“Bunheads” 1.14 ‘The Astronaut and the Ballerina’ – Recap and Discussion!

“Bunheads” 1.14 ‘The Astronaut and the Ballerina’ – Recap and Review
Airdate 28 Jan 2013

snuffleupagus

Jordan, Sasha’s dance partner, is leading the ballet class like it’s boot camp and the dancers are all over the place. In a moment of quiet, Boo and Ginny note that Sasha is shopping for an apartment after her parents separated and split. Melanie is mysteriously absent and while Michelle temporarily distract’s Jordan’s regime, Boo gets a phone call from her mum, evidently run ragged by the kids. One of them is stuck under the TV and she’s not sure who. Jordan shows the class how it’s done and boy, that kid can pirouette.

Melanie has taken up Cozzette’s suggestion and tries out for the Derby Dolls roller derby team. Their hot pink skulls motif shows they’re bad girls. With Melanie’s tomboy tendencies escalating recently into violent outbursts, she’s keen to go.  I suspect she’ll have to remove those gigantic hoop earrings.  Ginny could hula hoop those things.

The Hunan Garden Chinese restaurant next and Melanie and Ginny are dining with Melanie’s dad and Ginny’s mum. The parents seem to be good friends, but not that good. Dougie (Mel’s dad) broaches the subject of Ginny’s dad’s re-marriage to the as-yet-unseen Faye Mendelssohn, giving Claire (Ginny’s mum) free reign to vent copious spleen. The wedding is next week, Dougie and Melanie are going and Ginny hates her boxy bridesmaid’s dress.

Ginny: It’s a Chinese restaurant mum. They don’t do Gay Marines.

At a quiet night at the Oyster Bar, Michelle apologises to Godot after assuming he was dumb last week and makes up for it by giving him Finding Nemo on DVD. She makes big naughty eyes at him and he succumbs, closing up early and walking her home.   Only to find Michelle’s brother Scotty waiting on the porch. Godot is sent politely packing – at least for tonight – and Scotty explains his tuxedo and purple cummerbund. He’s just come from his wedding night (his fourth) to a redhead hostess in Tupelo who he’d known for a month. She says he can have the couch, so Truly (and Sasha) must have found somewhere else to sleep.

The next morning before class, Michelle is talking to Scotty’s wife Mandy on the phone and arranging to get his stuff back. The class itself is interrupted firstly by Boo trailing three kids and setting up daycare in the corner – then by the kids themselves and Boo’s scolding. Carl, Boo’s older-than-his-years boyfriend comes to the rescue, picking the kids up after his work shift.

It’s later at the Oyster Bar, Carl and Boo look and talk like parents run ragged.

Carl: I’m still sticky. What is this and how did it get all over me?
Boo: It’s what our lives are now. We’re sticky and we’re tired.

After reunion drinks at the Oyster Bar, back at Michelle’s place, she and Scotty talk about sorting their lives out and he returns her long-lost ukelele.

Melanie takes a sliding fall at the roller derby and rather likes the taste of it. Cozzette, the unfeasibly popular new girl, is DJ-ing the session.

In the dance school’s changing room, Ginny is freaking out at the boxy bridesmaid’s dress and Melanie promises to help Ginny at the wedding. With Ginny out of the room taking a call from her mum (who’s stalking Faye Mendelssohn’s dog) Melanie apologises to Cozzette for not talking to her when she’s with her clique and Cozzette says she understands about  group dynamics. Ginny scares everyone in the vicinity away, talking about her crazy mum and worrying that she’ll end up crazy and ends up talking to herself. Frankie – Cozzette’s brother who has a potential mutual attraction thing going with Ginny – notes that genius is often touched with madness, which makes them fun.

Frankie: Your face reminds me of a Vermeer.
Ginny: It does?
Frankie: The Milkmaid.
Ginny: I like milk.

Scotty intrudes on the rehearsal and embarrasses and undermines Michelle by telling a childhood story about Michelle and the ballet teacher she hated. Brad Ellis (the piano guy from Glee and Rory’s Yale graduation party) seems to be growing his beard out. Cozzette takes Michelle’s feedback on her posture a little intensely. She and her brother Frankie are unusual, even by Paradise standards.

Boo and Carl bicker over the kids and needing space and Carl sacrifices his gym time and pats his own fine ass. Overbearing Jordan becomes Oddly Pleasant Jordan after Boo SuperNannies him, threatening him with a Time Out. Ginny calls Boo in a state – she’s at Faye Mendelssohn’s trampolining pre-wedding photoshoot and Melanie’s gone AWOL. Boo suggests she call Charlie, he probably knows where Melanie is.

Ginny half-stumbles into the roller derby, where Melanie (newly christened ‘Cleo-Smack-Tra’ by Frankie and Cozzette) realises her blunder and goes to apologise. Ginny is distraught and covered in punch, thrown by her mum over the wedding party when she found out about it. Melanie explains her attraction to the roller derby as an outlet for the pressures of sucking at school and her dad pressuring her to go to college. Ginny goes ballistic at Cozzette for seemingly trying to steal Melanie as a friend and storms out.

Michelle is putting away dance costumes and is fuming at Scotty, who turns up to ask for another set of keys. She’s mad at him undermining her in front of the girls and together they kick up dust and resentment and push each others’ buttons the way only someone who really knows you can. He’s unable to see her as what she has become and in trying to convince him otherwise, she takes stock of where she is and how she’s changed. She’s completely fired up and sure of herself and leaves Scotty there, whether he’s heard her or not.

Michelle: Fanny. My mother-in-law. She told me that you make your own family. You make your own destiny and there is nothing that you cannot change if you are completely committed to it.

Michelle is sitting alone on her porch step, plucking at her ukelele. Scotty walks up, sits down and they sing the Patience and Prudence duet ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’. The song’s melodies intertwine and harmonise and you know he’s sorry and she’s sorry and they’ll move on together. And probably argue just as passionately tomorrow but that’s who they are and what they do and how they love.

Closing credits go to Jordan having a Black Swan moment, training himself just as hard as he trained the class.

Jordan: “I’ll be better after a banana.”

Discussion

Penned by ASP and Daniel Palladino, I can’t believe they didn’t title the episode ‘Beaver! Beaver! Beaver!’ after Boo’s screaming at the boy named Beaver.

Glad to see Boo back.  Just before the 17 minute mark, as Boo (Kaitlyn Jenkins) mouths apologies to the class for the disruptions, she makes eye contact with Michelle (Sutton Foster) and almost corpses but makes like a balloon knot and holds it in.  Did you notice Boo’s giggle?

No Sasha, or Fanny – in fact very Gilmore-lite this whole episode, if you don’t count Brad Ellis’ beard and Kirk’s – I mean Sebastian’s – coffee cups. We have been spoiled in recent weeks but impressively instead, the whole supporting cast steps up:

- Carl (Casey Adler) had a nice running gag going with the kids-as-parents schtick
- Jordan (Kent Boyd), the male lead from the Wall Street rat-dance nutcracker plays dictator and makes Fanny look soft.
- Tell me you didn’t make puppy noises when ten-year old Margaret (Olivia Brothers) was dressed down by that big ol’ bully Jordan
- We even got to see the series’ Snuffleupagus, Faye Mendelssohn. Well, kind of. Bouncing on a trampoline in the background.
- Melanie’s Mum Claire (Kierston Warren) and Ginny’s Dad Dougie (Taylor Nichols) add some more back-story and another nuclear family to join Boo’s.
- Matisse (Matisse Love) and Louise (Simrin Player) are aspiring starlets and Jordan’s starry-eyed fan-club
Who would you like to see more of?

And the big one of course, Michelle’s brother Scotty. His part made for an uncomfortable and shouty second-half, that while important in terms of Michelle’s character progression, kinda makes me want to see the next episode back-to-back. More than anyone, Scotty has the power to show us – and Michelle – how far she’s come and what she’s capable of.

Scotty and Michelle, played by real-life siblings Hunter and Sutton Foster share natural comic timing and their familiarity comes across like an old sofa. He’s not an endearing character, at least not yet – he’s too smart to be a TJ, too serious to be a Jackson – but I think he’ll shine as he comes into contact with more Paradise residents and figures out who he is – if that even matters.  He’s well-cast as her sibling, don’t you think?

Melanie kicked ass last episode and in skates, I thought she’d be like Bambi on ice. Instead, Emma Dumont pulls a Tom Cruise, performing her own stunts. Of everything in this episode, I desperately wanted to see more of her in action, but I wonder where they’re going with this.  In creating such an eye-catching gimmick, has Bunheads jumped the shark?

And the shiny Bailey Buntain, looking as good in a boxy dress as anyone ever could. I think I’m developing a crush. Sigh.

As ever, all pictures are here courtesy of ABC Family

Comments

  1. mcityrk says:

    @ Hi Dairyman-

    Thanks for the write-up. The first somewhat unexpected and possibly unnecessary episode. JTS territory? Sure, but not for the roller derby plotline that had a point, more for the Jordan insanity and the continuing dilution of the story trajectory with oodles of insignificant characters. Let’s have a bit of fun and run the episode through the old GG filter of the pro and con list:

    Big pro, the Foster duet. Fun, interesting, informative in furthering Michelle’s back-story, However, the choice of timing to introduce Scotty seemed a little strange. This could have been done in almost any episode so why now. Suspect Scotty will be only an occasional presence as he gets in the way of the real story. The “found” ukulele theme seemed pilfered right out of Rosanne with its Rosanne/Jackie/ Miss Tuttle Doll “discovery/return”. And the undermining of authority of a newly minted teacher seems like an old saw that’s been used in a lot of other shows storylines as well. [Cosett’e reaction to Michell’s instruction seemed weird to me, almost like Cosette was going to cry since it had been years since anybody dared correct her].

    Solid pro, Boo and Carl with the kids was at times very funny though they may have carried it for a beat or three too long. For a split second or two as their purgatory continued I actually thought that maybe Carl is starting to show a few flaws.

    Another solid pro, the bond between Melanie and Ginny being strained, first by Colette’s influence appealing to Mel and leaving Ginny in the dark on the ever-changing social order. And then by Mel’s brain freeze really leaving Ginny exposed and questioning the strength of the friendship. It does sort of imply that within the quartet that the Ginny/Mel and Sasha/Boo duets are the BF’s of the BFF’s.

    The roller derby and Melanie as a JTS moment? Maybe, but inconsequential if they back it out properly to reunite the friends. I actually expected to see Melanie excel a bit more in the rink, never any question that she would do her own stunts. Seemed like the Sasha/cheerleader phase had a similar JTS trajectory and wouldn’t be surprised to see Ginny get a similar treatment to work her through the current crazy phase.

    Minimal pro, the continuing dumbing down of the parents. Funny at times, but it usually seems like most of the adults are drinking water contaminated by some IQ diminishing potion. Filler material at best.

    Minimal con, the continuing teasing from ASP stalling out expected continuing story lines [an ABCF staple]; i.e. Fanny/Michelle/Truly and Millie; Sasha and Roman; where’s Sasha living and how’s she doing after her borderline meltdown; yada-yada-yada Michelle and Godot [where’s Luke when you really need him].

    Biggest con, not really any great ensemble dance numbers for a change and a lot of filler. And while Jordan’s best individual work was incredibly athletic it seemed more pugilistic and masochistic than artistic. And the biggest gripe from this of course was leaving Jordan in charge of teaching a class with widely differing talents. Looked like a sure career ending injury and lawsuit waiting to happen that would make the Nutcracker fiasco look like a tea party. Fanny would never be that dumb or cruel. It’s the equivalent of having Michael Jordan coach a basketball team of nine year olds and then kick everyone off the team when they can’t dunk.

    First episode that I probably won’t ever watch in rerun form.

  2. Emma says:

    Beaver!

    Never mind anything else. I loved that bit.

  3. dairyman says:

    I need a ukelele.

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