If Bunheads had not been renewed, it’s final episode would’ve been a depressing tone to end on. For a light-hearted show about a city-girl adjusting to the quirks of a small town, for Michelle to have to walk away from it having soured her relationship with the most important person of all wouldn’t have been an end fit for the show. Thankfully TPTB at ABC Family have renewed the show, so in hindsight it’s a good place for the show to be at; no easy resolutions for a relationship built on shaky, troubled grounds, no quick adjustments into the small-town’s lifestyle.
For the longest time, Hubbell’s accident and what Fanny believes is Michelle’s part in it, is something that has been there, just below the surface never really addressed. There is sometimes an uneasiness to their relationship; but as the season went along both Fanny and Michelle did settle into developing a comfort between each other. Aided by Michelle moving into her own space and helping Fanny out with her classes, though this was no Mutual Admiration Club there was a certain dependence and warmth developing between the two. When Michelle finally does “get her props” from Fanny, they seem earned and not just some throwaway line. She’s helped Fanny with getting back the Joffery auditions from Ojai, she drove Fanny to another town to get her floorboards done, she even managed to get Sasha back from her cheerleading detour gig and of course the successful fundraiser at the Oyster Shack. Michelle gets included into the inner circle with Fanny and Micheal, she’s slowing beginning to build a family, finally putting some roots down; but she’s still an outsider who doesn’t completely understand the complexities of the people she’s begun to care for and their relationships. When she oversteps her bounds, unaware of the consequences, she takes away the fleeting moments of happiness Fanny’s held on to for so long. And all those feelings that were never vented, surface for the tiniest moment in a hospital room and that’s the final push for Michelle to leave a town and the people who never truly accepted her.
Michelle’s insecurities have been the guiding arc for the season’s storyline; the reluctance to settle down somewhere permanently, to give up her stage career, to be a responsible adult in charge of shaping young dancers and their careers, to be a person those young dancers look up to and pay attention to what she says. Things Michelle was entirely too uncomfortable with, but beginning to accept and learn to be. The greatest problem is the fact that Michelle’s got nobody in her corner, she thought she had Fanny there, but after having driven Michael away she’s lost her support too. I don’t believe Fanny won’t stick up for Michelle in front of the parents, but I do understand that Michelle wishes to no longer be an inconvenience to Fanny, to hurt her any further and decides to walk away instead.
Heartening though is the “O Captain, My Captain” moment from Sasha and the others who follow suit. Michelle has had the most impact on Sasha’s life, she’s also the only one who has lived a life outside Paradise, a life Sasha desperately wants to escape to. Initially it seemed as if Boo would be the one who would most benefit from her presence, and though she has (more confident now) I think Fanny had a greater role to play in that transformation though Michelle’s arrival was a catalyst. Ginny too made a life-altering decision based on some throwaway anecdotes by Michelle, for which she does face the wrath of her mother, but most of them recognize that she’s been the change they all needed in this sleepy town.
Michelle’s romantical entanglements were played mostly as plot devices considering they barely lasted an episode max, but they do help intially bring her to Paradise (with Hubbell) and later confront her feelings about Hubbell’s passing away. Her make-out session with Godot in public was set-up only to rile up the parents of the girls. There has been no real romance for her and I think it was well-thought out. Michelle not only wants to respect Hubbbell’s memory initially, but in a small-town it isn’t always easy to find good men either (they’re one-eyed, too young, too dead or unavailable for the time being). When the season returns it should be interesting to see if the Godot arc is revisited after his return from Australia or not.
The dream sequences were an interesting way for Michelle’s state of mind to be seen (it’s always better to show rather then tell), to be able to voice her insecurities, her fears and to see her progress as well. The finale brings Hubbell back and Michelle asks him the most important question of all, but there really is no answer for what could’ve been though Michelle would really liked to have believed that they would’ve worked and she would’ve stayed. As Hubbell says, she’s here to rock the boat; she’s who Fanny wanted, a daughter who dances and the girls are ok because of her. But she still decides to walk away mostly because she doesn’t want them to end up like her, she needs to stop being the accidental disaster in their lives.
- Kate Middleton reference FTW eh.
- Loved seeing so many of the So You Think You Can Dance alum show up. Kent’s been the one who’s been featured the most, but I hope the rest a get spotlighted too. How many alums did you guys spot?
- “Boo likes Charlie, Charlie likes Ginny, Melanie says Ginny can’t date Charlie because Boo liked him first, but Ginny thinks since Boo likes Carl, she relinquishes Charlie who should revert back to the open market and me… I wish we were all lesbians!”
- I wish there had been some more Truly goodness in the finale. She’s someone who too has benefited from having Michelle around, the closest person to a friend she has right now. A “Oh Captain, my Captain” moment from her would’ve been a solid inclusion.
- The girls have been perfection with the little material they’ve been given over the course of the season; and although it is hard to do justice to all the characters (as Boo and Sasha are the primary focus), I would like to see the spotlight shine on Melanie for a bit more.
Shazia is part bionic, part crazy (parts not mutually exclusive), and would be happy conversing solely in TV quotes, forever hopeful she’ll be one-upped in her obscure TV references. She blogs here and microblogs here.