The “Bunheads” pilot feels a little clunky and unshaped – not to mention, improbable. At first the show seems like it will be about Michelle but then there are chunks of time devoted to a quartet of teenage students at Fanny’s school.
Boo (Kaitlyn Jenkins) struggles with body image issues and Sasha (Julia Goldani Telles) comes off as the Mean Girl. Two others – Ginny (Bailey Buntain) and Melanie (Emma Dumont) -- make less of an impression but you can imagine a way of integrating the girls’ stories with Michelle’s arrival presuming she starts teaching at the school in future episodes.
The “Bunheads” premiere is one of those premise pilots that sets up the series but doesn’t really define what the show will be going forward, particularly given the way it ends. “Bunheads” feels like it’s taking shape but hasn’t coalesced in its first episode.
But what it does get right is the introduction of characters from whom a lot of potential stories can flow. And thanks to Ms. Palladino’s penchant for crackling dialogue, “Bunheads” is a breezy, entertaining hour of TV.
Her dialogue for Michelle, in particular, brings to mind the sarcasm of Lorelai Gilmore, particularly when Michelle pouts about not getting a role due to age: “It’s ‘no’ because you’re starting to look like an Ihop cashier.”
While creative types generally hate the notion of repeating themselves, for viewers seeking the TV equivalent of comfort food, it’s not such a bad thing. And if something is to be repeated, there are certainly worse things to echo than “Gilmore Girls.”