Love was in the air at the beginning of the second season of Gilmore Girls
, as both Gilmores found themselves in the midst of perfect, giddy relationships--or so they thought. Lorelai (Lauren Graham) had accepted the proposal of English teacher Max (Scott Cohen) and was excitedly planning her first wedding; Rory (Alexis Bledel) was back on happy footing with townie hunk Dean (Jared Padalecki) after a dust-up near the end of season one that prompted a mini-break for the teen twosome. However, series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino had anything but smooth sailing on the horizon for her heroines, giving Lorelai a severe case of cold feet and Rory a major distraction in the form of Jess (Milo Ventimiglia), the bad boy newly arrived in town. Soon, Rory found herself extremely attracted to Jess, while Lorelai rekindled the flame of passion that once burned long ago with Rory's father, Christopher (David Sutcliffe), who made his way back into her life despite a girlfriend in the wings.
After the minor romantic speed bumps of the first season, the introduction of actual conflict into the second season of Gilmore Girls helped give the happy-goofy atmosphere of Stars Hollow a decided tension, as Rory tangled with her emotions over Jess and began the first tiny steps away from her good-girl persona. The episode "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," centered around the annual town auction of picnic baskets, was a wonderful portrait of Rory's conflicting adolescent feelings for both Dean and Jess. However, it was Lorelai's simmering chemistry with former flame Christopher, only hinted at in the first season, that gave the show its energy as well as its heartbreak, culminating in the stellar season finale "I Can't Get Started." But lest you think Gilmore Girls was centered only on romance, the second season also gave the expansive ensemble cast many hilarious moments, ranging from the hallway politics of Rory's private school to the town antics that shaped the Gilmores' daily lives. Through it all, the appealing Bledel and the radiant Graham exuded wit, charm, and a way with snappy patter not seen since the golden days of '30s screwball comedy. --Mark Englehart
Gilmore Girls: The Complete Sec