Mondays 9:00 PM on ABC Family

Bunheads Review: From Vegas to Paradise

by at . Comments

Let’s just get this right out in the open. I had absolutely no intention of watching the Pilot of Bunheads, let alone enjoying it. If I hadn’t been called in at the last minute for a review, I would be in the dark about this incredibly witty and touching new show on ABC Family. 

I don’t know what I was expecting, but given the pedigree of Amy Sherman-Palladino and star Kelly Bishop it would seem that I would want to watch this show. I think it was the part about ballerinas that did me in. Never in my life did I picture myself as a ballerina. If the show was about klutzes, I would have felt more comfortable. 

Bunheads Premiere Pic

Within five minutes Bunheads had me. The dialog was perfect. If all goes well, it will be a go-to show for Bunheads quotes that make you smile. Michelle whips out those lines much like Lorelei Gilmore did in Gilmore Girls, and makes me wish Ms. Sherman-Palladino was walking behind me, whispering witty repartee into my ear so I could sound as cool as she writes. 

The protagonist, Michelle, having worked her way through the various mediums of dance finally gave into a man, Hubbell, who promised her the world. The small-town world of Paradise, California. After years of unsuccessfully wooing her, he caught her at her lowest point, and in a drunken moment of either despair or optimism, she married him and fled Las Vegas for a new life. 

Only when they arrived did we understand his love of her, as his mother, Fanny, was a dancer. He obviously saw in Michelle something he had once seen in his mother. Although they went through the obvious jealousy and somewhat clueless disgust for each other, by the end of the episode there was a mutual understanding between Fanny and Michelle. They both had been given the gifts and tools to be successful dancers, but life got in the way. For Fanny it was pregnancy, for Michelle a lack of focus. They found common ground.

It was a nice change that Michelle didn’t pretend to love Hubbell, but wished so much that she could be the type of woman who could. She’s cynical and a realist, and yet deep inside she had the dream every girl has, that maybe someone might understand her after all. Hubbell’s speech to her on the night of their wedding party was so romantic. He tells her she wants to laugh, and travel and be surprised and challenged while living an unexpected life. What woman wouldn’t want to hear that? It worked; her heart melted just a little.

We were introduced to four of the bunheads themselves; two standouts. Sasha, with all the talent and the perfect body for ballet but none of the attitude, and Bettina, aka Boo, who has all the attitude and wants it more than anything but has a hulky build and the fear that it will keep her from her goal. Their differences became apparent when Michelle gave them an impromptu introduction to the audition process. It was so fun to watch, and Fanny agreed. That’s where you saw her heart melt a little for Michelle.

Picture Lorelei Gilmore as a dancer and that she and Emily would actually be seen doing shots at a bar and dancing together to Jim Croce. Yep, Emily Gilmore has come a long way. We’ll find out just how far she’s come next week when we discover what happened to Hubbell, but I don’t have a good feeling.

A couple things will be needed to complete the full ABC Family experience for Bunheads. First up, cute boys. With all these young dancers running around, some hot young boys can't be far behind, right? As exciting as it will be to watch them compete for positions in recitals and for scholarships, it's not ABC Family if there isn't some competition by the girls for the male variety. Michelle is also going to need a best friend. Crazy as she was in the premiere, could Truly get over her loss of Hubbell, get her head out of her arse and recognize the wonder that is Michelle? The casting of Stacy Oristano from Friday Night Lights leads me to believe in the possibility. 

The chemistry between Tony-winning actress Sutton Foster as Michelle and Kelly Bishop as Fanny sizzles. For those of us who have missed GG, we may have a good step-child in Bunheads. What did you think? Are you willing to give it a chance and see where it goes? From an absolute “I won’t watch” to finding permanent place on my schedule, you can be sure I’ll be there!


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
  • 4.8 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (229 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

Tags: ,
Like Us On Facebook

Want more Bunheads?

Sign up for our daily newsletter and receive the latest tv news delivered to your inbox for free!

More From TV Fanatic


The Bridge Review: Going After the Beast

On tonight's The Bridge, Marco is made an offer that he initially refuses. Will he agree to go after Fausto?

Extant Review: Captured

Things go from bad to worse for Molly on Extant as she tries to escape the prying eyes of the ISEA but chooses the worst place for safety. Read on for a full review.

Graceland Review: Entanglements

Mike is on a war path, but is he headed in the right direction? Read our Graceland review of "Los Malos" now to find out!

Suits Review: Truth Hurts

Rachel tells Mike about the kiss as Mike struggles to pick up the pieces after his firing. Read our Suits review of "We're Done" now to find out what went down.


I love this show! Beautifully acted and written. Love the fast paced banter between Michelle and Fanny. A show for ages 12 to 72! Bun Heads is a " tug at your heart", smart and fabulously funny show! Can't wait to next season.


Snow is my FAVORITE. I'm not a fan of cold. I need more layers in the snow, but I LOVE snow. That's one of them many thnigs I miss about Rochester the glitter snow. The kind that sparkles lovely under the street lamps. Looks like someone took a can of white glitter and had their way with the world. I love it. I don't mind shoveling, because it keeps me warm. I'm always ridiculously disappointed when it's not a White Christmas. I've always wanted to sled down the hills at Valley Forge. Are *you* in for giant hill sledding at the next decent snow? D


Okay I just served these after our meal bakering the Yom Kippur fast. They are SO GOOD!! I even mistakenly added an extra egg to the brownie layer (because I had three out and forgot that one needed to go in the white layer) and they were still outstanding. Thank you!


I am a Jock and Love this show!!
The writing is witty, charming and edgy. I love the relationship between Michelle and Fanny.
I look forward to seeing more of the Bunheads and more dancing as they are so talented!!
Amy has a way to bring it all together.


Love Bunheads! Amy SP's writing has been sorely missed in this household (seriously, how many times can one watch Gilmore Girls repeats? 10 and counting here...) and now we have the gift of more of the same brilliant writing. Yay for us! There are complaints that it sounds too much like GG and if that show was great, I ask you: why would this be a problem? What if Shakespeare had stopped writing after The Taming of the Shrew or Romeo and Juliet? Then we would've missed Midsummer Nights Dream, Macbeth, etc. What if only Godfather I had been made? When Godfather II was phenomenal? Just because an artist has done a thing once doesn't mean she should quit. Have you seen Monets Arles cathedral paintings? Listened to songs by Muse or Joni Mitchell? All great stuff, so much that I want more! I feel the same about Palladino's work, it makes me happy... More. PLEASE!


Love Bunheads! Amy SP's writing has been sorely missed in this household (seriously, how many times can one watch Gilmore Gurks repeats? 10 and counting here...) and now we have the gift of more of the same brilliant writing. Yay for us! There are complaints that it sounds too much like GG and if that show was great, why would this be a problem? What if Shakespeare had stopped writing after The Taming of the Shrew or Romeo and Juliet? Then we would've missed Midsummer Nights Sream, Macbeth,


Love the show Bunheads. The two lead women on the show are great together. This week a new man was introduced. Ive seen him before and he is wonderful. The Michelle character is adorable. She makes me smile,with her quirky actions and chatter. Good clean show. Look forward to the show each week. Thanks family channel for another terrific program.


This is the best comedy series going! It has depth of story line and humor! I love the way Amy Sherman-Palladino writes and produces such individual characters but still keeps them approachable! This show has the quit wit like Gilmore Gilrs, but is fresh with new, excentric characters. Sutton is hilarious, as usual! She was awesome on broadway, which I had the lovely opportunity to see her in Thoroughly Modern Millie - FABULOUS! Someone wrote in one of the reviews here that Sutton Foster was the reason this show panned. She has incredible wit, directions, timing!! I'd just say give it another shot, Mr.
I love laughing out loud again!!!! It should be for a great season! Yeah, a good show in TV in 2012!!! Ahh, a sigh of relief!


The whole reason I'm going to watch it is BECAUSE it looks so much like Gilmore Girls. I miss the warm, fuzzy feeling of that show and Bunheads trailer had that feeling. Loved it.


I have no idea why they killed such a great actor as Alan Ruck off in the first episode. Enjoyed the story-line and the dynamic between Son, new bride and mother of Hubble. But now I'm just disgusted with the whole thing...watching again. But believe I will just pass on this show. The whole series seems ridiculous. Alan Rucks character should have stayed.