First Look: ‘Bunheads’

There are many TV shows that I love. Probably an unnatural amount. They’re like friends, you know?

There are your newest friends that you’ve gathered over the course of your summer internship (The Good Wife); you don’t know how permanent your affection for them will be, but for now you spend a lot of time together.

There are your childhood friends that you don’t see so much anymore, but when you do, it’s very fond and it makes you relive a lot of memories (Friends).

There are the good friends you’ve gathered in college. They haven’t been around you the longest, but you made them in your current state of growing maturity, so they feel true to who you are, and you have no doubt that you’ll love them forever (Mad Men and Community).

And then finally, there are your best friends from high school, who you grew up with, who taught you things, who cried with you, who you can be dumb with. They’ll probably be the maid of honor/best man in your wedding (if you don’t have a sibling eager to edge them out). They are your people. You already have loved them forever.

My TV show equivalent of that friend is Gilmore Girls. I have seen every episode en embarrassing amount of time, and I never really get tired of it. I have all seven seasons on DVD. I make all of my family members—including my two younger brothers—watch them with me on a regular basis when I am home. Even though maybe Mad Men is smarter, Community is funnier, and Friends has been with me longer, it doesn’t matter. My love for Gilmore Girls knows no bounds.

“Gilmore Girls”

So imagine my anxiety when I found out Gilmore Girls creator and writer Amy Sherman-Palladino is doing a new show. Anxious to see it, but also anxious because it could probably never hit the bar that Gilmore Girls set. Even if it was as well-written, it couldn’t take me to that same emotional place. Also: it’s called Bunheads. Granted, Gilmore Girls isn’t a spectacular name either, but Bunheads? Way to give your show a handicap from the start, Amy.

But I’ve watched the pilot. Actually, I watched episode three and then I watched the pilot (Tip: Don’t just assume the episode up on Hulu is the first episode of the show). You can see the Gilmore Girls influence all over the place—the small town, the same actors (Emily, Gypsy, and Drella have made appearances), the sarcasm, the fast-paced quips. It’s all there. Emily (Kelly Bishop) is back as Fanny, a harshly critical but vulnerable mother. I think Emily would cringe at the sight of Fanny, but at their cores, they’re the same women. The lead Michelle is also a bit of a Lorelei, if Lorelei wasn’t so together. Or maybe we can call Michelle a Lorelei if she didn’t have Rory. And therein lies the problem: we don’t have a Rory.

“Bunheads”

Theoretically, we have four Rorys. Four little ballerinas, each with a different personality and issue. In my head I think of them as Body Issues Girl, Boobs Girl, Mean Girl, and the Girl with the Good Bone Structure. I’m not sure what the personality of that last one is. She seems to be the coolest one—the one who is the most like Amy. None of these girls are Rory. Rory was special (how many times did Lorelei say that throughout the seven years of Gilmore Girls?). I have yet to be convinced that any of these girls are special.

What’s more is that Michelle doesn’t have a relationship with any of them yet. She has a vague relationship with the four of them, but nothing is defined. Nothing is unique. Nothing makes you care. As I was watching the third episode before I watched the pilot, I thought, Michelle is like Lorelei if I didn’t like her.

I hope this show does well. I hope it grows into itself, figures out what its relationships are, and that once it’s rolling, I will like it more. I will never love it the way I love Gilmore Girls. I could probably never even watch it as a fix for Gilmore Girls. The seven seasons I have on DVD are just too good.

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