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These Girls Can Talk, 10.14.03 ...

Eccentric shows are like cheese -- sharp and tasty when fresh, but left too long on the shelf, they stink.

Northern Exposure was an eccentric show. Cicely, Alaska, was four snowy streets of misfits, nutbars and astronauts. They were lovable as hell for two-and-a-half years. Then -- boom! -- boring.

Ally McBeal was an eccentric show. Dancing babies? Pet frogs? That show jumped the shark so many times it could have played Marineland.

Which brings us to The Gilmore Girls, once a sharp and tasty show, now stinky cheese.

The show stars Lauren Graham as Lorelai and Alexis Bledel as her daughter Rory, two of the cutest people on the tube. Single mom Lorelai was just a teen when she had Rory. With such a slight age difference, the two are closer than Ahnold and Maria since the term "Gropenator" was coined.

On this week's episode, Rory, back home on a break from Yale (already? She just got there!) runs into old boyfriend Dean (Jared Padalecki) who awkwardly invites her to his wedding the next day. Of course, the poor fool is still smitten with our girl.

The series was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, a former Roseanne writer who is delightfully eccentric herself. She's famous for her Dr. Seuss hats and crazy fish net stockings. At press conferences, she is queen of the cocktail patter.

Trouble is, to my ear, the entire town of Stars Hollow and now half the students at Yale talk exactly the way she does. Sherman-Palladino crowds every page of her thick scripts with rat-a-tat-dialogue. Characters talk as if they spent all summer at the Algonquin Round Table (Sherman-Paladino's production company, Dorothy Parker Drank Here, is named after the Algonquin's fabled smarty pants.)

It is the same thing that nearly killed The West Wing before NBC took away Aaron Sorkin's typewriter. Nobody wants to hear from an endless parade of show-offs.

It was bad enough when it was just Lorelai and Rory constantly making wise. But now everybody sounds like Noel Coward.

After a big party last week, Rory stumbled over a naked guy in the hallway of her dorm. The kid wakes up from a drunken stupor like he's Billy Crystal.

Again last week, Rory's uptight pal Paris prattled on like Kelly Ripa on speed. Rory herself said it best: "I'm rooming with a Stephen King novel."

That's too eccentric on this kind of show. At its core, Gilmore Girls is about relationships -- Lorelai and Rory, Lorelai and her stuffy parents (brilliantly played by Kelly Bishop and Edward Herrmann), Lorelai and her friends (especially Scott Patterson as Luke Danes).

It works best when they don't all sound alike. Keep the wit, but don't sacrifice the charm. Give the Gilmore Girls a chance to breathe or they'll soon talk themselves out.
Credit: Canoe


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