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'Bunheads' Review: Sutton Foster Shines In Quirky New Drama

Mon, May 21, 2012 6:23pm EDT by Andy Swift 3 Comments

Prepare to spend your summer falling in love with Sutton as a plucky Vegas showgirl awkwardly dancing her way through life.

2012 is shaping up to be a heck of a year for Broadway vets-turned-TV stars. Megan Hilty wowed us on Smash, Andrew Rannells is garnering buzz for The New Normal, and this summer, Sutton Foster will make her leading-lady debut as the star of ABC Family’s Bunheads. I check out the first episode of the dance-themed drama, premiering June 11 at 9 p.m., and trust me — you’ll want to check it out.

Bunheads tells the story of Michelle, a down-on-her-luck showgirl who elopes with a travelling creeper and moves into the coastal home he shares with his dance-instructor mom. If the plot of Bunheads sounds ridiculous to you, congratulations, you’re officially a sane human being. But somehow, in the midst of all the madness, some very real — and more importantly likable — characters emerge.

Sutton’s Michelle is everything you’d expect from a character crafted by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. She’s funny, she’s flawed and she’s whip-smart. In fact, the chemistry is so golden between Michelle and her judgmental mother-in-law Fanny (Kelly Bishop) that it’s hard not to imagine them as Lorelai and Emily 2.0.

Michelle’s relationships with the young girls in Fanny’s dance class — each of whom develops a very different rapport with the unconventional new instructor — are also a huge draw. In fact, my only real complaint with the pilot is that I wish Michelle could have met the girls sooner. The minute they all come together is when everything really clicks, as she bonds with the girls, challenges them and draws out each of their unique personalities.

But just when you think you’ve gotten a feel for what this show is all about, the pilot’s twist ending sends a loud-and-clear message to viewers: Bunheads will keep you on your toes.

Watch a preview of Bunheads below, then hit up the comments section with your first impression. Will you be making room on your DVR for this quirky new drama, or do these dancers fail to make your cut?