Bunheads: 1.11 “You Wanna See Something?”

Season 1 Episode 11
Airdate: January 7, 2013

This is the beginning of the second stretch of season 1. If Switched at Birth and Secret Life are any indication, we’ll have five or six more stretches before season 2 begins. Season 1 will last three years and include 98 episodes.

Before this episode begins, there is a rundown of the first ten episodes in 45 seconds to remind us all what happened. Remember, Michelle left at the end of episode 10. And the girls referenced a Robin Williams movie that wasn’t Aladdin, so screw them.

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OK, first scene. Michelle instructs the ballet students as they dance to that song Björk covered years back. Fanny watches this on a TV. Michelle must have a dance show on cable access. Actually, this was a tape of an old class. Michelle is still gone and Fanny misses her. We know this now.

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Fanny finds Crazy Saleslady practicing self-bondage with plastic wrap in another room. Fanny wants to remodel her kitchen and CSL is in charge of this. God knows why.

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CSL made a miniature model of her new kitchen in a cardboard box outside. Fanny and CSL can walk inside it’s because it’s not quite miniature, it’s more like 2/3 standard size. Or, the right size for a midget. But not the Verne Troyer kind, that’s too midgety. Fanny is surprised that CSL wired this box with electricity.

Fanny: I think it’s the most disturbing thing you have ever done.

CSL: No…not by a long shot.

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We go to the girls. Ginny is now a real estate agent. Boo calls her during an open house. Boo is fixing hamburgers while children run by her. Wait…did we skip eight years into the future? No. Boo has to take care of her little brother and friends because Boo’s mom is pregnant and the doctor has put her on bed rest, which is like a trip to Disneyland for a fat person. And Ginny’s mom is in mental institution, so Ginny had to take over her real estate firm.

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Melanie is sitting with her grandfather in the only restaurant in town. Her grandpa is in a wheelchair and doesn’t talk or eat anything. But Melanie has been bringing him and his small mountain of pills here every day. She really wants that inheritance. We learn that there has not been a dance class in quite sometime.

The dance studio is full of junk. Fanny takes CSL in, who thinks the place looks haunted now. “It’s scary,” says CSL. CSL has gotten to be more of a C. I mean crazier, not cuntier. She can be kind of cunty, though, don’t think I’m not saying that she can’t be a cunt. Fanny says she doesn’t feel like opening the studio back up. Which makes me ask: what is she doing for money then?

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So where is Michelle? She is in the little town of Henderson, Nevada and working as a dancing magician’s assistant in a small casino. She lives with her friend, Talia, and her sugar daddy. Talia is actually pretty happy with how her life is. Michelle is not.

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Melanie and Ginny are at the restaurant sans grandpa. Fanny sees them and sits at their table. This is weird for Mel and Ginny, as they haven’t seen Fanny since she shutdown the dance academy. It’s like seeing a teacher after you graduated. The girls ask about Michelle and Fanny tells them she hasn’t spoken to her, but does have her forwarding address. Since they are no longer on a dancer’s diet, the girls ordered a big plate of greasy appetizers. But Fanny takes their junk food away. This tells us Fanny still cares about the girls and doesn’t want them to get fat. After Fanny leaves, Boo arrives with bad news.

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The bad news is someone made an Autotune the News out of a local TV station’s story about Michelle macing the girls. The video is mostly Boo being remixed. Over in Henderson, Michelle watches it. She can’t believe someone would take the time to make something like this.

Talia: Kids are bored.

Michelle: Then huff some glue like the rest of us did!

The video, titled “Nutcracker Macer”, has one million views, which horrifies Michelle. Talia tries to console her friend by telling her, “You look super thin.”

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That evening, Melanie and Ginny are at Boo’s house where Ginny eats a cake for the first time in years and Boo feels bad about the video. She doesn’t even remember talking to any reporters. They totally interviewed her while she still had mace in her eyes. Boo’s mother comes downstairs and raids the fridge. She is sad because Boo hasn’t brought her enough food. No, she really is. This bed rest certainly isn’t disturbing what is an otherwise physically active lifestyle.

Sasha is hiding in the broom closet. It appears that she did no go to the Joffrey ballet school like she was supposed to for the summer. But since her parents are going though a messy divorce, she does not want to be home either. So she has been hiding with each of her friend’s. She should have gone to Joffrey. She really wanted to get into their summer program and it’s not like she is no longer allowed to be interested in ballet just because Fanny closed the school.

Back at Henderson, the magician chews out Michelle for not enjoying her crappy job. He didn’t like that she got a fat guy who could barely fit in the box that is used to disappear people. Michelle replies that most Americans are fat. Michelle is not fired; rather, she is demoted and the other dancer takes over one of her duties. The other dancer is his wife. And yet shows no visible sign of regret over her life!

Also, I looked up Henderson in Wikipedia. It’s a real town, a suburb of Las Vegas. I am surprised that Las Vegas has suburbs. That makes it like a normal American city, with, like, grocery stores and schools and residential homes. I’ve never been there and tend to picture Vegas as the brightly lit up Strip and then I assume that’s surrounded by 500 miles of desert. I have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that humans actually live in Las Vegas. It’s like imagining people living in Disney World.

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Back at Fanny’s, she finds a DVD of Michelle and Hubble’s hungover wedding. In it, Hubble talks to the cameraman about how amazing Michelle is. The next thing we see is Fanny in the casino Michelle works. Michelle thinks Fanny just wants to enjoy Michelle’s humiliation, but Fanny tells Michelle that she is being silly and should come back to Paradise because she married Hubble and inherited his manor. “Like it or not,” says Fanny. “I am your mother-in-law for the rest of your life. We are permanently connected.” Michelle says the town hates her. Fanny replies that she maced their children, so those parents have a reason to be mad, but will get over it because everyone in Paradise is too quirky to care about anything for longer than a few hours. Michelle made the mistake of leaving town immediately so doesn’t know this.

Meanwhile, Sasha doesn’t have a place to stay tonight. She was sleeping in the top floor of Melanie’s grandpa’s house, but Melanie explains that grandpa is going to be able to get up there now that a motorized stair lift was installed. And Sasha can’t hide at Boo’s because Boo says her mom “has passed into a dark, dark place.” She goes on suicide watch every year when McDonalds takes away the McRib. The third option, the house Ginny is selling, is out of the question because she is about to close on the sale and can’t have anything go wrong. Ginny is a closer, not a poseur.

Michelle watches the wedding video. Hubble goes on an on about how great Michelle is and tells the cameraman he would see it too if he were to “spend five minutes with her.” Which is the length of time Hubble did before proposing. Let’s remember that the process in which Hubble courted Michelle was pretty creepy. Hubble first fell in love with Michelle while watching her perform as a showgirl in Vegas. He drove from Paradise to Vegas every weekend to watch her and pretty soon was sending gifts to the dressing room in an effort to get her to go on a date with him. Michelle avoided him over and over until she was so depressed one night that she agreed to dinner. They married that night while drunk. Which makes me think that all the high opinions Hubble has of Michelle were formed from watching her as a showgirl months before they ever spoke.

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Anyway back in Paradise, Sasha sneaks into Michelle’s guesthouse. Then the boy she met at the hospital arrives. From their conversation, I take it that Sasha did go to Joffrey, but the program ended so now she has nowhere to be? Anyway, Michelle returns. Sasha runs into her arms and they share a long hug. Michelle lets Sasha spend the night.

With Michelle back, Fanny has the will to live and reopened the dance academy. Fanny shows Michelle a dance the girls have been working on. It is to the Nutcracker Macer song! Oh, it’s good clean fun!

Grade: B

The main conflict of the first ten episodes is resolved. Michelle is going to stay in Paradise and Fanny and she consider themselves family. I wonder what the stories for the rest of the season will be. Sasha’s situation with her parents looks to be a big deal in this half of the season, which should hopefully lead to Michelle interacting with her and the rest of the girls more. The girls clearly love Michelle. We saw how much they miss her. But we never actually saw Michelle form a bond with them. Michelle was mostly separate from the girls in the first ten episodes and we saw very little of her teaching classes. But in that time they were apparently building this really special relationship away from the viewers’ eyes. I had a lot of problems with what was shown to us and what was not, like how Sasha’s parents’ divorce is a big deal, yet we hardly saw any of her mom and dad.

Well, I will say that “You Wanna See Something?” is a better episode that most preceding it, so it appears Sherman-Palladino and company have a stronger sense of what they are doing with Bunheads now. I am looking forward to the rest of the season until whatever year it will end.

Cultural References:

  • AARP
  • The Art of War
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Cleopatra
  • Harold Clurman
  • Katie Couric
  • The Crusades
  • Denny’s
  • Dwight Eisenhower
  • Megan Fox
  • Friends
  • Goldie Hawn
  • Vladimir Lenin
  • Daniel Day Lewis
  • The Marx Brothers
  • “Michelle, My Bell”
  • Moses
  • On Golden Pond
  • James K. Polk
  • Pretty in Pink
  • Gordon Ramsey
  • Rob Schneider
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Waltons
  • Andy Warhol