On this week’s episode of Bunheads, “Channing Tatum Is a Fine Actor,” Paradise is getting back into the swing of the new school year – and new dance classes, too. But this return to routine also means a fair amount of change for several of our main characters.
Fanny wasn’t in the episode at all – she wasn’t said to be away or anything, and I don’t think she was even mentioned; let’s just assume she was home and teaching classes and going about her life. And Michelle didn’t really get her own story, beyond a bad blind date set-up we never even saw, which left plenty of time for her to be reacting to and dealing with everyone else’s drama, especially Truly’s and Boo’s.
With Fanny absent, Truly gets to be the star of her own story rather than the trusty sidekick, and Michelle has to be the one to deal with her, which is a plus for me because I love their dynamic. When Truly is locked out of her store because she has no lease and is behind on her rent, she temporarily sets up shop in Michelle’s house. But when Michelle, sick of the situation, goes with Truly to meet her scary landlady, she finds out that the landlady is actually Truly’s sister, Millie, played by the incomparable Liza Weil. When Michelle tries to appeal to Millie’s sisterly feelings, Millie is nonplussed: “We have two other sisters. One’s okay. The other one’s an actress.” There’s a lot of family tension going on, but it turns out that the real problem is that Truly stole Millie’s boyfriend – Hubbell. When Millie figures out who Michelle is, let’s just say it doesn’t exactly make the negotiations any easier. “You’re the madam?” “Showgirl.” Michelle gives in – I mean, who wouldn’t, when faced with obstinate Liza Weil? – so Truly is still storeless, and Michelle has to give Millie’s daughter two years of free tap classes. Hah.
School is starting, so Carl is coming home from camp – and Boo is completely stressed out about it. When he arrives early and interrupts her primping plans, she acts so weirdly that he becomes convinced that she cheated while he was away. She confesses that she saw Magic Mike twice but manages to convince Carl that that’s all that happened, and he takes it well: “I get it. Channing Tatum is a fine actor.” Things are briefly okay – until Carl reminds Boo that she’s supposed to be meeting his parents on Thursday. Boo, of course, turns to Michelle for help:
Michelle: “The key to getting along with Carl’s parents – ”
Boo: “Is to be myself.”
Michelle: “What are you, high? No! The trick is to be whoever it is you think they want you to be. And to say whatever it is you think they want you to say.” . . .
Boo: “So don’t be myself.”
Boo: “Well, that’s good because I really don’t know who I am.”
Aw, sweetie. You’ll get there. The dinner with the family does not go well, though, as Carl’s parents bicker and Boo tries so hard to be liked and to agree with whatever Carl’s mom says that she ends up coming across as an insane compulsive liar. She excuses herself and eavesdrops as Carl defends her, until he says “I could marry this girl” and she completely freaks out.
Boo’s still freaked out when it’s time for Carl to have dinner with her family, but while she’s clearly embarrassed by her family (what teenage girl isn’t?) and their noisy, messy home and lives, Carl handles it all beautifully, ingratiating himself with her parents but seeming completely genuine and wonderful about it. I’m impressed, and Boo is too, because as soon as they’re alone she blurts out “Okay I’ll marry you” and then just keeps talking and digging herself into a deeper hole as Carl stands there looking baffled. When she finally tells him what she overheard, he explains that he has to make dramatic statements in order for his mother to listen to him at all. They quickly agree that they’re not ready for marriage, but they kiss adorably, and awww, I have come around to loving this pairing.
The start of school also means that there are new kids in town, including mysterious siblings Frankie and Cosette. They seem too good to be true: They arrive on a Vespa, and Cosette speaks multiple foreign languages to teachers while Frankie impresses everyone with his musical and artistic skills. The girls send Ginny to talk to Frankie, and he somehow already knows her name. He acts all mysterious and claims that he and Cosette are nomads, recently arrived from Bavaria. By the end of the episode, of course, Cosette has turned up at the dance studio, impressing everyone with her skills, while Frankie and Ginny have entered a tentative flirtation.
Mel’s story this episode is all about how she got behind on her summer reading – no, really – but it did allow for this hilarious exchange:
Mel: “I’m halfway through this thing and the stupid whale hasn’t even shown up yet.”
Sasha: “There’s no whale in The Great Gatsby.”
Mel: “Are you joking? Where the hell’s this stinker going if there’s no whale?”
Oh, how I love this show.
Other than some more bonding with Michelle and bit parts in the other girls’ stories, Sasha didn’t have much to do this week, but she got the big cliffhanger at the end, as her family drama finally came to a head. Her parents are separating, and Sasha must decide which to life with – but they’re both leaving Paradise. As her mother says, “You have a choice, Sophie.” Of course, we know Sasha won’t really be forced to leave town – I assume she’ll end up moving in with either Fanny or one of the other girls; Michelle doesn’t really have space – but it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
Other favorite lines:
“And the ghost of Donald O’Connor applauds you as well.”
“Wow. She shook her hair just like in a shampoo commercial.”
“Facts first. Hugs later.”
“This is so urban and sophisticated! I’m gonna puke.”
“Spunk is what got my ABBA CDs turned into a super cute prom dress.”
“John Wayne’s real name was Marion.” “And he changed it to John.” “True.”
(Image courtesy of ABC Family.)