We referred to ABC’s Bunheads as the little dance show that could. Until it turned out that it couldn’t anymore.
We were genuinely upset when ABC decided to terminate what we considered to be one of the best shows to emerge on the small screen in a long while. And never has there been a show that utilized dance in such a unique and effective manner.
Dance was a medium with which to storytell, to bookend, to not only reflect a character’s inner turmoils but to provide more fodder for thought on the struggles experienced by the women of Paradise, both young and old. It was dance as pathos. Down-to-earth, yet strangely, beautifully pure.
And no, we’re still not over it. Here are a smattering of just some of our favourite moments on Bunheads – at least, the ones we could find on Youtube.
Paper or Plastic? A multicoloured, dramatic dance choregraphed by Fanny Flowers (Kelly Bishop) about a supermarket cashier’s choice between plastic and canvas bags. There is no happy ending, but everyone ends up happy!
You Just Killed Baryshnikov! Jordan (Kent Boyd from Dancing with the Stars), a neurotic perfectionist of a dancer, leads the Bunheads’ in class. His leadership style can only be described as dictatorial.
Accountant Time. Michelle and Fanny steel themselves for their greatest challenge yet – a visit to the accountant.
Istanbul (Not Constantinople) Clad in a tight black catsuit and sandwiched between two redheads, Sasha (Julia Goldani Telles) defiantly stands out against the loneliness and abandonment of her parents leaving her, and dances.
The Bunheads Learn About Sex. Learn all the sex! Sasha decides the bunheads need to prepare for their SexATs. It’s adorable.
Michelle Simms Auditioning: Me and My Baby, Maybe this Time, If My Friends Could See Me Now It’s always a treat when Amy-Sherman Palladino unleashes Sutton Foster’s triple threat abilities as Michelle Simms. And it’s even better that these song-and-dance sequences, which take the form of auditions either real or dreamed up by Michelle, are used to express the character’s misfit status as she yearns for acceptance.
What Did You Do? Melanie (Emma Dumont) hates her brother, but she hates the girl who broke his heart even more, and takes matters into her own hands. Her right one, to be exact.
You Sailor. I am a king/you can’t deny me my kingdom. Sasha’s last dance.
My Banana’s Name is Frankie/Makin’ Whopee. In the final scenes of Bunheads, Michelle is dealing with being rejected after an audition, but learns that Ginny (Bailey Buntain) is dealing with something far worse – giving her heart, and now her virginity, to a boy who may not even know her name. It’s a quiet scene of a young girl’s devastation and heartbreak, and a testament to how much Michelle means to these girls.
Bunheads’ last ever scene is a dance sequence, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a sultry, dreamy number, filled with dim red lights and haze, as the dancers convey the emotional turmoils of a young person’s burgeoning sexuality. It leaves you feeling a little blue, and wanting a lot more.
Farewell Dance. Following the show’s cancellation, the cast of Bunheads gathered together for one final, wonderful dance.