Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jun 11, 2012 on ABC Family
out of 10
User Rating
46 votes

By TV.com Users

TV.com Episode Review


    Bunheads: Watch Like Nobody's Watching

    The banter. The sharp female characters. The quirky small town. The Kelly Bishop. Amy Sherman-Palladino's new series is not another Gilmore Girls, but it has just the right feel to it.

  • Episode Summary

    Michelle, who is tired of her showgirl life and disenchanted with the business after many failed auditions, grabs at the new life her longtime admirer offers her. But the culture shock that comes from leaving Las Vegas tipsy only to arrive in sleepy Paradise sober makes her doubt her decision. Hubbell's mother Fanny is none too pleased, either, and everything boils over at Hubbell's and her reception with tragic consequences.


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    • Has potential

      I wanted to check this out because it was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who did the Gilmore Girls. And if you're looking for another Gilmore Girls, Amy seems to want to give it to you, down to the lead, who is a very similar type to Lauren Graham. I don't like her *quite* as much as Lauren, but that doesn't mean I won't in time.

      There are a number of issues with the basic premise of the first episode, in which an admirer persuades a drunken showgirl named Michelle to marry him and move to his sleepy town. The guy woos her with presents, but he doesn't really know her, and while the show wants you to think he's this nice guy, my impression was he just fell in love with her looks. And because this is a guy she has pretty much zero interest in (I believe showgirls often have these sorts of hangers-on and are rarely impressed by them), it's surprising how when she sobers up the next day she doesn't put the brakes on, especially after getting to his house.

      But the way the show is structured, the premise is ultimately not important, and what is important - a Lauren Graham-ish lead, a mother-in-law reminiscent of Lorelei Gilmore's mom (and played by the same actress), and a whole slew of Rory Gilmore substitutes in a dance school - this stands a chance of being that Gilmore Girls sequel we've been craving, offering the same smart dialogue and engaging characters.

      Although based on my experience with the ABC Family channel, it will probably be a great show that gets cancelled after one season.moreless
    • Not exactly Lorelai Gilmore, but....

      (Spoilers ahead. Seriously, I don't wanna give away the ending, but I also really, really wanna talk about what happened).

      First thing you need to know is that Bunheads is two different shows: the show ABC Family has been advertising for months, and the show it becomes after the last two minutes of the pilot. But more on that later....

      For a lot of people, myself included, this show's big hook, over the small town-utopia and Broadway beauty Sutton Foster and a show about ballet is six little words: "from the creator of Gilmore Girls." And if you're anything like me, you are chomping at the bit to see what Amy Sherman Pallodino has been up to. And as I watched the pilot, I did see the ASP earmarks; the fast, snappy dialogue, the small town, the couple lingering GG actresses, even music as the main character strolled through town similar to the "la-la" music from Gilmore Girls.

      The premise is a Vegas showgirl who naturally has too much talent to be a showgirl has a date with her suitor who visits her once a month and because she's having a bad day, when he proposes to her and offers to take her away she accepts. And he takes her to his sleepy little town where he lives with his mother who owns a ballet studio. Before I go any further, I have to say, as someone not familiar with Sutton Foster, she's not bad. She can't match Lauren Graham's caliber (cause really, who can? Woman is a goddess). But she (Sutton, I mean) is energetic and wears the quips well and is a delight to watch. Kelly Bishop is playing Emily Gilmore, just a different version; the version that chose to live in Stars Hollow, but still has a very specific list of what is acceptable and what is not (not: gals in shorts).

      So this girl finds out she and her new husband whose name she barely knows will be living with his mother in a town where everybody looks down at her. And his mother throws a party and it ends with the mother yelling at them and her son telling her where she can shove it (in a more respectable way). And he tells the main girl, Sutton's character that he knows she doesn't love him, but he loves her and believes she can grow to love him and his town and status-driven mommy. And she goes and bonds with the teen girls who frequent the mom's ballet studio and it looks like she's found her niche, or the door to it at least. And she and the mom go to a bar where the mom reveals she got the 411 on her and knows all about the promising start to her career and sqaunderd potential. and the girl admits she doesn;t love ehr son but believes she can grow to love him and the mom says she loves her son and wants him to be happy. and she and the girl have a heart to heart and dance and it looks like the show is off to a great start. and then someone comes in and tells the mom her son just died in a car accident.

      and that i can honestly say i did not see coming.

      i'm almost impressed at how well abc family kept that under wraps. i mean the promos have revolved around a woman marrying a man and moving to his town and running his mom's ballet studio, they never even alluded what would happen if something happened to said man.

      and i have to say, and i;m trying not to come off heartless, but i think it was a good choice for the show. I know it's the pilot but I think it will be more interesting now because she only came here because of this man she doesnt even know, and she just decided she would learn to love him and his mom decided to give her a chance and then the whole thing came crashing down. and now she doesn;t have to stay in this town that hasn't accepted her where she doesn;t have any allies, but her old life isn;t exactly calling her name and her new little ballerinas need her. right?

      on another note, alan ruck who played the husband was one of the weaker parts of the pilot. I don't know if it's my old Ferris Bueller fondness is failing me or if Alan Ruck just hasn;t aged well but he was awkward to watch, and not just because he is twenty years senior to the gal he just married.

      This show in the last thirty seconds managed to take such a quick swerve that will affect the rest of the show, and it might not be Stars' Hollow, but I have to say, methinks I'll be back.moreless
    Alan Ruck

    Alan Ruck

    Hubbell Flowers

    Guest Star

    Ayesha Orange

    Ayesha Orange


    Guest Star

    Wendy Douglas (II)

    Wendy Douglas (II)


    Guest Star

    Stacey Oristano

    Stacey Oristano

    Truly Stone

    Recurring Role

    Rose Abdoo

    Rose Abdoo


    Recurring Role

    Kelly Bishop

    Kelly Bishop

    Fanny Flowers

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (6)

      • Talia: I'd take my top off if I could, but I'm flat as a board. Maybe I should buy some. I mean, how much could they be?
        Michelle: Five to seven grand.
        Talia: What? No!
        Michelle: Each.
        Talia: You pay per boob? If anything in the world should be sold as a pair, it should be boobs.

      • Michelle: (about Hubbell) Talia, go distract him so that I can grab my stuff and slip out the back.
        Talia: That's mean.
        Michelle: Well, I'm a mean girl. The sooner he learns that, the better.

      • (Michelle has pawned off Hubbell onto three of her fellow dancers.)
        Lucy: So what do we have to do for this dinner?
        Talia: Nothing.
        Hillary: Really? (scoffs) Guys just get weirder and weirder.

      • Michelle: I don't love you Hubbell. I'm sorry, but I don't. I've never loved anybody, really. I don't think I'm made that way. And you're so wonderful. You deserve to have somebody love you.
        Hubbell: I know you don't love me. I'm not an idiot. But I don't believe you're not made that way.
        Michelle: Hubbell—
        Hubbell: You want to love. You just haven't found the right person yet. Maybe you don't trust that anybody's gonna understand you, but I do. I know exactly what you want. You want to laugh and you want to travel and you want to be surprised and challenged. You want to live an unexpected life, and I intend to give you exactly that.

      • Michelle: (to Hubbell) Wait, you live with your mother like a serial killer?

      • (during Fanny's party)
        Fanny: (whispers) What do you two think you're doing?
        Hubbell: (whispers) We're about to toast our wedding.
        Michelle: (whispers) And not do a spit-take after.
        Fanny: (whispers) Have you had sex?
        Michelle: (whispers) Ever?
        Fanny: (whispers) Don't be smart.
        Hubbell: Mom, that's none of your business.
        Fanny: (loudly) This is my party! I did not throw this party so the two of you could have sex during it!
        Michelle: Okay, clearly we've dropped the whispering.

    • NOTES (9)

      • The opening Vegas show scene is danced to "Jet Set" from the Broadway musical Catch Me if You Can. "Leap Toward the Earth" by Sam Phillips plays as Michelle drinks in her apartment after the audition fiasco. The girls' sample audition music is Mike Viola's cover of the Silver Beatles' version of "Ain't She Sweet." The music heard as Michelle and Fanny walk into the bar is "Tempted" by Squeeze. Fanny and Michelle dance to Jim Croce's "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" in the final scene.

      • The episode was dedicated to Amy Sherman-Palladino's father, Don Sherman "who couldn't dance at all but damn, he was funny." Sherman, a stand-up comedian, gag man (Joey Bishop) and sometime actor (Rocky franchise) passed away on May 23, 2012.

      • Gilmore Girls Connections: Rose Abdoo (Sam) played Gypsy throughout Gilmore Girls seven seasons. Alex Borstein (Michelle's hooker neighbor) played Drella the harpist in season one, and Miss Celine – Emily's Stylist – in seasons three and five.

      • Original Show Title: Strut
        Bunheads began its development as a cast-contingent pilot greenlighted in September 2010 by ABC Family's new president Michael Riley (who took over from Paul Lee when he moved to ABC Entertainment Group as its new president in July 2010). Created by Lamar Damon, who would have been an executive producer with Anna Mastro, Karey Burke, Charlie Stratton and Norman Buckley, Strut was about a "Las Vegas showgirl who unwittingly gets married to a stranger after a wild night and becomes a high school instructor for a misfit drill team in a small Texas town."

        A year later, on September 16, 2011, ABC Family announced another round of pilot orders and Strut, now Bunheads, was included in the list. No longer cast-contingent, Amy Sherman Palladino had taken over the project and had reworked it as "a Las Vegas showgirl, who impulsively marries a man and moves to his sleepy coastal town, and takes an uneasy role at her new mother-in-law's dance school." The new title reflected the dance genre change. She was listed as the sole executive producer; Damon, Stratton, Mastro, Burke and Buckley had all exited the project. Lamar Damon retained a creator credit and he kept his "story by" credit in the pilot episode.

      • Special billing was given to Kelly Bishop (and) for this episode.

      • Crew Additions and Clarifications: Tim Marx (Produced by), Lisa Nash Jones (Department Head Make Up Artist), Colleen LaBaff (Department Head Hair Stylist), Level 3 Post (Post Production Services), Todd-AO (Post Production Sound), Marat Daukayev School of Ballet (Production Assistance Provided by)

      • Filming on the pilot began April 13, 2012.

      • There is a town called Paradise in Northern California, however the town isn't on the shore.

      • Original International Air Dates:
        Norway: September 4, 2012 on FEM

    • ALLUSIONS (1)

      • Hubbell: Marry me.
        Michelle: Oh, Hubbell, no.
        Hubbell: I can make you happy.
        Michelle: No, you don't understand. I suck at relationships. I'm like Godzilla. Men run from me. They flee. Not just Japanese men, all nationalities flee.
        Hubbell: I won't flee.
        Michelle: Buy some comfortable shoes.
        Hubbell: I promise you, I won't flee. I'll be the one scientist who understands you. The one who knows that you're not burning the city down because you're evil. You're burning the city down to protect the giant lizard eggs you just laid in a cave by the ocean. A cave no one knows is there, but me.

        Hubbell appears to be combining at least two of the many Japanese and US Godzilla films. The original Godzilla movies included burning the city down, while the Godzilla vs. Mothra films had the egg in the nest in a cave.