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Gilmore Girls Has S.A. Crush, 11.01.00 ...

It's tough going up against NBC's Thursday-night powerhouse lineup led by "Friends." So the WB's "Gilmore Girls," a critically acclaimed comedy with a fresh take on a mom-daughter relationship, could use your help.

Aside from it being one of the better-written and appealing fall shows, the new hour, starring Lauren Graham of "NewsRadio," will feature a San Antonio native, Jared Padalecki, starting tonight. The show airs at 7 p.m. on KRRT.

The Madison graduate plays Dean, the heartthrob of the 16-year-old daughter Rory Gilmore (newcomer Alexis Biedel) of single mom Lorelai (Graham) in the next six episodes. Padalecki, 18, was seen in the pilot last month as the cute guy in Rory's school who showed interest in her. Although she's transferred to a prestigious prep school, Dean begins to pursue her.

This is the biggest break so far for former drama student Padalecki, who's the son of East Central High English/journalism teacher Sherri Padalecki and her husband, Jerry, a Valero tax supervisor. Doors began to really open for him when he was chosen as one of two teens nationwide to appear as a presenter on the 1999 Teen Choice Awards. He got the opportunity by winning Seventeen Magazine/Fox TV's Claim to Fame Contest.

Padalecki was signed by a Los Angeles agency almost immediately and was cast in "Gilmore Girls" not too long afterward. Although his role was brief in the pilot, he has an "it guy" quality along the lines of Matt Damon.

He's also smart. He graduated magna cum laude from Madison last May. After wrapping up the filming on "Gilmore Girls," Padalecki began filming a charming, baseball-themed independent film called "A Little Inside," co-starring Kathy Baker of "Picket Fences."

As for "Gilmore Girls," which was on the best-picks list of many TV critics nationwide, it has the feel of a "Northern Exposure" set in a picturesque town in Connecticut. In it, the 32-year-old heroine is dead set on making sure her teen-age daughter doesn't make the same mistakes she did. Lorelai was just Rory's age when she became pregnant and made the tough decision to raise her baby alone. The defiant move caused an irreparable rift between her parents, an old-money couple who press for a bigger role in their granddaughter's life. The inn run by Lorelai is full of quirky and fun characters, as is the town.

Trust me, you'll fall in love with this series on first viewing.
Credit: San Antonio Express-News

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