We didn’t realize how much we missed Bunheads in its hiatus until we screened the winter premiere and found ourselves laughing out-loud at key lines and clapping with glee over the amount of detail of every little thing that Amy Sherman-Palladino packs into her simple, hour-long episodes. No show on television has as much texture as Bunheads; aside from the talented actors and beautiful dance numbers, the sets themselves are chock full of quirky little tidbits and surprises. “Do You Wanna See Something?” had so many, it was the perfect way to invite us back into the world of Paradise, California, and remind us we weren’t really gone all that long anyway.
[Minor Spoilers Ahead]
When “Do You Wanna See Something?” starts, it is still summer in Paradise, so the girls are still on break, and Michelle (Sutton Foster), having accidentally sprayed her dance students in the faces with mace during their recital, has fled back to Nevada to work a sad job as a magician’s assistant. Michelle is down on herself on a normal day, but after this, she is in the deepest rut ever. Of course, it only takes a visit from Fanny (Kelly Bishop) and a chance to see herself through someone else’s eyes to snap her out of the funk and give her the good sense to move back to her new “home.”
Click here for a photo preview of “Do You Wanna See Something?”
But we don’t want to get too emotional about it; it’s best to just watch it and experience it alongside Michelle without anticipating what’s to come. And for as sentimental as the episode got, it was also filled with all of the wit and charm and quirks that we’d come to expect, so we wanted to highlight those fun pieces.
- FANNY’S CARDBOARD KITCHEN. While Fanny is having trouble being decisive about how she wants to redo her house, Truly (Stacey Oristano) takes the liberty of building a model kitchen as a sample. Rather than a tabletop, scale model, though, she makes one the size of a child’s playhouse, a square cardboard box in the middle of the yard behind Fanny’s house, complete with appliances and even electrical wiring to get a sense of the ambiance. Watching the two women attempt to have a serious and mature conversation while standing hunched over, flicking a tiny chandelier on and off perfectly sums up the charm of this show.
- BOO GOES VIRAL. After the fiasco at the dance studio, Boo (Kaitlyn Jenkins) got interviewed by the local news, only for her interview to be remixed and thrown up on YouTube. It’s the newest sensation, mortifying her and Michelle alike, but it inspires one of the most inspired dance numbers of the series. And the actual video itself is pretty ingenius.
- GINNY IN A POWER BLAZER. With the dance studio shut down for the summer, all of the girls have had to help their families a bit more (well, except Sasha, who was off at Joffrey), but Ginny (Bailey Buntain) slipping on a bright red blazer and speed-walking around a foreclosure, trying to convince a young couple having “the crappiest house on the best street” is something to which to aspire is the most memorable. She takes to the job so easily, it solidifies her status as a Type A personality, but she’s also so petite it kind of looks like a kid playing dress up in her mom’s work clothes. The fact that no one questions her screams volumes about this town.
- FRIED STUFF WITH CHEESE. Ginny and Melanie (Emma Dumont) don’t curb their eating habits just because they’ve spent a summer dancing-free. At The Oyster Bar, they order what the waiters call a Piggy Platter, basically consisting of everything fried on the menu (French fries, onion rings, jalapeno poppers, etc). Watching two tiny girls chow down on so much food may be kind of simple humor, though, and this show is better than that. They get interrupted by Fanny, who they try to convince the food is not for them, only for her to cart it off from them and start eating her own feelings with it in the background.
- “HE HELD THE TABLET WHILE MOSES WENT TO THE BATHROOM.” Let’s face it: Michelle has always been somewhat emotionally stunted and closed off. She uses sarcasm and other humor to keep people at arm’s length, preferring to crack a dry joke over having a tender moment. And honestly, that’s why we love her, But just because she’s kind of a mess in her own personal life doesn’t mean she can’t spot-on assess others’. And the way she rips on her roommate’s older boyfriend, like effectively asking him what Jesus was like, perfectly exemplified Michelle’s maturity shortcomings. Even though she was just saying what we all were thinking.
And Gilmore Girls fans will be delighted to see Michael DeLuise pop up in Paradise, sort of, as the magician who hired Michelle.
Bunheads is filled with so much heart, and this winter premiere is the epitome of that. While it does take the time to reintroduce everyone and their relationships to each other (just in case you’re coming in fresh now), you never lose the sense of forward momentum. This show moves fast; the choreography of all of the characters, dialogue, and drama are a dance all of their own. And it is one best enjoyed by just sitting back and immersing yourself in the world, like Fanny’s dance studio mirror: just absorbing and reflecting everyone’s story.
Bunheads returns to ABC Family on January 7th 2013 at 9 p.m.
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