Bunheads: I Only Nag Because I Love

Bunheads S01E06: "Movie Truck"

I have such affection for Bunheads that I feel guilty when I don’t like an episode. But they can’t all be winners, right? And I’m not a heartless monster for dissing a mostly enjoyable delight? Bear with me here, because Monday’s episode just wasn’t very good. There was a lot I wanted to like about it, but it never came together. What’s frustrating is that on paper it sounded like Bunheads was taking a bunch of strides in the right direction. Unfortunately, it stumbled quite a bit.

Let’s talk about where all the right steps went wrong.

So, hey, Michelle is finally teaching the girls. We knew this would happen, but I loved that Fanny just took off and forced her daughter-in-law into a role she wasn’t sure she wanted. Except... where was the actual teaching? It was an unfortunate tease to have us start the episode with Michelle and the girls at the studio, and then never return to it. I know we’ll see her teach in the coming weeks, but it’s kind of overdue at this point.

As I’ve complained in the past, Bunheads has a hard time integrating its adult plotlines with its teenage-girl plotlines. Part of why I’m so eager to see Michelle start teaching is that we need a way for the two sets of stories to converge. Right now there’s too much bouncing back and forth: This episode in particular suffered from a lack of focus. Or maybe I was just especially bored by what the girls were doing. (Sneaking out at a sleepover? Come on.)

Another step in the right direction: We saw more of Sasha’s home life. If I’m supposed to care about this girl, I need to get a better sense of what she’s going through. But again, what could have been an enlightening look into her family drama ended up being—well, kind of silly. Yes, parents fight, and it’s scary and awful, but they don’t often throw pillows at each other or loudly break glass off-screen. It was just a little too cartoonish, and it made Sasha’s angst feel phony.

I really do want to like these girls, and a lot of the time I do. They’ve each grown on me, to the extent that I actually want to see more of them, even if that means seeing less of Michelle and Fanny. But they need a bit more depth—they need to be that much more grounded in reality. I like that Bunheads is silly and over-the-top, but even at their wackiest, Michelle and Fanny feel like real people to me, because they've also had moments of serious emotional resonance. I’m confident we’ll get to that point with Sasha, Boo, Ginny, and Melanie, but we’re definitely not there yet.

Oh, and more Truly! Always a plus. But I just never really bought the dynamic: It was weird that Michelle would suddenly bug Truly about not having any friends her own age, and then go out of her way to avoid her. Does anyone else think their relationship is too inconsistent? The friendly-hostile thing works with Michelle and Fanny, and I think it could work here, too. I just need a clearer sense of why they’re hot and cold with each other, so it doesn’t feel so arbitrary.

(Also: This is a total non-sequitur, but I have been to the 24-hour cupcake ATM. It is real, and it is delicious. Just felt I had to include that somewhere.)

So, okay, I didn’t like this episode of Bunheads, but all my criticisms come from a place of love. I’m still crushing hard on this show, and I know that it can step up its game. No more one step forward, two steps back—just keep skipping toward greatness. I mean, seriously, a Showgirls reference and a discussion of Fifty Shades of Grey? I love you, Bunheads. Let’s never fight again.


QUESTIONS:

– Did seeing Sasha’s parents pillow fight give you more sympathy for Sasha?

– Is Talia crazy, or are Truly’s clothes really worth freaking out over?

– Which Bunheads character would you most want to share a cupcake with?

Comments (23)
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i agree... this epi felt a bit disconnected and i totally agree about the need of putting those 2 worlds together... sometimes it feels like 2 different tv shows for me...

i still love it tho and i'm hoping it'll fix its flaws soon.

i always feel sorry for boo cuz she looks really unhappy but i think she isn't really.

now sasha, she has reasons to be unhappy and i hate her mom. that's why i love her relationship with boo.

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Bunheads it's over and out for me, quaint but just not funny or endearing enough for me. This episode was actually better than the last but that's not saying much.
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This show never disappoints. It's always fun. How is it to bitch about something that's always fun. Makes me smile all the while and my only complaint is that there's simply not enough of it...
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First, like so many others, I actually really enjoyed this episode. I do agree that some things didn't work, (like the girls freaking out that Michelle was at the movie truck. So? It was like they were at a bar at 2am, they were at a movie before midnight. Why would she think they weren't out with parental permission?) However, like Taccado, I think the clever writing (the end of literature reference) held it up for me.



I also agree that I would have liked to see Michelle teach, but I'm not super disappointed.



My problem is this. Michelle doesn't quite fit yet. I love the character, but other than owning land, she doesn't belong yet, and her interaction with the girls feels forced. She isn't quite their teacher yet, they really have no reason to interact. With Gilmore Girls, it made more sense, she had a daughter, they had to interact. The kids were her daughter's friends. Michelle doesn't have a tie to them yet, which is why I'm looking forward to seeing her teach. I think I will enjoy her interaction with the girls more.



They girls were fun. Boo's poor eyebrows, disappointment about Charlie, that felt real. And Sasha's interaction with Boo is when i feel we see her at her most real. She is a friend and cares. I'm starting to care about her.



I'm also starting to like Truly. I would like more if her with Michelle. That didn't seem as bad to me, Truly has been positively wretched to Michelle. It is hard to get over that for some girls.



To answer your questions

1 Sasha's parents didn't give me sympathy, but her talk with Boo does.

2 If Truly's clothes are really inexpensive, and as nice as they look, yes, totally worth freaking out over. Except the duck dress

3 I think I would share a cupcake with anyone.
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They were freaking out not because they were out, but because they were underage at an R-rated movie & were afraid that Michelle - who they really DON'T know that well - will rat them out.
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Well, yeah, but I guess I don't get their fear. She has barely interacted with them, and probably has had no interaction with their parents. On a scale of teen rebellion, an R rated movie has to be a 1. My surprise is, if I saw a teen about the age of 15-16 (sasha was driving in the previous ep) I would just assume their parents allowed it. That was what I was driving at.
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Yes...
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I don't want to see her teach dance. I don't want to see people on The Office run photocopies. I don't want to see students on Teen Wolf learn algebra. Let's just assume all that boring stuff happens off-screen.
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Very well said...
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agreed, the whole sasha's parents fighting and the fact that we didn't get to see michelle's lesson, was kinda dissapointing...but it was a good chapter. Boo was the lovely girl she is (and damn i feel for her when i saw her eyebrows, huge flashback to my teenager years haha), michelle got wasted, michelle's friend is awesome, Truly had some adult (young) fun, and sashas dance number was awesome (plus i love that song). so for me was a good episode ;), not perfect but good
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"You spit it back in the bottle?!?" Oh my...
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Movie Truck was simply awesome, the sleep over was not the plan, the movie truck was, so I'm okay with the events, plus as you stated more insight on Sasha life, as for the references those are not going to stop!!! those were a trade mark in Gilmore Girls!! Talia is awesome, I will admit we need more character development from Truly and movie truck help out a lot!!!

BOO BOO BOO BOO BOO to share a cupcake with !!!
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I agree - Awesome...
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Sasha's dance number...AWESOME!! Istanbul it is!



The eyebrow dialogues were also awesome.. (we all have been out with a boy/guy who like Neal from the Matrix)!.. I had to search on Dita von teese and kat von d to look at their eyebrows.poor Boo she ended up with chicken brows!



I get the Michelle-Truly relationship, but i think Talia has helped Michelle gel with Truly and not just hold her at arm length!..and coincidentally push Michelle into settling in Paradise.
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I agree with you that here were a few things in the episode which didn't really work, but I wouldn't go as far as saying "Unfortunately, it stumbled quite a bit." As a whole I liked it a lot. Despite the few things lacking in the episode, the clever writing and witty references kept it afloat.



Sure, it would have been fun to see Michelle's first lesson, since she was so resistant to teaching in the last episode, and because now she was suddenly forced to take charge of the class. But this episode was clearly set on being about her birthday, so I didn't mind at all that we didn't see the class, and we're surely going to see much of that in the future.



And I have to say I really liked Sasha's final dance. (I would like to call it wonderful, but as Louis C.K. pointed out in the last episode of Louie, there are certain words straight men can't say and "wonderful" is one of them.) The dance really reflected Sasha's state of mind, and was a quirky ending to the episode. Maybe these final dance scenes become a regular thing, like Troy and Abed in the Morning, or Wilfred and Ryan's couch talks.



And you're right about Truly. She was wonderful. (Shit, now I did use that word after all...)
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This episode was one of my favorites : D I thought it did a really good job of bringing all of the plots forward.
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There's a plot? I love this show because I fail to see a plot in all this - just an incredible bunch of really quirky and fun folks living life like they mean it - or don't...
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Loved the episode, but that had to be T-H-E most pointless and random episode ending of any show at any time in the history of TV. What was the point? Who were those other 2 girls? I mean, even the SONG was disconnected. I loved the episode until then (and even then, I love watching good dancing, so there was that).



Also, I don't know whether it's good or bad that I totally got the "Showgirls" reference right away. I actually like that movie. Sue me.



To heck with ATM cupcakes: I want a movie truck!
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Oh I'm so glad that I wasn't the only one who hated the ending dance number. I would have gotten behind it had they chosen a different song, or had it been a solo; the fact that it was that bizarre and there were two random girls we'd never seen before threw me off enough that the routine was half over before I was able to focus on Sasha. It didn't work for me at all.
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I think it might be called a cupcake vending machine in another universe but Cupcake ATM is cool too...



Loved this movie truck but I really don't want one necessarily...
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I'm with HLBSG4life (also, try saying that 3 times fast) in that I loved this episode. That said, I completely understand where you're coming from, and if I didn't love these characters so much already, I'd probably feel the same way. Also: JEALOUS. I need a 24 hour cupcake ATM. I live in Central Indiana, somebody get on that, NOW!!!



At the beginning of a show, usually through the first season, I tend to take characters with something of a fluid acceptance. You can't flesh them out completely in one episode, it takes time, and so there will often be decisions made that don't appear to make sense. I try to use that all and add that up to define their character later (also, this allows me to like and forgive the early missteps that often plague shows). So this didn't bother me at all. But I can see where it would bother others.



-I thought the pillow fight was very realistic. This comes from seeing my parents throw pillows at each other as a child (still happily married 30 years this year! take that divorce rate) when they were fighting. And it does give me more sympathy for Sasha especially given that we pretty much know that she's in for a rough time of it. Also, I LOVED that sort of Sasha-self-portait dance that closed off this episode. That was fantastic. Directly connected to little, but I can get behind those sorts of things for this show every time.

-I thought Truly's clothes were pretty darn cute. And while Talia did come off as slightly less than sane, I think part of it was mainly just the fact that these great clothes are here in this tiny town where her friend is now living, plus the fact that they're small town priced rather than everything she sees in the big city of Vegas. Also, just love Truly. Favourite moment from the episode was Truly's "For my last birthday, Fanny took me to Colonial Williamsburg. I got a bonnet." Seriously, how hilarious is that? And I get Michelle's love/hate for Truly. I mean, she Truly (hahaha, right?) was supposed to be in Michelle's place. So it's like a weird polar reflection of herself since Truly's failed where she's succeeded and succeeded where she's failed. That might get me, too.

-I would LOVE to share a cupcake with Boo, because her character intrigues me. And that sounds creepy old man, so I take it back even though it is meant with the utmost innocence and simply because her character is fascinating, the fact does remain that I'm at least 10 years her senior. So..... I would LOVE to share a cupcake with Michelle. I love the way her brain works.
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I mostly agree about the episode not being that great, but I LOVED the dance number at the very end.
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I am going to have to disagree with you. I LOVED this episode.

I have loved and enjoyed each episode so far so perhaps I am biased. Anyways, I loved Michelle's night out with her friend & Truly. It was fun & hysterical. Also, the dance number at the end, that was random and I loved it. If there are any more random dance numbers in the future, I would be find with that. I hope there are more.
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