TV Pick of the Week: Bunheads (TV Thursday)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Growing up, I remember that from May to September I had the choice of watching reruns of all the TV shows from the year or nothing at all. Not that I minded watching Seinfeld or Friends reruns.  But in the last six years (according to a CNN article I read) the "Summer Series" seems to have gotten more and more popular.  The pro of these series is that there is something to watch in the summer, but the con is that the seasons are usually short! Eight to 15 episodes is not enough when you’re just getting into a great new show.  Some networks bring the shows back in the winter, but other times you have to wait a whole year!

This summer, I watched the entire season of Bunheads (ABC Family). To summarize, this show starts out with a down-on-her luck, washed-up but never quite made it dancer, Michelle, who is working as a Vegas showgirl.  Michelle (Sutton Foster) is pursued consistently by Hubbell (Alan Ruck).  Michelle finally gives in, lets him take her out and with the help of some alcohol, they get married in a shot-gun Vegas wedding.  Shortly after arriving in Paradise, his hometown, Hubbell dies in a car crash.  Michelle ends up inheriting everything; the house which her Mother-in-law lives in, the dance studio that her MIL teaches at and a huge piece of property with a guest house that Michelle moves into.  Not far into the season, Michelle and Fanny (Kelly Bishop, Hubbell's Mother) develop an interesting rapport with quick witty banter.  Sometimes Michelle’s quirkiness goes on a little too long, but I can overlook it.
Cast of Bunheads
Back Row (l to r): Melanie, Fanny, Michelle, Sasha
Front (l to r): Boo, Jenny
Photo Credit:
The other central characters are four of Miss Fanny's ballet students: Sasha, Boo, Melanie and Jenny. Sasha is the talk, skinny and “best” ballerina, Boo is the technically excellent but a little too large ballerina, and Melanie and Jenny round out the foursome.  Over time Michelle becomes sort of a mentor/counselor type of figure to them.  I was glad that the writers added more of the girls' lives into the show as the season progressed.

At first I was a little skeptical, but eventually I really started to enjoy the series for its summertime lightness.  The dialogue is reminiscent of Amy Sherman Palladino's writing for Gilmore Girls. You will notice a lot of subtle similarities between them and it’s nice to see Kelly Bishop in a more likable role; although it will never be GG.

If you like typical ABC Family shows, Gilmore Girls or maybe if you used to do ballet, I would Shariously recommend Bunheads, (assuming it comes back on the air).


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