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Gilmore Girls Star Enjoying Success, 07.23.01 ...

I am a middle-aged man and faithfully watch Gilmore Girls, a show with two female leads, airing on The WB, a network that aims its shows mainly at young women.

But my rampant defiance of demographic strategy is not unusual. Indeed, Gilmore star Lauren Graham said recently that ``demographics have to be wrong.''

``There is a core teen audience'' for the show, Graham said at a recent press reception for WB stars in Hollywood.

``But it's (also) my checkout lady at the grocery store. It's men and women of all shapes and sizes,'' she said. ``And that's something I really love. I think hopefully that's what the show kind of adds to The WB. . . .

``One of the guys on (upcoming WB series Smallville) was like, `I watched your show. That's really cool. That's really funny,' '' said Graham, who plays single mom Lorelai Gilmore on the comedy-drama. ``I was like, `I know, dude.' He was, `I mean, I wasn't sure.' And I was, `I know, because you're a big, strapping, 25-year-old guy.' And he was, `But I like that show.' And I was, `Yesssss.' ''

Of course, Graham is happy to have a series with any significant audience.

Before this, her TV series experience had been in shows like Townies, Conrad Bloom and Good Company, none of which had a complete first season. She also did a couple of pilots for other series, which did not sell.

Those hard experiences have made Gilmore Girls seem even more special, she said. ``I really feel a sense of how meaningful this is, and of having earned a good character.''

And she has tried to pass that lesson on to Alexis Bledel, who plays her daughter on the series.

``I always say to Alexis, `You have no idea,' '' she said. ``She's so wonderful, and will work, and I don't foresee anything negative. But in anyone's life there is a cycle, and I am glad to have had the building blocks that I had at the beginning.''

As for what's coming in the second season, she said, ``I do know the character of Max Medina, who proposed to my character at the end of the season, is back at least for the first section.''

She is not convinced that Lorelai's possible marriage is a good idea.

``To be a realistic show, the reality of this situation is it's going to take this person a while to find her way in relationships,'' she said.

Since the series is moving out of the very competitive Thursday schedule to Tuesday nights in the fall, Graham said, ``I would imagine we'll get new viewers this year. . . . We'll need another year of just telling the story that we're telling before we start going off to Tahiti or something.''

But even when the show tries to feel real, Graham is quick to point to its idyllic aspects, among them the quirky town where Lorelai lives.

``Wouldn't you love it if you lived in this town?'' she said. ``Wouldn't you love it if you had this relationship with your parent? Wouldn't it be great if things worked out?''

Nor does she see Lorelai as a model for other mothers.

``I feel like this is a character who's kind of bumbling and imbalanced and not a role model,'' she said. But she is also happy that the show ``doesn't portray the adults as . . . so simple and goofy and they don't get it, and the kids are the only people who understand. How could you as a parent sit down and watch something like that?

``I think in this (series), everyone has a complexity to them that is real, and that is something I really like. Otherwise, it would just be appealing to one audience, and that's not what this show is after,'' she said.

The complexities worked especially well in an episode where Lorelai took Rory and her friends to a rock concert, then went completely parental after a couple of the girls ditched the concert for a party.

``I actually wasn't a fan of that (episode),'' Graham said. ``Sometimes I feel like, personally, I would have done something a bit differently. . . . But those episodes are really important because they are the times when this character wakes up and says, `Wait a minute, I have to draw a line here.' ''

There is a little bit of Graham in Lorelai. (``I talk very fast, and I am kind of sarcastic,'' she said. ``But I am not so positive. This is a character that finds fun in everything.'') There is also some of Amy Sherman-Palladino, who created the series, and ``we make an effort to check in once in a while.''

But even as she tries to focus on work, Graham is aware that being in an acclaimed series has changed her personal life.

``It's all sort of odd to me,'' she said. ``I really am into the business of show business. I like publicity just philosophically. I understand that it's part of it. But it's weird to be a little more public. That has not gotten comfortable. That's just weird. It's just weird.''
Credit: Akron Beacon Journal

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