GILMORE GIRLS. Humor and heart in WB's two-hour season premiere. Tonight at
8 on WPIX/11.
'GILMORE GIRLS" is a witty whirlwind that can suck you in before you know
what hit you. And that's precisely what creator-writer Amy Sherman-Palladino
has happen to heroine Lorelai Gilmore in tonight's season premiere. She's swept
off her feet by romantic guest star Scott Cohen, much as this frisky hour
series charms us with its furious repartee and genuine relationships. Nimble
star Lauren Graham's down-to-earth single mom suddenly floats in the clouds of
could-have- been, should-have-been, oughta-be.
Why not? One of "Gilmore's" most whimsical treats is its picture-book
Connecticut village whose residents share their lives round the town gazebo
like siblings nestled together in the safety of mother's arms. It's fairy tale
time -except this smart show knows fairy tales are actually about gut-level
hurt and life experience. They also give us one more thing: happy endings.
So we know it will be in "Gilmore Girls," as Lorelai ponders the prospect
of marriage in league with her brainy teen daughter and best friend Rory
(Alexis Bledel). This is a quick-tongued woman who, amid talk of sweet wedding
scents, pipes up with "Pot roast!" so Lorelai can't possibly go conventional
now. She hasn't introduced the prospective groom to her judgmental rich
parents, whose home she left upon getting pregnant in high school, despite the
renewed opportunity of weekly dinners at their mansion. Over the past season,
we've grown to love these viscerally uneasy generational gatherings - Graham
desperately babbling, Bledel pragmatically coping, stuffy dad Edward Herrmann
clinging to his reserve, and wonderfully uptight mom Kelly Bishop yearning to
connect with her loosey- goose daughter. The mix blows up tonight when Rory
invites along bad-boy suitor Dean (new regular Jared Padalecki) and a can of
worms gets opened. Or is that reopened?
Talking on tangents is Lorelai's lifeline, her distractive way to skirt
heartache while she figures protective strategy. "Gilmore" scripts are twice as
thick and quick as most prime-timers', and tonight's skips around perhaps too
merrily, from Lorelai's "All in the Family" metaphors to clumsy chef-pal
Sookie's latest wound ("I'm a good clotter") to chatter of coupon drawers and
dental hygiene. Lorelai even decorates a hammer in frilly pink.
Moderating this double-strength dose of quirk is Sherman-Palladino's
underlying heart. The overkill might actually reflect her depth, as Lorelai
frantically masks her growing agony and anger. Emotions flip like a switch, up
to an explosive finale where even family fury is rendered funny. Equally deft
is a silly/serious subplot of Rory's all-American confidant Lane (Keiko Agena),
threatened with becoming a Connecticut Yankee in Korea. The way in which
"Gilmore Girls" digs lightly but firmly into deep-seated emotion is as magical
as the way Lorelai's yellow dream daisies end up scattered all over their town.
We weekly wish we were there.