Bunheads review – 1×02: ‘For Fanny’

Courtesy of ABC Family

Well he is definitely dead. After last week’s curve ball of an ending, some wondered if they had really killed him off. Well they did! So this week Michelle (Sutton Foster) and Fanny (Kelly Bishop) were left to pick up the pieces and try to prepare a service that would be dignified and a real celebration of Hubble’s (Alan Ruck) life. Unfortunately Fanny took some crazy pills and tried to rend out the Intrepid. Let’s discuss.

As one of the bunheads (not super clear on all their names yet) mentioned, we all deal with death in our own way. For Fanny and Michelle, they definitely reacted differently but . For Michelle, who didn’t know Hubble all that well and had only married him 24 hours earlier, it was a difficult road to walk down. While she was of course saddened by the news, she seemed to be at a loss for what to do. It certainly didn’t help that the town was was still unsure about her and treated her like an unwelcome guest. Foster played it perfectly by being the right amount playful and melancholic. When Truly (Stacey Oristano) comes into the kitchen and tells Michelle that she blames her, she answers, “So do I.” Michelle wasn’t given much time to grieve though, other than the beach montage at the beginning of the episode she was either walking a dog or trying to talk to Fanny.  I will say that her reaction shot at the end of the episode after learning that she inherited the house and the land was priceless.

While Michelle didn’t really know how to react or what to do, Fanny was our emotional centrepiece for this episode and props to Kelly Bishop who nailed it. Seeing her try to organize a service was a nice throw back to the Emily Gilmore days of fancy parties and no nonsense hosting. And while her idea of a traditional Buddhist memorial service is definitely grander than what I had imagined, don’t let me stop her from ordering napkins with the Dalai Lama on it. But Bishop’s really shined in the scenes when she finally was forced to deal with the pain of losing her son. During a confrontation with Michelle over the out of control memorial, she finally gave in and broke down giving Bishop a great Emmy reel. I don’t know about you, but it was definitely raining on my face at that moment.

All of this is of course thanks to the wonderful Sherman-Palladino who knows exactly the right mixture of comedy and drama. Just like in the good ole’ Gilmore Girls‘ days this episode balanced the heaviness with wonderful lightweight moments. Michelle and Fanny were the perfect match for this episode (and this series), while one was lost in despair the other was lost…literally. All of this while also giving us more insight into the characters and introducing us to a few more, including a surfer bartender Rico (Gregg Henry a GG alum) and his wife. I get the feeling this will be like Luke’s, a place to rally all the town together. Plus they serve alcohol, which can always add to the drama.

We also met some of Fanny’s friends who remained mostly nameless and have yet to be credited anywhere. But that didn’t stop me from shrieking with delight like a 12 year old girl at a One Direction concert, with the sight of the incomparable Ellen Greene.
For those of you who do not know her (you should be ashamed!!!), she was the artist friend. But for those who loved her as Vivian Charles on Pushing Daisies or perhaps even as the original Audrey in The Little Shop of Horrors, well it was so wonderful to see her again on television. And if your like me you have already started imagining all the wonderful duets she and Foster will be having through the course of this first season. She was the funniest part of the episode. (see below) For a show that is populated by weird and quirky characters she fits right in, so make her a recurring character already!!

Courtesy of ABC Family

As for the actual lead characters, other than Michelle and Fanny, well it was nice to get to know the bunheads a bit more. After all the show is named after them. So what did we learn. Well for starter, they saw a Mark Walberg movie which does not speak highly of their tastes in movies, but we all grieve in our own way I guess. Other than that we learned that Boo (Kaitlyn Jenkins) is the super sweet do-gooder who only wants to please people, while Sasha (Julia Goldani Telles) is the rich spoiled girl who hides her soft side by being somewhat bitchy. Then there’s Giny (Bailey Buntain) and Melanie (Emma Dumont), who seem to be in the shadows of Boo and Sasha, in ballet class and on the show. While there weren’t any great revelations on these characters I am sure once the dust settles between Michelle and Fanny we will be exploring the lives of these girls a little more.  I will say it was nice to see a ballet number, which coincidentally also caused it to rain on my face for a second time during the episode.

Best lines of the night:
Ellen Greene’s character: “She’s awfully tall isn’t she. Was she ever a man?”

Fanny’s friend: “You were in a Wiccan group?”
 Ellen Greene’s character: “Well I was living in Vancouver and I didn’t ski, so…”

Michelle: “Yeah he is my service dog. When I get really drunk and pass out in the gutter, he’s my pillow.”

What did you guys think? What do you think of the girls? Was a good sendoff for Hubble? Are you excited at the possibility of a duet between Foster and Greene?

Bunheads airs Mondays at 9pm EST on ABC Family.

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