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Gilmore Girls on Faulty Ground Forcing Mom into Story, 10.14.03 ...

There are few things sadder than a grown woman suffering from separation anxiety. I'm talking about "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, who seems to be having nearly as much trouble as her fictional single mother, Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham), dealing with the beginning of a new era in both their lives.

That would be the era in which Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) goes off to college and Lorelai and Sherman-Palladino have to build a future in which mother and daughter won't always be finishing each other's sentences.

Strictly speaking, I'm not sure anyone on "Gilmore Girls" ever finishes each other's sentences, or even their own, the dialogue having a nonstop, breathless quality that suggests the writers' word-processing program doesn't include standard punctuation.

As much as I've always loved both Gilmores, their relationship - which more closely resembles best friends - never has struck me as a model for good parenting. Most children need mothers more than they need buddies.

But it wasn't until this season, until the episode in which Lorelai, who apparently lives not far away, stayed overnight with Rory in her dorm her first night at Yale, that I really began to get creeped out.

A woman did this in my dorm my freshman year of college.

She was, to put it politely, a nut job.

I don't want Lorelai to be a nut job, or at least not any more of a nut job than she's always been.

Nor do I want Rory, a smart, independent teen and one of the more interesting adolescents on television, to be forced into the unrealistic role of homesick daughter so Lorelai will have an excuse to pop up at Yale every episode.

Oh, and can I just say that what's been done to the character of Paris (Liza Weil) in the name of keeping her in Rory's universe is, well, criminal?

You'd think Sherman-Palladino would have seen this coming, since she'd had Rory aimed at the Ivy League - first Harvard, then Yale - from the beginning.

But TV writers and networks often have trouble with transitions. And who doesn't think NBC will be pushing for a constitutional amendment a couple of seasons from now, so "The West Wing's" President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) can run for a third term?

I'm not suggesting that Rory needs to be swept aside, like that poor daughter Bonnie Hunt's "Life With Bonnie" ditched between seasons. I love Rory. I just think she needs room to breathe.

And that her mother needs room to grow.

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