Sunday, June 17, 2012

Foster Home or Sutton Place

I finally caught the pilot of Bunheads, the new drama-comedy airing on ABC Family.  It's from Amy Sherman-Palladino, who created Gilmore Girls (which I heard good things about but never watched). 

Bunheads is about Vegas showgirl Michelle, whose career is going nowhere.  So she impulsively marries Hubbell, a guy she barely knows (he's sort of a sweet stalker) and moves to his place in the small coastal town of Paradise.  She's surprised to find he lives with his mother, Fanny, who teaches ballet out of a studio attached to the house.  Meanwhile, his mom, indeed, the whole town, is surprised that he married this gal he'd been talking about for so long.

While Michelle doesn't precisely love Hubbell, he's incredibly thoughtful and kind--really too good to be true.  Fanny isn't so thrilled about this new woman, nor is Truly, the local who actually loves Hubbell.

Fanny and Michelle are both talented dancers.  In fact, Fanny danced with the Ballet Russe before she had to give it up to raise her son as a single mother, while Michelle trained with the ABT and worked in Broadway choruses before ending up in Vegas.  It appears, though it wasn't made clear, that the show will be about Michelle teaching the girls in Fanny's class (or taking it over).  The big surprise at the end (SPOILER) is that Hubbell dies (I think) in a car crash--told you he was too good to be true--so the two women will have to learn to live together and deal with their young charges.  (It is odd that the town is so small that it's got no movie theatre or bookstore, but has a bunch of talented girls who will soon be auditioning for the Joffrey Ballet.)

As Michelle, Sutton Foster, one of Broadway's biggest musical stars, seems to have made the transition to TV without too much trouble.  The part seems written for her--she can certainly dance and presumably will get to show off her pipes.  And the dialogue features plenty of wisecracking which Foster no doubt mastered in productions like Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Drowsy Chaperone and Anything Goes. For that matter, Fanny is played by Kelly Bishop, a dancer in the original Chorus Line, as well as a veteran of Gilmore Girls. It's not clear, however, if her character will remain the antagonist, become nicer, or just move on.  There are also the four young women--who do their own dancing--portraying the central ballet students. No doubt they'll be featured a lot more.  After all, they're the bunheads--girls who want to be ballerinas.

How much you like the show will probably depend on how much you like Foster.  For the first hour, anyway, I'd have to say my reaction was positive.  Overall, pretty enjoyable, though I'm not quite sure where it's going.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should give the first hour of Gilmore Girls a go, just for kicks.

5:16 AM, June 17, 2012  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

The Gilmore Girls script-writers produced brilliant dialogue. Lauren Graham was spectacular at delivering the dialogue. Alexis Bledel was very good at it too -- not at LG's level, but still so good that I was astounded to learn that English isn't her first language. The secondary actors varied in quality.

If you want a taste of it, here are some awesome scenes. Ignore the plot; it's the dialogue that matters.

After a party. (Just watch the first scene, 0:00-2:25.)

Pop-Tarts. (Just the scene in the kitchen, 2:40-4:45.)

Culs-de-sac. (6:40 to the end.)

7:17 PM, June 17, 2012  
Blogger LAGuy said...

English isn't the first language of Alexis Bledel? That would explain a lot. There were times this season on Mad Men I thought she was reciting her lines phonetically.

7:44 PM, June 17, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, much as I liked GG and by extension Graham and Bleidel, Bleidel definitely is in the "special" category. I think that might have been the only role she is capable of.

3:12 PM, June 18, 2012  

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