“Bunheads” mini-cap 1.05: “Money for Nothing”

 
 

You have to help me process this week’s Bunheads.

Well, not process exactly — lord knows I don’t need help with that — but try to find a reason for the episode beyond the approximately 15 minutes that was delightful. You know that I love this show, especially the snappy pop-culture references that define Amy Sherman-Palladino shows.

But this week, the references seemed to be smashed together without a thread to connect them. (Naming a character Godot to facilitate a joke about waiting for Godot is not a thread.) A show like Seinfeld can get away with that because the main players are comedians who hang out in NYC making fun of things. We don’t expect substance. But Bunheads stars legitimate actors and talented dancers, and claims to be about something. So we want, well, something.

Take the opening scene. Michelle awakens to find a possum in her bed. (Come on now; you’ve woken up to worse.) In fact, let’s watch it again.

Out of context, it’s a funny scene, right? It’s cringe inducing because of the whole big rat in the bed thing, but Sutton Foster is a good physical comedian — as is the possum, for that matter — and the dialogue between her and Fanny is fast and witty and full of random cultural references. If this happened in Season 3 of Gilmore Girls between Lorelai and Rory it would be a classic. Which is, I think, the problem.

What we don’t have yet from Bunheads is a sense of history and continuity. We certainly have potential for that; the first four episodes provided background for the main characters. Last week, in particular, seemed a solid foundational episode. But this week didn’t build on it. The structure reminded me of Love Boat, with unrelated slices of life with nothing in common but the setting.

Not to say that nothing important happened. We finally learned that the reason Fanny and Michelle have financial problems despite Hubbell’s estate is because very little of the inheritance is liquid. And the majority of Fanny’s students don’t pay for their lessons.

Most significantly, we learned that Michelle has a serious issue with the idea of teaching dance. I assume we’ll learn more about why next week, but her hostility at the very idea was pretty intense.

The Basha ship sailed into rough territory, as Boo won the interest of a hunky boy (Godot, who looks like GG‘s Dean on steroids) just by being her awesome self, much to Sasha’s chagrin. I think Sasha is more jealous that Boo has made another friend than she is that Godot prefers Boo to her.

I did like the dance at the end — an environmental warning featuring plastic grocery bags and a canvas bag that tries to save the day. Nature loses and dies at the end. Go, Fanny. More dances!

Random ASP moments:

“Every day in your house is like a Kristen Wiig film festival.”

<"She's not fine! Look at her eyes! She's the girl who hides the chicken under her bed in Girl Interrupted!”

“Yes, the jeans are pleated and I’m wearing a button the size of my head.”

“Fanny there’s an assman in your bushes that wants to know what box he’s in. Could that sound any dirtier?”

“Surf’s up, rock on, wear sunscreen.”

“The gravy train is OVA.”

“I’ll have a Temple Grandin.”

“I just lost the mature person’s upper hand, didn’t I?”

“I haven’t understood a word he’s said since, ‘My name is Bob.’”

“Eric. My name is Eric.”

“Oh.”

And the evening’s multicultural exchange:

Maybe Bunheads just had an off night. Or maybe I did. What did you think of this week’s episode? What was your favorite moment?

 
 

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