Rejoice, Bunheads fans: In “Blank Up, It’s Time,” Fanny is finally back in Paradise. I know opinions are mixed on this, but I think she show suffers without the Michelle/Fanny interplay. Fanny hasn’t returned alone, though: Michelle finds a stranger making breakfast, and it turns out to be Fanny’s on-and-off boyfriend Michael, because having prominent characters named Michael and Michelle on the same show isn’t confusing at all.
At the studio, the girls, in between complaining about they have no free time, watch Ginger Rogers’s movies. “They talked faster back then. It’s funnier when it’s faster.” HA. We see what you did there. It turns out that there’s a reason for this other than justifying quick dialogue, though: Sasha and her partner jordan are rehearsing the annual Ginger Rogers dance. But it’s also Nutcracker season, even though, it’s August, because . . . costumes are half off? Um, okay. This makes no sense, especially since Fanny’s so concerned about being taken seriously as a dance company. But Fanny is too busy ranting about cheerleaders and tan lines. “You know my rules about members of my class and the sun. They are not to come in contact with each other.” She is thoroughly unimpressed by Sasha’s new attitude and goes so far as to replace her with Boo in the Astaire/Rogers dance. Boo, of course, is worried that Sasha will be mad, but she claims she isn’t and continues acting as though she doesn’t care about anything.
In a fit of mother/daughter-in-law bonding, or maybe just a bid to get someone to drive her to the theater, Fanny gets tickets for a play called Blank Up, It’s Time. (No, no one knows what expletive “blank” stands for. Michelle spends quite a while trying to figure it out.) While waiting for the play to start, Michelle and Fanny discuss Sasha, and it’s a really nice moment, showing how they really care about these girls and each other. The play, though, makes no sense, and after Michelle fails to make it back from intermission in time, she spends the second half watching from the back with the director. He’s annoyed at the way the performance is going, but he says he doesn’t know what the play’s about either. Michelle tries: “It has its moments.” “They’re accidental,” he assures her. When she finds Fanny after the play, she’s touched to discover that Fanny was worried about her. “Really? That’s nice of you to worry.” “I was worried that you’d left without me.” Heh. And, of course, Fanny half-jokingly expects/encourages Michelle to sleep with the director. Michelle is serious, though, about convincing Fanny to give herself a chance at happiness with Michael. Later in the episode, Fanny tells her that she and Michael had talked about getting married when Hubbell (remember him?) was about ten, but Hubbell freaked out and so they had dropped it. Fanny doesn’t seem quite ready to risk bringing it up again, but she does ask Michael to stay a little longer.
Back at the studio, Sasha’s partner Jordan refuses to dance with Boo – poor Boo! – so Fanny replaces him with a boy named Carl. Boo’s worried that Carl’s too short and untalented, but Fanny insists: “But what he lacks in everything, he makes up for in enthusiasm.” And then Fanny cleverly points out that Boo herself isn’t the traditional choice for this dance. “It’s nice to give the unexpected person a shot once in a while, don’t you think?” (And really, that goes for practically everyone on the show, in various ways. Carl clearly has a crush on Boo, and insists that she’s better than Sasha because Sasha has “ballet brain” and can’t adapt to other styles of dance. He shows up for rehearsal in one of those tux t-shirts, brings her her favorite celery tonic (that’s a thing?), and is generally quite adorable.
It turns out that Fanny’s comments about Michelle sleeping with the director were not, in fact, completely off-base: He calls to tell Michelle he took some of her advice about the play, and asks her out. (We eventually find out that his name is Conor, and yes, that’s Jason “Digger” Stiles from Gilmore Girls.) They watch and critique the play, have a nice date, and end up sleeping together – but then Michelle starts to talk about Hubbell and winds up crying. Conor, for his part, handles it pretty well, but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to bode well for him becoming a fixture in Michelle’s life or on the show.
And then, as the show has been doing pretty well and pretty consistently, events culminate with everyone back at the studio. Michelle shows up at rehearsal to tell Fanny that she was thinking about Hubbell. Carl asks Boo to come over for dinner, but her friends jump in and say no before she can answer. And Sasha shows up late, with blue streaks in her hair, and starts arguing with Fanny – and then drops the bombshell: She’s quitting ballet and going out for cheerleading, which is pretty much the only way Sasha could rebel that would make people actually notice. So. THAT should be interesting.
More favorite lines:
“I didn’t tell you about the marshmallow vodka I bought either, but you found that just fine.”
“She was Black Swan before you took her Ginger Rogers.”
“She doesn’t follow baseball.” “Oh, I’m sorry.”
“In this world you either look like a rapist or someone trying to catch a rapist. How did I fall between those two categories?”
(Image courtesy of ABC Family.)