Bunheads is the latest show from Gilmore Girls creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino. I don't usually watch summer shows, I've never seen anything on ABC family, and I'm definitely not a ballet girl, but Gilmore Girls has a special place in my heart, so I decided to check it out.
I'm glad I did. This is such a fabulous show. Like Gilmore Girls before it, Bunheads is quiet and low-key, focusing on the relationships between women of several generations in a small town in America. In the first four episodes, it has already touched on themes of ambition, of rivalry, of feelings of inadequacy, and, most importantly, of friendship, with all its complications.
The premise of the show is odd to say the least. Michelle Simms is a talented former ballerina who ended up as a Vega Showgirl and regrets the dead-end nature of her life. She marries her longterm admirer on a whim, and moves with him to his sleepy small-town home, Paradise, where she finds that she must also live with his ballet teacher mother. And then Michelle's new husband dies in a freak car accident, leaving her as a fish out of water in this new town, dealing with a grieving mother-in-law she does not know and helping to prepare the ballet students for their big auditions next week.
Despite the fact that the premise stretches credulity a bit, Bunheads is an incredibly enjoyable show. It has all the fun, fast-paced, pop-culture-filled dialogue that you would except from the creator of Gilmore Girls, with lively and realistic female characters, some top notch acting, and an entertaining array of small-town neighbors in the background. In fact, once the husband disappears from the picture, the show is almost entirely female, as we explore Michelle's relationship with her new mother-in-law, her attempts to help the young wannabe ballerinas, the ballerinas' often difficult friendships with one another, and their relationships with their own mothers.
It really is a wonderful piece of television, and anyone who's looking for something to watch during the long summer months should give it a try.