“Bunheads” 1.15 ‘Take The Vicuna’ – Recap and Review (and Rave and Rant)

Share

“Bunheads” 1.15 ‘Take The Vicuna’ – Recap and Review
Airdate 4 Feb 2013

60 percent gilmore

Where Gilmore borrowed Sorkin’s ‘Walk and Talk’, Bunheads creates Dance and Discourse in a terrific opener (see below for me raving about how great this scene is).  Ginny takes Melanie to task  for what she sees as Melanie’s betrayal of friendship to the newcomer, Cozette. Sasha trolls the aisles of a supermarket for that new-apartment first-time shop.

Fanny and Michelle’s money-making scheme is coming together. Their outdoor auditorium is being built by the town’s handymen, Bob and Don – or Fat Bob and Skinny Don as they’ll forever be known – and with Millie’s funding, The Millicent Stone Performance Center promises to be a sumptuous venue, when it’s eventually finished. Millie seems determined that money is no object – much to Fanny’s devious delight.

Scottie and Michelle are arranging a trip to the Burning Man festival. They’ve made up since last week’s ruckus, as siblings do. And that’s not all that’s made up – Michelle bursts Scottie’s bubble, telling him that their mum fabricated some of his best childhood vacations and memories.

Michelle: Raincoat?
Scottie: Bring it.
Michelle: Bikini?
Scottie: Bring it.
Michelle: Pyjama jeans?
Scottie: Bring ’em.
Michelle: Handcuffs?
Scottie: Toss ’em in.
Michelle: Hard hat, waffle iron, Bananarama box set.
Scottie: What the hell are we gonna do with a waffle iron?

In the dance studio’s changing room, Sasha attempts to sort out her new apartment’s utilities while Ginny continues her tirade against Cozette, threatening to boycott Sasha’s housewarming party. To demonstrate her allegiance, Melanie says she won’t go either, forcing Sasha to be the grown-up and coming to an alternative coffee-date arrangement with Cozette. Sorted.

Roman, Sasha’s beau, turns up stalker-like at the studio, exasperated by the lack of response from Sasha recently. She promises him she’ll be in touch. Millie requests a backer’s rehearsal from Fanny, whereby Millie – as the financier of the auditiorium – receives a backstage peek into the dancers’ progress. Fanny is outraged at the very idea, even before Millie takes, then gives, notes on the dancers’ Sleeping Beauty rehearsal performances (ensemble pieces sandwich a sterling, jaunty solo from RaJahnae ‘RaeRae’ Patterson). Fanny snaps and Millie escalates to her lawyers, who she has on vocal speed dial.

raerae-sleepingbeauty

At Sasha’s housewarming, Scottie is amusingly outraged that Sasha has it together better at sixteen than he ever has. As a team, with Sasha cooking, Boo instructing, Ginny housekeeping and Martha Stewart there in spirit, it’s a very sophisticated soiree indeed. Sasha’s even installed a barre and long mirror in the bedroom – in part because she’s serious about ballet and in part because she’s inspired by Michelle. Scottie deems Sasha Michelle’s Mini-Me and warns Michelle that it could be dangerous.

Fanny has invited Millie over to her house, to apologise and make peace. Millie admits that what she really wants is artistic recognition, but doesn’t want to go through the pain of actually learning it. In the absence of acquiring actual expertise, she happily settles for Fanny pretending she does.

worlds collide - but no implosion

Fanny: Creating art is not democratic.

With the last guest gone, Sasha leans with her back to the door, confronted with her empty apartment. Not for long though; Roman’s at the door. To his indignation at being neglected, she explains how much she’s had to deal with – her parents splitting and leaving her, sorting the apartment and the party – and as they’re screaming at each other about giving up on the relationship, they agree to meet Friday at 8. I love this stuff.

Roman: Wow, you’re weirder than I thought. And I thought you were pretty weird.

After the party, Scottie’s driving the sleeping Michelle to the Burning Man festival in his car. He stops for a ‘detour’ at a diner. He tries to stop her going in but she fancies fries and is confronted by her mum, who she hasn’t seen or contacted for twelve and a half years. Scottie’s there to sign some papers for her and Michelle sits at the stall behind. We’re not given the full story but Michelle is clearly unimpressed by her mum’s continued conniving ways – (deep breath) Scottie is mum’s legal guardian since they declared her legally incompetent to get out of being stuck with a house that she’d bought with a now ex-boyfriend. The mum’s new boyfriend is Rufus, a 35 year old and she says she wants to record a country and western album.  Scottie signs the financial documents and leaves with Michelle.

Scottie drives Michelle back to her place and before he leaves, she forgives him, they hug.

Michelle: Give me some warning before you get married again.
Scottie: There’s usually not that much time.

Michelle notices Sasha sleeping on her couch. “I’ll sleep at my place tomorrow”, Sasha mumbles as Sam Phillips’ “la-la-las” kick in and Michelle reclines in her own bed, mirroring her Mini-Me… two Sleeping Beauties?

 

Discussion

Eat your heart out, Aaron Sorkin. The walk-and-talk adopted by Gilmore Girls becomes something else entirely in the hands of choreographer Marguerite Derricks, director Chris Eigeman and main writer (Gilmore Girls’ producer) Sheila Lawrence. While Bunheads isn’t Gilmore Girls, this episode’s opening scene is something else entirely. Filmed in a couple of long takes, the prominent quartet of Bailey Buntain, Emma Dumont, Kaitlyn Jenkins and Julia Goldani Telles dance, discourse and delightfully deliver the goods with some wicked interventions from Jeanine Mason. It’s catty, clever and laugh-out-loud funny and Bailey Buntain has more acting ability in her chin than the cast of oh let’s say Revenge.  Are you watching Bunheads for Bunheads, or are you still watching it for Gilmore Girls?

After last week’s Gilmore-lite episode, I’m more than pleased to report Gilmore-overcompensation this week. Returning to Bunheads but this time behind the camera, the always-sharp Chris Eigeman (Gilmore’s Jason ‘Digger’ Stiles) directs, joining GG producer Sheila Lawrence, who takes writing duties.  The auditorium construction scene boasts Fanny, Bob and Millie (Gilmore Girls’ Emily Gilmore, handyman Tom and Paris Geller) appearing in a single frame without the universe imploding. That’s 60% Gilmore in the top picture.  It’s quite something that, personally, I didn’t once consider Fanny and Millie as Paris and Emily. And to think, Paris and Tom were last on set together over 11 years ago, when Rory wielded a prettified pink hammer back in Gilmore Girls’ series 2.  A new GG alumni entry too, with Sasha’s new neighbour, better known to us as dear departed Fran Westin of  Westin’s cake shop and the previous owner of the Dragonfly Inn: Linda Porter, reincarnated here as Mrs Weidemeyer, who Michelle lends some colour to as the elderly neighbour turned con artist.  Did you get your Gilmore fix?

The Vicuna reference is from Sunset Boulevard, which I’m both proud and embarrassed to say I didn’t have to look up, since I know every line from the musical. Everyone’s a geek about something, OK? And I’m calling the second outing for Clemenza’s gun reference in Bunheads to date, to join the numerous mentions from Lorelai.  Seriously, if you don’t know where his gun is by now, you’re just not paying attention.

Main plot points here are Sasha’s moving out and Michelle’s estrangement from her mum.  Lorelai and Michelle could be role models for Sasha, examples of how hard it can be gaining your independence and identity – figuring out who you are, outside of parents and expectations.  It’s not as easy as Sasha physically moving out and growing up and literally playing house – the internal struggles continue and sometimes never go away. I still feel like I’m moving among adults. We saw this in Lorelai as much as anyone, with her insistence on finding the fun and the child in being an adult and that you don’t have to choose to hide it away.  Of all the characters in Gilmore Girls, who do you most identify with?  Who would you most like to be like?

I knew Scottie would redeem himself. This week he had the lines, the wide-eyed amazement over Sasha’s bagless vacuum cleaner, the warm cookie “Oh my God” and invited some sympathy over his predicament between Michelle and their mum. Would you care to see him return? Will he ever find his path? Would Scottie have gotten on with Hubbell?

Creativity vs The Bottom Line. For anyone who’s had a television series stripped away from them too soon (say, Freaks and Geeks, Firefly, Studio 60 for example), the balance of numbers versus art is a sad fact in mainstream US television. Watching certain series get whittled away by committee into either a premature end or becoming soggy and ill-defined is disheartening and drags us all into the middle-lane, creators and audience alike. From interviews, it sounds like ASP is getting a fair amount of free rein in Bunheads and all power to her. As it was with Michelangelo and as it is with Millie, it’s only with trust from the backers that the creatives have the creative freedom to make something of their visions.  Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Pics courtesy of ABC Family

Share

Rich

Rich originally began contributing to GIlmore News as 'Dairyman' in 2013, a reference to the character Dairyman Dick in Tess of the D'Urbervilles, (call me Rich). Here in the UK we were late to the Gilmore party and I don't remember what made me watch my first episode - the one where Lorelai picks Rory up from the police station after she and Logan steal a yacht - but I remember watching it again immediately. And then again. Thankfully, the next show was on the next day and I watched that one three times too. And then the boat one again. I couldn't believe the dialogue was so quick and so funny and I pretended to myself that I was only watching it so I could figure out who I was more keen on - the mom or the daughter. I swore that Aaron Sorkin must have been involved but I couldn't find his name attached anywhere, even on the internet. So I watched and loved and laughed and cried and the day after the series finale, they ran the entire show from the beginning again and Rory turned into a baby so then I was all about Lorelai. Lauren Graham is astonishing ("Mother: Breathtaking") and the show was - and is - lightning in a bottle. It's a treasure for those who watch and get swept up in it, like I did and like the readers of Gilmore News. It's heartbreak and chicken soup, family dysfunction and blind optimism, lighthearted romanticism and balls-out brilliant. Thanks to Arieanna and gilmorenews.com for letting me squat and allowing my inner Gilmore Geek out for air. I worry how it would otherwise manifest.

6 thoughts on ““Bunheads” 1.15 ‘Take The Vicuna’ – Recap and Review (and Rave and Rant)

  • February 5, 2013 at 9:46 pm
    Permalink

    Fabulous Bunheads…the first episode where I wasn’t constantly comparing GG to this or that and where I finally stopped wishing that Lauren Graham was playing the part of Michelle (now it’s just a dark and secret wish relegated to the dark corners with the ugly kids). Sutton Foster has severely toned down the over the top they-can-see-me-in-the-cheap-seats expressions and I’m beginning to almost love her. The girls are great, Ginny and Sasha the clear standouts and the humor flies fast and furious. And please let us bow our heads for moment in homage to the “everything is beautiful at the ballet” reference made by the irrepressible Milly to the original Sheila from A Chorus Line (Kelly aka Carole Bishop). Fabulous.

    Reply
  • February 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm
    Permalink

    @ Hi Dairyman-

    This week we get the fully formed, fantastically, funny episode that I was expecting last week. Thanks for the write-up.

    Cool opening sequence. The only thing funnier and more interesting than having the usual quartet whine-a-thon is having them do it to synchronous steps! And the perfectly acerbic counterpoint when Fanny brings it full circle and shuts them down!! The continuation of the argument leaking over to Sasha’s party plans was pretty funny as well.

    The girls with the builders, funny but why doesn’t Fanny see an interruption coming from Millie as to meddling in the production? Wasn’t Hubble “engaged” to Millie at some point? Millie’s “too many cooks” behavior should not be a surprise.

    However, in spite of that, most of the “Millie Interuptus” scene played pretty well, except the one lone shout out to GG [Kirk vs Millie; ox cart vs chair] came across as fingernails on blackboard instead of being funny. That 30 second headache broke the comedic rhythm for me. One wonders though, specifically whose bow ASP was taking a shot at by making Millie a tone-deaf collaborator?. And the Fanny/Millie truce established later seemed way too easy, got to be more head-butting to come or there is no need for Millie’s presence.

    The Scottie and Michelle show continues to excel, but the shout-out to “Mom” in the person of Lolita Davidovitch seems duped right from Mary McCormick’s “Mom” in the recently discontinued show “In Plain Sight”. The actresses even look similar. You know the character, unrealistically ambitious, minimally talented, constantly needing to be bailed-out. A story line that could have been deleted with no appreciable loss. And whatever happened to the trip to Running Man? Was it actually a ruse to get Michelle to see Mom, or simply aborted because Michelle was so ticked after the unwanted sighting?

    Sasha in the store, funny if predictable but hard to believe she can’t reach high enough to get what she needs.

    And the Sasha housewarming party deserves much commentary. 1] Who is paying for these great digs, guilt-ridden parents? And why does Sasha need such over-perfection? 2] Scottie and Michelle envious of these digs – hilarious. 3] Sasha as Martha Stewart is to Rory as Donna Reed. 4] Roman uninvited and out of the loop – oops. And a brain-dead cheerleader intervention to correct this oversight no less. 5] What do you know, the other parents are actually paying attention – no unchaperoned sleep-overs at Sasha’s. 6] Michelle’s home-alone horror stories planting the seed of worry in Sasha’s mind. As a result guess who gets an unexpected room-mate? 7] After the party, Sasha and Roman negotiating a date is to Rory and [sorry Emma] Dean negotiating a reconciliation. And in both situations the girls were very happy with the results! 8] Sasha showing a wide [almost schizophrenic] range of chronological ages, from the tween playing house at the party, to the twenty year-old getting a long-sought date after the party, to the young child needing the equivalent of a night light before falling asleep.

    Why watch this show? Delightful overtones of GG with some uniquely BH accents as the quartet comes into their own. Lots of fun extended shout-outs to GG in this episode, though I missed Fran on first inspection.

    As an aside, I don’t think this is the first comingling of Liza and Emily’s acting interactions. In GG there was the Chilton business project with Ed, Alexis, Liza and Emily in the same frame at the Grandparents and at Rory’s 21 birthday party Liza was one of the invited guests to the Grandparents mansion. This does however mark the first extended head-on clash between these two favorites.

    Reply
  • February 12, 2013 at 2:18 am
    Permalink

    @cece, I really liked what you wrote about Sutton Foster toning down ‘over the top they-can-see-me-in-the-cheap-seats expressions’ :) I hadn’t put my finger on what she was doing wrong before but of course it’s that – she was still acting for the stage. And you’re right, she was better this time around. I liked when she just stopped and looked at her mom in the diner. So much emotion, on both sides, good and bad, and so much history, and said with almost no words. I think that’s a really interesting relationship – it’s what Lorelai could never do, break away entirely from her mother, because even though she tried to she still got dragged back in. Will Michelle get dragged back in too?

    I loved Millie and Fanny (but I still think she’s Paris…haven’t been able to shake it yet! Though Fanny is becoming more Fanny than Emily for me now).

    Yes, @mcityrk, I wondered who was paying for Sasha. It was interesting how desperately she wants to prove she can be a ‘grown up’, taking it to the extreme, and yet how much she is still a littlegirl. When her mom basically abandoned her in the other episode I really felt terrible inside for Sasha. What kind of a mother does that? Thank goodness for Boo and Boo’s Mom, even though Boo’s mom is nuts at least there’s an all-encompassing love there. I know mother daughter relationships always have issues, but it’s good to have a balance.

    I’ve been thinking about which GG character I am most like, and who I’d like to be. Strangely I think I might be most like Luke – he’s pretty traditional, finds it a bit hard to express himself sometimes, is a romantic deep down, very loyal. But then I also identify with Lorelai’s cleaning methods. And Lane’s double life, hiding the truth from her mom. And Rory’s obsession with books (thank God for the Kindle, it saves my breaking back from carrying multiple books with me on holiday). And even Emily’s desire for a happy, successful family, even though hers is a bit messed up. I wish I was as quick-talking as Lorelai, always having a witty comeback. I wish I had the dress Rory wears for the dancing competition. I wish I had a house with a porch. I wish I had a friendly coffee shop. Especially if they let me help myself to doughnuts whenever I wanted. :)

    Oh, and finally, I’m not sure about Scottie and Hubbell. I think eventually they’d get on, but initially I don’t think Scottie would really ‘get’ Hubbell. I liked Scottie though, he grew on me more and more, so I hope he comes back into it – it provides another interesting view on Michelle.

    Reply
  • February 12, 2013 at 3:36 pm
    Permalink

    @cece ‘beautiful at the ballet’… nice catch. I was waiting for this through the first series and nearly missed it when it came :O)

    I get the feeling there is a full story between Millie and Truly and Hubbell but we’ve just seen glimpses of it so far, like blind men describing bits of an elephant. You’re quite right @mcityrk, Paris and Emily had a few interactions before and I was very glad to see them commanding the same scene. Felt like a real love-in.

    Also, I quite like Michelle’s theatricality. She is, after all, in the business of show.

    @emma you’re spot on with Scottie and Hubbell. I liked the singing and I hope there’s more of it. I read somewhere that ASP said she should be shot if she ever does another karaoke scene but where there’s a will…

    I like to think there’s a bit of Kirk in everyone and a bit of Lorelai. It’s just there’s a whole spectrum in between and each day you choose which bit to tamp down and which bits you just let fly.

    Reply
  • February 12, 2013 at 8:08 pm
    Permalink

    @Emma-

    A few followups to the “Moms” discussion. While Emily G was restrictive, overbearing, and argumentative at least she was highly functional and capable of taking care of herself when need be. Even though Lorelai valued her independence, she never really needed to move that far afield from her mother, there still was common ground through Rory.

    Michelle’s Mom on the other hand is delusional, conniving, and takes it for granted that someone will protect her from herself. and the world owes her a quality life. A very dangerous personality who should be dealt with from a distance as Michelle did or at least in situations of infinite dilution where so many others are around that you probably won’t be chosen as the designated patsy. Poor, poor Scottie. Protect yourself dude!

    Sasha’s Mom is a tougher read. Who knows how long she has been living a lie with a man masquerading as a husband. And having an only child who’s incredibly talented but so obnoxiously self-centered that on her best days she treats her Mom as an afterthought and on her worst days treats her Mom like a worst enemy. At least she left Sasha with enough time and resources to take a run at making it on her own. That’s probably a better alternative than a forced move or just staying put and constantly fighting. And who knows if it’s a permanent abandonment or just some time and space for Sasha to learn some important lessons on her own and be stronger for it.

    Reply
  • February 15, 2013 at 1:50 am
    Permalink

    @mcityrk You’re right. I always struggled with Lorelai and Emily’s relationship though, because ASP would allow them to get so close to having a really great mother/daughter relationship, and then just as quickly she would snatch it away again. So sometimes I’d think if Lorelai had cut her out of her life completely perhaps it would’ve been healthier for her?

    I want to know more about Michelle’s childhood now – has her mom always been crazy? What sent her crazy (absence of dad?) and yes, poor Scottie!

    Yep, I see the arguments about Sasha’s mom, but still, Sasha is really young. I just don’t believe a mom would leave her kid alone like that, never mind how many resources they’ve left her with. Whatever you’re going through in your own life, you take care of your kids, and sometimes taking care of them means making them do stuff they don’t want to do, and fighting with them. It just doesn’t seem very safe, or believable.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *