Indoor Cat's Guide to Geekery

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Indoor Cat’s Guide to… Bunheads

Bunheads is a new show on ABC Family, premiering Monday June 11th at 9/8c. It’s the story of a Las Vegas showgirl who is frustrated with her life and decides (drunkenly) to marry her admirer, Hubble Flowers, and move to his coastal hometown, called Paradise. There she meets his mother, Fanny, who has her own dance studio.It stars Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop, and was created by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino.

I watched a sneak peek of the pilot, and I cannot wait for the second episode! It’s got charm, it’s got heart, it’s got humor, it’s got a little ridiculousness- all things I value dearly. It has a heavy Gilmore Girls vibe to it, and yet I think people who didn’t like Gilmore Girls could still enjoy Bunheads because it does have enough differences to not be quite so… well, annoying. Lauren Graham could be crazy annoying at times. Sutton Foster, on the other hand, I think will be simply lovely. I haven’t seen her in much before- she’s a Broadway actress- but she did play CoCo on Flight of the Conchords, so she’s gotta have some acting chops, right?

Sutton Foster plays Michelle, the showgirl frustrated with her life. She can’t get auditions, and when she does, she’s dismissed without even being given the chance to dance. She trained at the American Ballet Theatre and had great promise, but screwed up when she was young and followed her friend out to Vegas for the money and lifestyle. It was great while she was young, but now that she’s in her 30s, it’s not the lifestyle she wants.

In Paradise, Hubble Flowers is living with his mother Fanny (Kelly Bishop) in a house he bought. She has her studio in the back of the house, and her knick knacks adorning every available surface. Hubble often visits Michelle when he travels to Vegas for business, and is very much in love with her. After her audition goes poorly, he takes her out for drinks and dinner- she focuses mainly on the drinks. Evidently when Michelle is three martinis in, Hubble’s out-of-nowhere marriage proposal seems great. He just wants to take care of her. What girl doesn’t want that, right? So, one drive-thru window Vegas “wedding” later- bam- she’s on her way to Paradise.

Paradise is full of interesting characters. Fanny is shocked to learn her son got married, and is (understandably) hostile and judgmental toward Michelle. Truly, Hubble’s ex, is jealous and heartbroken (played wonderfully by Stacey Oristano, aka Mindy Collete from FNL). Fanny’s dance school students are half intrigued, half indifferent.

There are four main students, Sasha, with the natural skill and body that makes a star ballerina, but an attitude that makes for a Teen Mom episode- bored with small town life, nothing can hold her interest, she’s just too cool for school, and the best way to spend a Saturday night is domestic beer. Of course, mom’s gone (dead, maybe- I don’t remember), and her dad is a closeted homosexual, so we know she’s going to have family drama. Melanie and Ginny mostly seem to just be along for the ride at this point; hopefully their characters will become a little more fleshed out. Right now, all I remember is that Ginny is obsessed with the size of her breasts, because they are simply too big for a ballerina. Of course, she always has a shot in Vegas!

Finally, there’s Bettina “Boo” Jordan. Slightly thicker than your average ballerina, she has the heart and drive of a true dancer. Did you ever see Center Stage? She’s the Jody of the group while Sasha is the Maureen. When Fanny announces that a representative from the Joffrey Ballet School will be in Paradise next week to audition the girls for their summer scholarship program, Boo’s inner doubt makes her hesitate to sign up. She’s not sure she’s good enough (a point Sasha helps drive home a few dozen times), but she wants it soooo bad!!

And just who is going to give Boo the confidence to audition? Our Vegas showgirl, Michelle, of course! She shows the girls what it’s like to go on an audition- using a fun, modern dance- and bonds with them a bit. At the end, she encourages Boo to audition, though Maureen Sasha reminds Michelle, “It’s a ballet audition. With real pointe shoes.” Burn! (We all know who’s going to get accepted into the program, right? It’s gonna be Boo. Sasha is going to be all upset about it, because she was technically superior, but Boo’s gonna have the heart the Joffrey rep is looking for.)

Well, after seeing Michelle bond with her ballerinas, Mama Flowers decides to take Michelle out for the one thing this town seems to have plenty of- drinks. They bond dancing to “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce (who, c’mon, is awesome, though also usually incredibly depressing), and just when it seems like mother-in-law and daughter-in-law might be able to get along, Truly comes into the bar to give them THE BIG TWIST!

What is the big twist? Well, either go to this site and use the passcode BunheadsOnABCFamily (case sensitive), or tune in on Monday, June 11th at 9/8c on ABC Family to find out. I think this is going to be my favorite new show of the summer, and will definitely surpass the only other show on ABC Family I watch, Switched At Birth.

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