Precious few Gilmore Girls characters are as mysterious as Michel Gerard. Over the course of seven seasons Michel's defining qualities were his Frenchness, disdain for people, and love of Céline Dion. At one point Michel's mother came for a visit, but she revealed nothing about her son other than where he got his personality. Now Yanic Truesdale has promised Us Weekly the Gilmore Girls revival will reveal Michel's backstory. At long last, Michel's story will be told, and while Truesdale, would neither confirm nor deny that this jaunt into his personal life would include romance, I'm sincerely hoping that it will.
"That is nice for me as an actor because it gives me a backstory," Truesdale told Us Weekly of Michel's expanded storyline. "But it gives me meat for the character because he, you know, I definitely have an arc and stuff going on in my personal life that affect the character."
While Truesdale would not reveal whether Michel's personal arc will be a romantic one, it should be. Michel is a character who was often used as comic relief in Gilmore Girls. His obsession with fad diets, love of dance, and affinity for the finer things in life were played as a collection of things to be laughed at, rather than as genuine interests that made up Michel. For all of its greatness, Gilmore Girls failed to define Michel and instead allowed him to exist as a collection of tropes with no tangible sense of history for the character.
It is impossible not to think about romance when the topic of Gilmore Girls comes up. Lorelai, Rory, Sookie, and even Kirk all had love stories, and those stories revealed newfound layers to their characters. Meanwhile, Michel remained at his post at the Dragonfly Inn having the occasional heart to heart with Lorelai and fretting over his Chows. For a character who was an integral part of the cast, the omission of any kind of personal or romantic life is glaring, especially when the show consistently gave Michel a stereotypically gay personality — and then asked viewers to laugh at him just as often as they laughed with him.
During the early '00s, the television landscape was a very different place. Having an out LGBTQ character on a network show was revolutionary in and of itself, having the character also be involved in a romantic relationship was a rarity. Gilmore Girls never featured an openly LGBTQ character in its entire run, and the lack of definition for Michel often made it feel like the show wanted to include a gay character without defining him as such.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is airing at a very different time. There are a wide variety of LGBTQ characters represented on TV today, and their romantic relationships are explored in depth. So little is known about Michel that it is impossible to say whether or not he falls on the LGBTQ spectrum at all, but whether the show chooses to reveal Michel is gay or bi-sexual or straight, he deserves a love story. He is an inherently lovable character despite his prickliness.
Without a backstory, fans only had Michel's personality to give them a real answer about who he was as a person. Taking away his hobbies, Michel's defining quality was always a desire to feel included and valued by Lorelai and Sookie. Sure, he cracked harsh jokes sometimes, but Michel was his truest self when he was confronting Lorelai and Sookie about not including him in major decisions involving the inn or pushing him out of their inner circle — that's how baby Davey ended up stuck under a bed.
Knowing Michel has a need for approval and love would make any romantic relationship he was in a compelling one. It would be amazing for Gilmore Girls to finally have an LGBTQ character play a significant role in the story, but a love story of any variety for Michel is about what is best for the character in general. Michel is a permanent fixture in the world of Stars Hollow. He is as enduring as Babette, Kirk, Lane, and all of the other wonderfully eccentric characters in town. Reducing Michel to a collection of stereotypes is doing a disservice to a beloved character — romance for Michel would only make the character more fully realized and give his trademark snarkiness more meaning.
Michel has paid his dues as the comic relief character, the Gilmore Girls revival is the perfect time for Michel to find love and for the audience to learn more about a character they have adored for years in the process.
Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (3)