Bunheads Pilot - 1.01 (2012)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Much to my own surprise I have found numerous of ABC Family's shows some of the most fun that I’ve ever watched. They are what I like to call my “mindless” pieces of television fluff. Dance is the subject of their latest TV show, and manages to engage the viewer but are rarely all that “deep.” Each of them seem to allow for a rare type of happiness captured on film and most the time there is usually something to think about. This one seems the less intelligent of the two I’ve watched in their entirety. This pilot episode has promise and I am cautiously optimistic it has enough sparkle to enjoy long-term success.

She is going no where – fast. 30-something Michelle Simms (Sutton Foster) is a classically trained dancer who showed a great deal of promise as a teenage student but on a whim she decided to go to Vegas, and she's still looking for that big break. Tired of partying – of being a showgirl, the allure of Vegas is wearing thin and Michelle is ready for change, especially after she is again rejected for a new show that is casting. Then there is the man who is crushing on her. Middle-aged and generous to a fault, Michelle doesn’t know how much longer she can put up with her admirer Hubbell. After having a bad day, Michelle impulsively agrees to dinner out and one too many martinis later, she finds herself agreeing to Hubbell’s marriage proposal – one that promises a comfortable lifestyle. The following day, Michelle is on her way to the sleepy town of Paradise, only thing is… she didn’t know her new husband lives with his mother!

Fanny (Kelly Bishop) is a former dancer who could have been quite the star had she not become pregnant. Now she owns and operates her own modest dance studio. No one is more appalled that her only son returns home with a bride in tow than Fanny but it isn’t long before the whole town knows who Michelle is, and her occupation raises more than one eyebrow. Among Fanny’s students is the confident Sasha (Julia Goldani Telles) whose personal problems affect her attitude and dancing; the self-conscious Ginny (Bailey Buntain) who is bothered by her body. Then there is the determined Bettina or “Boo” (Kaitlyn Jenkins). Boo loves dancing but her big-boned structure limits her and finally, there is the outgoing Melanie (Emma Dumont). Michelle’s kindness to her students makes Fanny realize she should perhaps get to know her daughter-in-law instead of judging her… but sometimes life has different ideas.

I have said before that my one reality television indulgence is Dancing with the Stars. I cannot dance worth anything but I love watching the pros dance (it is gorgeous) and if there is a celebrity who I like in the cast, I usually wind up watching half of the season. Because I love watching the elegant competition, this naturally captured my attentions. (Ironically, its teaser spot aired prior to The Avengers.) If you remember a little show about a mother and daughter who were constantly at odds (here’s a hint, it started with a “g”), then you're probably going to give this one a shot. Gilmore Girls was a part of teen girls’ weeks for a number of years. Now it may interest any fans still missing it that its creator has something new on television: Bunheads.

In the pilot episode of this new teen series, I found myself vacillating between enjoyment and annoyance at its amusement-turned-sappy dialogue. Unfortunately for the show, I think the script is in desperate need of edgier wit and better writing all-around. Luckily, its opening starts off really well with a brassy big stage number in Vegas that uses a catchy tune after that, it hits the skids in suddenly marrying Michelle off – in that regard, things move quickly. Starring Tony-Award winning actress Sutton Foster (a Broadway dancer), I think the show has a strong lead to guide and gain followers while the young stars are relative unknowns. To their credit, they turned in decent performances – all of them showed promise and seemed to bring a unique flavor to their role.

In retrospect, I really did quite enjoy this show; there were several poignant moments and it was, mostly a sweet, well-rounded pilot episode. I liked the feel of it and of course the main plot revolving around dance. One scene sets up what I can assume will be a larger role for Michelle mentoring some of Fanny’s students and it demonstrates that she recognizes Boo’s heart for dancing even if she does struggle with it. I do not know how or what will be competing for out attentions further on down the line in the show’s subplots but despite a very predictable (convenient) – or on the surface it was, way to end the first episode (although its ending will have a greater purpose), the series seems to have an infectious sparkle that will keep its target audience coming back. Hopefully, the writer’s won’t abuse their attentions and instead teach the young minds they will captivate that no matter your shape or talent level, hard work does pay off.  Flaws or no, Bunheads was a terrific start to an adorable new series. I am rooting for its success.

Catch the series premiere on June 11th at 9/8c. on ABC Family Channel.

(Parental review: Rated TVPG, there are a number of remarks about body types [Ginny remarks about being big-busted and Michelle claims she couldn’t dance top-less because she is too “flat”]. It is revealed on girl’s father is homosexual in conversation; another married couple is accused of having sex in an upstairs bedroom. One group of Vegas showgirls apparently dance top-less [off-camera]. One conversation reveals an out-of-wedlock pregnancy; there are immodest clothing and costumes. There may be a profanity or two; there is one scene of underage drinking.) 


  1. I'm not going to lie, I saw this preview when I saw MIB3, and I was not impressed.

    Mostly it was the name of the show... bunheads. It just annoyed me. hehe. ;)

  2. Rachel - I know just what you mean. The title doesn't "offend" me or anything but it is a bit... off-putting. It doesn't seem very marketable but then what do I know about television? LOL! From what I understand that is a real ballet term so when seen from that perspective... it only makes sense.

    Hopefully it is ordered to full season because I was intrigued (it helps that I love to watch dance!) and will definitely check out the DVD's.

    Juju - I know! I too am so excited to watch more once they release to DVD. If the season doesn't get a full order, we may never see those so I am definitely rooting for success. =)


  3. So beautiful! Take a look at my blog and maybe you wanna follow each other?! :X


  4. i grew up dancing for 15 years, but for some reason this show never seems to catch my eye. we shall see...
    xo TJ

  5. Ioana-Carmen - aw, thanks! I am so glad you stopped in; I hope you enjoyed your visit and come back again sometime.

    Absolutely - I will certainly check out your blog!

    TJ - oh, really!? That is so cool. (I can't dance even in the "basics." LOL!) I'd love to know what you thought of it if you ever see it...

  6. So glad to see you've posted a review of this! I saw an ad for Bunheads in a magazine and I was immediately curious when I noticed Amy Sherman Palladino's (creator of Gilmore Girls) name on it.

    I love Gilmore Girls so naturally I'm curious about Bunheads, but I have a slight aversion to ABC-Family. I started watching their series "Wildfire" on DVD a few years back, but I eventually gave it up as the sexual themed content just got to be too much for me. Various other shows on the channel have looked interesting, but I've never tried any others as I just have this image in my mind that all their shows are filthy. I know I shouldn't judge the entire network based on "Wildfire", but it's hard not to as it's the only ABC-Family series I have any experience with.....

    I just might give Bunheads a try...I'm running a bit low on shows to watch right now, and it definitely sounds very different from my normal fare.

    Thanks for the review!!! :)

  7. Hello dear,
    maybe you would like to follow each others blogs with GFC or via bloglovin? or even both?


    have a nice day!

  8. Valerie - as was I! I saw the teaser for it and thought, "that looks cute!" Thank you for reading - normally I don't watch anything pre (I see my shows on DVD) but I thought it'd be nice t have a review up prior to its air-date... for a change. =)

    I didn't watch GG but I think a lot of fans will be drawn to Bunheads because of its creator being involved with GG.

    Oh, really? I watch about three shows (counting this one) from ABC and really like them. They do occasionally relapse with some unfortunate shenanigans but most the time, they are really entertaining. I hear you though - so many shows are just... trashy! This one seemed decent (although keep in mind, this was just the pilot) but I suspect further on, various different things will pop up and become a problem. =/

    I am so glad you stopped in, Valerie! Do so again sometime - and I'd love to know what you thought of this if/when you see it.

    Gabriele - thanks for stopping by! I really appreciate that - I hope you do again sometime. =)

    Off to check out your blog!

  9. I just found your blog and I think it is amazing.I will come again for sure If you want we could follow each other? Let me know on my blog if you would follow me and I will follow you immediately Have a great day honey

  10. Thank you, Lucija!

    I hope you enjoyed your visit and invite you to come by again soon. =) Off to check out your blog. :-)

  11. Hehe, the title didn't offend me, either. But it just seemed.... I don't know, weird. My brother and I just looked at each other while the trailer was playing and we were like, 'oooookay'. ;)

  12. I totally get that reaction, Rachel! I was kind of like that with the name, too. It is supposedly a term for ballerina's so given that, I guess it makes sense... right!? LOL!

    Anyway, it got a decent review in People so I have expectations that it will last because I think it could become a new fave. :-)


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