“Bunheads” 1.15 ‘Take The Vicuna’ – Recap and Review
Airdate 4 Feb 2013
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.
Scottie: Bring it.
Scottie: Bring it.
Michelle: Pyjama jeans?
Scottie: Bring ’em.
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.
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.
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?
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