Michelle goes into a restaurant/bar. The guy running it is no Luke Danes. He is, in fact, old and an uggo (and MITCHUM HUNTZBERGER!). Michelle doesn’t like dogs?! What?!! COMMUNIST. We liked seeing that Pushing Daisies alumna as the crazy ex-Wiccan. We loved “Ain’t She Sweet” from last week and lamented that we couldn’t find that version of the song to buy on iTunes. This week’s song wasn’t as good, but it was still pretty good. We love that creator Amy Sherman-Palladino can exhibit her music taste better on this show by having the girls dance to it. Lane showed us on Gilmore Girls that Amy is quite the audiophile. We like that Sasha is showing a lot of heart, because it’s great to round out her character from the pilot. She’s still the troublemaking, spoiled leader of the pack, but we think we are going to like her.
It would have been inappropriate for Michelle to openly grieve immediately. When she finally asserted that she was “going through this too,” it was after she had given everyone leeway to take all the grieving rights. But using the words “crazy” and trying to change the memorial was arguably wrong. The predictable solution was for Michelle to make the memorial happen. It wasn’t very Buddhist though. Suck it, Shonda Rhimes. We saw dancers “of color” in the background during the memorial. The Grey’s Anatomy creator tweeted a while back, “Hey @abcfbunheads: really? You couldn’t cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kid watching this show? NOT ONE?” It’s funny that Shonda thinks all TV casting needs to be either a crusade or a rejection of one.
This episode proved that Amy’s actresses can really dance. That’s what they were picking: actresses with ballet backgrounds extensive enough to perform that memorial dance, not actresses who represented every color of the rainbow. The show is new. New, more diverse cast members may pop up. We love seeing black actresses get lead roles (we praised Shonda’s Scandal for it), but we don’t think you need to go after someone else’s fragile, cute show for casting all white actresses who are perfect for their parts. Amy responded, saying (among other things) that there wasn’t much time or budget for a casting search. We know the names of the other two main dancers! They are Melanie and Ginny. Ginny is the blonde. Boo and Sasha round out the main four. Boo’s real name is Bettina. They are all perfect for their roles.
The episode’s end had another twist, but a more predictable one. Hubbell left everything (the land and the house) to Michelle, not Fanny. We loved Michelle’s swig of beer after hearing the news. Sutton Foster (Michelle) is growing on us with every minute we look at her and her facial expressions, which are comedy gold. She can convey everything with a deadpan glare. This episode was a little slow in parts for us, especially when Fanny was planning her crazy memorial. We get it, show. It was crazy. The episode was also, obviously, kind of a bummer. The episode had to happen though. The Truly stuff was funny. Our favorite lines were: “I didn’t mean to scare you with hell.” “It’s okay. That’s what Hell is for.” They were delivered in the perfect, teary way.
Less perfect was the delivery of some of Amy’s more cutesy lines. The young dancers struggled with making their dialogue seem believable and needed more guidance in how to equal Lauren Graham’s delivery. Even Kelly Bishop didn’t feel genuine. We hope the show gets better at feeling natural while keeping the clever jokes. Don’t force it, Amy, it’s going to come across as a false, soulless copy of Gilmore Girls, rather than a show with its own loveable characters. The show is still building toward its main plots, where Michelle will teach the girls to dance and hopefully find her Luke Danes. When the show is done with set-up, we expect it to feel more genuine. We still think you should be watching it, if only to help the ratings, because it has so much potential to be awesomesauce. The best part was the dog-walking part.
Episode grade: B-