Oh, the irony! Most people spend their lives trying to get together with their better halves; Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino struggles to keep apart a matched set, the dramedy's adorably acerbic heroine Lorelai and her platonic pal, rugged softie Luke.

"There are only so many times," she observes, "that people can stare across a table and go, 'She's pretty, but she's dating someone else,' 'He's swell, but his girlfriend is back' [before] you stick your head in the punch bowl."

So, in the warm and witty series's second season, Sherman-Palladino has had to become extra imaginative in order to contrive for the infatuated duo an insurmountable obstacle. But she thinks that she has hit pay dirt with the introduction of Luke's teenage nephew, Jess, a troublemaker with eyes for Lorelai's daughter, Rory. "[That story] is going to create a lot of stuff between Lorelai and Luke," she teases. "[In bringing in Jess, that's] what I really wanted."

If the new kid in Stars Hollow doesn't drive a big enough wedge between Lorelai and Luke, Sherman-Palladino will fall back on her ace in the hole: Rory's father. "Christopher is becoming the person that, in the back of Lorelai's mind, she always said, 'Gee, if he could just hold onto one job, get a nice car, possibly we could all be together,'" she explains. "He's sort of at that place now, but he's with someone else.

"Of course," she adds, "that's going to be [the] arc with Lorelai and him that will lead us to [questions like,] 'Is there hope for this family?' It's good, fun stuff."