First Impressions – Bunheads: Pilot

TWYLA THARP-ING THROUGH STARS HOLLOW

I know it’s on ABC Family but its Amy Sherman-Palladino.  And Kelly Bishop.  AND Sutton Foster!  I just couldn’t pass this one up even though I don’t totally dig the title.  Or the poster.  I prefer the cast photo to the show poster.  I love Sherman-Palladino’s ability to write about quirky small towns and write culturally relevant, snappy dialogue.

Michelle Simms (Sutton Foster) is a former ABT-trained ballerina who is currently a Las Vegas showgirl.  Reaching a dead end in her life and career, she impulsively marries her persistent admirer, Hubbell Flowers (Alan Ruck).

She ends up in a sleepy Californian coastal town called Paradise where she winds up teaching ballet alongside his mother, Fanny (Kelly Bishop), at her ballet school.

There she meets 4 teenaged ballerina who dream of pursuing ballet: Bettina “Boo” Jordan (Kaitlyn Jenkins), Sasha Torres (Julia Goldani Telles), Ginny Thompson (Bailey Buntain) and Melanie Segal (Emma Dumont).

I don’t think many people will know Sutton Foster unless you’re from the New York area or you’re a Broadway buff.  I have been wanting to see her in Anything Goes but I just took my sweet time and never got around to it.

However, she received recognition (and a Tony award) for Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie.  Loved her in that.

Another Broadway connection, her ex-husband Christian Borle can currently be seen as Tom on NBC’s Smash.  I sincerely hope that we’ll be able to hear Sutton Foster singing on Bunheads because I love her voice.

What’s great about this show is that it brings that warm feeling of Gilmore Girls and of course, there are a lot of similarities.  The quaint town with quirky characters.  The snappy dialogue.  The multi-generational storylines.  However, this one has that dance theme coursing through the show.  What Sherman-Palladino is excellent at is creating rich characters that bring different things to the pacing of the show.  Whether you like them or hate them, they complete the world.  Be forewarned.  There will be a lot of Gilmore Girls referencing below.

Each of the 4 teenagers that we follow have very distinct personalities.  Boo is the one who has the heart but lacks the confidence.

While Sasha is technically the more advanced dancer, her dancing lacks that je ne sais quoi.  Perhaps it’s because she’s a brunette but she’s kinda like a mean Rory.  It’s Paris’ high school personality in Rory’s body.

Ginny is the gossip and Melanie is the ditz.

Truly Stone (Stacey Oristano) works at the only dress shop in the town and she’s got a knack for making clothes and knowing how it fits on a person.  She’s been in love with Hubbell forever and isn’t happy to hear that he’s gotten married to a Las Vegas showgirl.

It’s kinda of funny to watch Truly deal with Michelle.  She’s clearly upset and wants to give her the cold shoulder but ends up tearfully helping her out.  I think I’m going to really like these two becoming friends.  Or frenemies.  I’m flexible.

Fanny just reminds me of a more eccentric Emily Gilmore.  She’s not quite Miss Patty.

She does care deeply about her students and knows each of their strengths even though she’s not forthcoming with encouragements.  You can clearly see the generational difference in how Michelle gives advice as opposed to Fanny.

Fanny doesn’t mean to be mean.  However, ballet is a tough industry to pursue.  She’s just trying to be truthful.  She trying to not carelessly inflate nor crush a teenage girl’s dream.  It’s not an easy thing to do.

I’m eager to see how Michelle and Fanny cope with the fallout of Hubbell’s accident.  Yes, Hubbell doesn’t quite make it.

And I’m so heartbroken about that.  I like Alan Ruck and I was bummed to see that he was only appearing in the show as a guest star.

Unlike Gilmore Girls, I hope the show would be more about Michelle adjusting to this new life with a husband who was a stranger, his family and the town.  Or at least have him hangout until the end of the first season.

But I guess we’ll be seeing Michelle develop new romantic relationships in the town after being newly widowed.  It’s a great summery, feel good type of show that has heart but is incredibly witty.

Rating

 

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