“Bunheads” 1.16 ‘There’s Nothing Worse Than a Pantsuit’ – Recap and Review
Airdate 11 Feb 2013
Sam and Sal arrive early for tap dancing class, interrupting Michelle’s drilling of the ballet class. The pair of GG alumni (Gypsy and world’s biggest pizza chef / Kirk’s on-screen dad) let Michelle know the town committee is ready to meet and discuss Michelle and Fanny’s plans for the new amphitheatre. Tania (Michelle’s best buddy and continuing Vegas dancer) calls to announce her imminent surprise visit.
It’s surfing theme night at the Oyster Bar and Rico, the bar’s owner (and Gilmore Girls’ Mitchum Huntzberger, an unrecogniseable Gregg Henry) announces it’s in aid of the Surfer’s United Retirement Fund (S.U.R.F). As Endless Summer unreels on a screen, Jeff the waiter fails to persuade anyone it’s any fun and Boo’s nice guy boyfriend Carl buys in burgers and fries from next door. Sasha anti-socially texts her beau Roman, who’s propping up the bar behind them. Ginny and Melanie sit between the smitten Boo and Sasha and while Melanie’s quite content to be single and independent, Ginny’s not and announces to no response that she really will audition for the spring musical this year. As if Ginny wasn’t disgruntled enough already, Cozette drops by with photos for Melanie’s roller derby official team pics and Ginny leaves, only to see Jeff getting getting a blonde girl’s phone number. Everyone’s getting action except Ginny.
Millie (GG’s Paris Geller, Liza Weil) is lurking in the dance studio waiting for Michelle. As the town megalomaniac and the financial backer of the amphitheatre, Millie knows that the organised committee meeting will not be in their favour and and determines that they need to stage a pre-emptive meeting to catch them off-guard. Even U2’s The Edge, it seems, was defeated by the bureaucratic forces of the TAFT-POKI-RIP (The Association For The Preservation Of Keeping It Real In Paradise).
Roman turns up at Sasha’s apartment wearing a padlock on a neck chain – presumably so he can’t lose it – and more mascara than everyone else in the episode added together. He says it’s time to take their relationship public, starting with driving her to school. Sasha’s out of her comfort zone but goes along with it, then with him putting his arm around her shoulder during school and even eating with the girls at lunchtime. The girls were agreeing on cover stories for staying over at Sasha’s – Sasha’s parents have apparently now gone their separate ways and Sasha lives effectively alone but for a neglected plant she’s named Ralph.
Michelle and Millie have turned the studio into a command centre, preparing for the committee meeting. Truly (the town fashionista and resident loony tune) is dressing Michelle in pant suits; Eric the accountant is running numbers and Jayden is hacking the board members’ e-mails. Talia arrives in the middle of the madness and announces that her (much older) boyfriend Rick has proposed and she’s accepted and has the rock on her finger to prove it.
More quotables in this single scene than in the past few episodes:
Michelle: There’s so many buttons to button and every time I button a button there’s another button to button.
Truly: I could play with the crotch a little.
Michelle: Best offer all day.
Millie: There is nothing more intimidating than a pant suit.
Millie: Truly, show me where you keep your jumbo beads.
Michelle: Jumbo beads?
Truly: I love jumbo beads.
Another school lunch, same padlock neck chain. The new lunch group’s table conversation is still stilted, made moreso by Boo’s boyfriend Carl joining them, then Des (the closest thing Melanie has to a boyfriend, through his association with her brother). Ginny goes to talk to Frankie (Cozette’s dark and mysterious brother) but as usual, melts into a puddle and can’t bring herself to speak. He’s apparently too engrossed in his drawing to notice.
In a post-ballet practice changing room, Melanie invites the girls to support her roller derby game. Boo agrees, Sasha can’t handle the toilets and Ginny says she has homework. Michelle rushes them out to prepare the space for the committee meeting. With Millie in charge, the committee is on edge, unfed and puts their energy behind the argument that the amphitheatre will be harmful to squirrels. Letting Michelle take the brunt of the squirrel attack, Millie takes over the charge, armed with their tactical preparations. Michelle runs upstairs for a change of suit, only to find Ginny up there doing her homework – it’s quieter than at home where her divorced mum has found out that Ginny’s dad and Faye Mendelssohn are trying to conceive) – and Ginny asks if Michelle will help her audition for the spring musical. Michelle agrees and downstairs we hear Millie apparently blackmailing the committee with personal pictures. Whatever she’s doing, it works and Michelle is next toasting congratulations with Talia in Fanny’s house while Fanny’s away. Talia receives a phone call – it’s an old boyfriend who offers her a part in Rock of Ages, which is touring but often shares cast with Broadway. Michelle is outwardly congratulatory but she’s clearly rocked that Talia is living the dream.
Next morning, Ginny runs her audition piece for Michelle’s hangover – Ginny dances AND sings! – ‘It’s A Perfect Relationship’ from Bells Are Ringing about a girl in love with a guy she can only hear through the switchboard. Ginny is sweet with it but with Michelle’s insecurities brought to the fore by Talia’s recent revelations, Michelle is determined to show her how it’s done, takes over halfway through and ends up delivering what we already know she can – a character-laden performance at once engaging and entrancing. Ginny swoons and learns. It’s Frankie who actually nudges Ginny through the audition door and Ginny gets through to the final three, callbacks to follow. With her newfound success comes a new confidence, enough to get her to talk frankly with Frankie but not quite enough to get her through a full conversation. Cozette tries to soften Ginny’s embarrassment with encouragement, but Ginny rejects her help. Cozette lays it out for her: if she wants to be cool with her brother, she’ll have to be cool with Cozette.
Talia and Truly are shooting the breeze on Fanny’s sofa. Well, Talia’s talking marriage vs career while Truly shoots craziness right back. Michelle walks in and Truly offers her scones with clotted cream. “I want one”, says Talia – pointing at Truly. Michelle returns Truly’s pant suit. Whatever she’s going to do next, it’s not going to involve a pant suit. But it does include a currant scone, nom nom.
Thoughts Inviting Your Discussion
This week the spotlight falls on Ginny, the seemingly most self-assured of our dancing quartet. While Boo has Carl and her mother’s brood, Sasha has Roman and the the apartment and Melanie has Roller Derby, Ginny’s been left with her mother’s aggravations, an inability to talk to the guy she likes and the frustrations of, well, being a teenager. Bailey Buntain sings, dances and nails her lines to the wall. If I haven’t said this before, I’m calling it now – she’s this show’s Michelle Williams. What’s next for Ginny?
Otherwise, another middling episode in transit towards completion of the outdoor auditorium with a kick up Michelle’s derriere to remind her that she needs to figure out what she really wants. Millie as a precision weapon against the committee was nicely done and we saw the return of TAFTPOKIRIP, the poor man’s Taylor Doose and our GG friends: Sam and Sal, Millie, Rico and Brad Ellis (the piano player, playing himself playing a piano). With the return also of Eric (the accountant) the commingling of these characters in addition to the Bunheads themselves, it’s a large ensemble to play with now. But what, if anything, is missing for you?
Looks like the girls have an unsupervised sleepover at Sasha’s coming up and with the boyfriend situation seemingly heating up, looks like we could be heading toward relationship territory sometime soon. I’m having trouble imagining Rory at their sleepover or even hanging out with these girls. Perhaps it’s just not the same universe.
Roman, despite his make-up and jewellery choices, is growing on me. I like his earnestness and his willingness to confront social awkwardness. Roman’s a modern-day Jess, I think and Jess was always my favourite. But he’s less prickly, which Sasha compensates for. Both individually and as a couple, they’re more complicated than Rory with Dean, Jess or Logan. Tristan perhaps is the most similar. Carl and Boo on the other hand seem to be quite the opposite, but then again, it’s the quiet ones that’ll surprise you.
For anyone who reads down this far, I may be late posting next week – or even double-posting the week after – since I’ll be without internet sheltering under the northern lights in Iceland. See you when I see you.
Pics courtesy of ABC Family