Season 1, Episode 11
Date of airing: January 7, 2013 (ABC Family)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.234 million viewers, 0.645 million viewers with Adults 18-49, 0.5 rating with Adults 18-49
How the hell was I so connected with the characters that I almost started crying, when Sasha hugged Michelle at the end of the episode? And how was this scene the best and most emotional thing I have seen lately? I mean, what was Roman thinking when Sasha moved away from him to storm towards a hug to the woman who just entered the house like she lived there? It was probably one of the best scenes of scripted television I have seen, and since I could say that at least thrice every week, maybe I should start making an actual list. But I will probably forget I ever wrote this after a few days, because I’m too damn lazy to make lists that actually mean anything. But it has to be said that I almost cried when Sasha and Michelle reunited. Damn, this was a perfect scene.
Anyway… Sasha and Michelle were great. It reminded me that I was missing (still am) these kind of moments in my life. Sasha sees a mother figure and a best friend in Michelle, and she arrived at the most perfect time for her, even when it meant that Roman had to wait to kiss the mysterious ballet dancer who just returned from Joffrey but does not want to return home just yet (or ever). With Michelle watching the wedding video just before, and the general feeling that Sasha was not welcomed by her friends (albeit unintentionally), Amy Sherman-Palladino was definitely out to press out all my tears with this episode, and it nearly worked. And I wasn’t even expecting this level of emotion in the show, even if the episode sort of worked towards the final emotional moment. Michelle in a crappy and unhappy place, where she is a little bit unliked by Talia, and most likely hated by Talia’s… daddy (I laughed out loud at that quote), where Fanny was not in her right mind to start up dance lessons again, and where even the kids seemed very much without a goal in this episode. As if they wasted their summers not doing anything, because something they would have been doing instead was taken away from them.
This episode definitely felt like a season premiere — the storytelling jumped over the entire summer, and the characters were at different places. Melanie suddenly has a grandfather, Boo’s mother is suddenly pregnant (six months of bedrest? Say what again?), and even Ginny’s parents were suddenly split up, even if there was never a mention of them in previous episodes (at least I can’t remember). A lot has happened over the summer apparently. I loved Sasha’s story even more, when looking back at the first half of the episode. The decision to hide away from her family and not return home was almost a dramatic one, if Sherman-Palladino wouldn’t have decided to make the revelation of the package such a hilarious one. But there is such an emotional subtext in the story, it makes me like Sasha even more, and with every episode. This kid has a troubled home life, and she tries her best to stay away from it, because she probably know she couldn’t handle the drama, if she were to become involved in it. Which is most likely why she threw herself at Michelle at the end, because she knew she had her mother figure back, as well as one more person she could hang out with who doesn’t ask too many question and maybe knows what it’s like to be a miserable teenager. I still want a spin-off focused on Sasha, but only because her character arc is the most dramatic one of the show, and I like my drama.
The opening dance number, showing the new viewers what the show is, reminded me a little bit of KINDERGARTEN COP, when John Kimble was able to get through to the kids, they liked him, and they were storming at him in celebration, while Kimble himself couldn’t believe the excitement around him, while he was getting buried under all those happy kids around him. That was almost the same when all of Michelle’s dancers were around her, closing out Björk’s number with the “Shhh” part, while Michelle probably was excited about that particular moment. The scene was made better by having Fanny watch it, and realize that Michelle was the best teacher for her students she could have ever hoped for. By the way, the ending of the episode, when Fanny said she may take some more time off, was pretty much teasing the fact that Kelly Bishop would go back to the East Coast during production, which means there will be a few more episodes without her.
Meanwhile, I was in love with the “You’re family” plot of the episode. It never came over in the first order of episodes for some reason, but finally Sherman-Palladino went into the notion of Michelle being part of the Flowers family, because she happened to be married into it. This story almost seemed like the resolution of whether Fanny would accept Michelle in Paradise, in her dance studio, at her home, and trust her with all of this. Certainly, Fanny was accepting Michelle before this episode already, but this episode served the final answer to that question, and Michelle can finally live out her fate of being a teacher, and she can focus on Paradise like she actually lives there. After eleven episodes, it was about time for that resolution of the story, and in hindsight I must say I’m glad that the writers took this much time to establish Michelle in Paradise, being a member of the Flowers clan, being a permanent teaching figure in the dance studio. It wouldn’t have been realistic, if it would have taken two, three, maybe four episodes.
Best part of the episode: The “It’s Time to Dance” video could have been easily annoying, but for some reason it wasn’t. It reminded me of the “FroyoYOLO” music video from LIV AND MADDIE, and while BUNHEADS managed to be less hilarious and awesome with “It’s Time to Dance,” there is still the same amount of awesome ridicule in it. A plus is that the episode ended with it and was being used to humiliate Michelle one final time before being welcomed home by her students.
Worst part of the episode: “Yo wanna see something?” I would have responded with “You wanna see my fist in your freaking face?” Yeah, maybe I should go to therapy to handle my sometimes violent tendencies in my mind, but damn was this magic show a waste of my time and anyone else’s.
Weirdest part of the episode: I always thought that Boo didn’t have her father around, and her mother was raising her kid by herself. But suddenly Boo has a pregnant mother and apparently a bunch of brothers as well. Did we know that Boo had brothers?
Player of the episode: Sasha managed to stay undercover in Paradise and no one but her closest friends noticed. That deserves respect and maybe a note by the IMF to hire her.