[WATCHED: 2012-2013] Bunheads
It’s no secret that Gilmore Girls was one of my favorite shows. It was well-written and funny, often sweet but sometimes not and with a liberal dose of quirk. The show was Amy Sherman-Palladino’s baby and over the seven years it developed an awesome cast and was easily one of the most consistently enjoyable shows on TV.
But all good things must come to an end–and as in the case of Gilmore, often times it must come to an end before its natural arc has finished. This led to a rather forced and frankly unsatisfying conclusion to the show.
But ASP is back on TV on, of all places, ABC Family (which has some astonishingly mature shows for a “family” network). Her new show (which began last year) is called Bunheads. It’s a terrible name for a TV show. Even if it is an actual slang term used for ballet dancers (which the show features), it’s still a terrible, unappealing name. There’s also the opening credits–also terrible. The Gilmore credits were fun–a new version of Carole King’s “If You Lead” playing behind scenes from the show. The Bunheads opening is a black and white scene of ballet dancers (again, it’s what the show is about, but blah), with a color ribbon swirling around them until it lands on Sutton Foster, the lead actress, who explodes in a frame of color looking a little stunned.
Neither of these two things (title and credit sequence) should impact your decision to watch the show, which is delightful–heartfelt, funny and with a healthy dose of quirk. And like Gilmore, the show is very women-centric, rather a rarity on TV. I feel it’s very subtly done as well–in this case, the show is about ballet dancers who are predominantly girls, so it makes sense. And since ASP writes mother-daughter situations very well, it’s also a natural fit.
So yes, the show feels a lot like Gilmore Girls. The amazing Kelly Bishop is back as the matriarch (she’s much the same character although she is a bit more fun in Bunheads). Sutton Foster plays her daughter in law. Foster looks so much lie Lauren Graham that she may as well be her. What’s cool here and what makes it not just Gilmore redux is that the dynamic is not mother-daughter-daughter, it’s widowed mother-in-law–daughter-in-law–four teenagers so while the roles are almost the same, ASP is not simply rewriting what has happened before. As for the young characters, we have four teenagers–the bunheads. From the get go they formed a believable foursome–sometimes annoying, and over the top, but never unreal. (more…)