The winter finale of Bunheads is called “Next,” which suggests that it will usher in new stages for the characters (and perhaps hints hopefully about a possible renewal), but while it does some of that, it also grounds everyone firmly in Paradise and with each other.
As you might have guessed from the way the last episode ended, Michelle wakes up with Godot in her bed – but Fanny, back from her retreat earlier than Michelle expected, wakes up to a strange man, who turns out to be Scotty, sleeping on her couch. And when Fanny rushes over to confront Michelle about it, she of course sees Godot. “I’m gone two weeks, I come back and you’re in bed with a child who wears flip-flops in public.” Heh. Scotty winds up doing chores for Fanny in exchange for staying at her house, so I’m curious to see whether he sticks around Paradise if the show returns.
Fanny’s return does prompt some personal and professional growth on one front. When she finds out that Truly has closed Sparkles – “Weirdly, only being open eight hours a week? Not enough to keep a business going. Who would have thought?” – she demands that Milly do something about it, and Milly complies. She calls a meeting with Truly, apologizes for driving her out of business, and gives her a free building for the rest of the year. Aww. Of course, then Scotty comes in to deliver a package from Fanny, and both Truly and Milly think he’s cute. Sigh. They certainly have the same taste in men.
Michelle is also considering a professional change, as the girls discover when they follow her to an audition in L.A. Michelle does well, but it doesn’t go anywhere – it turns out that the choreographer has dancers he always uses and the auditions are just for show. It does allow Boo, who is being a bit weirdly impulsive, for her, to drag the other girls out onto the dance floor with the real auditioning dancers, but Sasha manages to stop her before she pushes her faux audition so far as to get in trouble. And it allows for a fun cameo from actor/musician/radio host Seth Rudetsky, who plays the accompanist.
But most of the real drama this week revolves around the girls and their sex lives, both real and potential. Sasha makes Roman write her a letter detailing his sexual history, an idea she apparently got from Anna Karenina, which is clearly a model for healthy relationships. But when Carl doesn’t take the same assignment seriously and Boo doesn’t seem to care, Sasha gets upset, clearly taking out her own anxieties on Boo. Sasha: “I think we need to consider having sex now.” Boo: “With each other?” Ha. No. But Sasha tries to convince Boo that Carl will cheat on her if Boo waits likes she wants to. Oh, Sasha.
Sasha’s anxiety does have one good result, though: She insists that she and her friends educate themselves about sex, regardless of whether they’re planning on having it any time soon. “This isn’t about boyfriends. This is about information.” Go, Sasha. (She bakes them muffins, too.) The show illustrates this with a completely delightful montage of the girls reading books, buying condoms, etc. But Sasha realizes that she’s inclined to over-intellectualize things, so she makes an appointment to talk to Michelle about sex. Michelle freaks out a bit and asks Fanny what she does when the girls ask her about sex, but none have, and when Michelle refuses to tell Fanny who was asking, Fanny turns a ballet class into an extremely awkward sex ed lecture.
But it turns out that Sasha isn’t actually the one with the current crisis: Ginny sneaks out of Fanny’s lecture and confesses to Michelle that she slept with Frankie. Michelle: “I didn’t even know you were dating Frankie.” Ginny: “I’m not. He doesn’t date. He just exists with the rest of humanity.” Oh, honey. She sent him an awkward thank you note after their encounter and hasn’t heard from him since, and as she cries, it underlines to the audience, and hopefully to Michelle herself, that it doesn’t matter if Michelle doesn’t always know what to say or see herself as a proper role model; what’s important is that she’s there for the people who have come to need her. The season ends with the girls leading a dance to “Makin’ Whoopee.”
More favorite lines:
Ginny: “And people wonder why Van Gogh cut his ear off.”
Sasha: “You read anything Russian?” Roman: “Pussy Riot liner notes.”
Truly: “I would like two shots of something blue that won’t make me throw up immediately.”
Fanny: “I have passages in my diary that would make Anais Nin blush.”
As of this writing, there’s no official word on whether the show will return, so keep your fingers crossed!
(Image courtesy of ABC Family.)