Hi everybody! I must admit, as a newbie, I was a little nervous taking on a brand new series for my first ever recap. Would I even like the show? What if I hate it? Or worst of all: What if I find it too boring for words?
You see, I didn’t know a lot about Bunheads going in [ED NOTE: It's based on the book of the same title by former New York City Ballet dancer Sophie Flack], but I did take comfort in the fact that Amy Sherman-Palladino (creator of Gilmore Girls) was at the helm. If Gilmore Girls has proven anything, it’s that ASP knows how to create a fun, fast-talking universe filled with quirky characters. And with a title like Bunheads (which makes me crave cinnamon rolls every time I see/hear it), I knew I needed to give it a try. So, on with the show!
Michelle Simms is a Las Vegas showgirl whose dancing career has not turned out (dance pun!) the way she would have liked. Fed up with her crappy apartment—”I live next-door to a hooker”—and lack of job offers, she starts feeling hopeless. So when the kind and generous
Cameron! Hubbell asks her out for the umpteenth time, she finally gives in.
Now here’s the thing about Hubbell Flowers. According to Michelle, he’s “odd and weird, and technically a stalker.” No matter how many times she avoids him or turns him down, he continues to show up with gifts for her. In this episode alone, he gave her a GORGEOUS bouquet of African roses, a pair of shoes (complete with Dr. Scholls!), and a watch. As sweet as he seems to be, you do have to wonder why a guy would spend so much time and money trying to woo a girl who isn’t interested in him.
At dinner, Michelle drowns her sorrows in booze and Hubbell proposes, explaining that he wants to take care of her. And since no one can resist two tickets to Paradise, she ends up agreeing. Those crazy kids get hitched and head off to his hometown of Paradise, California. [Sidenote: I went to college in a beautiful town on the California coast, and actually referred to it as "Paradise" sometimes.]
But despite the town’s idyllic name, the newlyweds don’t receive the warmest welcome from the locals when they arrive. Hubbell’s ex Truly (Mindy Riggins!) is still devastated over the breakup—”We still don’t let her have scissors!”—and is therefore jealous of the
Pole dancer from Reno Stripper from Tahoe Showgirl from Vegas who married her obsession.
Considering both Hubbell and Truly have stalker tendencies, maybe there’s just something in the water?
If that wasn’t enough, Michelle also has to deal with a disapproving mother-in-law, who is a straight-up cross between Emily Gilmore and Miss Patty. Turns out, Hubbell neglected to tell his blushing bride they would be living in an atrociously decorated house with his mother. Dance teacher Fanny Flowers (or Vagina Flowers, if you’re British), is not thrilled to learn her son eloped with a “Playboy Playmate,” but eventually warms up to Michelle after seeing her interact with Fanny’s ballet students.
Speaking of, let’s meet the Bunheads:
Sasha: A snooty, ice princess. Her technique is precise, but she lacks heart and passion. Apparently her dad is gay, though he’s not officially out of the closet.
Boo: Sweet and enthusiastic, she has the potential to be great but her lack of self-confidence gets in the way. Basically, she’s the Saracen of the bunch. Also, she likes to wear a leotard with Snoopy on it.
Ginny & Melanie: I assume we’ll get to know more about these two as the series continues since they didn’t stand out much in this episode. All I really remember is that Ginny kept worrying her boobs were too big, and Melanie seems like a fun sidekick type.
At the end of the episode, Fanny and Michelle find common ground in their wasted potential and discuss Michelle’s relationship with Hubbell. She admits she doesn’t love him, but hopes her feelings might grow stronger over time. The ladies end up bonding over some drinks and Dirty Dancing. But just when everything seems hunky-dory, the other dance shoe drops: Hubbell’s (presumably) been killed in a car accident!
Dun. Dun. DUN!!!
Seriously, I did not see that twist coming. I actually wrote OMG WHAT?! in my notes. The show did such a good job setting up the premise, only to pull the rug out from under us at the last minute. I am a bit sad we won’t get to know Hubbell better; hopefully we’ll still learn more of his backstory through the other characters. Now the question is: How will Fanny and Michelle move forward without the man that brought them together?
Whatever happens next, I’m excited to find out. Because no matter what fears I had at first, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. It didn’t take long for ASP’s trademark dialogue to come through, and I was surprised how often I laughed out loud. Plus, it was fun seeing some familiar faces pop up, like Gypsy! With that said, I don’t think the show is just Gilmore Girls 2.0. Bunheads has its own distinct feel, and as we get to know the characters and town better, I’m sure it’ll be clear that Paradise is not Stars Hollow. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you.
As far as the characters go: I think Boo is adorable, and I enjoyed seeing Kelly Bishop’s character loosen up and dance. But Truly was definitely the highlight for me in this episode. Of course I’m probably biased since Mindy was one of my favorite parts of FNL’s final season, but I just found Truly to be absolutely hilarious, yet sympathetic. I especially loved her reaction when Hubbell stood up to his mother for his wife. Stacey Oristano’s delivery of the line “Oh god, he’s wonderful,” was just perfect. Have I mentioned how happy I am that she’s on this show?
And now for some of my favorite quotes and moments:
- “You pay per boob?! If anything in the world should come as a pair, it’s boobs.”
- “Oh Hubbell. No!”—Not the response you want when you propose.
- “Were the flowers to the right or left of the ZZ Top guy?”
- “Wait, you live with your mom like a serial killer?!”
- “We’re still missing a tutu…Check your brothers’ closets. That’s where we found Sleeping Beauty’s costume last year.”
- “The whole house is looking at me.”
- “He’s already seen me pee behind a cactus…”
- “Where’d you learn to kiss like that? Oh god, don’t say your mother!”
- “No real lady wears shorts.”
- “If I wore a red leotard I’d look like a crime scene.”
- “Hey, guy I don’t know!”
Well, that’s it for me, but I’d love to know your thoughts. So, what did y’all think of the pilot? Any other Gilmore alumni you’d like to see show up? And am I the only one with a Pavlovian response to the title Bunheads? Let me know in the comments! And feel free to follow me on twitter: @ReelStina. (Though I must warn you, I like to tweet about tv. A LOT.)