Bunheads: Better Luck Next Year!

Michelle is starting to settle into life in Paradise in this week’s episode of Bunheads, “Better Luck Next Year!” Movers arrive with her belongings from Las Vegas – but her crazy former landlord sent along furniture from her furnished apartment that wasn’t even hers. “I’m being robbed in reverse!” she protests. Her literal baggage takes up more space than she has in the guest house, and it’s telling that Michelle insists that some of it isn’t even hers, but has to deal with it anyway. And Fanny, who is channeling her energy and anxieties into getting everything fixed up for the Joffrey auditions, wants Michelle’s things – and, in a way, Michelle herself – to “disappear.” But later, Fanny appears in the guest house in the middle of the night to talk (and start putting away Michelle’s clothes), and it’s clear that she’s lonely and eager to have someone to take care of.

Michelle’s potential love interest doesn’t show up this week, but Truly does, and it’s looking like Hubbell’s two women may wind up as friends. After Michelle is caught wandering around in her underwear by Sasha and some of other dancers, she realizes she needs curtains, but she can’t manage to put them up herself. “By the way,” she tells Fanny, “I think I figured out why Sylvia Plath killed herself: She was trying to hang a curtain rod. Probably tried to hang herself on the curtain rod but it broke, so it was on to plan B.” Truly comes to the rescue with the perfect curtains, and it turns out that this is basically her superpower: “I’ve always been able to tell exactly what everybody wants except for me.” She also imparts a bit of Fanny wisdom to Michelle: Fanny is freaking out about the auditions so much because after giving up her own dreams (and then losing her son), the studio is all she has.

Meanwhile, Boo is obsessed with preparing for the auditions too, as she spends the day at the farmers’ market trying to get her mother to buy vegetables instead of treats. Her mother is supportive but clearly worried that Boo is getting her hopes up too high – and it turns out that she ordered and purchased a “Better Luck Next Year!” cake before the auditions even happened. When Boo finds it she is, of course, crushed, and when her toe shoe breaks, she can’t bring herself to ask her mother for new shoes, given her mother’s lack of faith in her abilities. Sasha, of all people, comes to the rescue by stealing money from her mother’s wallet, buying shoes, and then giving them to Boo, telling her that her father accidentally bought the wrong size and she just wants to get rid of them. Boo is clearly skeptical, but she takes the gift, and I love that the show has used moments like this to avoid making Sasha into a one-dimensional mean girl.

But everyone’s preparations may come to nought as Joffrey sends a fax to check on the state of the hardwood floors in Fanny’s studio. Michelle doesn’t see the big deal – and takes the opportunity to make some delightful Game of Thrones jokes about boy kings with mommy issues – but Fanny tells her that this is basically Joffrey code for moving the auditions to Ojai. Fanny doesn’t have the money to get the floors fixed, but Michelle – fresh off her chat with Truly and an audition dream sequence that they clearly just inserted to give Sutton Foster an excuse to sing – makes it her mission to save the auditions for Fanny. For some reason, neither Michelle nor Fanny can access the $2200 needed – is Hubbell’s estate tied up in probate? – and Michelle fails to flirt her way into free floors. So they set off for Oxnard and find a guy there – who likes Fanny, not Michelle – to fix the floors, and the auditions are saved.

Fanny and Michelle are thrilled with their work as the auditions get underway, but poor Boo is cut immediately. To Michelle’s astonishment, Fanny disguises Boo with wigs and costume changes and sends her back in under false names – twice. She still gets cut, but under the false names Boo racks up some compliments, and this is portrayed as a good thing, but I thought it was sad that her conclusion from the experience was “The only one they didn’t like was me.” Still, this scene did illustrate how Fanny, who can come across as cold and rigid, does deeply care about the people in her life and is willing to bend the rules – sometimes too much, perhaps – to help them. It’s becoming clear that she and Michelle have more in common than either of them originally thought, and it will be interesting to watch how this plays out as they – presumably – team up to run the studio in the coming weeks.

Some other favorite quotes:
“Oh my God! How long did I tune you out that you got all the way there?”
“Oy. The beard make him seem so kind. Like Lincoln.”
“We’re open seven days a week? Who made that decision?” “I don’t know. One of us. At some point.” “It’s stupid!” “I know!”
“Okay, we’re fine vetters. They should put us in charge of finding vice-presidential candidates.”
“It doesn’t matter what happens. It only matters that they’re here.”
“Your name is Selma.” “What’s my last name, Alabama?”

Bunheads airs on ABC Family and ABC Spark on Mondays at 9/8c.

(Image courtesy of ABC Family.)

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