Bunheads (“It’s Not a Mint!”)

Season 1, Episode 17
Date of airing: February 18, 2013 (ABC Family)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.119 million viewers, 0.568 million with Adults 18-49, 0.4 rating with Adults 18-49

So, was this a bottle episode? Almost the entire thing was set in the dance studio, and with the premises of bottle episodes came the opportunity to throw the characters together and have them interact with each other, which is what bottle episodes should always do, and that is why I appreciate bottle episodes every once in a while, and shouldn’t be cursed away, because TV shows don’t have the budget. But this very much seemed like a bottle show — although BUNHEADS could be the definition of a show that gets shot in the studio, it was a show that never had any money, according to Amy Sherman-Palladino, so I could imagine that they tried their best to get everyone into one studio and shoot the entire episode there. Then again, this episode had a murderous amount of guest stars and extras. Cozette and Frankie make themselves more important in this episode, Bash returned, Talia stayed for the episode to get married, all the girls’ boyfriends came to visit, and even Boo’s parents and their two kids had a cameo appearance, all while Millie continued to be an issue in both Truly and Michelle’s lives. Putting a show into one set, but filling it up with all the characters you know doesn’t sound like a bottle show to me.

Every evacuation centre needs documentation by photographs.

It was a great episode though, and I was glad that’s the case, because the last couple of episodes weren’t my style at all. While the premise seemed a little nutty, I loved that everyone was in the same place, and I loved that Daniel Palladino used this opportunity to move forward some storylines. Sasha and Roman finally kissed (even though it didn’t happen in the evacuation center, but they kissed nonetheless), Melanie was about to get a boyfriend in Dez (I found the two mysteriously cute), Ginny will get her chances to hang out with Frankie like he’s the man of her dreams (according to her drooling face when she saw his abs), and Boo witnessed how two boys were literally fighting over her (that story vanished, after Jeffrey and Carl were finished doing their worst impressions of Tommy Lee Jones). Mr. Palladino cared about the bunheads in this episode, gave every one of them a story, and gave them the opportunity to react to each others’ stories. And it happened to be quite amusing. The shocked faces, when they realized that Melanie was looking at Dez like she was in love was hilarious. Cozette deciding to help out miserable Ginny was also entertaining, even if it meant that Mr. Palladino had to cut out the conflict between the two girls, or the fact that Cozette was literally stealing all of Ginny’s friends away from her. Unfortunately, no one really cared about Boo in this episode, except the two guy that were fighting over her. Shouldn’t that have been an important milestone in the characters’ lives? Should’t that have been the best thing in Boo’s life, even when no one cares about Jeffrey?

Meanwhile, the back and forth of Talia’s wedding was pretty solid. Once more I got the chance to adore the hell out of Truly (it might turn out she is my favorite character of the show), and I did like the story of Michelle being worried about Talia’s decision to get married to the old dude in a wheelchair, and inadvertently comparing herself with Talia, because if she gets married to a grandfather, she might end up being a young widow after a short while. That comparison was actually quite interesting in both women’s character arcs, because for one Talia and Michelle were brought down to the same level. They might have been friends all this time, they might have had the same job and dreams, and they might have been roommates, but this time they were very much likewise with their thoughts and life situations. Like Michelle, Talia wanted to change her life and be a normal person with a quite life, getting settled, maybe even have kids. And like Michelle, Talia might end up being alone again, even if she happened to get married a few minutes from now. Talia and Michelle were different people in previous episodes, but in this hour, they were each other’s literal equals, and that nicely defined their friendship. Also, I loved the running gag of Truly cutting in every time Michelle talked to Talia. Truly really wanted to be the maid of honor, and she really needed to have a friend. Truly was obsessed in finding a friend to hang with, because she never managed to talk to her sister about stuff.

Tommy Lee Jones and Tommy Lee Jones act for the heart of a young woman.

The rest of the episode was okay. Michelle apparently thought that just because she found a condom in the dressing room, it must have belonged to one of the four main bunheads of the show, forgetting that she was teaching a couple dozen other students as well, who might have accidentally dropped the condom. While I loved Michelle’s preventive maneuvers by dragging the guys’ beds away from the girls, her decision to just drop the condom in front of the four girls and not saying anything seemed a bit dumb. Though it was hilarious that seconds later, she took the condom again, saw Godot, and figured that he looked hot in the fireman outfit, and needed to get naughty with him right after. Also, if Bash would have had been less Kirk in this episode, that would have been great. When Bash was blasting on Michelle for signing in any person whose name did not end with the last three letters of the alphabet, I was hearing Kirk. Which means Mr. Palladino was unable to separate Kirk from Bash. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is lazy writing.

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