Pop Pedestal: Sookie St. James

Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

It’s time for another installment of Pop Pedestal, where we pay tribute to the pop culture personalities we most admire. Up today is the greatest chef in Stars Hollow history, Sookie St. James.

Melissa McCarthy as Sookie St James, wearing a headscarf and chef's coat, dancing in the kitchen

The Pedestal Profile: One of the best reasons to host a Gilmore Girls marathon, Melissa McCarthy’s Sookie St. James is a master chef and a master friend/wife/mother/coworker to boot. She begins the series as the executive chef of the Independence Inn and moves on to be head chef of the Dragonfly Inn, which she co-owns with her best friend Lorelai Gilmore. During the show’s seven-season run, Sookie marries her vegetable grower Jackson and has two children, Davey and Martha.

Admirable qualities: Sookie St. James is, in my opinion, the shining star of Stars Hollow. She is confident, caring, and a killer chef who—accidents in the kitchen aside—always gets the job done. Quick with a joke (although which Gilmore Girls character isn’t?) she gives great advice to her friends and coworkers and takes pride in her work—sometimes to a fault. (Remember the episode when Sookie was pregnant and the doctor put her on bed rest, but rather than let Luke take over the kitchen at the Dragonfly she had Jackson bring every dish to her in bed so she could taste it? So good.)

There are countless reasons to admire Sookie, but her standout qualities are her positive attitude and her dedication to her friends, family, and work. Let’s face it, owning a business with Lorelai Gilmore would be a tough row to hoe (how much whining about coffee can one person take?), as would working with Michel (whining about carbs), being married to Jackson (whining about vegetables), and cooking for Emily and Richard (whining about everything)—but Sookie sees the good in everyone and always delivers with a smile on her face and a spring in her step (even when the spring in her step causes her to trip and light something on fire).

Sookie is also hilarious. Check out this video clip where she schools Norman Mailer, of all people, on proper restaurant etiquette (right before realizing she’s pregnant and promptly telling him, of course):

Ooh! Yeah! Someone sure likes to use his big words!

Her influence:

Fan sites for the unstoppable Sookie abound. There’s a Sookie St. James Tumblr, fan forum, wiki, and Facebook fan page. There are some Sookie St. James recipes floating around the Internet (sausage rolls anyone?) and a hilarious Sookie section on the Texts from Stars Hollow fan site. Check out this Sookie text photo, from when she gets drunk during the “Korean Deep-Fried Thanksgiving” episode:

Sookie wears a blanket and holds a bottle of alcohol. The text reads 'I just turned Barefoot Contessa into a drinking game. Every time she uses a knife or butter or salt, I drink.

There are also plenty of Sookie fan videos (including a whole series dedicated to Sookie and Jackson’s relationship). Here’s one celebrating the friendship between Sookie and Lorelai:

That’s not all: Melissa McCarthy has been in the spotlight lately for her performance in Bridesmaids. Her crackerjack timing and physical comedy are impressing those who are new to her work and reminding us Sookie fans how great she is.

Speaking of physicality, another reason to admire Sookie (and Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls) is how accepting she is of herself and others. She is a fat woman, and—are you listening, rest of the world?—it’s no big deal. She has a kickass career, a great marriage and family, an active social (and, presumably, sex) life, and a cute wardrobe, and her fatness is just a part of that. She never talks about wanting to lose weight or change anything about herself, and her friends never give her crap for her weight either. Along with random Norman Mailer appearances and killer pancakes, add fat acceptance to your list of reasons to move to Stars Hollow.

Think of her when: When life, work, or family starts to get you down, remember Sookie St. James. She always looks on the bright side, and you can too! Also think of her when it’s time to cook a delicious meal, because she kicks ass in the kitchen. Bon appetit!

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5 Comments Have Been Posted


i loved her in bridesmaids! she has this buoyant happiness about her. so now i need to put in the time for some gilmore girls.
sidenote: the 1yo boy i nanny was JAMMING to the corny song on that friendship celebration video. and that dancing gif! perfectly laid, perfectly timed.

thanks kelsey!

ooooh no

I've been trying to prevent another series re-watch of Gilmore Girls, and this is not helping. : )

Love her

Thanks so much for this. People who only know Melissa McCarthy from "Bridesmaids" are truly missing out. I always loved the fact that Gilmore Girls didn't have to constantly point out that Sookie is fat or make jokes at her expense. She still has a happy, fulfilling life and she embraces her love of food! Plus, she's gorgeous. The fat girl doesn't have to be the manly one who farts all the time- she can be a complex, multi-faceted character!

Sookie is funny, but they really should have hired a consultant

I hope I'm not the only one in the world who gets all nitpicky and up in arms about little things like the way Sookie holds knives (and the knives she chooses for particular jobs...a meat cleaver to chop veggies??). The writers also throw in food words that don't really go with what's going on to make Sookie seem like she cooks all this exotic stuff. "Macaroni and cheese with jalapeño chipotle cream sauce", for instance, wouldn't be bright green (see the episode with the kids LotR birthday). Either there's a subtle joke in there (that this horribly accident prone "chef" who has awful knife skills somehow still manages to make fantastic food) or the writers and directors were just being lazy and needed to hire a chef to help out with the show. (Otherwise I adore Gilmore Girls, and the Sookie character. Yay!)

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