“Bunheads” 1.13 ‘I’ll Be Your Meyer Lansky’ – Recap and chit-chat!
Airdate: 21 Jan 2013
It’s a montage! Cue some decidedly Rocky-esque theme music and Michelle and Fanny stretching and limbering up… for a meeting with Eric, their accountant. Last we saw him, he was supremely unimpressed by their financial organisation and they could barely stay awake. This time, full of power bars and disgusting smoothies – actually, nothing’s changed.
Eric: We’re talking about important financial matters but as usual neither of you is taking this seriously.
Michelle: What are you talking about! We got rid of the hat boxes, we bought a binder.
Eric: A South Park binder.
Michelle: What, numbers can’t be fun?
Eric suggests they make use of their land, like their neighbours who farm or do whatever you do with ostriches and alpacas. Something needs to be done, at least something more than Michelle’s daydreaming of gold sluicing.
Melanie and Ginny are wandering the busy school corridors, chancing upon the effortlessly popular sibling newcomers Frankie and Cozzette. Damn, that guy just smoulders. Sparks between him and Ginny as she pulls Melanie away, only to bear witness to Charlie (Melanie’s long-suffering brother) being unceremoniously and very publicly dumped by his girlfriend, Stacia. Melanie unsympathetically films the whole thing on her phone.
Returning from the accountants in Hubbell’s beloved Mustang, Michelle and Fanny stop at a roadside candle stall, to Fanny’s delight and Michelle’s chagrin. Michelle comes up with the idea of building an amphitheatre when she realises that they – and the candle stall – are within their property boundary. Worse still, the ‘artisan’ owner has been paying rent to the neighbouring alpaca farmer for the past ten years. As ‘rent’, Fanny yoinks a woven basket and stuffs it with a bunch of big candles.
Melanie badgers Charlie to drive her to class but he’s even less responsive than normal, lying on his bed and staring at the walls. He tosses her his keys and she drives herself, turning up as Ginny and Sasha review astonishing photos of Frankie and Cozzette’s overturning of the social balance.
Ginny: There are cliques and groups for a reason. First of all, if everyone got along with everyone there would never be a decent book written, a decent movie made.
Melanie: John Hughes?
Ginny: … would have worked at Bed Bath and Beyond. No ‘On the Road’, no ‘Catcher in the Rye’. Separation breeds discontent, which fuels society. They are defueling society.
In front of their very eyes, Cozzette kindly befriends Matisse, further extending the siblings’ social network – even apparently to their bus driver. Truly, the local crazy and clothes store owner, has moved her stock into the dance studio after her landlord (and sister) Millie had a disagreement over rent. Around all the clothes stands and crates, Cozzette performs a skillful and semi-improvisational performance to a Glinka waltz, winning over the studio and Fanny herself.
Michelle: OK so this morning a squirrel stole my toothbrush.
Michelle has found the perfect location for the amphitheatre and Fanny’s loving the idea too. Sasha, Ginny and Melanie eagerly inform Michelle that Godot is back at the Oyster Bar. With Michelle and Godot’s brief fling before her inter-series freakout trip back to Vegas, they’re expecting some kind of re-union – or for something that passes for entertainment in Paradise.
With enthusiasm overcoming practicality, Michelle and Fanny explode their amphitheatre plan over Eric, interrupting him mid-meeting.
Fanny: We won’t take long.
Michelle: We talk fast.
They think they can build the amphitheatre in three weeks, in time for their performance of Sleeping Beauty. Eric brings them back down to earth with talk of restrooms and council permissions, which spurs Michelle into deciding to take a business course to learn the rules first hand.
Melanie grills Charlie’s best friend Dez about Charlie’s dour behaviour, wrongly assuming that Charlie deserved the dumping he got. Instead, she learns with surprise that Charlie was both smitten and committed to the heartless Stacia.
Michelle has kicked off enrolment at the business school and has the sweatshirt to prove it, which is all good until she receives a phone call that she has no high school diploma. She recalls now that instead of completing the extra required credit, she spent two weeks in Dollywood.
On another stroll through the school corridors, Ginny gives Melanie an update on her dad’s planned marriage to Faye Mendelsson, who sounds like a psycho redhead. Melanie sees Charlie’s ex, Stacia, and in passing, yanks her to the floor by her hair, miraculously without losing step. I don’t know which is more out of character – the stunning impulsive violence or the protectiveness Melanie feels for Charlie. Melanie’s as surprised as we are and walks on.
It’s Trivia Night at the Oyster Bar and Sam (Gilmore Girls’ mechanic Gypsy, Rose Abdoo) is hosting the computerised affair. The fancy computer doodads however, are owned by militant Millie (GG’s Paris Geller, Liza Weil) who declares greasy fingers a no-no and summarily bans buffalo wings from the bar.
Millie approaches her sister Truly, who has set up a complex idol system around her trivia doodad and Millie offers to help her win by cheating the computer system. Millie seems to have more of an issue with Truly than the other way around – which is curious since we learned last week from Millie that Truly apparently stole Hubbell from her – and Truly bluntly refuses her offer.
Sam invites Michelle to join her trivia team and Michelle performs disastrously. With the earlier news that she failed high school, she feels stupid and falls back on Godot the recently returned bartender as a sure thing. Except she assumes he’s dumb and inadvertently insults him. Who’d have thunk he had a Masters degree in Oceanography? I guess that explains why he’s suddenly wearing a shirt with arms and had a mild haircut. Visibly bummed, Michelle retreats and Melanie’s rage monster reveals itself again. Wrongly assuming that Godot had been unkind to Michelle, she literally pulls the barstool out from under him, dumping him on the floor. Win! (Kinda).
Melanie: I just saw red. Then he was on the floor. I’m the Hulk.
Sasha: But with longer legs.
Michelle finds Eric the accountant and then Millie in the bar. Millie – evidently a frighteningly good businesswoman – hands a massive wad of dollar bills to a waiter for keeping fries off the menu. Michelle asks if she’s interested in buying any land, to free up some capital for the amphitheatre. Turns out Millie is more interested in the amphitheatre itself and somehow ends up as a business partner in the venture and goes off to fetch celebratory blue drinks.
Cozzette catches Melanie unawares and hands her a flyer for Roller Derby Tryouts, which seems as good a venue as any for her newly discovered brawling talent.
Truly accuses Michelle of conniving with Millie but Michelle reassures her Millie doesn’t always get what she wants; she didn’t get Hubbell, after all. Somehow, these two who were driven apart by Hubbell are bonding over him.
Michelle: Millie’s not my friend. You’re my friend.
Truly: You never invited me to Vegas.
Michelle: Well Truly the next time I have some sort of emotional breakdown and run from everything that is good and stable in my life I promise I’ll invite you to come and watch.
Big losers at Trivia Night, Ginny and Melanie go back to Sasha’s house. To Ginny and Melanie’s surprise, the furniture’s all Twin Peaks-y and everything’s packed for moving, except Sasha’s room, which is untouched. Sasha says that her dad properly came out of the closet and is moving to San Jose, while her mum is going back to Encino and Sasha doesn’t want to go with either of them. Sasha’s mum comes in and asks the two guests to leave, then tells Sasha to pack her stuff, since she will be leaving tomorrow. Sasha stubbornly refuses to choose and exasperated, her mum leaves her the house keys and tells Sasha she has the house for two weeks, until escrow.
Later that night, Michelle dejectedly arrives home in the rain to find Sasha waiting on the doorstep, confronted with big decisions and the world of adult responsibility.
Michelle: Yeah this would be a lot easier if I could offer you a drink.
A poinient moment between the two of them, as Sasha earnestly asks ‘What am I going to do?’ as an ominous thunderstorm builds. Michelle – who herself is drifting through life – responds ‘Hey, don’t worry. I got your back.’ Together, they seem to have direction.
Sasha is the centerpiece of a final dance sequence with Melanie, Ginny and three other bods in a sequence reminiscent of the Istanbul Not Constantinople piece in episode 6.
It may be her dreaming and there’s no explanation for it, but it’s spectacularly evocative of Sasha’s internal struggles, of her forced loss of innocence and her desperate yearning for someone to hold and understand her – well, that’s my take anyhow. The achingly bittersweet tune is You, Sailor by Erin McKeown.
As usual, some notes on the episode, to which I warmly invite your thoughts:
Not quite so much filler as last week and some standout moments:
– Melanie yanking that girl’s hair genuinely made me gasp out loud. It was Luke pushing Jess in the lake all over again.
– Another touching moment between Sasha and Michelle (Sashelle?). With her parents both separating and abandoning her, the enormity of Sasha’s next decisions couldn’t be much more overwhelming.
– I loved the final song and dance. Seeing Sasha so raw and vulnerable has so much more clout because it’s so unlike the persona she generally puts out there. But damn I wish they’d put those pop-up adverts somewhere less obtrusive, it’s like graffiti on artwork.
– And cultural references out the wazoo – I think I caught about 40%, my favourites being Stringer Bell and Laura Palmer.
Ginny’s speech on ‘separation breeding discontent, which fuels society’ is something ASP has talked about before, regarding the Nutcracker/mace season finale.
Amy Sherman-Palladino: I wanted to set Michelle and Fanny back a notch. It’s no fun to watch people getting along. I have no interest in happy people. They can all bite my ass. I like the rest of the people who are grumbling and having problems and having breakdowns. Those are my peeps. At the very least I wanted to give people who have invested emotionally in this show a good wham-bam SLAM.
We’ve all been on the brink of Gilmore happiness just before it gets snatched away. It’s the pay-off to our emotional investment and with Michelle and Sasha, I realise I’ve invested in this show and these people. I even liked Eric, I didn’t realise he’d be a recurring character but he’s welcome to come back. How’s your investment and is it paying off?
Alongside Liza Weil ‘s welcome return, Jackson Douglas directs and Rose Abdoo gets a juicy chunk of dialogue during the quiz. To my fanboy delight, Gypsy and Paris get a great riff going over the buffalo wings. Did these two ever share a scene in GG? I’m thinking no, but I may be mistook… And with Millie entering into the amphitheatre project, Emily Gilmore and Paris Geller are *this close* to being reunited. If this ever happens, I’m expecting the universe to implode.
No Boo? Does this mean we can expect some serious Boo action next week?
Pictures ℅ ABC Family