Episode 7: What's Your Damage, Heather
By: Carlos Uribe
Bunheads is about a dancer who moves to a sleepy coastal town and becomes a ballet teacher.
Fannie doesn't appear in this episode at all. Her presence is still felt, but it's largely through the other characters. She has extended her stay for another week and this leaves Michelle as a dance teacher. It's a pity that Fannie didn't come back, as I'm starting to miss the banter between her and Michelle. It did leave us scenes with Michelle having to be a dance teacher and dealing with her students. She also has to deal with her dance studio having a leak and trying to figure out what to do. She has been thrust into the responsibility of running the dance studio and it's tiring her out. The episode did do something that was needed: it finally started to converge the two shows. I had noted last week how Michelle and the other series regulars, the four main girls, seemed to be in two different shows. They might interact every now and then but they were often unrelated to each other in terms of actual story. This is an episode that actually had the characters interacting and influencing their lives. This is a step in the right direction.
Take Ginny. The only thing about the character that I really know about is that she has had a boyfriend since the second grade. He seems to be the perfect catch. When Michelle expresses surprise that Ginny has been with only one boy, this makes Ginny realize that she's missing out on a lot of potential dates. She dumps her boyfriend. The person who is the most upset is Ginny's mother, who seems to have liked the boyfriend because he was useful around the house. Ginny's relationship with her boyfriend has been stated by the show but it hasn't really been shown. There might have been one or two other scenes between him and her before this episode. This move of dumping him won't upset any viewers because nobody should be invested in that relationship. It does mean that Ginny's life has been directly influenced by Michelle. It's not even a small influence, as it helps to open up a new dating world for the character.
Then there's Sasha, who remains a very troubled teenager. When Michelle finds out that Sasha has stolen one of her shirts, she's not very happy. She's less happy when Sasha comes to the class late and doesn't seem to be getting with the program. It leads to a scene where Michelle is forced to be an authority figure and lecture Sasha. It's an important scene for Michelle. It's one that doesn't just establish her as a “friend” of the girls, but also as someone who has authority over them. It's one that is forcing Michelle to accept being an adult who has responsibility. In this way, not only is Sasha finally being given exactly what she needs-an adult who holds her accountable-but Michelle will now be growing due to her. Sasha might have problems at home, but it looks like Michelle might become the parent that she needs. This is a good sign for the show as it's finally letting the characters influence each other. This is made even better as the show had previously been able to establish who these characters are and their problems.
The only character who isn't affected seems to be Melanie. The only thing about her is that she has an older brother that she forces to be her chauffeur when she keeps telling on him. The show needs to better develop Melanie so that we can not only know her, but so that we can see how Michelle influences her life. Just like how we saw Michelle try to affect Boo. Michelle tries to do this by giving Boo the confidence she needs to stand up to her boss. The problem is that Ginny seems to be considering dating the boy that Boo likes and Boo seems to be laying the problem with Michelle's influence.
This was ultimately a good episode for Bunheads and it appears that the show is finally where it should be. Now if it can bring back Fannie without separating the show, then I would be a very happy viewer. It's nice to see that the show is finally getting together and it's managing to retain the charm of Paradise. The one-eyed plumber that no-one hires to fix the pipes is a great addition to this quirky town and the scene after Michelle catches his make-out session with Truly was probably the highlight of the episode.