Why Sookie & Dean Are Hardly In A Year In The Life

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life brought back the original cast for the miniseries, but why did viewers see so little of Dean and Sookie?

2016’s Gilmore Girls revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, brought back most of the original cast for the Netflix miniseries, but why did viewers see so little of fan favorites Sookie and Dean? The original Gilmore Girls lasted seven seasons before it was canceled, and the light-hearted dramedy remained a cozy TV institution for a decade after finishing its original run. Few shows are lucky enough to earn as loyal and dedicated a following as Gilmore Girls managed to amass.

For years there were rumors of a reunion for Rory and Lorelei Gilmore, but it wasn’t until 2016 that streaming service Netflix released the controversial miniseries A Year in the Life. This four-episode Gilmore Girls revival brought back most of the show’s original cast but earned the ire of some fans for altering the characters. Of course, not every actor was able to put in an appearance in the reboot, and some had their screen time compromised by promising post-Gilmore Girls career commitments. Such is the way things go for many TV revivals that happen a long time after the original show ended, as people move on.

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Two prominent Gilmore Girls characters who barely put in an appearance in A Year in the Life, though, were Jared Padalecki’s Dean Forrester and Melissa McCarthy’s quirky chef Sookie St. James. The former was a formative love interest of Gilmore Junior before Rory and Dean’s season 3 break-up, while the latter was Lorelei’s reliably funny right-hand woman throughout the series. Although both actors do put in appearances in A Year in the Life, they’re both only in the revival very briefly with a single scene each and a rushed explanation for their absence throughout the rest of the Gilmore Girls reunion. This was mostly down to scheduling issues, as both McCarthy and Padalecki have gone on to impressive careers since their tenure in Stars Hollow.


Why Sookie & Dean Are Missing From The Gilmore Girls Revival


The decision to minimize their roles in the Gilmore Girls revival is arguably acceptable in the case of Dean. Although Milo Ventimiglia’s Jess gets a bigger role in the reboot and Rory’s later love interest Logan is a major character, Dean wasn’t around much in later seasons of Gilmore Girls regardless. Gilmore Girls wrote Dean out long before A Year in the Life, so if anything, Rory’s stilted supermarket niceties are actually a relatively nice send-off for the underwritten figure. Plus, Padalecki’s then-ongoing commitments as co-lead of Supernatural made a bigger return for the actor impossible. But the casting choice is much more egregious for Sookie since McCarthy’s comic relief was a main character in the original Gilmore Girls.


Controversially, McCarthy later said that the creators didn’t reach out to her with regards to reprising her role, despite the showrunners claiming she was too busy to return to the part. That suggests she might’ve been willing to make time for a larger role, despite McCarthy’s booming movie career. It’s unclear whether this was a misunderstanding or disagreement, although in either case the creators and actor cleared things up in time for McCarthy to cameo in A Year in the Life. But Sookie’s part in A Year in the Life is a disappointing letdown for fans who hoped to see her reprise her superb comic chemistry with Lorelei, as the more minor Gilmore Girls character Michel ends up with more screen time than the formerly central Sookie. While it’s understandable that the creators of A Year in the Life had to work around McCarthy’s impressive movie career, it’s a shame this Gilmore Girls character received a worse send-off than even an early love interest was offered. Then again, maybe this won’t be the last time fans ever get to visit Stars Hollow.


More: Gilmore Girls: Who Is The Father Of Rory’s Baby?

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