Bunheads: Money for Nothing (1.05)

The show began with Michele finding an opossum in her bed. You read right, a possum in her bed. Terrified, she calls Fanny who’s nonchalant and tells her just to get up. Who thought this would be humorous? It wasn’t.

The theme is money. Fanny pays bills twice a year. She files bills in hat boxes: will pay, might pay and if there’s money left over she’ll pay. Then somehow a door opens and all the bills get blown all over the room in an implausible pattern that defies physics. So Michelle insists that Fanny go to a real accountant.

Meanwhile Boo has gotten a job at a smelly oyster restaurant with an obnoxious supervisor that reminded me of the editor at the Yale newspaper on Gilmore Girls. As low person on the totem pole, Boo has to do all the grunt work including jumping on the garbage in the dumpsters out back. Talk about far fetched. A lot of jokes about Boo smelling follow. She smells as she brings people food. What restaurant would put up with that?

Fanny suggests Michelle teach so they could get more income, but Michelle refuses because she doesn’t teach. Michelle learns that Fanny doesn’t charge most of her students anything. It makes no sense because it’s not an impoverished town. (If some people’s parents are out of work, it really wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to quit ballet. Fanny knows that it’s a long shot for any of them to make a go of it anyway.)

At the Oyster Bar, a hot guy appears as a new bartender. It turns out his parents own the place and he’s been surfing and mountain climbing in Costa Rica. The girls are smitten, accept Boo. She seems not to notice that she’s working with this gorgeous guy. Her friends now hang out at the restaurant to drool. One time they get all dressed up to eat fries and oogle. This would never happen and worse — it’s not funny. The writers don’t seem to connect much with American society. Are they outsourcing the writing? Do people in say New Delhi who’ve only read about California write this show?

Sasha tries to flirt with the bar tender, but he’s oblivious to her charms. He is kind to Boo and tells her that jumping on garbage is not her duty. He gives her his t-shirt to replace her smelly one. Sasha is jealous of Boo’s proximity and budding friendship with the bar tender.

Michelle offers to track down the deadbeats and that’s a disaster. She gets everyone’s attention, makes some wisecracks that no one laughs at and there’s dead silence. Next we see Michelle calling to apologize to the parents and cajole them into letting their children continue their free dance classes. This way Fanny doesn’t have to cancel the dance at the Flower Show. Fanny suggests that Michelle start teaching and Michelle just balks at this. Fanny’s right to point out that Michelle does nothing, which isn’t a plan.

Cut to the dance. The advanced class performs an original and rather good ballet, Paper or Plastic. The crowd loves it and it’s pretty fun so Michelle’s impressed and seems to warm up to the idea of teaching.

I was never convinced that Fanny’s money management would be so horrid, that she’d be afraid to insist people pay. Hubbell would have had or gotten life insurance. He’d have had a savings. Michelle should have a couple thousand by her age.

This episode felt like it was written to meet a deadline by sophomores who’d frittered away all their lead time.

Most esoteric reference: Pina Bausch

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