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Girls Power, 02.12.02 ...

Talk may be cheap, but it's everything and it's terrific on this appealing series that just keeps getting better. There's nothing bland or phony about the dialogue on this second-year show. There's a smart, spontaneous-like banter sprinkled with quirky asides and hip references to pop culture, but the Gilmore girls are mainly so darn likeable because they seem, well, so like us. Or, at least, the way we would like to be.

Their coffee binges, their disorganized housekeeping and their not-always-organized life mirror our own hectic on-the-go-lifestyles. Grab a coffee on the way out the door, leave the bed unmade, eat that candy bar for lunch. We all do it. Hey, it's all right, the Gilmore girls 32-year-old straight-talking mom Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and her more serious 16-year-old daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) do it. It feels good when we can identify. And when we identify, we care.

And this is one warmly entertaining feel-good series, with an alternately blunt and tender honesty, and credible situations that are refreshing. In tonight's episode, Lorelai looks at Luke (Scott Patterson) after he makes a reference to the 1963 series The Outer Limits and spouts out, "Um, I'm sorry, I don't speak geek." She doesn't worry about offending him; it's all in good fun.

It's the charming essence of what makes this mother-daughter series work, and the characters in the town of Stars Hollow can sometimes, let's be honest, feel a little Twilight Zone-y. The residents are nosy, gossipy and a bit weird but they are also very loveable. They add comedic relief to the more dramatic scenes and, in addition to the leads, I've developed great affection for these diverse supporting players. For example, Michel (Yanic Truesdale), the stubborn desk assistant at the inn who turns being rude and mean into a hoot. And Kirk (Sean Gunn), the perfectionist who makes the town's rules and takes his job way too seriously.

Their heads are often in the clouds, but what's so inviting about the people of Gilmore Girls is that they're also so down-to-earth. Which brings us to tonight's episode in which Rory's dad Christopher (David Sutcliffe), in the process of doing a 360-degree life change, visits minus his motorcycle and James Dean image but accompanied by a new girlfriend (Madchen Amick). When Lorelai sees the newcomer, she describes her to Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) thusly: "She's a chic, good-haired, wrinkle-free, no-hose-wearing witch." It's a funny line because, like so much in the series, it rings true. Meanwhile, an amusing plot is also forming around Rory's friend Lane (Keiko Agena), whose own mother is stricter than strict (Lane, being punished, is allowed only five minutes of phone calls per day, unless she wants to call the "Psalm-a-Day Line," in which case her speaking time is unlimited).

This is an impeccably written, sharply observant and performed dramedy that, in truth, is no longer TV's best-kept secret. Lauren Graham received a Golden Globe Best Actress nomination (she lost to Jennifer Garner of Alias); the Viewers for Quality Television gave it four awards in its rookie season and the WB has already given the series a go for a third season. Lorelai and Rory are unusually genuine and interesting characters, and because of them, this series accomplishes what few others can: It touches while it amuses.
Credit: TV Guide Online

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