Imagine you're shaking a Magic 8 Ball and every time the answer comes up as "outlook not so good" or "my answer is no" you shake the ball again.
Now you have the framework for ""Better Luck Next Year!." To stick with cliches, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That was the theme and it worked perfectly. I thought it might be fun to run the review with examples of the motif. Let's play!
Michelle moved into the guest house. Michelle's possessions arrived from Las Vegas and she was finally feeling at home. Happily kicking around her new house in her underwear (Sutton Foster has a kick-ass body!) without curtains, however, turned out to be quite the spectacle. With as much experience as she had with every other aspect of homemaking, she attacked the idea of hanging a curtain rod to gain some privacy.
For anyone who has ever tried this without the necessary tools, you can imagine how it turned out. The rod and her make-shift-tea-towel curtain tumbled to the ground even after the roll of scotch tape failed to keep it on the wall when she finally received some much needed help from Truly. She finally got her privacy, and we got this awesome Bunheads quote in the process:
Michelle: Oh, by the way, I think I figured out why Sylvia Plath killed herself. She was trying to hang a curtain rod. She was probably trying to hang herself on the curtain rod, so it was onto Plan B. | permalink
Michelle and Fanny worked to keep the Joffrey auditions at Fanny's studio. When the state of the floor at Fanny's dance studio became an issue for the Joffrey auditions, Michelle decided to take matters into her own hands. How she did that was by bringing up old childhood memories to the local fellows at the hardware store and, when that didn't work, attempting to seduce them both. Unsuccessfully.
Only after Michelle discovered there were actually other towns nearby was she able to talk Fanny into driving to one of the places she had spent her life avoiding in search of a floor finisher who might be able to work with their financial terms. Success!
Boo realized her mom didn't have faith in her, but her friends did. Even though a previous Bunheads episode explored the close relationship between Boo and her mother, it was heartbreaking to watch Boo realize her mom thought it was a foregone conclusion that she wouldn't make it into the Joffrey program. She went so far as to buy a cake with "Better Luck Next Year" written on it before the auditions were held.
To her credit, Boo wasn't giving up, and her friends and teacher weren't giving up on her. When her pointe shoes broke, Sasha took money from her mom and pretended she got a pair three sizes bigger by mistake. During the auditions, as Boo was cut, each time Fanny gave her a new disguise. She knew the judges were not seeing her and her talent, but looking at the form of her body. Believing she deserved better, she sent her back in as other Boos so they would be forced to finally see her dance. It worked, and although she didn't make the program, Boo felt a sense of accomplishment.
I'm still not sure what kind of program Bunheads is trying to be. Even after four episodes filled with adults and adult themes, since it airs on ABC Family, I keep expecting it to take a turn toward young adult programming. I'm stubborn, and I'm afraid if I finally give up the ghost, that will be the day when the tides turn. Michelle and Fanny are past their differences now, and Michelle has been in her new home for over a month. They are settling into their new lives.
Truly made another appearance, and we learned more about Boo's mom, Nanette. We know more about the local bar owners, surfer dude and dudette Rico and Nina than we do of Ginny and Melanie, the other two "main" younger bunheads. There are more quotable moments than 75% of shows on television, and we had references to Dancing with the Stars, Game of Thrones and Food Network star Paula Deen in the same episode. Not to mention Twitter, Contempo Casuals and Sylvia Plath. It's a pop culture buff's dream!
A reader said they weren't going to watch any more because nobody talks like that in real life. That's exactly why I watch. I dream of being able to turn a phrase like Michelle or Fanny. What about your? Why are you still watching Bunheads and where do you think the show is heading?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.