Bunheads (“Next!”)

Season 1, Episode 18
Date of airing: February 25, 2013 (ABC Family)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.012 million viewers, 0.531 million viewers with Adults 18-49, 0.4 rating with Adults 18-49

And it didn’t even feel like a season finale. The episode ended like any other one which had Sasha close out on the episode, although this episode decided to take the more dramatic route and chose Ginny for the episode closer and for her to cry into Michelle’s shoulders, all while Amy Sherman-Palladino somewhat makes a stand of young girls feeling the need to sexualize themselves, just to feel vindicated by the boys they like. I’m sure the story was kind of a criticism towards this social standard, in which women always have to be ready for sex (even if they simply want it, even if it’s with their significant others, even if they are truly interested and factually and emotionally ready for it), but also have to deal with the emotional consequences, while the boys simply can walk away after sex. It’s a game of expectations that the women will always lose, and it’s an interesting story to bring up in a show that is about teenagers most of the time, because it’s an important topic. Now I would have wished for BUNHEADS not to have been cancelled after this episode, I would have loved to see how Sherman-Palladino had continued the storyline, and if she would have continued the message of girls having to make their own decisions for themselves, and not for the guys they were hanging out with. Also, with sex finally having arrived in the bunheads’ lives, it would have made a complex mess out of them, and I would have loved to know how they would have grown through it during a second season. Had there been pregnancy involved in the narrative? Would there be jealousy even after the girls realized that the boys they call “boyfriend” turn out to be dicks?

It was a pretty good episode, but there was absolutely nothing that made it look like a season finale, which made me wonder if the network was cutting two episodes for budgetary reasons, and Sherman-Palladino was unable to fix the narrative. Usually, ABC Family was ordering their seasons in two blocks with ten episodes each, but the second block of BUNHEADS only had eight episodes, so one might wonder if two episodes got lost during the negotiations behind closed doors. A question that needs some answering, although I’m not sure if the answer would even satisfy me.

Michelle will go into nude pic hell for this!

Anyway, I liked the episode, because it went through some different stuff than previous episodes. The girls stayed together, even during their road trip to Los Angeles, stalking Michelle, and Michelle herself became more of a family member of this little gang of Paradise, with Sasha entrusting her with the talk about sex on Sunday afternoon, and Ginny entrusting her with the fact that she lost her virginity a week ago. Also, I loved the closing dance sequence, which made me even more sad that there wasn’t another season of the show, even if the dance number was less ballet and more contemporary dance, which I don’t have a problem with.

So, the girls followed Michelle to Los Angeles and witnessed her audition process, which I found intriguing, because in a way it was bookending the season (the only point to argue that this episode was indeed the season finale). In the pilot, Michelle was teaching the girls how an audition usually goes, and at the end of the season the girls got to see with their own eyes how an audition goes, and Michelle was living it, with all the disappointment that were to be expected. Even I was mad when the actual dancers of the show showed up and it was explained to Michelle that the director was casting the already known faces and that the entire audition process was a waste of time, and I’m surprised and impressed that Michelle wasn’t going through a Hulkian tirade. I’m almost sure that Melanie would have given the director or the dancers a lesson like she did a few episodes ago, when she “punished” Godot and her brother’s ex-girlfriend. A scene I would have loved to see, because it would have thrown the girls front and center into the Los Angeles story, because all the time they were only in the background, inactively looking, and I really wanted for Michelle to see the girls and witness that they care about her, that she is being cheered on in the background (which maybe might be something Michelle really needs right now).

I was hoping for Boo to get the power over Sasha in the scene, during which Boo just wanted to audition, because it would have changed the girls from passive to active in that story, which would have worked a little better, if the girls were actively involved in the audition process. Even Michelle was passively involved, since she was following each step like she was supposed to. No words to the director, except her introduction (“Hi, my name is Michelle Sims!” — mirroring the three dream sequences she had auditioning previously), no words when she realized that the audition was a waste of time, almost even no disappointment in her face, because maybe she was expecting this to happen. I would have wondered though if Michelle started to grow some confidence out of the audition process. She survived the initial line-up, she survived the first choreography, and she even survived the individual audition, after which the pianist was telling her how great she was. If the dancers wouldn’t have been set since the beginning, maybe Michelle would have had a shot, and maybe that was the knowledge Michelle needed to gather to accept that she might still have it, and that she can still perform. That she still has a future on Broadway (or off Broadway), if she can work it out. The fact that the casting director already set the dancers might have broken her spirit here, which is why I was disappointed that Michelle didn’t even realize she got this far. Yes, the audition was a sham, but she still impressed someone to get to the position of singing in front of the cliched group of the guy on his phone and other people continuously talking to each other.

Which condom to buy – a question on existential crisis.

Meanwhile, the episode was focusing on the Stone sisters, making me wonder if Millie was planned to be a main character in the next season. Liza Weil had a huge presence these past few episodes, so the thought of her becoming part of the main cast was definitely there. I loved the peace moment between Millie and Truly, and I kinda loved that the two were simultaneously realizing they had a crush on Michelle’s brother, essentially repeating the back story of Truly and Millie having had a love for Hubble. This is a story that would have been told in the second season, for sure, and it’s a story I probably would have liked, because for some reason I actually liked Scotty in this episode. Who also would have potentially been a more recurring character with the next season. Now I’m not wondering anymore why the writers kept the character in the show — it looks like he was being kept warm for a potential upgrade in the second season that never happened.

Even though BUNHEADS has never been a great show, and the only great episode was the midseason finale, I will sort of miss it anyway, because it focused on the friendship between a group of girls, without borrowing too much from the treasure box of tropes. I loved their sleepover midway through the episode, because it’s something I barely get to see on television, and I would have liked to see far more of it. I would have loved for Cozette to have been included in the group, and I would have loved to see more scenes in which the girls were talking about their boyfriends, or simply just about random topics they were coming up with during their regular hangouts and sleepovers, in which Sasha will have had more opportunities to look and behave like a 1950s housewife, baking all those muffins. I would have loved to see Melanie and Cozette be more than friends, and I would have loved to see Boo and Carl making it in this universe of relationships. I guess the show will live on in my mind from here on.

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.

Bunheads (“There’s Nothing Worse Than a Pantsuit”)

Season 1, Episode 16
Date of airing: February 11, 2013 (ABC Family)
Nielsen ratings information: 0.967 million viewers, 0.560 million viewers with Adults 18-49, 0.4 rating with Adults 18-49

This episode bored me. It showed that the writers didn’t know what they were supposed to do with the characters. And I thought that Amy Sherman-Palladino knew what worked and what didn’t after the first ten episodes, but now I’m getting the feeling she never did, because everything seems so goalless at this point. Two episodes I thought that Melanie might be gay and have a crush on Cozette, but that story got lost quickly thereafter, making me think that the writers never planned for it, even if it had the attempt to be part of the narrative. Melanie’s roller derby thing could have been a thing for a few episodes, but that story has been lost as well and was barely mentioned in this episode (pretty much just twice — one Melanie got the pictures, the other when she tried to invite Ginny, and both plot devices were hereto make Ginny feel uncomfortable and lonely). And in the meantime, Talia returns for another storyline set outside Paradise, which had absolutely no effect on Michelle as a character. At the same time, Sasha finally has her first real boyfriend and while her story started like she was uncertain of how to be a girlfriend, or how to behave in a romantic relationship, the story was dropped, as soon as Roman took a seat at the table and did not make himself useful as a character among the band of friends. This episode was kind of a waste of time.

They try the dating game one step at a time.

Maybe this episode was just about Ginny, since she seemed like the only one the writers were interested writing about. I sort of liked her story, because it might have been a narrative that pushes the show into a different direction — focusing on other forms of performances, maybe even focusing on some of the other bunheads, after Sasha and Boo have been kind of the main characters of the show during the first half of the season. The former made me like Ginny’s audition for her audition in front of Michelle, making this seem like a truly hard test to pass before she can go on and be a high school theater star, but the latter comes a little too late, although I can’t blame the show for at least trying to get either Ginny or Melanie into the spotlight now, after they have barely been given back stories during the summer episodes. Also, Ginny’s audition in front of Melanie made me think about Michelle for a few seconds, as she felt like she was wasting her time as well, sitting there and witnessing the rise and fall and rise again of a teenager trying out for a musical theater production. At least Ginny’s audition in front of Michelle was used for a story that involves Michelle, and “Bells Are Ringing” might be a plot device to have Michelle realizing that she needs to step it up, when teenagers are overtaking her on the highway of dance and theater productions.

The entire episode should have been focused on Ginny, because I got the feeling that her fear of losing her best friends was merely a third-row issue for the writers here, when it was a great-enough premise to be the A story. There was some drama in Ginny realizing that Boo had her guy, that Sasha was about to get her guy, and that apparently even Melanie had her guy, which surprised me (I still believe that Melanie was supposed to be gay, and maybe some of the network executives said “Hell to the no!”), which meant Ginny she was the only one left behind, after she broke up with Josh, couldn’t get anything started with Charlie, and now can’t get close to Frankie, simply because Ginny is too weird to be a confident person, and because maybe Cozette is as terrifying to Ginny as Michelle was before she started her audition piece. This was a Ginny-focused episode without the writers realizing it, making it a bit more of a bore than it could have been if the blonde bunhead had been front and center with all of her awkward troubles, including the audition, which should have been the center piece of the entire episode.

Town meeting in the dance studio.

Meanwhile, Michelle’s story was forgettable. It started off as a carbon copy of Lorelai having troubles with Taylor to get some sort of approval of the Dragonfly Inn in the fourth season of GILMORE GIRLS, and it even ended in almost the same fashion, because the person that stood between Lorelai and her Inn, and in this episode between Michelle and her amphitheater, were able to be swayed by one little piece of information that made them either feel better (Taylor getting something from Lorelai in return) or worse (Sal’s nude pictures which Millie apparently had?). It wasn’t much of an exciting storyline, because really, there weren’t a lot of stakes in that story. Yes, without the amphitheater, Michelle and Fanny won’t have the opportunity to raise their income, and while that part of the premise has been repeated in the “Previously on” part, it never seems to be a topic within the dialogue scenes between the characters. Besides that, the theater never seems to be the number one priority for the dance school – Michelle is too focused on dealing with Talia and her own dreams to work on the amphitheater, and the project itself has kind of been delegated to a recurring character, while the other half of the main pair of characters is in and out of the show due to other commitments by the actress. It’s a weird narrative.

Talia’s return to Paradise could also have been meaningless, but in hindsight it woke up Michelle, together with Ginny’s audition success (thankfully). Talia was never anything more than a character to remind Michelle who and where she is, and who and where she wants to be, but for this episode the writers tried to separate her from Michelle and give her an own tiny character arc by getting engaged and then getting the opportunity for a touring musical. Yet at the end of the episode it was all about Michelle again, and Talia’s decision whether to accept or decline the offer was dropped by the writers, which means the chance to have Talia be her own character was burned as well. And for some reason I cared less about Michelle and Talia’s relationship, which is another weird thing I can’t explain about the show, and doesn’t bode well for BUNHEADS as a whole.

It’s the audition before the audition.

Best part of the episode: Some of the recurring characters are great. Carl was golden in this episode, as he was the right amount of annoying to people (especially to Jeffrey), as well as a great guy in general, who just wanted to hang with his girlfriend and be supporting and nice while breaking the girls’ rules about the lunch table. I have no idea if I generally prefer Carl over Talia, or if it’s the way those two characters have been written for this episode, but they happened to be making the difference here.
Worst part of the episode: The whole meeting with the council was beyond reasoning. Yeah, it’s a carbon copy of a GILMORE GIRLS plot (BUNHEADS is still in its infancy and it already has to recycle plots from that other show), but Sam and Sal turned into characters I could have shot to the moon during this episode. That’s when the writers overdid it.
Weirdest part of the episode: I have no idea if Sasha is scared of a functioning relationship with Roman, or if she is just weird about certain aspects of a relationship. She doesn’t seem to have a problem going with him, but the hand thing is difficult? She has it easy to declare Roman her boyfriend to her friends, but having an actual relationship is the thing that gives her problems?
Player of the episode: Hats off to Bailey Buntain (now Bailey De Young) delivering a solid teenage-like performance of that “Bells Are Ringing” number. Turns out some of the cast were also hired for their musical talents.

Bunheads (“Take the Vicuna”)

Season 1, Episode 15
Date of airing: February 4, 2013 (ABC Family)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.087 million viewers, 0.510 million viewers with Adults 18-49, 0.4 rating with Adults 18-49

This seemed like a three-part episode, making this somewhat of an unusual hour of television. The first third seemed to be all about Ginny’s hate for Cozette, and how the latter was destructing the former’s circle of friends, while the last third was all about how it feels to live alone as a kid, while your parents have left you behind, and that loneliness never disappears, even after you have grown into adulthood. And the middle part was all about the craziness that came from Millie, and how she figured it was a great idea to be a villain, and to be hated by everyone, because not only is time money, but hate is also money. Three distinctive storylines, and each of them could have filled their own hour of television.

I still absolutely adore Sasha’s storyline. Being a 16-year-old high school student and ballet dancer with her own apartment, because her parents moved on without her, is intriguing, because it’s where the teenage angst comes from, which Amy Sherman-Palladino probably doesn’t know how to handle as a writer. It’s nice to see that at least one show from her manages to get the angst into the storytelling, and with Sasha and Michelle’s unique emotional connection, as well as Sasha’s general weirdness as a character, it makes it all worthwhile for me. The only thing I didn’t really need in Sasha’s story though was Roman, and how the two angrily and loudly decided that Friday night was the best time for a date. Teenage angst and stereotypical teenage romance storylines probably don’t fit together well, but I guess I don’t have to get into it here, because there are only three more episodes, so I don’t have to fear Sasha and Roman in a relationship, plagued by the tropes of the genre. Still, I loved the moments, when Sasha turned happy after seeing Michelle arrive at her party, or even telling her about the invitation, and I adored seeing her on Michelle’s couch at the end — because not even Sasha, who wants to look cool and mysterious and be the rebel, wants to not be alone tonight. Not while her life is transforming.

Sasha would really like you to show her bar on a mirror.

At the end of the episode, I even figured that Michelle might become Sasha’s guardian at one point, considering the writers put the guardian story of Scotty and his mother in this episode. Sasha might be 16 years old and I have no idea how she was able to score an apartment all on her own (I guess her absent parents are paying for everything), but at one point her non-emancipation had to bite her into the rear end, which is why I started believing that this episode planted the seeds for Sasha’s rescue, while Sasha can have a mother who’s there for her, and Michelle can have a daughter, because it looks like she will never have kids on her own, as time is running out for her.

Anyway, the mom drama in the final third of the episode was pretty good, but I didn’t particularly care for it. Of course Michelle needed some more drama in her life, because it looked like everything was going strongly for her lately. Minus points for Scotty “kidnapping” her to Sacramento though – I thought they were understanding each other after the previous episode, but I guess Scotty still has some ironing to do with Michelle, and the introduction of their mother seemed like the best way to create some more conflict, even if it means Scotty might be hanging around a little longer and that is not really such a good idea. Scotty has not been the greatest character for these two episodes and I wouldn’t mind if the man disappears again.

Mother and daughter are so close, yet so far apart.

Meanwhile, Millie annoyed me in this episode. I’m pretty sure Liza Weil would have annoyed me the same, if she had been Paris Geller in this hour, because her behavior was utter crap. First of all, it was super predictable that she would pull out a notepad and continuously write stuff, when she decided she would be witnessing the rehearsal. Secondly, it was obvious that Fanny would be freaking mad as hell about it. Thirdly, it was obvious that Millie just wanted to make something big out of her name without having to do anything for it. But unfortunately, the writers missed the comedy in the plot. Maybe it would have been funny to see Millie being excited about the ballet — witnessing something she has never witnessed before, so she can’t shut up about it. Or maybe the episode should have had one visual gag I was thinking about during the rehearsal, which I almost saw coming, because one shot of a dancer’s head concealed the notebook Millie was writing on, and I was wondering how funny it could have been if Millie had written two or three or five or 100 notebooks by now (it would have been a hell of a long rehearsal). While I was glad that Fanny got something to do in this episode after being absent for a few since the second half of the season started, this might have been the wrong story to do so. But I did realize that the writers were putting some criticism out into the open when it comes to “producing.” So, what do people really thing about other people who throw money into a production and then start demanding being treated like a royal person?

Millie works hard to get a top spot for the producer’s rehearsal.

And finally, I still kinda like that Ginny tried to get herself against Cozette, even though Cozette happened to be the most lovely young woman in the recurring cast member pool right now. On the other side of the medallion, I was disappointed that the LGBT-friendly sub tone of Melanie and Cozette’s story wasn’t picked up in this episode. It looks like the writers wasn’t planning with a gay Melanie at all, which is a shame. It’s all I was excited for, but nothing came of it in this hour.

Best part of the episode: Cozette and Aubrey were hilarious in this episode. Cozette randomly and unprompted drops an “I’m Cozette” during one of the rehearsals, and Aubrey continuously introduced herself to Ginny, even though you could have confused Aubrey for a stalker. It’s the weird comedy I sometimes prefer.
Worst part of the episode: Scotty is not the finest character in the show right now, but it’s not like he is the only worse character in the mix. So here you two are, Scotty and Millie, and I hope you get married and have many evil kids. I think the twenty-first century needs a remake of DENNIS THE MENACE, and Scotty and Millie’s son would be perfect for that role.
Weirdest part of the episode: I still can’t get over the fact that Sasha got an apartment this awesome and apparently has all the money in the world to spend to make her apartment look as rad as possible.
Player of the episode: Scotty somehow managed to kidnap Michelle to Sacramento. The fact that he was not picked up by police is miraculous. Or maybe just a talent by the guy, who knows.

Bunheads (“The Astronaut and the Ballerina”)

Season 1, Episode 14
Date of airing: January 28, 2013 (ABC Family)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.115 million viewers, 0.563 million viewers with Adults 18-49, 0.4 rating with Adults 18-49

For a while I thought that BUNHEADS is more than just a solid show, because it was hammering out one solid episode after another, without a lot of weaknesses towards the bottom. But with the actual season finale approaching, maybe the writers didn’t have much of a clue as to how to approach the characters and keep the show going. Because this episode felt like an effort to find out what the show can be about, if the show wasn’t about ballet all the time. This episode seemed like a step towards a direction of making BUNHEADS a show with variety in the stories, so that the Palladinos didn’t have to deal with dancing and teenage romance all the time. Actually, I’m surprised how good GILMORE GIRLS was from the beginning, because the Palladinos managed to create storylines from the beginning and they created this smalltown feeling that created a whole different genre for the show, but 14 episodes into BUNHEADS and I am not seeing that. Yeah, the stories are there, but somehow I don’t know if they mean anything and I’m unable to connect to the characters.

At least Melanie had the biggest story of all the bunheads this time around, which seemed like a surprise, considering the way she has been treated as a character by the writers over the course of the first ten episodes. Unfortunately, her Hulkian tendencies in the previous episode only led to the Roller Derby in this episode, which seemed a bit tame because it didn’t do a lot with Melanie as a character. She looked like she was having fun, but she wasn’t connecting with the characters over there, and I didn’t even get the rules and meaning of Roller Derby. As someone who has been subjected to Roller Derby for the first or second time in my life (it was part of a date in a recent episode of THE BACHELORETTE), I still don’t know what this sport is. But there was something to the story that made me wonder if Amy was trying to make her work more LGBT friendly. That little nod to Cozette during her first rolling experience almost looked like Amy was planning to couple up Melanie and Cozette – especially when both tried to talk to each other right before the ballet lesson, but Ginny got in the way with her troubles which I didn’t get at all. Considering that Amy and the other writers didn’t give Melanie a guy so far in this show, it would almost show that she was indeed gay, and that the story was about to come to fruition now, with the help of Cozette.

Siblings can’t stop talking even though they have to get to work.

Who happened to be taking Melanie away from the main characters now. At first it was the school and various students. Then it was ballet. Then it was Fanny, and maybe even Michelle. Then it was Matisse in the previous episode, and now she seemed to have successfully taken over Melanie’s life. Maybe Cozette is the relationship destroyer, and she steals all she can get and cocoons it in her own way, so she can keep it forever, but maybe Cozette is just a happy-go-lucky young woman, who might be gay, and who might have a bit of an interest in Melanie. And maybe Melanie has been closeted this far in her life, or she is simply just starting to realize her sexuality for the first time. It looks like Cozette has been thrown into the show for some specific reason after all, which makes me happy, even if Cozette hasn’t broken out of this “weird character” moment at all so far.

Meanwhile, it was Ginny who weirded me out in this episode. I guess it was important for the Palladinos to show that she was about to lose her friends, when she needed them the most, and while I was impressed by Ginny’s long, uncut monologue about whatever she was talking about before Frankie interrupted her, I didn’t get at all what all of this was about. A wedding. A wedding dress. Being a bridesmaid. Um, okay, so where exactly was the problem and what did it have to do with Melanie? I probably spaced out for a second or two, when Ginny was going crazy during her monologues, but that happened because I was unable to connect with the characters. Still, the notion of Ginny losing her friends to Cozette (whom she might see as a villain now, but maybe just because her brother happened to be interested in conversing with her) is interesting. Maybe Ginny will turn into the jealous type, if Melanie and Cozette really were supposed to come together in a romantic relationship, and Ginny is being threatened with losing all of her friends when she is in need of them right now.

Roller Derby is going to be brutal today.

And then there was the arrival of Scott, which also weirded me out. Apparently he and Michelle were perfect siblings for a long time, but then all of a sudden, a conflict arose, and it was all about Michelle having to prove that she will make it in Paradise, so her big brother won’t have to make jokes about her all the time. I get that Michelle was subconsciously hurt by Scott’s jokes, but why was it blowing up in such a scene near the end of the episode? And why did Scott turn out to be an awful character in that scene, when he was pleasant throughout the first half of the episode? Has Michelle been burying her feelings for all these years and they were about to burst out like magma out of a volcano?

I must say though, I’m impressed about how the show has been handling the Michelle/Godot coupling. The two already had a moment, and if it wouldn’t have been for the macing incident, maybe she would have given him a goodbye fuck before he went to Australia. But the writers made him smart, and the writers grew him up from the moment he stood shirtless in front of Boo to give her life support. As if he turned out to be the best character on the show, after he started BUNHEADS as this sexy boy everyone was swooning over, which he definitely realized was happening and he might have been happy about that kind of attention. But that all means the writers may have rewritten and rebooted the character slightly between the Nutcracker disaster and the eleventh episode, simply because maybe Godot was destined to be Michelle’s love interest, but he couldn’t be that while also being an uninteresting surfer dude.

And then there was Boo, who definitely had the better story of the episode. The “flash-forwards” into her future life with Carl and three kids was kind of hilarious. Carl bitching that those kids weren’t his and Boo’s made me laugh, because that was the moment he went back to the present timeline of his life — he woke up from the future trance and went back to his real life, and he didn’t have any intent of saving Boo out of that future trance. And of course the kids needed to be assholes all the time, although I would have loved to see how Beaver would have turned out as a dancer. Boo should have left him on the stage, and Michelle should have realized Beaver had hidden talents — maybe that would have made the story a little more hilarious. Boo blowing up on Jordan was also a great scene, and it fit with the tone of her being a more mature person in this episode. She not only had three kids for an hour of television, but she also reprimanded the mean Jordan like she was his mother.

The evil dance instructor finally gets his attitude cleaned by Boo.

Best part of the episode: The end credits scene was meaningless, but it delivered an idea of BUNHEADS having hilarious end credit scenes, putting the spin on a joke of the episode. It’s one of the better ideas that has come out of BUNHEADS lately, which is why it’s such a shame that it wasn’t a permanent thing.
Worst part of the episode: Yeah, maybe it was that huge argument between Michelle and Scott at the end. It could have meant so much for Michelle as a character in the show, but it did not work for me. It was also sort of hypocritical of Michelle to blast Scott for making jokes while she wants to do her job, when it was her who made jokes to Fanny as she was doing her job.
Weirdest part of the episode: Roller Derby. What is this sport and can I do it, too?
Player of the episode: It’s Melanie’s first real story of the show, which is the best thing that could have happened to her, now that she had time to be given a story (because Sasha was absent for this hour). Please, more of Melanie, and quickly.

Bunheads (“I’ll Be Your Meyer Lansky”)

Season 1, Episode 13
Date of airing: January 21, 2013 (ABC Family)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.127 million viewers, 0.580 million viewers with Adults 18-49, 0.5 rating with Adults 18-49

It was a solid episode, but I was unable to get to all the storylines of the hour. At least the writers tried to bring Melanie front and center, give her a story and develop her as a character, even though I still don’t see her as one of the main characters of the show, despite the fact that she has always been part of the main bunheads of the show. Still, Melanie’s sudden care for her failure of a brother seemed out of character, even if her moments of action, when she violently took revenge of the people who failed her family and friends, were pretty cool. When she pulled Charlie’s ex-girlfriend down to the floor, I almost laughed out loud (thanks to it being a completely unexpected moment), but when she ripped the chair away from Godot, I was actually laughing. The story turned even more amusing, when she said she saw herself as Hulk, and that she couldn’t help herself. But yeah, either Melanie was acting out of character in these Hulk moments, or the writers finally gave her a character trait, in which she will turn into the Hulk, when someone hurts her brother or her friends. It’s a nice character trait, but unfortunately it is one that came a little too late to the party. Was there no other story during the previous twelve episodes for which Melanie could have turned into a raging Hulk?

Introduce things that are in your way into an impromptu dance.

I was happy to see that Cozette and Frankie continued to be part of the story. Cozette taking over Paradise, and the girls commenting that exact fact, amused me, and I must say I kinda like Cozette, because she happened to be the perfect character. She has no faults at all, there is no drama with her, and the world brightens up when she is around. Maybe television needs a character like her every once in a while, whether she will be used for humorous effects or simply just as a character, who proves that there can still be bright spots in the world, kind of like Kimmy Schmidt. I can only hope though that Cozette won’t have a dance number in every episode now. Just because one of your cast members happens to be an alumni of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE doesn’t mean you have to use her in every episode to sell her talents to the viewers, even if her dances happen to be pretty great. It makes her character look like that her portrayer was cast for one thing only: her abilities to put on a good dance show. I laughed when Cozette and Frankie won trivia night though — were they even playing? Were they even in the Oyster bar during trivia night? Dammit, these two are just too perfect. Which is why I hope that Ginny won’t end up with Frankie, because then she would have peaked with her men — half a season after Michelle told her to get out there and collect some experience.

Meanwhile, I loved seeing Michelle and Fanny together, planning for the future. The amphitheater was indeed a nice idea, and the premise of the two getting a partner in to get the finances and immediately build an amphitheater was also not a wrong one, although one might question if Millie was the right kind of partner to get the project started. The story was generally great, because the writers were finally going into the economics of things for once. All the time characters on scripted shows have land that should be worth millions, but they don’t do anything with it, and I question how they were able to keep their land, not get broke in the process. I was thinking the same when Michelle was touring the land in the third episode, hearing about how costly it might be to keep it standing. I’m glad to see the writers didn’t forget that story and picked it up again here. And with it, the writers even created a storyline to keep themselves busy with for a few episodes, maybe even for an entire season, if BUNHEADS would have ever scored a second season.

Melanie hulked out.

Sasha’s storyline is still dramatic, but I don’t know if it was such a good idea to mostly end the episodes with her and another twist to her story. I like her, and I like the drama, so I don’t give a damn if the episodes always end with her, but generally speaking, other people might not be entertained by the fact that episodes always end with the same character and an evolution of the same story. It might also be considered lazy writing, even if the writers room has realized that it’s fun and great to write for Julia Torres. Still, Sasha being thrown in front of a decision to make was pretty great, though now I’m waiting for Michelle to offer Sasha to crash at her place, or to secretly sleep in the dance studio and no one notices. That she would have to learn how to support herself is a great premise though. It might end how LIFE UNEXPECTED started, but still, Sasha is about to grow up quickly.

And finally, there were the little things. I still love Truly, and maybe I started to love her a little more in this episode. “I’m stuck” was funny as hell, and I start to really adore Stacey Oristano, but maybe it’s just the way she portrayed her character. Her complicated relationship with Millie interested me more in this episode than the previous one, and it almost seemed like Millie was guaranteed to be in the show for a little longer than just the usual three or four-episode arc. Also, I liked that Godot came back, was made smarter, and wasn’t just thrown back into the show being Michelle’s love interest. Okay, he is her love interest, but the writers weren’t bringing them together immediately. Sometimes, shows do look better when the writers try not to serve up tropes.

To the Millicent Stone Art Threater!

Best part of the episode: Cozette and Matisse did a number “inside” Sparkles. It looked better than I thought it would be, although it’s about time that either Fanny or Michelle comment about the dances their students deliver on the fly.
Worst part of the episode: While I appreciate the inclusion of some economics in this episode, the way the writers pushed Eric’s boring economics lesson to be hilarious was just awful. The guy could have been a hero to those woman by using easy English language to the two that couldn’t keep their heads up, but no, the writers had to be “funny” about this one. Hell, Eric didn’t even figure that the amphitheater was a good idea, and all Fanny and Michelle needed was a bit of start-up money. He did not support the women in the slightest.
Weirdest part of the episode: Wait, Godot let a sure thing go with Michelle, just because she decided to be a little dumb during the trivia night scene? I cannot believe that Godot is a man who doesn’t take the first-best opportunity, as soon as the woman enters the fray.
Player of the episode: Melanie avenged her loved ones, and for that she deserves this useless internet point. Now I want to see Melanie smash up some weird dudes. Roller derby is boring, she should do some kickboxing instead.

Bunheads (“Channing Tatum is a Fine Actor”)

Season 1, Episode 12
Date of airing: January 14, 2013 (ABC Family)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.067 million viewers, 0.552 million viewers with Adults 18-49, 0.4 rating with Adults 18-49 (0.4 rating)

This episode established two true facts: Channing Tatum is indeed a fine actor, and the song Cozette danced to was indeed trippy. So much that I will probably get the song right away after I posted this review, because if you wanna know some things about me, one thing is that I love these sort of songs. And my playlist needs some new songs, so I’m glad that television offers to raise the number of songs in my playlist.

This was quite a solid episode, although I wasn’t as much interested in all the teen relationship drama than I would have been, if this were a real drama series. While I liked Carl in this episode, as well as the depiction of differences between Carl’s and Boo’s parents, their romance seemed not like much of a highlight. Same goes with Roman and Sasha, but Michelle or Sasha’s life continue to block Roman having some alone time with Sasha, which I sort of like, because I don’t really wanna see her in a relationship for some reason (her other drama worries are more interesting, I guess). Also, the “crush” thing between Frankie and Ginny might be okay, because Ginny needs her next man in a row of men, but Frankie was too weird to be considered an interesting character, and so far I have never been able to see in Ginny more than just a character serving some weird and unusual laughs. After all, the writers have almost always focused on Sasha when they wanted dramatic storytelling, while the other three bunheads were given LOL moments.

Take a good look at the new girl, because she will twist your world.

Then again, I liked Cozette and Frankie together — the mysterious pair of siblings arriving in Paradise and cleaning house, basically. I loved that the girls were immediately jealous of the perfection these two new hot students were radiating, and I liked that the two delivered some lasting impressions on the characters. Okay, Ginny got the biggest load of impression in this episode, but there was a moment of the girls being completely in awe of Cozette’s change of clothes, language skills and the trippy dance, as if she was a magic person, pulling everyone who was looking at her under her spell. Even I felt like that, but only because Cozette happened to be an attractive young lady, and the dance happened to be pretty awesome (mostly thanks to the song). In a way, I could completely understand why Cozette and Frankie were so fascinating to the characters. In Frankie’s case, I liked the very short depiction of the picture he scribbled together of Ginny and her friends. Those two better be recurring, because otherwise their appearance in this episode was more than worthless, especially for Ginny’s sake. And yeah, maybe it’s a good idea to have a bit of competition going on during dance classes.

Meanwhile, I continued to fall in love with Truly, who decided to take over Michelle’s guest house, introduce Michelle to her evil and hardcore sister (as if Liza Weil never changed out of her Paris Gellar costume) — the general feeling of their friendship growing with each episode is to my liking, especially compared to how distant ad adversary they were during the beginning of the show. Truly and Michelle started off as competition for Hubble’s heart, even after his death, but twelve episodes in, they could almost be inseparable, because Truly needs Michelle to stay afloat in Paradise, and Michelle needs Truly, because Michelle doesn’t have any other friends. Also, Stacey Oristano was probably thanking Kelly Bishop for her engagement in the East Coast during production of this season, because if Fanny was unavailable for the writers, they needed another character to interact with Michelle, and Truly was the most logical choice, as she was always available. I was surprised to hear that the evil landlady was actually Truly’s sister, besides the realization that I suddenly understood the difficult relationship between Truly and her sister. It’s just a shame that Michelle was buried under the meanness as well — how great would it have been, if Michelle would have succeeded reconnecting the two estranged sisters, helping Truly in the progress. Then again, the idea of Truly’s store being in Michelle’s house sort of excites me. There are running gags hiding behind that idea.

A painting of friends.

Family date night with Boo was pretty good. Of course Daniel Palladino wanted to make sure that Carl’s family was as distancing as possible, while Boo’s parents were as lovable as anyone could have imagined, but I also appreciated that the misunderstanding about Carl wanting to marry Boo wasn’t blown out of proportions. I also found Boo’s way of getting Carl close to her, so she could kiss him, quite sweet – I envy the two. But the only thing this story did for me during this episode was to establish that Carl and Boo were serious with each other, and that the writers weren’t blowing it up between seasons just for the sake of drama.

And then there was Sasha, who got some really bad news at the end of the episode, as if a Palladino show still needs cliffhangers. First of all, I still love the idea of Sasha and Michelle seeing each other as mother and daughter all the way through (Michelle even wanted to give Sasha “the talk,” which could have been great if delivered), which probably means that, if Sasha’s parents really move away and sell the house, Sasha might be able to crash permanently with Michelle, giving the writers an opportunity to harden the mother/daughter relationship between the two. Michelle married Hubble, because her previous life was crap. She could have had a husband, and the thoughts of having kids could have been created. But even though Hubble is dead, it doesn’t mean that Michelle can’t have any kids. Not that I’m expecting for Michelle to adopt Sasha or anything like that, but a mother/daughter relationship, without Sasha and Michelle actually being daughter and mother, could be a fascinating way to tell their story. After all, Michelle was already “ruining” Sasha’s hope to pork with Roman on a regular basis, like a mother would do. Like Sasha’s mother should have been doing.

Hello, let’s be friends!

Best part of the episode: The song choice for Cozette’s “opening” number gave me chills. I love it when television introduces me to lovable artists in the music business. Without DAWSON’S CREEK I wouldn’t have found a tenth of current artists in my library, and thanks to THE O.C. I found the other five-tenths. Now I need to remember to also watch ABC Family and Freeform shows, just in case I really need some new music to listen to.
Worst part of the episode: Carl’s mother deserves to be cancelled. Is Alex Borstein ever going to be able to play a character I will like?
Weirdest part of the episode: I don’t get the thing between Roman and Sasha. Either they are in love and hang out when it isn’t night and when Michelle isn’t around, or they are just weird characters wanting to have a chat every once in a while.
Player of the episode: Liza Weil naturally wins this meaningless internet points, because Liza Weil.