Bunheads

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Bunheads TV Poster Image
Likable drama blends good role models, small-town humor.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Teen girls wrestle with personal insecurities about their bodies, their dance abilities, and their home lives. While they're not always happy with their situations, most are willing to work hard to change them. Other themes include determination, perseverance, and the importance of learning from your mistakes. On the downside, the show initially gives a simplistic impression of marriage when virtual strangers pledge commitment on a whim, but they do acknowledge that maintaining a relationship will take work.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Michelle draws on her life experiences (both good and bad) to help inspire the teens she teaches. She looks beyond their physical skills and encourages them to express themselves through dance, which helps them develop more confidence and a better self-image. One teen engages in rebellious behavior (like drinking) when her home life gets difficult, but she also gets help and advice from her friends and well-meaning adults.

Violence
Sex

Physical affection like kissing and hugging between adults, some of which it's implied leads to sex, which is confirmed by characters' rumpled clothes and hair in a following scene. Nudity is limited to the backs of topless dancers, and there are some clipped references to performing sexual favors for men after being treated to dinner.

Language

Words include "ass," "boobs," "suck," and others, but they're not frequent.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A rebellious teen drinks beer to cope with frustrations at home, but there's no ill effect from the transgression. Adults drink champagne and cocktails in social settings.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bunheads is a teen-friendly drama series from the creator of Gilmore Girls that brings together a cast of dancers -- including Broadway star Sutton Foster -- in a thoughtful story about finding your destiny and reaching your potential. The mostly female cast includes a number of teens and adults who model positive traits like self-acceptance, perseverance, and adaptability. Expect some romance, implications of sex, rebellious teen behavior like drinking, and moderate language ("ass," "boobs," etc.). The characters also raise issues about body image, so this is a great opportunity to start a discussion about that with your teens.

User Reviews

Adult Written bychristian-witness June 29, 2012

ok

A rebellious teen drinks beer to cope with frustrations at home, but there's no ill effect from the transgression. Adults drink champagne and cocktails in... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byxmolly August 2, 2012

Great show, especially for pre-teens!

This is an adorable show. Amy Sherman-Palladino has done it again! Good message, wonderful characters/role-models, and just good wholesome fun for everyone! Whi... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bydancegirl3697 June 28, 2012

Cute, Interesting

Im a ballerina as well and I just have a passion for dancing like the girls on the show. Sometimes, there could be just stupid stuff happening, but overall its... Continue reading

What's the story?

BUNHEADS is the story of thirtysomething Vegas showgirl Michelle Simms (Sutton Foster), who's disenchanted with the Sin City lifestyle and regretting the ties she cut with her classical dance training when she was younger. When a promising audition ends badly, she impulsively accepts a marriage proposal from longtime suitor Hubbell Flowers (Alan Ruck) and moves to his home in the beachfront town of Paradise, Calif. Being a newcomer in a small community has its challenges, most notably earning the respect of Hubbell's mom/roommate, Fanny (Kelly Bishop), but Michelle finds her niche as an instructor in Fanny's ballet studio, where she bonds with a quartet of aspiring dancers and helps them overcome their insecurities while attempting to carve a path for her own future.

Is it any good?

Bunheads is a rare find in today's TV culture -- a touching, endearing story that balances humor, drama, and a delightful cast of characters who are both entertaining and surprisingly believable. Fans of Gilmore Girls will recognize these qualities as trademarks of creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. There's a good bit of improbability to Michelle and Hubbell's rushed relationship, of course, but that's about the only plot point that asks you to set reality aside. By contrast, the scope of the characters' imperfections offers plenty of opportunities for the cast to make and learn from mistakes, all of which has great promise for a quality, teen-geared drama.

Perhaps the best aspect of this thoughtful series is its range of characters, each with the potential to model behavior traits that parents will love to present to their teen girls. Michelle uses her regrets about her past to inspire the young dancers she meets; sweet-natured Boo (Kaitlyn Jenkins) refuses to let her insecurities about her body keep her from working toward her dream; and natural talent Sasha (Julia Goldani Telles) often turns to her friends to help her cope with troubles at home. Top that off with a delightfully charismatic and jovial performance by Tony Award-winner Foster and some mighty fine dancing from most of the cast, and you've got a rare gem for teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about self-image. What standards does the media set about body proportion and size? Do you think about these things when you look at your own appearance? Do you think these are realistic goals?

  • Teens: What are you passionate about? How does participating in activities that you enjoy help you feel fulfilled? What challenges have you overcome as a result of this participation?

  • How does the media portray teen drinking? Is it noticeable in the shows you typically watch? Are there realistic consequences?

TV details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love dance

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