Bunheads Information

Bunheads is an American television comedy-drama series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and Lamar Damon, starring Sutton Foster. The show premiered on ABC Family on June 11, 2012 and centers on a Las Vegas showgirl who gets married on a whim and winds up teaching alongside her new mother-in-law at her ballet school. In March 2013 there were conflicting reports in regards to a potential second season. .


Bunheads is the tale of Michelle Simms, a former ballerina 'bunhead' who wound up a Las Vegas showgirl. Seeing her life and career at a dead end, she impulsively takes up the offer of marriage from her persistent admirer, Hubbell Flowers (played by Alan Ruck), and moves to his sleepy coastal town, the fictional town of Paradise in Southern California, thirty miles south of Ojai, California. Once there, Hubbell is killed in a car accident and Michelle struggles to adjust to life in a small town and teaching alongside her mother-in-law, Fanny, at her ballet school: the Paradise Dance Academy.


Main cast

  • Sutton Foster as Michelle Simms
  • Kaitlyn Jenkins as Bettina "Boo" Jordan
  • Julia Goldani Telles as Sasha Torres
  • Bailey Buntain as Virginia "Ginny" Thompson
  • Emma Dumont as Melanie Segal


  • Kelly Bishop as Fanny Flowers
  • Stacey Oristano as Truly Stone
  • Liza Weil as Milly Stone
  • Gregg Henry as Rico
  • Dendrie Taylor as Nina
  • Rose Abdoo as Sam
  • Ellen Greene as Fanny's friend
  • Casey J Adler as Carl Cramer
  • Zak Henri as Charlie Segal
  • Matisse Love as Matisse
  • Richard Gant as Michael
  • Lyrica Woodruff as "The Ringer"
  • Angelina McCoy as Talia
  • Alan Ruck as Hubbell Flowers
  • Nathan Parsons as Godot
  • Garrett Coffey as Roman
  • Hunter Foster as Scotty Simms
  • Jeanine Mason as Cozette
  • Niko Pepaj as Frankie
  • Kent Boyd as Jordan


In addition to recurring actors that carried over from Sherman-Palladino's Gilmore Girls, including Kelly Bishop, Liza Weil, Gregg Henry and Rose Abdoo, numerous other actors previously appearing in Gilmore Girls have also appeared in episodes of Bunheads.

  • Alex Borstein, who played Drella the harpist and Miss Celine, as Michelle's landlord in episode 1 and as Carl's Mother in episode 12.
  • Michael DeLuise, who played "TJ", as the magician "Jo Jo Deline" in episode 11.
  • Sean Gunn, who played Kirk Gleason, as the over-zealous barista Bash in episodes 9 and 17.
  • Chris Eigeman, who played Jason Stiles, as actor/director Conor in episode 8.
  • Todd Lowe, who played Zach van Gerbig, as the one-eyed plumber Davis in episode 7.
  • Biff Yeager, who played Tom the contractor, as Bob the hardware store owner in episodes 4 and 15.
  • Linda Porter, who played Fran Westin, as Sasha's neighbor Mrs. Weidemeyer in episode 15.
  • Jon Polito, who played Pete, owner of Pete's Pizza, as Sal Russano in episodes 5, 9 and 16.

Development and production

Bunheads first appeared on the development slate at ABC Family in September 2010, under the title Strut, when the show received a cast-contingent pilot order. Lamar Damon wrote the script, and production was originally expected to begin in fall 2010. In September 2011, it was reported that the series was being retooled by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who would serve as executive producer. The series was given a pilot order under the new name Bunheads.

On September 28, 2011, it was announced that Broadway star Sutton Foster was set to star in the lead role as Michelle. Filming took place in November with creator Amy Sherman-Palladino writing and directing.

On February 11, 2012, ABC Family ordered the pilot to series with a ten episode order. Following shortly, on February 15, 2012, it was announced that Kelly Bishop would join the show playing the recurring role of Fanny Flowers, the mother-in-law to Michelle.

It was announced on June 9, 2012, that singer-songwriter and Gilmore Girls composer Sam Phillips would score the music to Bunheads.

On August 17, 2012, Bunheads received a renewal for the "back end" of the first season (eight additional episodes).

Bunheads returned on January 7, 2013, after Switched at Birth.


Critics have given a very positive reception to the show, specifically praising Amy Sherman-Palladino's distinct writing and the performances of leading ladies Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop.

Robert Lloyd of Los Angeles Times thinks "ABC Family's Bunheads a cute summer treat. Amy Sherman-Palladino strikes again with that Gilmore Girls charm in Bunheads, with Tony-winning Sutton Foster as a former showgirl mentoring budding ballerinas." Varietys Geoff Berkshire says "Sherman-Palladino's snappy banter and slightly melancholic characters only enrich the texture of a series perfectly pitched between comedy and drama."

The Huffington Posts Maureen Ryan recommends the show saying "the pilot for Bunheads moves at a brisk, refreshing clip and it even packs an emotional wallop or two. The relationships that are sketched out in the first hour are promising. Sherman-Palladino has long been interested in characters who are dancing as fast as they can, and in this show, she has a whole new set to play with."

Vanity Fairs James Wolcott titles the show a "knockout charmer" and singles out particular praise for lead Sutton Foster "revealing a knowing Carol Burnett-ish clowning flair that works beautifully on camera."

Newsday critic Diane Werts notes that "Bunheads sets [a] multigenerational tone," and praises Sherman-Palladino's style. "Think they've all got a way with words? Some attitude? Smart pop-culture shout-outs? You betcha. Bunheads is from Gilmore Girls auteur Amy Sherman-Palladino, so it chatters just as giddily, from Gadhafi to Godzilla to Graceland."

HitFix's Alan Sepinwall calls "ABC Family's Bunheads a return to form for Amy Sherman-Palladino." and Times James Poniewozik, though showing some minor concern for the series plot going forward, suggests, "What matters is its voice, and the spring in its step, and its first hour was just so damn enjoyable that I'll gladly season-pass this and see where the season takes it. Out of the gate, Bunheads has some impressive moves; I look forward to trying to keep up."

Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly says in his review of the pilot, "Summer TV just got dreamier, dancier...Sherman-Palladino has constructed Bunheads cannily to both fit into and transcend ABC Family's programming." On the mixed front, David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks Bunheads "will take some work and it could just as easily become either annoying or likable."

Popular entertainment website The A.V. Club ranked Bunheads number 15 on their annual "The Best TV of 2012" list writing "At its best, Bunheads scavenges real heart out of its flea-market approach to plot and character. When Foster breathes "The re-useable tote!" and Kelly Bishop replies with satisfaction, "The re-useable tote," it's time to be thankful Sherman-Palladino is back in business." The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum included Bunheads among her favorite television shows of 2012, listing the Istanbul (Not Constantinople) dance number closing episode six as the year's most memorable TV moment, saying: "1. This. Television is always the best when it takes you by surprise.

The first season currently holds a 74 on Metacritic and is one of the more highly rated shows to premiere in 2012.

Series overview

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD releases
Season premiere Season finale
1 18 TBA


Season 1 (2012–13)

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
(in millions)
Viewers = 1.64 ShortSummary = Tired of her life as a chorus girl in Las Vegas, Michelle Simms reluctantly agrees to marry the kindly Hubbell Flowers, who loves her dearly and promises to give her a better life. He brings her to his small hometown, where she is not exactly greeted with open arms. Hubbell's overbearing mother, Fanny, is appalled by the news of their marriage and frowns upon the idea of Michelle's moving in with them. Fanny hosts a wedding reception, where Michelle interacts with the colorful locals, who all seem to despise her. The only people Michelle makes a good impression on are Fanny's ballet students, who are impressed with Michelle's real dance experience. Boo takes Michelle's advice on auditioning to heart and feels inspired to try out for a prestigious local performance. Out of nowhere, Michelle's unstable new life is rocked even further when Hubbell suddenly dies in a car accident. LineColor = 88654e }}

Viewers = 1.64 ShortSummary = Following Hubbell's sudden death, Michelle and Fanny are back at the house but remain in a catatonic state for the first night. Meanwhile, after Sasha Torres, Melanie Segal, Ginny Thompson, and Bettina "Boo" Jordan find out about Hubbell's accident, they "grieve" by skipping school and watching a movie. Boo is especially upset with how the girls handle the situation, criticizing their lack of sympathy. Back at the house, Fanny becomes obsessed with organizing the perfect memorial for her son: a tent to hold the entire town, Buddhist memorial traditions, a mariachi band and cocktail napkins with the face of the Dalai Lama, to name a few. Later, Fanny comforts Truly Stone as she breaks down - saying a few choice words in front of Michelle. Feeling lost, Michelle takes a long walk around town, then confronts Fanny about being included in the grieving process. Later, nothing seems to be going like Fanny wants for the memorial service. So at the dance studio, Michelle teaches the girls and the rest of the class to perform for Fanny in honor of Hubbell. Fanny is touched. But just when it looks like Michelle and Fanny are making progress, they learn that before his death, Hubbell changed his will. Everything (including the house) is now in Michelle's name. LineColor = 88654e }}

Viewers = 1.38 ShortSummary = Fanny melodramatically pouts about all of Hubbell's assets being left to Michelle. Michelle is visited by a pushy real estate agent, Clair, who shows her around the seven-acre estate and scares Michelle with horror stories of required maintenance. Frustrated, Michelle finds Hubbell's restored Mustang convertible in a garage and takes it for a drive; when it breaks down, she meets the mysterious and rich Grant who lives on a large estate. While telling Grant she has no reason to stay in Paradise, Michelle receives a text from the girls; her reaction shows the viewer she's forming a relationship with them. Melanie's older brother comes to a dance practice; Boo has a crush on him and is embarrassed by Sasha. As the girls are picked up, it's revealed Boo has a down-to-earth, loving mother while Sasha's is cold and aloof. Michelle later finds Sasha practicing alone in the studio at night. Michelle finds that the estate has a guest house and decides to move into it. LineColor = 88654e }}

Viewers = 1.44 ShortSummary = The scene opens as a moving truck is being unloaded with everything that was in Michelle's apartment in Vegas, including things that were in the apartment that were not hers, as her landlord packed everything for her. Not having enough space for the things to be nicely put away, Michelle shoves them into the guesthouse and goes to sleep. Fanny wakes up Michelle in the middle of the night to talk and help her unpack or get organised and agrees to let Michelle "borrow" her stove, as the kitchen in the guest house does not function. The next morning, Michelle gets caught eating chips and soda in her underwear by some of the ballet students. LineColor = 88654e }}

Viewers = 1.23 ShortSummary = It's Fanny's paying season, where she catagorizes all her debts into boxes - people who have to get paid, people who should get paid, and people who might get paid - and pays some of them off accordingly. Unfortunately, many of her fellow townspeople are aware of Fanny's system, and refuse to do any further business with her until they get paid. Michelle takes Fanny to an accountant to help sort out her finances, but the accountant informs them that they need bring in some income, because only a few students at the dancing school actually pay for the classes. Fanny and Michelle discuss adding some more classes, and Fanny pressures Michelle to teach with her. Michelle tries to get all the parents to pay, but it backfires, so Fanny, Michelle, and the dancers put on a recital that ends up placating the people Fanny owes money. Boo starts a new job at the Oyster Bar, where she has to deal with another waiter who makes her jump in the dumpster, which leaves her smelling like garbage at all times. The handsome surfer son of the owners, Godot, befriends Boo and helps her navigate the new job - and smell - much to the envy of Boo's friends. LineColor = 88654e }}

Viewers = 1.58 ShortSummary = Michelle's best friend from Las Vegas comes to Paradise to celebrate Michelle's birthday, but their plans change when Michelle is forced to teach Fanny's classes while she's on vacation. Meanwhile, the younger girls sneak out to watch a rated - R movie where Boo tries to get Melanie's brother, Charlie, to pay attention to her. LineColor = 88654e }}

Viewers = 1.12 ShortSummary = Michelle grudgingly teaches Fanny's classes, only to find out that Fanny extended her trip by another week. There's a leak in the girls' dressing room in the dance studio, causing a re-location into Michelle's house (the guest house), where the girls go through her stuff, including Sasha, who steals one of Michelle's shirts given to her by Siegfried and Roy, and lies to Michelle about it later. Ginny, wanting to "test the waters", dumps her boyfriend of 8 years, much to the dislike and anger of her mother, who berates Michelle in front of everyone after class. Nanette, Boo's mother, calms her down with cookies and grape juice. Meanwhile, Truly introduces Michelle to the infamous Davis, a local plumber with one eye, and who is never hired for plumbing work. LineColor = 88654e }}

Viewers = 1.17 ShortSummary = Fanny finally returns with an old friend, Michael, a pianist and troubadour. Fanny invites Michelle to see a play written by a local entitled, "Blank Up, It's Time." Michelle meets the director. In the meantime, Fanny's academy is preparing for a series of upcoming events and dance numbers, including a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers number, which usually stars Sasha and a talented & egoistic male dancer student, Jordan. This time, due to "disagreements," Sasha has been replaced with Boo, and Jordan with an underdog male student, Carl. LineColor = 88654e }}

Viewers = 1.13 ShortSummary = Frustrated with long lines and exasperating service at the only café in town, Michelle looks forward to the opening of a new grocery store with modern accouterments, including Chinese takeout/delivery, a doughnut counter, stamps, and coffee-makers, where Boo and Carl (whom Boo likes more and more each day) will begin the opening ceremony with a dance tribute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. But, when the decision to open the new store is overruled, Michelle tries to convince everyone in town to make the new store happen, officially meeting the town heartthrob, Godot, in the process. Meanwhile, Ginny starts to like Melanie's brother, Charlie, much to Melanie's disapproval, due to Boo's old (un-reciprocated) feelings for him. Carl plans to quit ballet as he thinks he has no future in it, much to Boo's further disappointment. And Sasha joined the cheer-leading squad, where she clearly does not fit in. Michelle speaks to her in the end, "One stupid mistake when you're young, can ruin your whole life," she says. LineColor = 88654e

| Viewers =1.50 | ShortSummary = Sasha, thanks to Michelle in the previous episode, decides to rejoin Paradise Dance Academy, just in time for their famous productions of The Nutcracker reprising her usual role as "Clara," the lead. But, unfortunately, before Fanny knew Sasha was back, she hired a professional dancer from San Francisco, CA, known only as "The Ringer" to play "Clara," this creates some hostility between the two lead dancers. Michelle helps Ginny, Melanie, and Boo make-up from their argument. Boo is still pining for Carl, and Sasha meets a boy from the basketball team when she was a cheerleader. Bad luck ensues the night of The Nutcracker's first show, starting with Fanny's 30-year-long relationship with Michael, and ending with an accident backstage of the show - Michelle macing all of the dancers - having almost everyone end up in the hospital. And in the end, after a dream in which Hubbell informs her that she was meant to shake things up in Paradise, Michelle decides to leave Paradise. When leaving the hospital all the kids stand on chairs and say "O Captain! My Captain!" | LineColor = 88654e }}

| Viewers = 1.23 | ShortSummary = Several months after the disastrous Nutcracker performance, the studio is closed and everyone has scattered to the winds. That is, no one is dancing except Michelle in a dreary magician's show on the outskirts of Las Vegas while she camps out on Talia's couch. The girls, meanwhile, deal with the chaos of their lives, and Sasha's return from Joffrey only creates more when she refuses to go back home. | LineColor = 88654e }}

| Viewers = 1.07 | ShortSummary = Truly is evicted from her shop; Carl insists that Boo meet his parents; Talia sets Michelle up on a blind date; the girls are intrigued by two talented young newcomers. | LineColor = 88654e }}

| Viewers = 1.13 | ShortSummary = Michelle and Fanny attempt to drum up some much-needed income; the girls continue to be enchanted by the new students.
Note: Kaitlyn Jenkins as Bettina "Boo" Jordan was absent for this episode | LineColor = 88654e }}

| Viewers = 1.12 | ShortSummary = Michelle's brother, Scotty, visits following another failed marriage; Ginny feels abandoned after Melanie develops an interest in roller derby; child-care duties keep Boo and Carl busy. | LineColor = 88654e }}

| Viewers = 1.09 | ShortSummary = Milly offers unwelcome opinions on Fanny's dance recital; Michelle and her brother have an unexpected encounter during a road trip; Sasha holds a housewarming party. | LineColor = 88654e }}

| Viewers = 0.97 | ShortSummary = Michelle and Milly battle the town preservation society for the new amphitheater; Sasha and Roman go public with their relationship; Talia reveals big news. | LineColor = 88654e }}

| Viewers = 1.12 | ShortSummary = Michelle and Bash turn the dance studio into an evacuation center when a nearby fire threatens the town; Sasha and Roman grow closer. | LineColor = 88654e }}

| Viewers = 1.01 | ShortSummary = Michelle auditions for a show in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Sasha and Boo think about taking their respective relationships to the next level. | LineColor = 88654e \ }} |}

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