Some genius posted a link to watch the series premiere of Bunheads on ABC Family’s site. The link is http://abcfamily.go.com/watch/bunheadssneakpeek and the password is PLLFans. Capitalization matters. So, anyway, we watched the premiere. Right off the bat, you knew Amy Sherman-Palladino wrote this, because the main character speaks as fast as Lorelai Gilmore ever did. We also instantly liked the main character, Michelle Simms. Actress Sutton Foster isn’t as pretty as most other TV leading ladies, but she gets the job done, acting-wise, and she's 37. Good Lord, she looks great. Sutton is a big Broadway star and we hope the show lets her sing at some point, in a non-corny way.
You know from the trailer that Michelle goes from showbusiness to working in a small town as a ballet teacher. We can’t say that we are nuts about how she got to the small town. It’s weird and surprising, but we don’t think that plotline will do the show any favors. At least we get to know how Cameron on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off turned out…He plays Hubbell, a small-town guy. It was wonderful to see Kelly Bishop (Emily Gilmore), again. She’s perfectly cast as the head ballet teacher, Fanny. Fanny is also Michelle’s nemesis for the time being, which should be fun.
The focus needs to go to that core group of girls in the ballet class, quickly, if this show is going to make it on ABC Family. They need to get a little more interesting too. Right away, the show addressed the body issues present in ballet (and the Western world at large, but particularly ballet). We liked that. But if Boo is big-boned, Angelina Jolie is fat. The blonde dancer (Melanie) looks like a miniature Megan Hilty, so if Smash ever needs a younger Ivy Lynn, here’s where they can look. Of course there’s one mean girl, Sasha, but we like her. Looks kind of like Rory…
There’s no movie theater in Michelle’s new town?!! For us, that would not stand. We would have to move, immediately, or at least find out if the next town over had movies. About 16 minutes in, the show had a decent twist. We also noticed that the music is a heck of a lot like the Gilmore Girls music. The “la la la la’s” are back. Ern is annoyed by this. Gipsy from Gilmore Girls is in this too. We love the character Truly (Hubbell Flowers’ ex). We loved the line: “Where did you learn to kiss like that? Oh God, don’t say your mother.”
We loved the black dress Michelle wore through the second half of the episode. Much better than ducks. Is the show funny? Not really, but it’s fun to watch. Actually, the dancing part was funny and the bar scene between Fanny and Michelle was too. That scene also helped us understand Michelle and made the reason she moved to the small town more believable. Just as we started to accept that plot, the game changed. And we’re so excited to see where the show goes from here.
For a pilot, this was a good episode, and we are willing to give Bunheads at least a season to hook us, based on the sheer greatness that was Gilmore Girls. The episode had a shaky, odd first half, but the second half won us over for now. We hope the show gets a long enough time to hook people and really come into its own. We are nervous about the show's network, because the show is a little smart and mature for ABC Family. It might have worked better on the CW or even one of the network stations. We hope girls can care about adults Michelle and Fanny as much as they can about pretty little liars. Boo, Sasha, Melanie, and the other one need to start dating and lying, fast.
Episode grade: B+