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This is Gilmore Girls, 03.22.01 ...

"Gilmore Girls" has the odd distinction of making me feel bad that I'm a city slicker, that I don't see my parents enough and that I'm not as clever as I think I am. Nevertheless after watching "Gilmore Girls" I get that rarest of all feelings television can give you - being excited about life.

The show stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel as mother and daughter Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, residents of a quirky Connecticut town named Stars Hollow. In an almost science-fiction induced plot point, Lorelai and teenage Rory are best friends, in no small part due to their closeness in ages (Lorelai had Rory when she was sixteen, Rory's age when the show starts). They do everything from eat junk food together to drink hazardous amounts of coffee together to even just poking fun of pop culture together (Lorelai: "So you know what I was thinking?" Rory: "That Madonna and Sean Penn should get remarried?"). All and all it's a refreshing and delightful relationship for a family, something I can't recall seeing in some time.

It's here in Stars Hollow that they run amok with a slew in interesting characters - from dance instructor/town gossip Miss Patty (Liz Torres), to gruff diner owner Luke Danes (Scott Patterson), to snobby French hotel clerk Michel Gerard (Yanic Truesdale) to even Sally Struthers (not playing herself but a cat loving neighbor to the girls). Both girls are thrown for a loop though as Lorelai's parents re-enter their lives when Lorelai goes to them in order to help pay for Rory's tuition at a private school in hopes of it being Rory's key to get into Harvard ("This is it. She can finally go to Harvard like she's always wanted and get the education that I never got and get to do all the things that I never got to do and then I can resent her for it and we can finally have a normal mother-daughter relationship.").

You see when Lorelai got pregnant she ended up running away on her own, unwilling to accept help from her family. Understandably then these ties are strained making Lorelai's reach out to them quite difficult. Rory's mother (a delightful Kelly Bishop) and father (the always great Edward Herrmann) then request as payment loaning the money is to have the girls over for dinner in upstate Connecticut every Friday night in hopes of filling old wounds.

Most of the show's conflicts come from building these bridges but there's a handful more introduced - Lorelai must deal with an at times stressful hotel management job, Rory must suffer through being the new kid at her school, and well there's all those better adjusted "Northern Exposure"-esque residents to deal with. I should point out though that this series seems to almost never "resolve" plots in a neat and tidy way. When wounds are opened or freshly given they don't always close by the time the executive producer credit fades in. That's quite a statement to say in my humble opinion. Plus the show is one of the few I know of that doesn't have a "hook" to tell its stories. Nobody owns a bowling alley and keeps a law office, nobody has "Ally McBeal" fantasies, basically there's nothing but the characters themselves. I think the show is the only one that can say it's hook and cliche free on television right now, perhaps in quite a while.

But I've gotten bogged down in the details here. This is just a fun, fun show to watch. It has this free wheeling spirit and tone to it that makes you wonder where the hour went. It has dialogue that would make Aaron Sorkin jealous ("Last week there was a huge debate over whether plaid scrunchies were acceptable head wear. People took sides, things got ugly, the scrunchie motion finally passed and Id like to think I was the tie breaker."). And did I mention how fantastic Graham and Bledel are? Both of these actress have made it impossible for me to see anyone else saying the lines and having the character ticks that they do. That's an amazing feat.

Lastly, "Gilmore Girls" does what I think is the brass ring in television - it makes you excited about life. Whether it be the urge to call up your friends and stay up all night talking to them, the feeling that words are these wondrous things, or the warm notion that family is something to be embraced - the show provides all of these and much much more. Quite simply if you are not watching this show boys and girls, you are missing a whole bunch of fringe benefits. So start brewing the coffee and tape "Friends," Thursday appointments should be taken with the WB network.


When's it on?
Mondays at 9/8c (repeats) and Thursdays at 8/7c on the WB

Who's making it?
Gavin Polone ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") and Amy Sherman-Palladino ("Veronica's Closet")

Why should I watch it?
You won't find a more enjoyable hour anywhere else on TV.

Did you know... Series star Lauren Graham signed onto the show without even knowing if her current NBC series "M.Y.O.B." was returning or not. (Thankfully it didn't.)
Credit: The Futon Critic

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