelai and her best friend Sookie (played by Melissa McCarthy) spend an inordinate amount of time discussing Luke's butt after Sookie accidentally touches it. The cohost said she didn't know if that scene would fly today and that acknowledgment prompted Patterson to share how he felt about it.

"You want to ask me how that feels?" he said. "Yeah, that was disturbing. I realized it wasn’t OK, and it didn’t make me feel comfortable at all. It made me feel really embarrassed, actually."

“It's infuriating to be treated that way," he continued. "It is infuriating because you’re being treated like an object. And 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 and 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.”

Patterson's female co-hosts debated the appropriateness of the scene within the context of the relationships of the characters. On the one hand, it felt like the type of flirting a couple might do, and Luke and Lorelai do eventually get married on the show. But at the time of that scene, Luke was dating someone else and the repeated nature of going back to his butt pushed it from a singular flirtation (which still may have been questionable) to something that made Patterson feel like the character was being humiliated and having his dignity taken away.

"It wasn't OK with me. I hated that scene," he said. “It’s as disgusting for women to objectify men as it for men to objectify women and it’s as harmful. It was just the most offensive day I've ever spent on a set. Just because it was 2003 didn’t mean it was OK. It’s never OK. And I didn’t feel comfortable doing it and it pissed me off.

"I never said anything, so I was angry at myself for never saying anything," he added. "But, you know, I had this job and I didn’t want to make waves and all that.”

Patterson said he hadn't planned on sharing those feelings on the podcast, but rewatching the episode brought back how uncomfortable he'd felt at the time.

As his cohosts pointed out, if you reversed the genders and switched out "butt" for "boobs," it would be a glaringly inappropriate scene. Of course, there's always been a different power dynamic between men and women that has made it extremely difficult for women to speak up when they are being objectified, so the experiences aren't exactly comparable. But in this case, the showrunner was a woman with power over Patterson as an actor. Some women might say, "Well now he knows how it feels to be a woman," with little sympathy, but that reaction feels less than healthy. Objectification is objectification, and Patterson has every right to feel disturbed by how he and his character were treated in that scene.

Here's to the hard conversations that have led us to this point where people being objectified can speak out about how it feels and actually be heard, and here's to Scott Patterson for moving those conversations forward.

You can listen to the podcast episode here. And watch Patterson share why he started the podcast with TODAY:

Science

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here's what it looks like now.

12,000 tons of food waste and 21 years later, this forest looks totally different.


In 1997, ecologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an off-the-wall idea.

In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country's northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.

One year later, one thousand trucks poured into the national park, offloading over 12,000 metric tons of sticky, mealy, orange compost onto the worn-out plot.

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Parents are debating over whether to give children "adult" or "baby" names.

The names we choose to give our children can significantly impact their lives. Multiple studies from across the globe have found that a person’s name can influence their employment, social and economic outcomes.

Unfortunately, humans make snap judgments about one another, and having an unusual name can lead people to make unflattering assumptions. “We’re hardwired to try to figure out in a heartbeat whether or not we want to trust somebody, whether we want to run from somebody,” Northwestern University researcher David Figlio said, according to Live Science.

However, an increasing number of parents are giving their children non-traditional names to help them stand out. “Parents are trying to be original, almost branding their kids in an era where names are viewed on the same level as Twitter handles or a website URL,” writer Sabrina Rogers-Anderson said.

Ruby, a mother on TikTok, took a hard stance on parents giving their children names that sound childish in a post that’s received over 11 million views. Ruby says she named her kids as “adults, not babies” hoping they would never “outgrow” their names.

@rubyyvillarreal

#stitch with @nikkiruble love having nicknames as they are younger and it doesnt mean they will perfer it over their name as they get older. Just gives them options 🤷🏻‍♀️ #nicknames #babynames #babytok #adultnames #pregnancytiktok #toddlersoftiktok #momtok #momlife #babynames #babyname

“The whole concept when I was trying to look for a name and choose a name for her is I did not want her to outgrow her name,” she said in the viral video. “I wanted the name to fit her as a baby, as a toddler, as a child, and into adulthood. So, it's like I really am happy with what I ended up with naming her and it just fits her so well.”

She captioned the video, “love having nicknames as they are younger and it doesn’t mean they will prefer it over their name as they get older. Just gives them options.”

People in the comments responded with modern names they think that kids will outgrow.

"My name is Koazy and I’m here for a job interview," Stalker joked. "Hello sir, I am Bluey Mason Garrison! I was called in for a job interview last Tuesday," Pastel Purr added.

"I can’t imagine knowing [a] 30-year-old named Emma or Posie," Mikey wrote.

However, a lot of people commented that names that seem like they’ll be outgrown will sound fine in the future when those names are popular with the new generation. “Kids grow up with their generation having their own names on trend. They will be normal adult names when they are grown,” Kerry wrote.

“Names grow with the generation,” Lauren added. “The name Dennis sounded like a baby name once too. Names grow up just like generations.”

@rubyyvillarreal

Replying to @19eighty_5 my kids name and the process 😬 #babynames #nicknames #babytok #adultnames #momsoftiktok #momlife #momtok #pregnancytiktok #toddlersoftiktok #babyname #babyfever

In a follow-up video, Ruby shared the names she gave her children. Her girl is named Karla Esmerelda and her boy is called Deluca.

“I just really liked how simple, how bold, and strong that the name by itself just really kind of is. Doing some research names with the letter K tend to be like very bold and powerful names, so I really wanted it with a K and not with a C,” she said.

She named her son Deluca, after a doctor on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She said she chose the name because there was nothing to connect it to, and it sounded “nice.”


This article originally appeared on 4.26.23

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When Emily Haswell had her first child a little over a year ago, she noticed that her mom seemed to need glasses but refused to see the eye doctor. Instead of nagging her mother who visits weekly to see her grand baby, Haswell decided she would pull a prank designed to force her mom to admit she needed glasses. The new mom decided to share the results of her prank on her social media pages.

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