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Kelsey Nguyen

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Bunheads Review: Ballet Slippers, Paradise & Humor

Posted: 06/29/2012 8:31 am

Stars Hollow. Lorelai Gilmore. Luke's Diner. Chilton Preparatory. Do any of these words ring a bell? Allow us to embark on a time traveling sojourn back to the year 2000, when the television series Gilmore Girls first aired. Now, hop on the jet back to the year 2012, the year when Bunheads strikes a radiant debut. You may be inquiring, how does Gilmore Girls even relate to a new show about dancers? This is where Amy Sherman-Palladino, the mother to both the cherished Stars Hollow and the newborn Paradise, unites to introduce a show of witty humor, picturesque scenery, and of course, bouquets of ballet slippers.

Let me start off by professing my adoration for Sherman-Palladino's renowned television series, Gilmore Girls. I became that fervent fan that dreamt of sauntering in the streets of Star Hollow, craving for the meals at Luke's Diner and lusting after Rory's reparatory of boyfriends. Since bidding adieu to the quaint realm of Stars Hollow to the show's ending in 2007, I have entered the new haven christened as Paradise, California, the setting of Sherman-Palladino's latest televised conjuration, Bunheads. The recently conceived Bunheads aired its first episode on ABC Family on June 11. Bunheads follows dancer Michelle Simms' spontaneous marriage to Hubbell, a shoes man she meets while working as a Las Vegas showgirl. One drive-through marriage later, Hubbell invites Michelle to live back home with him in the sleepy, coastal city of Paradise, California; in her new world, Michelle must learn to fit in with Hubbell's eclectic mother, Fanny, to strike a camaraderie with the teenage ballerinas that belong to Fanny's ballet studio, and to procure the acceptance of the close-knit community of Paradise. The show features Broadway actress Sutton Foster as the protagonist Michelle Simms and former Gilmore Girls starlet Kelly Bishop as Fanny Flowers (Bishop portrayed the domineering Emily Gilmore in Gilmore Girls). Additionally, a coterie of young, fresh-faced actresses indulge in their debut roles as the main teenage ballerinas: Julia Goldani Telles, Kaitlyn Jenkins, Bailey Buntain and Emma Dumont respectively snagged the roles of Sasha, Bettina "Boo," Melanie and Ginny.

What are the opinions on Bunheads from a Gilmore Girls aficionado, one might inquire? In overall, I enjoyed the premiere episode and will continue to watch the upcoming slew of hourly entertainment. Don't get me wrong here -- I have no interest in any form of dance or ballet in this case, but surprisingly, Sherman-Palladino wove the ballet scenes with such enticing execution that it is difficult not to be bored. For those who cringe with revolting distaste for a "dance-related" show, have no fear; Bunheads is not merely a production revolving around posh pirouettes or sequined tutus, but offers a glimpse into the life of a newly wedded bride as she struggles to decipher her place in the scenic town of Paradise. I was pleasantly surprised at how the premiere episode did not primarily consist of ballet-related scenes, but instead dance shots were often supplemented by Michelle's light-hearted attempts to become a Paradise resident herself.

Gilmore Girls zealots will be satisfied to know that Bunheads is certainly not devoid of Sherman-Palladino's trademark fast-paced dialogue and sarcastic colloquy. I found the dialogue refreshing and amicable, and each character on the show seems to possess his or her own unique cauldron of language that sets them apart from the rest of the characters. I also noticed the uncanny resemblance between Michelle Simms and Lorelai Gilmore and how Rory Gilmore can easily be represented by the teenage ballerina protégés that Michelle eventually nurtures (I have yet to spot a Bunheads version of Luke Danes). The premiere episode did end with an exhilarating cliffhanger that did not leave too much speculation to muse upon as I found the ending very predictable and planned. However, the episode's mixture of witty comebacks and soothing soundtrack seems to only invite me back to watch the next episodes. Whether you are a die-hard Gilmore Girls devotee or a curious television vagrant searching for a new show, I suggest you give Bunheads a watch and take a temporary vacation to Paradise, California.

 
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