My relationship with television can at best be described as extremely abusive, where no amount of therapy and counseling can help me walk away from the hurt it keeps doling out. The arrival of the fall premier season marks all my despair as official. The kind of despair where it’s almost impossible to articulate your feels in anything but reaction GIFs. To commemorate this, a toast to some of the shows we tragically lost this year.
Take Bunheads, for starters. The more I think about it, the more I see Hubbell’s character as a possible metaphor for the entire show and its cancellation. It’s not a perfect one by any measure—I only wish we had had Bunheads showering us with unconditional love and expensive gifts for as long as Hubbell did for Michelle—but it’s true that the show was abruptly taken from us just as we had begun to open our hearts to it; just when we had begun to stare into its vast (though yet untapped) potential for brilliance. Like when we were still calling our best friends, gushing about our first night with a new love, slightly unsure how it would all pan out, but oh so optimistic about the possibilities.
There is such a dearth of good television focused on women that the cancellation of Bunheads hit me particularly hard. The filial bonds forged between Fanny, Michelle, and the girls drew an interesting parallel with those in the director’s previous venture, Gilmore Girls. These weren’t the people responsible for raising them, there was no history between these people like there was between Lorelai and Emily or Lorelai and Rory. Nevertheless, Fanny found another child to mother in Michelle, while Michelle discovered stability with Fanny, which helped her accept her often reluctant role as a parent to the girls. We had just started exploring these stories, these characters; the universe building was still nascent and ready to unfold, to watch the dance studio stage its first performance at the amphitheater, to see Michelle get her GED and the girls navigate high school drama, maybe even explore Mel’s sexuality (I would’ve loved to see how Amy Sherman-Palladino tackled a gay character), but most of all we wanted to see them pursue their dreams of making it big.
But alas, no more obscure pop-culture references hidden in crazy-paced dialogue. No more young women with differing body types as potential out-of-the-box role models. No more beautiful choreography and cinematography to grace my TV anymore. I guess I’m going to have to resort to fan-fiction now.
I know everyone raves about Sasha’s performance in “Istanbul”, but “Picture in a Frame” made me melancholy for a character that died in the first episode and that’s a pretty darn special achievement.