Bunheads: Keep the Change

Bunheads S01E05: "Money for Nothing"

Money is a necessary evil—oh, screw that, money is awesome. You use it to buy cool things. But in the world of dance, it can be an impediment to self-expression. “I’m an artist, okay?” Fanny says. “I don’t think about money.” Everyone should be able to dance in Fanny’s eyes, and she has a point. How do you put a price tag on creativity and performance?

On the flip side, how do you not? Dance studios have expenses. Dance studio owners have expenses. “Money for Nothing” was all about finding that balance: Fanny realized her backwards payment system was getting her into serious trouble, and Michelle discovered she’d have to take some responsibility now that she’s a permanent resident in Paradise—not to mention a property owner. Oh, and Boo had to jump in a dumpster to earn an honest wage. It’s the economy, stupid.

This week's episode was one of the show's best yet, and not just because it had a big choreographed dance number and an adorable possum. This show has already given us a great location and characters. It has established some of the major themes, and offered a sense of what problems we’ll have to deal with throughout the season. Now we can sit back and enjoy—enough exposition, enough settings things up. I just want to move to Paradise and relax.

Not that life in the town is problem-free: That would be boring. But you can tell Bunheads is becoming more confident in its characters and relationships. We know that Fanny is stubborn and doesn’t like to think about the little details (insofar as money is a little detail). We know that Michelle is completely well intentioned but often does the wrong thing. And we get the dynamic of the four girls—this week we even got to see a bit more of Ginny and Melanie, and how they fit in with Sasha and Boo.

Enough about the bigger picture: Let’s talk about some little things I loved this week. For starters, the references. Bunheads is a way smarter show than anyone is giving it credit for, particularly on a teen-friendly network like ABC Family. I’m not saying there aren’t teenagers who appreciate references to Michael Chiklis’s character on The Shield and Pina Bausch. Maybe some tweens even snickered at Sasha ordering a “Temple Grandin” at the bar. But seriously, this show is hitting Gilmore Girls-levels of pop-culture winking. Let’s keep it going.

Next up, Godot. I don’t really care what he’s doing here; he seems too old for Boo, and he’s yet another character to be integrated into the show. But it doesn’t matter—he looks good shirtless, which seems to be his primary reason for existing. I like Godot. He has a stupid name and he smells like a coconut snickerdoodle. But look, if Bunheads is going to give us Pina Bausch references, it might as well give us eye candy, too. We’re still watching ABC Family, right? And while I do think Godot is too old for Boo, I also 'ship Aria and Ezra on Pretty Little Liars. Just saying.

And finally, the dance. The battle of paper and plastic against nature and a canvas tote was silly and wonderful. I think it captured the tone of the show perfectly: absurd and fun but with some grace and gravitas underneath. Plus, it was just fun to watch. I will continue to advocate for more singing and dancing: On a series starring Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop, how can I not? There are a lot of talented dancers here. I want to see their moves on a weekly basis.

I’m sure we will be seeing more performances once Michelle takes over some teaching duties. Is there even any doubt that she will? From the beginning, Bunheads has been guiding us in this direction—putting Michelle in a new role is the only way the plot really makes sense. Other than owning property, which she could sell, she’s got no real reason to stay in Paradise. Give her some attachment to these kids and I’ll buy that she’s not leaving any time soon.

And maybe let her mack on Godot a bit. (What? He’s age appropriate!)


QUESTIONS:

1. Is there more to Godot than perfect abs, and does it even matter?

2. How can Michelle teach and still pursue her career as a performer?

3. When is Truly finally going to snap?

Comments (25)
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My wife called this the most literate show on TV. Then along came episode 4 and she retracted that. She was all over Paper and Plastic saying how stupid it was and then by the end was all back to it being the most literate show on TV. As for me I just think it's wonderful to behold - both this show and my wife's machinations. Don't care where it goes, I just want to be on that bus...
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I disagree with two things from this review:



a) "...this show is hitting Gilmore Girls-levels of pop-culture winking. Let's keep it going." Let's NOT! It's the one thing I dislike about the show. Let the show stand alone. The occasional "wink" is OK, but this show is on overload.



b) "adorable possum" Now, I love animals, but that critter was FAR from adorable.



Now for the questions:



1) Meh. I could take or leave him. He may SMELL like a snickerdoodle, but he looked dirty. I kind of like him as a "big brother" influence on Boo, as long as he doesn't push his slacker identity on her.



2) Michelle is coming to an age where she's going to have a harder and harder time finding good roles; teaching would seriously be the way to go for her.



3) Truly needs a life. Seriously.



4) (I know, there wasn't a 4, but there was an IMPLIED 4) I LOVED "Paper & Plastic"! That was incredible! Man, can those kids dance! If every ep had some kind of dance sequence (and it's looking that way) I'll be so happy.
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and i finally remembered! saul is the guy who makes the huge pizza for lorelai's birthday on GG. i just can't remember the character's name. gosh, that was bugging me! love find breadcrumbs from GG.
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The backgound music is so GG it makes you look to see if Lorilei or Rory are lurking in the background somewhere...
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i for one am just glad to learn that boo;s real name is betina.... i can;t figure out how in the world you would get boo from betina but it's great to know her given name isn't boo
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Why?
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My first name is Karen, yet my childhood nickname is Kitty. "Boo" from "Bettina" isn't that far a stretch.
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I love this show
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i'm enjoying the fact that the episodes are not self-contained. from a "normal" series, you'd expect michelle to be teaching since episode 2. but it takes time to change a dream and that makes sense. and i'm also waiting for godot. he can wait on me anytime he likes.
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You were supposed to feel like that...
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I'm glad the whole teacher Michelle subject was brought up.. I was under the impression that's what the show was going to be about from the pilot.. but whatever and it's not like she's persuing a career as a performer anymore anyway, she's been in Paradise how long? she's made no attempts to leave.



and if I woke up to find an opossum (it's opossum in the US, a possum is in Australia etc and isn't nearly as fugly) in my bed I would freak the eff out and run screaming like a little girl. freeeeeaky.
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I've run into the occasional Possum in a closet and some babies too and they seem quite cautious and intelligent opting for that live and let live philosophy. Oh and they're kind of cute too once you get past the fact that they're in your bedroom...
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In my part of the US, at least, we are way too lazy for that extra "o", technically correct or not, so I'd say possum is accurate from a dialectical point of view.
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I've never heard anybody pronounce the 'o' anyway, but the two animals don't look alike lol
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I think the Godot character is interesting..I don't know what he feels about Boo but they're cute together in my opinion. The girls all jealous of Boo and her relationship to Godot was funny. I hope Truly never snaps because I like her like that.
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Typical excellent writing for this show...
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Godot did seem too old for Boo, but maybe the character isn't as old as he looks. Regardless he is pretty and seems like a cool guy. I am interested in seeing where their 'relationship' goes.



Anyway, fun episode. The show keeps getting better.
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Tedious in the extreme apart from the possum
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Really, well you seem no fun at all...
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I love her writing. I just do. And these culture references are getting closer and closer to GG level. I LOVE it. Especially those references to "The Shield". I rewound it just to make sure I really heard Chiklis, and then being verified when they used his name again later on. So awesome. And I laughed out loud at Sasha trying to order a Temple Grandin. I don't know who's not giving it credit as a smart show, but it is, and I'll back you up on that one. As for Boo and Godot, yes he's too old for her, but I think that's something that'll be explored as we continue in this show. And yes, I am along for the ride.



-I think there is more to Godot than perfect abs. I think it kind of matters. I think he is more there for Boo's storyline than he's there as part of the show and will peter out at some point.

-I don't know, but I'm curious to see where Amy Sherman-Palladino takes it.

-I imagine that Truly is going to snap pretty soon here. You can see it coming.



And I have no problem believing that her scripts are longer by about 40% than other scripts. The dialogue is awesome and fast. I can ask for nothing better. And am I the only one who (before she started freaking out) wanted Michelle to adopt that so very cute little possum as a pet?
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I find this show really interesting. It's remarkable how the show actually is about pretty much nothing, but at the same time it manages to be about so much. I guess Gilmore Girls proved that Amy Sherman-Palladino specializes in that. It's just a small town with quirky every day issues, but the content is all in the details. Some time ago Sutton Foster said in an interview that when TV scripts usually are around 50 pages long, Amy's are 70+. I can totally see that. And the show deserves even more points for being smart.



1. So far he does seem more of a pretty boy than one with deep thoughts about the world, but we'll have to see.

2. Maybe she realizes that her path is the same as Fanny's; teaching and giving up her big dreams, but realizing at the same time that it's exactly what she's always wanted. (Yeah, I know, sounds really sappy.)

3. Depends on what you mean by snap. If you mean snap as in "swinging-a-hatchet-in-serial-killer-mode" snap, then I hope never. But we did see some small cracks in her shell already in this episode when she dealt with all the receipts. Maybe Truly snapping would be an entertaining scene for a minute, but it's not something I'm waiting for. For me it doesn't really matter if she explodes.
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I agree with you that this was Bunheads best episode, and I must say that the dance at the end was great and it was the funniest episode.



2. It will be hard but they'll find a way

3. And hopefully soon because when that happens that will be the funniest
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Definately the best episode so far...
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Wasn't Godot introduced just for the "waiting for Godot" joke?

Even if, that's enough for me :D
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Nope, Amy has plans for this guy, trust me...
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