Thursday, July 26, 2012


I have purposefully remained "mum" on the topic of Amy Sherman Palladino's new program, Bunheads.

Anyone who is remotely acquainted with me knows my deep, deep, deep love of Gilmore Girls, Amy Sherman Palladino's first creation.  As you can imagine I was ecstatic to learn the news she would be creating a new television program.  When I learned it would center around a ballet studio, dance, a thirty something-ish woman and four young teenage dancers...I nearly did a pirouette into a full on back flip!  Two of my favorite things....BALLET AND AMY SHERMAN PALLADINO!!!! (Or ASP as she is known to those "in the know.")

Anyone who also knows me and has dared enter into a Gilmore Girls discussion with me also knows that I beg you to reserve judgment until at LEAST Season 1, Episode 5.  It takes a while for a show to get it's groove and for one to "get" ASP's fast paced, pop-culture rich humor and vision.   So...I've given the show it's due diligence.  Today I watched the 6th episode and in the final scene...I was official "on board."  (More of that later.)

I have to admit, mixed into the ecstasy was a good amount of skepticism.  How could ASP possibly top my favorite program of all time?  The thing is...she can't.  Nor should she try.  Bunheads is a fresh program, unique to itself and it is unfair to compare apples to oranges.  Right?

As it turns out it is more like comparing Granny Smith apples to Red Delicious, Golden Delicious apples.  Same fruit, same color, slightly different taste.  

Don't get me wrong...I REALLY like the show.  There is just SO MUCH CROSS OVER I feel like I have hardly stepped out of Star's Hollow and into Paradise.  Most of the time I half expect to find Lorelai and Rory daring each other to show up for Strip Tease Dance Class, a recent addition to the slate of classes offered by Fanny Flowers (Kelly Bishop, aka Emily Gilmore) at her dance studio.

Granted, I would imagine .00000000001% of the population has seen every season, every episode of Gimore Girls as many times as I have, but I find that ASP is recycling some of her material.  It's still funny, still relevant, but still the same.  Michelle's (Sutton Foster) character might as well be called Lorelai 2.0.  They both go a mile a minute, have sassy mouths and even sassier attitudes and both stand in stark, toddler tantrum-like contrast to Kelly Bishop (who re-appears in Bunheads...but as the mother "in law" this time.)

Both shows take place in small, idyllic towns sprinkled with quirky characters functioning in wacky ways.  MANY of them were regulars on Gilmore Girls.  Some of them even have the same names as other characters on Gilmore Girls. (The name "Truly" seems a favorite with ASP.)  Furthermore, she has brought back THE GENIUS Sam Phillips to provide the rich musical backdrop that is so subtle and haunting you almost wish that when you walk the streets she isn't somewhere, following behind you, offering the soundtrack of your own life.

Here is where Bunheads is fresh.  The choreography is amazing....absolutely stunning and innovative.  The young ladies who play the dancers are beautifully, classically trained and they move with ease and grace I am rarely treated to save for The Nutcracker at Christmas time.  The depiction of young women 100% committed to dancing is relevant and, more importantly, REAL.  The ballet company archetypes are all represented: the girl who really wants it but her body wasn't made for it, the girls whose body is made for it but can't get excited over ballet anymore and the few that just enjoy it all the way through high school and may never seriously revisit it again (that would be me).  It's all there.  

I was 95% sold when one of the performances (Episode 2) was set to "Picture in a Frame" by Tom Waits.  I was 100% sold today (Episode 6) when the final scene was a literal interpretive performance relevant to her character set to "Istanbul" by They Might Be Giants.  In both performances, absolutely no words were required.  I adore that ASP was innovative enough, no, BRAVE ENOUGH to pull that off, ON TELEVISION, no less!  Bring on an artistic vestige of the past and the upper crust and make it real and relevant to the demographic frequenting ABC of the best channels on television today.

Overall...I am pleased with Bunheads...and like I said, it feels like a new, fresh extension of my old, tried and true, favorite show!  Mad finger crossing that this one sticks!


  1. OK, halfway through reading the post I got up and set my DVR for this show - so excited! Thanks for reviewing it!

    (I almost named my daughter Lorelai so I could call her Rory. That's how much I loved GG)

  2. I am glad my thoughts on Bunheads got you to set your DVR. I think you will enjoy it if you were a GG fan. IF I ever have a child....and it is a girl....I will most definitely consider Lorelai Victoria! ;)

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