Oooooooh yeah. This show just hit the “let's get jiggy with it ” button. After feeling unsure about the first two episode's mind-kersploding cliff hangers – Hubbel is dead, Michelle inherits everything he owned -- this third episode not only ended with a neat splash rather than a cardiac arrest, but it also had some nice developments tucked into the plot proceedings.
I know I've brought the endings up so much in these recaps, but it feels odd that a fledgling show like Bunheads, which should play well with a female demographic (and for unknown reasons, myself of the male persuasion), had to dig a hook into the hippocampus of its viewers as if to say “no, don't decide to watch that old episode of Cake Boss for the third time! You need actual sustenance!”
And a nice dose of sustenance at that. Michelle, saddled with not only the death of her two-day spouse and obliged diplomacy with his mean-mugged mother Fanny, has become a property owner. Had Bunheads been based in 1763, there would be an unquenchable uproar: “A woman cannot own land! She's a witch, burn her at the stake! Powder her wig first!” but in 2012, there's only the Zerg-like creep of town gossip and Fanny's pure bewilderment/hatred to greet her.
Of course, the dialogue never goes over in the dry manner that normal real estate talk does, with mentions of “escrow” and “home owner's associations” being substituted by more plebeian fare like “Hey, you own a house.” And it gets better and more nuanced when Fanny, in a show of defiance, refuses to use water or any cups to brew her tea, and even dares to quit teaching dance: “I don't own your dancing school, I just own the building and the land the building sits on!” Michelle instantly retorts.
Speaking of dancers, I'm a bit unsure as to how the ballerina side-story may go down, although it remains promising. For one, the concept of Boo dating Natalie's (yes, I think I learned another name) brother does not disinterest me as much as it simply grosses me out. The guy's like 21 and a ne'erdo-well, whereas she still gets picked up by her mom and giggles about dinner.
The promise, however, revolves around Snooki (the haughty, annoying, ice-cream cold ballerina), who supposedly has a soft soul underneath her hard, bitchy exterior. Her interaction with her mother was a well-worn trope of financial decay ruining families, but it still adds weight to her character.
While that's going on, Michelle endures a visit from Paradise's resident parasite, a deceitful opportunist of a real estate agent who uses her own marital distress – and comfort food – to slowly bring the heavy reality of landowning into view. Did you know that their property had two ponds and a septic tank? Neither did Michelle! She was hysterically dumbstruck with every new revelation, afraid that “the trees will rot and the squirrels will explode.”
This crafty agent works up the already tense Michelle-Fanny into a messy lather, prompting 'Chelle to take a joyride in Hubbel's vintage corvette and immediately have it keel over on an exorbitantly long private road, leading her to Bill, an ex-yuppie recluse with a dope abode. They chat. They smile. Clearly a future love interest. And once again, the show ends on a distanced yet amicable agreement between the main protagonists, this time literally.
I dug this episode quite a bit. It was a bit busier than the other two, but still has the easygoing vibe the series has touted so far. Seeing Michelle slowly take root into her new environment, and having her talk much more, gives hope that the show will assume a more linear focus rather than a reactionary sort of plan. The humor was also in full force, including tons of well-placed property jokes and one that lovingly stuck out “you have the autobahn for a driveway!”
What needs to be settled, the ballerina side-story, will definitely take more time and more direction. Is it just me, or did they all seem extremely keen and focused for a group of teen girls? Palladino knows what she's doing, but I've never seen a group of chick have a rich discussion about bruised feet before. Its like five Jesse Eisenbergs with boobs and leotards. Oh, and female faces.
P.S. This was the first time I'd seen an episode of anything on its scheduled air date in years. I did not enjoy waiting for Maybelline and Wendy's ads to trudge by before another ten minute block of “Bunhead” development. I'd rather wait for the internet to run its course as usual.