Bunheads: 1.15 “Take the Vicuna”

Season 1 Episode 15
Airdate: February 4, 2013

Dance class. Ginny is upset about Mel’s roller derpy and new friendship with Cozette. They talk it over while dancing, which causes Fanny to tell them:

“A closed mouth is a pretty mouth.”

#adviceforwomenfromwomen

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Construction has begun on Fanny and Michelle’s amphitheater. Millie the business woman is bankrolling it and wants to add more and more expensive things, such as additional lights and acoustics and a octagon-shaped cage for when they host MMA fights.

Scotty is going to take Michelle on a trip to the desert for something that is like Burning Man, but isn’t Burning Man, because that costs money. He wants to do something like the road trips they took with mom as little kids, to the Grand Canyon and New Orleans and such. Michelle reveals those trips were fake. Their mom just drove around until they fell asleep and then convinced them they went to a fun place when they work up. Scotty is shocked. His innocence is lost. Their mom is a totally d-bag.

Sasha has her own apartment now. Her parents split up and left town but Sasha wanted to stay. She intends to invite all the kids from dance class to a house warming party, but Ginny whines until she agrees not to invite Cozette. Ginny feels threatened by the new girl. Maybe Ginny thinks you are only allowed three friends and if Cozette makes her way into the group, Ginny will be bumped off due to being the shortest.

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To get Michelle excited about her trip, Fanny tells Michelle how much fun she had at Woodstock, after she took LSD. She was given someone’s baby. No, that is what Fanny said happened. Sasha calls Michelle to remind her to check her mail, which has contains a party invitation. Sasha has noticed that Michelle leaves her mailbox unchecked for days. On Bunheads, the kids are more responsible than the adults.

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Millie demands to be given an investor’s performance, which she learned about by reading Playbill. Michelle convinces Fanny to go along with it, and the dancers take time out of class to perform Sleeping Beauty. Fanny is pissed when Millie whips out a notepad and Michelle has to hold her back from kicking Millie’s ass. Millie has several suggestions, such as having the girls wear tutus, which is actually a good point. 15 episodes and where the hell are the tutus? Fanny objects to Millie interfering in the arts just because she has money. They argue and Millie quits the amphitheater project. She is dead serious about stopping the flow of all that Millie money, telling them:

“You can talk to that women’s center on Hall if you don’t believe me. They’re a dry cleaners now.”

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In the evening, Michelle and Scotty arrive at Sasha’s party. There are disappointed that there is no booze, which they expected at a party full of teenagers. Instead, everyone sits in chairs and make small talk and eat snacks. Again, in Bunheads, the kids are more mature than the adults.

Sasha’s apartment is around 1100 sq. ft with a fireplace and nicely furnished. Michelle and Scotty are jealous because this is a nicer home than either of them lived at Sasha’s age, or any point in their lives. Now, a normal adult would be able to instruct Sasha in something like how to keep a kitchen clean or save on energy costs, but Michelle is not a normal adult. Instead, Michelle tells Sasha she needs a  Home Invasion Escape Plan, “a single girl must”. It’s a plan for what to do if a rapist or gang of rapists break in. Michelle points out that this is a first floor apartment, which is the hardest to defend, as a bad guy could come though any window or door at any time. This scares Sasha greatly. Way to go, Michelle. This is why you make home defense plans for zombies instead of people. It teaches you to be prepared for an emergency without the worry that it could actually happen.

Meanwhile, Fanny and Millie make peace. Millie’s whole thing is that she wanted to not just be known as a businesswoman that everyone hates, but also as a patron of the arts that everyone is neutral to OK with. But she doesn’t know anything about the arts. The two women reach an agreement where Millie will let Fanny make all the decisions but give Millie all the credit. And the dancer will wear tutus. Finally!

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Remember the boy who wears eyeliner that Sasha connected with in episode 11? She did not invite him to the party, but he found out and shows up after it’s over. They haven’t spoken much since episode 11. In the meantime, he joined the basketball team, probably in the hopes that people would stop making fun of him for wearing makeup. That did not work. Sasha informs him that her parents abandoned her and she has things to work out. The boy does not react well to what is sort of a breakup. “We’re perfect for each other,” he says. “We have similar skin tone. We can share makeup!”

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Michelle and Scotty go on their trip. But Scotty lied about where they were headed. Instead of the desert, it’s a diner (maybe a diner in the desert, that’s not important). Scotty is here to meet their mom! Michelle has not spoken to her in 12.5 years and, from what we’ve heard from Michelle in previous episodes, she was not a good mother. Scotty has to sign some paperwork for her because he is her legal guardian. Their mom pulled a fast one awhile back by pretending to be mentally unfit in order to get out of a mortgage. No, for real. Now she wants to buy a condo to build a recoding studio to make her album and needs Scotty’s signature. I am not making any of this up.

Now we see that Michelle is the most responsible person in her family and that is fucked up.

There is no confrontation between Michelle and her mom as they don’t actually speak to one another. Michelle gets home to find Sasha sleeping on her couch because Michelle scared her out of spending the night alone. They can sleep in shifts to guard against rape gangs.

Man, they should move into Sasha’s place. It’s much nicer. When Sasha wanted to continue to live in town without her parents, I expected her to move in with Michelle. It would have made more sense than a teenage girl being able to afford a huge apartment in a beach town.

Bunheads was starting to develop a bond between Michelle and Sasha, so it would have been so perfect for them to live together.  Sasha would have a mentor who had been through similar shit as her, and having to take responsibility for a minor would force Michelle to mature, which she desperately needs. It could have also led to something like the Lorelei-Rory dynamic that made Gilmore Girls so wonderful. Instead we got the house warming party. It’s a missed opportunity because it sacrificed a potential long term story for a short, quirky scene. Bunheads has enough quirky little moments, it needs to start building some long term character development. I understand that a second season of Bunheads is uncertain, but if the show is going to go on for several years, then Michelle will need to grow into a different person in season 7 than she is in season 1.

Cultural References:

  • Austin Powers
  • Bananarama
  • Benjamin Button
  • Warren Buffet
  • Burning Man
  • Downton Abbey
  • Minnie Driver
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Gaslight
  • The Godfather
  • The Kardashians
  • Oliver
  • Public broadcasting
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Michael Phelps
  • Say Anything…
  • Sleepy Hollow (Johnny Depp movie)
  • Susan Sarandon
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Shania Twain
  • Taken
  • “What Happens in Vegas…”
  • The Wizard of Oz