Bunheads: What’s Your Damage, Heather?

On this episode of Bunheads, “What’s Your Damage, Heather?,” Fanny is still away on vacation, and while it’s nice to watch Michelle have more interaction with the people of Paradise – and to watch everyone more or less break down in Fanny’s absence – I do miss Kelly Bishop’s presence on the show, so I hope she’s back soon.

When we begin, Michelle is exhausted and overwhelmed from teaching Fanny’s classes as well as her own new classes, and Boo, who’s hanging around helping out because her mother has forgotten to pick her up, breaks the news that Fanny extended her trip and just posted the news on Facebook instead of contacting Michelle. Michelle: “Why do people think they can just share news on Facebook and automatically everyone’ll know?” For the record, this drives me crazy as well. When Boo’s mom Nanette finally shows up, she’s startled by the new pole Fanny has ordered: “Are you teaching my daughter to strip? No judgment, I always tell her she should have something to fall back on. I figured typing, but this could be good too.” Heh. It seems like Nanette has the potential to be an actual friend to Michelle.

Elsewhere, the girls are worried because Sasha’s been missing class, which is very unlike her, and they haven’t heard from her since the infamous movie truck night, so they’re not sure if she’s actually in trouble this time. Ginny makes elaborate anniversary plans, but it turns out that Josh is stuck putting together her mother’s new entertainment center. The girls tease her about acting old, of course, but I have to say that Josh seems relatively blameless in all this, and really pretty great.

As though Michelle weren’t exhausted enough from teaching all the classes, the studio – specifically the girls’ dressing room – starts flooding. Michelle calls Fanny and acts out both sides of a conversation between them on Fanny’s voicemail, and this is the sort of scene that really makes clear how talented Sutton Foster is. Her next call is Truly, who correctly points out that this is out of her purview – “This is Sparkles. We do dresses.” – but finally makes Michelle realize that she should call a plumber. But Michelle runs into another unwritten rule of Paradise when she hires Davis (who has an eyepatch and is also Zack from Gilmore Girls) – the girls and Truly are all appalled because apparently Davis is not to be hired for actual plumbing work. Truly appoints herself his supervisor, and the girls refuse to change in the boys’ dressing room so Michelle sends them to her house. The dancers, of course, take this as the perfect opportunity to go through Michelle’s belongings (even though Boo tries to stop them, bless), and the misbehavior summons Sasha as if by magic: “You break into a house and you don’t think to invite me?” It turns out that she’s not in trouble – instead, her parents took her to a spa and gave her a credit card “for emergencies.” We then get a surprisingly rare scene of an actual dance class, and I noticed just how well the show does making Sasha clearly the best dancer and the other three main characters a little better than the rest of the group.

Michelle is thrilled when Davis tells her he’s fixed the problem, but Truly immediately points out that she needs to dry the carpets to avoid mildew. When she starts trying to dry them with a hairdryer, the girls take pity on her and offer to help, which of course takes hours. Sasha: “Last semester we read No Exit. I didn’t get it but I do now.” To thank the girls, Michelle takes them out to dinner. “How does the Oyster Bar sound?” “Inevitable.” I really wish every show set in a town with only one restaurant would have that exchange. Michelle gets to know the girls better through some girl talk about Fanny’s rules, boys, and more – including the fact that Boo doesn’t actually need to follow her boss’s instructions when she’s not on the clock. When she returns from the restaurant, Michelle catches Davis and Truly making out in the dressing room – and after she yells at them and scares them off, she realizes the ceiling is leaking again. The next morning, Michelle tries to apologize to Truly for freaking out at her about Davis, but it turns out that Truly feels guilty because she still loves Hubbell. “Italian widows wear black the rest of their lives.” “Wow, sounds . . . slimming.”

At the end of the episode, the conflicts that have been simmering all hour finally join together into a general meltdown. Sasha randomly steals Michelle’s shirt and then misbehaves to the point that Michelle is forced to yell at her, and I think the takeaway here is that Sasha needs adults who actually care about her enough to set limits. Charlie fights with Mel and asks poor Boo to talk him up to now-single Ginny, and Ginny’s mom Claire comes to the studio to yell at Michelle for supposedly encouraging Ginny to break up with Josh. Luckily, Nanette arrives on time for once and comforts Michelle. “You can’t listen to Claire. She’s unstable, and her hair never moves.” HAH. Nanette tries to convince Michelle that she’s a good influence and the girls love her, and while this is undoubtedly true, it’s also apparently that things run much more smoothly when Fanny’s around. Come back, Fanny!

More favorite quotes:
“What’s going on here? In my day, we all had bladders.”
“Come back next week, when the part of me will be played by Anna Faris.”
“She was in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma.”
“A bathtub in the middle of the room. How mid-century shtetl.”
“No one is happy with a salad. The lettuce just punched itself in the face.”
“Oh, what I’d give for a sentence.”

(Image courtesy of ABC Family.)

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