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

Bunheads: Better Luck Next Year

Again Bunheads had too much plot for its own good – and little else. I hope someone at ABC Family notices that this show doesn’t have all that many likeable characters. The Gilmore Girls had lots of interesting characters aside from Lorilei and Rory, hence the show worked.

This week the main issue was the Joffrey summer auditions. Who would get in? Unfortunately, this realistic, potentially interesting question got minimalized as shreds of trivial mini-stories about Michelle getting too much furniture shipped from Las Vegas (those scenes should have been deleted – No one is worried about Michelle’s old clothes and furniture – that’s not a burning issue) her struggle to put up a curtain rod, Fanny’s worries that the Joffrey might hold the auditions 30 miles up the road at another studio. Note: none of these would phase someone who’s got a grip on reality, certainly they wouldn’t phase Fanny whose only son recently died.

There was a shadow of a story between Boo and her mother, who’s banking on Boo’s failure and sabotaging Boo urging her to eat more junk food. Boo’s mom is obese and there’s clearly a potentially interesting story hear on how the nice, friendly mom is hurting her daughter in contrast with Sasha’s indifferent mom actually more. The redeeming part of the show this week was Sasha stealing from her mother to secretly do a good turn for Boo.

The plotting in Bunheads is so weak and tangled that it seems like this show was written before The Gilmore Girls and stashed in a drawer. Focus on these girls. I still don’t know most of their names. They’re a source of drama as are Fanny and Michelle. They can be quirky, but shouldn’t be weird. This week we learned that Fanny only sleeps a few hours a night. Thus she woke Michelle up at say 2 or 3 am to help her tidy up. Weak jokes ensued. The whole scene was implausible as Fanny has better things to do than hang up Michelle’s sweaters for her.

When they finally got to the auditions, i.e. the main event, we didn’t even get to see the girls dance. Instead we’re focused on Fanny and Michelle who’re enjoying a couple of glasses of wine at about 10am. Fanny fought for the right to host this event, which drew at least 100 dancers from all over and required extensive catering, but she spends the time chatting with a woman she doesn’t even like. As Fanny and Michelle drank, Boo came over to tell them she’d been rejected. The audition took 3 seconds. Fanny was wise enough to know that they were simply rejecting Boo because she’s not skinny. She kept putting wigs on Boo and telling her to adopt pseudonyms and keep trying till they gave her a fair shake. They never did, but Boo kept her spirits up anyway.

That scene was one of the pretty good ones but could have been better. Just lose the morning drinking as it isn’t cute and I don’t envision this show having a 12 step component. Also, show the girls dancing. Learn from Glee. When those kids perform we see them. We don’t cut to the teachers’ lounge and see the teachers sipping from secreted flasks.

I thought the show would get better this week. Not so.

Bunheads: Inherit the Wind (1.03)

The third episode of the promising Bunheads was rather ho hum. The show needs to establish a need for Michelle to stay in town with a mother-in-law she barely knows. That business was taken care of with this episode. So this episode itself was nothing to write home about. I could point out its blandness, but I like the two leads and Amy Sherman-Pallidino, the executive producer, so let’s just say this is not a must-see, while hoping that next week the show can concentrate on the relationships at hand.

Basically, there was a sit down with Hubbell’s lawyer who explained that Michelle now owns the house and land. Both Michelle and Fanny were stunned, especially Fanny, who figured she’d be homeless.

An annoying, self-interested real estate scared Michelle hoping to get her to $ell. Fortunately, Michelle got stranded on a multimillionaire’s property and had to meet him. The eligible, handsome millionaire gave Michelle some good advice and so she won’t get conned into selling.

I do expect this debonaire catch will soon be available for Michelle, they’ll date and we’ll have a cliff hanger featuring the future of their relationship. How unlike anyone’s life. Naively, I still Bunheads think has potential and even if it’s just a Cinderella story.

In essence it was an hour of set ups and contrivances with the occasional wit.

Seems there was no Bunheads this week probably due to the holiday. It’s too bad since due to the high temps sitting inside watching TV is a good way to cope.