Kirk Gleason

Concept: 4 out of 5
Execution: 3 out of 5
Yeah, but: My excitement must be clouding my ability to judge comedic hyperbole.

The Long Version: "Kirk" is the character played by Sean Gunn on the long-running TV show "Gilmore Girls". He's clearly a good idea that occurred to the creative powers just a little bit late; his first appearance is in the second episode as a walk-on character who's installing a DSL line. At that point he's called Mick. Gunn's first appearance as Kirk is when he gets into an altercation with Miss Patty in Doose's Market, where he's working as an Assistant Manager. The conflict arises because Kirk doesn't know who Miss Patty is; later in the series Kirk has transmogrified into a life-long Stars Hollow resident who used to study in Miss Patty's dance classes.

Kirk Gleason appears in 137 out of 154 episodes, making him one of the most common minor characters. But even his important roles tend to be fleeting; Paris and the Grandparents are seen in fewer episodes but are always significant characters. Poor Kirk is never in control of the scenes he's in. Instead he spends his time filling quiet moments, adding character, providing transitions, and occasionally being a plot device, and yet somehow he manages to do every odd job in the entire town. On our last run through the seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, Penny and I kept track of his different jobs:

DSL Installer (as 'Mick')
Bird delivery (credited as 'Swan Man')
Assistant Manager at Doose's (first appearance as Kirk)
Flower Delivery
Video Store Cashier
Skincare product developer ("Haythere")
Waiter at Weston's Bakery
Beauty Supply Store Cashier
Hockey Announcer
Daily Topical T-Shirts
Pizza Delivery
Mold Inspector
Skydiver (paid $20 by Taylor)
Alarm Installation, Star's Hollow Security
Custom Mailbox Salesman
Dog Walker
Pedi-cab Owner
Mailbox Store worker
Doose's Market Cashier
Wedding DJ
Firewood Delivery
Movie Theatre Worker
Handbill Distribution - "Lunch at the Dragonfly!"
Bath and Shower Adhesive Decals salesman
Twickham Souvenir Sales
Tow Truck operator
Estate ring salesman
Kirk's Doggie Daycare
Real Estate Agent Trainee
Owner, Yummy Bartenders
Owner, Kirk's Diner
Gift Wrap salesperson
Official Town Sash Maker and Presenter

This list isn't counting his roles that were probably volunteer positions, like being an historical war reenactor, playing Joseph in the Christmas pageant or being the tallest person in the children's production of Fiddler on the Roof. He also has roles in every town event or scheme that Taylor has going, so he's the one handing out maps from the Historic Star's Hollow booth, and Kirk's the one in the hi-viz vest when the red-light camera goes up. It also doesn't count his hobbies, like being the Asaad Kelada of Star's Hollow. Next time we watch the series - all seven seasons are on DVD - we'll keep at least a couple more lists.

TVTropes.com has a few opinions about Kirk as well, thinking that he fills the Village Idiot role, as well as being the one who never has anything good happen to him. They also point out that his mother is one of the 'ghost' characters who's often mentioned but never seen. (Gilmore Girls has a few of these - Lane's father, Mr. Kim, is occasionally mentioned but there's never any evidence of him, and East Side Tilly has the inside scoop on all the gossip but never makes an appearance.) His other distinction is that he may be the only character on the show who speaks at a normal speed.

Kirk is in no way a central character in the Gilmore Girls world, but he'd be missed if he went away. His inclusion in the cast is one of the better ideas that they had - and as with most things, late is better than never. If someone decides to go all Tom Stoppard on him, and creates a spin-off show in the spirit of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, I'd be all over it. There would be so much great material to work with - and he's the only one who could pull it off. Like Rory said, he was always a cat person, he just never had a cat.


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