In The End, "Bunheads" Was Too Good For This World And Has Been Canceled
After a long wait, ABC Family has canceled Bunheads.
Well, Bunheads creator Amy Sherman-Palladino was wrong about one thing: She did finally learn the definitive fate of her show. When I emailed her last month asking whether she had heard anything from ABC Family about Bunheads' months of uncertainty, she responded in a typically Amy Sherman-Palladino-like way.
"There's been no word from 'The Family' on the show," she wrote. "Nor do I think there ever will be. They already have 60 other shows in the works with hot teens ready to be knocked up or lying, so it doesn't look like there's room for us."
Unfortunately, she was right about everything else, including last week when she told me in an email: "They are telling me nothing more than they've told you," she wrote. "My opinion of what the eventual outcome will be, though, has not changed."
ABC Family announced that eventual outcome Monday. The channel had been waiting to see how its new shows — The Fosters and Twisted — would perform this summer, and both so far are doing better than Bunheads. During its winter run, Bunheads drew around 1 million viewers.
"Bunheads is a wonderful series that we are very proud to have aired," wrote an ABC Family spokesperson in a statement. "The series had amazing storytelling, the most talented cast, and a passionate and loyal fan base. Recognizing all of this, we took extra time to try and find ways to bring the series back for another season, but in the end it simply wasn't possible. We wish the cast and crew the best in their future endeavors."
The show, which was in the same vein as Sherman-Palladino's hit Gilmore Girls, was about a woman named Michelle (Sutton Foster) who unexpectedly found herself living in an idyllic, charming, odd beachside town north of Los Angeles. Having had a bigger, yet disappointing, life as a Las Vegas showgirl, Michelle built herself a smaller, lovely one for the 18 episodes of Bunheads' existence. She found a surrogate mother (Kelly Bishop), a friend (Stacey Oristano as Truly), and teenage children in the form of her dance students (Kaitlyn Jenkins as Boo; Bailey Buntain as Ginny; Emma Dumont as Melanie; and stormy breakout star Julia Goldani Telles as Sasha).
If your standards for plot are Game of Thrones or Homeland, not that much happened on Bunheads. Yet if you value the pleasures of watching someone rebuild her life and screw it up again sometimes, all while talking very quickly, then every episode of Bunheads was the Red Wedding of witty, warm, quirky emotional connection.
In one of our brief email exchanges, one of which I published ("'Bunheads' Creator On Show's Limbo: 'It's A Little Heartbreaking To Me'"), I told Sherman-Palladino that I would keep poking ABC Family for news, since she seemed convinced the channel would never finalize the show's fate. She responded: "Yes. Bug them. T.P. their cars and cellophane their toilet seats. Unless they pick us up, then buy them a puppy."
"My money's on the cellophane."
Good-bye, Bunheads. Many of us loved you.