Jason Ritter on Romancing Both 'Gilmore Girls'

by Rachel Simon

If the TV landscape has been looking a little bleaker than usual in the past few months, blame Fox. Back in October, the network cancelled Us & Them , a sweet-looking show starring the adorable combination of Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel, and in June, it announced that the seven already filmed episodes of the show would never even air. Naturally, fans were surprised, not to mention disappointed — if Fox wouldn't even put the episodes online, Us & Them must have been terrible, right?

Wrong, at least according to Ritter. Speaking with Bustle, the actor said that he was shocked by the cancellation, as he thought the show was genuinely great.

"It felt kind of embarrassing at first," Ritter says. "But then we all sat around, and they screened the first four episodes since the pilot, and we watched it, and it was really sweet and good and funny and nice. That was a nice thing, to go, okay, this is one of those strange decisions that gets made in a room, and who knows why or what, but at least we weren’t just making a total stinker of a show."

"That would’ve been the scariest part, if it was just awful," he continues. "But it was nice. I think people would’ve liked it."

Us & Them, a romantic comedy about the relationship between Gavin (Ritter) and Stacey (Bledel), a couple who met online, certainly had promise; besides the cute plot, the British series it was based on, Gavin and Stacey, lasted for three critically acclaimed years, and both Ritter and Bledel are sweet and likable, not to mention already familiar to TV audiences.

"It was a real disappointment," says Ritter. "It was a real shocker, too, because I had — it’s always dangerous to assume, and I almost never do — but I assumed that I knew all the times that you should be aware that you might get cancelled."

He continues: "By the time we made it through pilot season, and we had started shooting episodes, I had kind of made the assumption that we were safe until it started to air. When it started to air, there would be numbers, and then it would be possible for us to get cancelled again. But it was very surprising to just get cancelled in the middle of shooting. And then told that it was gonna air and then told it wasn’t gonna air, that was a shock."

Still, "these decisions get made," he says. "There's gotta be some kind of crazy logic to all of it, but one that I don’t necessarily understand."

One thing many fans will regret not seeing in Us & Them? The hilariously creepy on-screen romance between Bledel and Ritter, because for the last few years, the latter actor has been the on-again, off-again boyfriend of Bledel's former Gilmore Girls mom, Lauren Graham.

"Yeah, that was sort of strange," says Ritter, laughing. "It was funny, because I only had seen a couple episodes of Gilmore Girls after the fact. First of all, it was really strange because Alexis in the pilot is like, 15? No, she can’t be. But she’s really young. So that was weird to see someone that you’ve had a romantic lead with as a teenager."

Ritter can rest easy: Bledel was 18 at the start of Gilmore Girls. Still, it's certainly odd, and only once the actor got past the weirdness of it all could he begin to enjoy the experience of seeing his two on-screen love interests as mom and daughter.

"They’re both so great, and I really loved seeing them on that show together," Ritter says. "I had sort of the reverse experience, where instead of working on each show and going, 'oh my god, this is like that,' I was almost like [laughs], 'oh you guys, after we did those shows, Parenthood and Us & Them, you guys got together in the past and did a show?"

Images: Fox (2); The CW