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Season Premiere Filled With Romance, 10.09.01 ...

Will Lorelai marry Max on "The Gilmore Girls" (8 tonight, Channel 49) in Stars Hollow? Will Liz show her love for Max (gee, when did Max become such a popular name?) by helping him pull off a holdup on "Roswell" (9 tonight, Channel 67)? Will Ed Stevens finally complete a pass in Stuckeyville to Carol Vessey on "Ed" (8 p.m. Wednesday, Channel 2)?

There is so much romance in the air tonight and Wednesday, you almost have to check your calendar and see if Valentine's Day was this week instead of Columbus Day.

The most compelling of the three season premieres is "The Gilmore Girls," the adorable family comedy-drama that came out of the Family Friendly Forum. It stars Laurie Graham as fast-talking Lorelai and Alexis Beidel as her smart and feisty daughter and best friend, Rory.

The narrow difference in their ages - Lorelai gave birth to Rory when she was 16 - makes their friendship believable and understandable. A critical favorite that has yet to become a ratings grabber, "The Gilmore Girls" derives its strength from an honest mother-daughter relationship that rarely gets too sappy.

However, the sap quotient will be tested as Lorelai considers marrying Max (Scott Cohen), her daughter's teacher. The townsfolk think that Lorelai's engagement will destroy the owner of the local diner, Luke (Scott Patterson), who is too embarrassed to tell her how he truly feels about her.

Lorelai isn't instantly sure if she'll accept Max's offer, though she gets advice from everyone but her stuffy mother (Kelly Bishop) and stuffier father (Edward Herrmann). Her distant relationship with her disapproving parents drives the drama. Lorelai and her parents both seem to have the same problem - the inability to stop repeating the hurtful patterns that drove them apart.

But at least they agree on one thing. The grandparents love Rory as much as Lorelai does. They just wish Rory would devote more time to her goal of getting into Harvard and less to the handsome boy she adores.

Eventually, the grandparents will probably realize that the best thing they can do is let Rory be a teen-ager. But to allow her to do so now might cause them to accept the idea that they made mistakes with their own daughter.

While "The Gilmore Girls" has some quirky elements of "Northern Exposure" and "Ed," the honest and amusing way that Lorelai and Rory deal with each other and discuss their life goals gives it a more realistic quality than those two programs.

You have to wonder if Lorelai really is ready for marriage and whether Rory really believes that making it to Harvard is more important than living life as a normal teenager. According to a WB release, Rory is going to explore her wild side this season and drive her mother a little crazy. One thing is for sure: Watching these strong, appealing women decide what is best for them is a treat.

Unfortunately for "Gilmore Girls," they have to compete with a former WB hit, "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," which now airs at the same time on UPN.
Credit: Buffalo News

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