I’ve wanted to talk about ABC Family’s Bunheads since the pilot episode. In the first ten minutes of the premiere, a strict looking ballet teacher goes up and down aisles of barres, inspecting her students and stops to tap her cane on the non-existent (outside of the world of ballet) backside of the beautiful dancer we will come to love as Boo. Thirteen years of being a slightly-too-curvy “bunhead” myself made me cringe, but I was immediately hooked. The show doesn’t really have any spoilers beyond the pilot episode’s dramatic ending, so read on to hear what I think. And if I’m losing you here, go catch up on a few episodes and check back later!What would you do if a handsome, wealthy stranger came to save you from your crummy job, offering to marry you and take you to Paradise? No strings attached, no worries for the rest of your life? Sane women everywhere would be torn between running for the hills and seriously considering this attractive offer. Luckily for us less daring folk, Bunheads protagonist, Michelle, took a little chance.
Sutton Foster, who plays Michelle, had me at her bedazzled Vegas showgirl routine. Actually, she had me at Broadway, ten years ago. Foster is an extraordinary talent, and even if she’s the only reason you watch the show, you won’t be disappointed. She sings, dances, acts, and delivers enough snarky one-liners to warrant an impressive Twitter recap of the show all week. If, after two episodes, you still aren’t dying to be her best friend, you need to take your TV off mute immediately.
I decided to jump on the Bunheads series without much knowledge of the ABC Family channel’s style. I’ve never regularly watched any of their shows, so I assumed that teen soap operas were all they could muster. But as a dancer and Sutton Foster fanatic, I had to at least check it out.
The pilot episode certainly isn’t the series’ best. I held off from commenting on it in hopes that giving the series a little time would help me iron out the details I wasn’t understanding. Now that we’re midway through the first season, I can safely comment that I love where the show is going. At first I thought that the whole point of the show would be Michelle’s offbeat relationship with her shotgun husband (that’s what I’m calling him, after their 1-day Vegas marriage,) but it’s more about starting a new life. I crave a little more dancing and a little less teenage drama brewing in the background, but that’s probably what draws in the majority of show’s viewers. I’m apathetic to the family drama and girls’ crushes (though Boo’s crush makes me sing Victoria Justice’s catchy “Best Friend’s Brother.”)
I’ve heard plot criticisms everywhere, along with countless comparisons to Gilmore Girls (also by producer Amy Sherman-Paladino.) I’m over it. The only relation I’ll give the two series is that, like GG, your mom and you will be marathon watching DVD sets of Bunheads on rainy Sundays together.