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Series / Bunheads

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"There's no crying in baseball! Or ballet!"

Bunheads is a series that aired on ABC Family, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino of Gilmore Girls fame.

Michelle Simms is a classically trained dancer that wound up as a Vegas showgirl. One night after she is rejected from an audition for a touring production of Chicago without getting a chance to perform, she accepts the proposal of Hubbell Flowers, a traveling shoe salesman who lives in a house with a fantastic view of the Pacific in a town called Paradise. Hubbell fails to tell her that he lives with his mother, Fanny, who runs a ballet school attached to the house.

Considered a Spiritual Successor to Gilmore Girls. Was cancelled in 2013 after only one season.


This series provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Fanny, Michelle and the Jordans do all right, but this show features some almost comically inept parenting from the Torres and Thompson clans, to nearly the point of being Abusive Parents.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: This show loves this trope. Hubbell's for Michelle, Truly's for Hubbell, Millie's for Hubbell, Boo's for Charlie, Carl's for Boo, Dez's for Melanie... Nobody loves those who would love them back.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: It's heavily implied that the Segal siblings do love each other, despite insulting every single chance they get, as Melanie finds it strange that he doesn’t insult her back at one point.
    • In "I'll Be Your Meyer Lansky," Melanie watches Charlie get publicly dumped by his girlfriend. She finds it funny at first, but when she sees he's actual hurt by this, she impulsively tugs on the girl's ponytail and knocks her to the floor the next time she sees her.
  • Bookends: The first episode of the season has Michelle showing the main girls how a dance audition works. In the season finale, they apply the lesson when they sneak into an open call Michelle is participating in.
  • Chekhov's Gun: "A Nutcracker in Paradise" has Michelle show off the contents of her bag, including mace in a pretty bottle. Later in the episode, she confuses the bottle with hairspray and maces all the girls in the face.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise : It's not official or anything, but Josh did give Ginny his grandmother's ring. Everybody refers to them as "married".
  • Dream Sequence: Michelle has a recurring dream about her non-audition for Chicago.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Justified as much of the story takes place at the dance studio so of course the students (and sometimes Michelle) spend a lot of time in leotards.
  • Free-Range Children: Though the girls' parents show up and are characters, the main four girls tend to have a ridiculously high amount of freedom. At one point, they end up going on a spontaneous road trip to Los Angeles. Taken to extremes with Sasha. Her parents divorced and moved away. And left Sasha behind in Paradise.
  • Hidden Depths: Godot, the surfer/bartender, has a master's degree in oceanography and is genuinely insulted when Michelle assumes he hadn't even graduated high school.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: From "You Wanna See Something?" on (as well as two or three episodes previous), the episode titles come from lines in the script.
  • Kickthe Dog: Boo has a serious crush on Melanie's brother Charlie. While out at a carnival, he writes a number down on her hand and asks him to text it to her. It's the number of a different girl he was flirting with because his phone was dead. Later, he asks her to talk him up to Boo's friend Ginny.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The ending of "Movie Truck" which has Sasha doing a dark and sensual dance routine (referred to by Word of God as "Sasha's Anger Dance") to the bouncy tune and silly lyrics of They Might Be Giants cover of "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)".
  • Monochrome Casting: This show faced a lot of criticism for having a nearly all-white cast, especially from Shonda Rhimes.
  • Mood Dissonance: At the end of the performance of "The Nutcracker Suite" The Ringer blithely dances a perfect routine as disaster unfolds around her.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Truly interrupting Fanny and Michelle drinking and dancing together to announce that Hubbell had been killed at the end of the pilot.
    • In "A Nutcracker in Paradise," everything is going swimmingly and then Michelle accidentally maces the entire cast of "The Nutcracker Suite".
    • In "Blank up, it's time", the postcoital conversation takes a sharp turn when Michelle mentions Hubbell and starts welling up with bottled up grief.
  • Motor Mouth: As the first season progresses, Amy Sherman-Palladino's signature style starts to become more and more noticeable. In "The Astronaut and the Ballerina", Ginny reaches an impressive 270 words per minute during her rant about her mother.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: During the Joffrey auditions Boo is cut so Fanny has her put on a wig and sends her back in. She knows that the people doing the auditions don't really look at faces so will not see the deception.
  • Parental Abandonment: Sasha's parents split up and separately move out of Paradise - when she insists on staying, they give her a credit card and leave her there to get her own apartment.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Carl considers Sasha the Technician and Boo the Performer, arguing that while Sasha's dancing is technically perfect, she has "ballet brain" and can't adapt, while Boo can.