Review: ‘Bunheads’ – ‘Channing Tatum is a Fine Actor’

A quick review of tonight’s “Bunheads” coming up just as soon as I shave above my knees…

After all these years, it’s pretty easy to recognize a Daniel Palladino script even before the writing credit appears, as both the pop culture references and the quirkiness tend to be laid on at least a layer or two thicker than when it’s Amy Sherman-Palladino (or another writer, presumably being rewritten by Amy). “Channing Tatum is a Fine Actor” was no exception – it was an episode that in the first half alone invoked the names of Donald O’Connor, Fiorello LaGuardia, Bob Barker, Claire Danes and Katniss, among others, and that introduced us to French New Wave glamour of new kids Frankie and Cossette – and yet overall, it worked because the lines were funny and because it fit into the messy template “Bunheads” has established for itself in the last few outings.

Even with no Fanny tonight, there was a lot going on – so much that we never actually saw the mysterious Marion from Michelle’s fix-up (probably for the best, as no actor could live up to those descriptions) – including Boo and Carl each meeting each other’s parents(*), Truly moving her store into Michelle’s home, Sasha’s parents both leaving town, and Melanie attempting to cram her entire summer reading list into a few days, among other stories and running gags. Some stories resolve themselves (Carl and Boo have a nice heart-to-heart), others are left hanging until next week (presumably, Sasha will move in with either Michelle or one of the other Bunheads), but all of them are primarily excuses to tell effective jokes. And the actors have become incredibly comfortable with this dialogue (as they discussed last week at press tour), to the point where when the Palladinos bring in a ringer like Liza Weil to play Truly’s sister, the regular performers don’t seem outclassed.

(*) Carl’s mom was played by Alex Borstein, whom some of you may recall was originally supposed to play Sookie on “Gilmore Girls” (and did in the unaired pilot), until she couldn’t get out of her “Mad TV” contract. As a consolation prize, she appeared occasionally as the Independence Inn’s surly harpist, and then later as Emily’s stylist Miss Celine.

What did everybody else think?