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Gilmore Girls: The Complete Third Season

The third season of the smart, family-friendly series "Gilmore Girls" was, if anything, even more turbulent and complex than the previous two seasons. Rory's (Alexis Bleidel) senior year at Chilton means deciding on a college — should she follow her lifelong dream of Harvard or buckle to pressure from her grandfather (Edward Herrmann) to attend his alma mater, Yale? Meanwhile, her mom Lorelai (Lauren Graham) has realized that she's never going to make it work with Rory's dad, especially since he has a pregnant girlfriend. Max (Scott Cohen), previously jilted by Lorelai almost-but-not-quite at the altar, comes briefly back into the picture, while her ever-simmering attraction to Luke (Scott Patterson) has some interesting ups and downs. The most frustrating story arc of the season was the continuing triangle of Rory, her boyfriend Dean (Jared Padalecki), and Juke's nephew, bad-boy Jess. As a viewer, it's sometimes important to remind oneself in Season Three that Rory is, indeed, just a teenager — up to this point in the show, she's always been the level-headed one while Lorelai muddled about making romantic mistakes. Frankly, Rory's attraction to Jess is difficult to understand and her behavior often seems out of character in these episodes — which, truth be told, is sometimes part of the fun, as our irritation with her mistake-making makes us care about the outcome all the more. Some of the highlight episodes this season include "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?" in which the town's charity dance marathon sets the scene for emotional developments; in "A Tale of Poes and Fire," members of The Edgar Allen Poe Society stay at the Independence Inn, there's a fire displacing the guests, and Rory decides on a college; "Dear Emily and Richard," which features flashbacks to a pregnant young Lorelai; Jess's loser father shows up in "Say Goodnight , Gracie," while Lorelai and Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) hatch plans to open their own inn; and, in the season finale, "Those Are Strings, Pinocchio," Rory graduates from Chilton and makes a deal with her grandparents to help her mother realize her dream. Warner's DVD release of Gilmore Girls: The Complete Third Season is as good as the previous two sets — gorgeous full-frame transfers, excellent DD 5.1 audio, and an attractive book-like package. All 22 episodes are included, plus a "Your Guide to Gilmore-isms" booklet on the gals' pop-culture references; also on board is "All Grown Up," a selection of photos and clips from the stars' childhoods, and "Who Wants to Fall in Love?", a montage of romantic season-three moments.
—Dawn Taylor

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