Bunheads' Sutton Foster on Michelle's Return to Paradise, Even More Dancing and... Hubbell?

SUTTON FOSTER, HOWARD S. MILLERPut on your dancing shoes, because ABC Family’s Bunheads returns Monday, Jan. 7, at 9/8c. But will everyone in Paradise be able to get their boogie back after Michelle’s sudden exit?

Below, star Sutton Foster previews her former showgirl’s “sad” situation, whether her dead hubby (played by Alan Ruck) will be back and a song-and-dance scene that contains one of her favorite moments yet.

RELATED | Exclusive: Bunheads Stages Another Gilmore Girls Reunion, Casts Liza Weil as [Spoiler]’s Sis

TVLINE | Michelle had a pretty dramatic exit out of Paradise. Where does the new season find her?
She’s left Paradise. She’s in Vegas, sleeping on her friend’s couch and working as a magician’s assistant in Henderson, Nev., at a casino. It’s pretty sad. [Laughs] But things back in Paradise are about the same. The studio shut down after the whole macing fiasco, and the girls are scattered all about. Everyone’s just kind of at a standstill. And then through a series of events, we begin to find our way back to each other.

TVLINE | How are the girls coping in her absence? They really came to rely on Michelle.
Oh, I know! They’re doing OK. Michelle is a huge influence on them. Michelle came into the [picture] and stirred everything up. Everyone’s a bit lost. Michelle really screwed up… Hopefully, they will all be back together, and Michelle can be with the girls again. Everyone’s just at a standstill. No one’s really moving anywhere. Everyone’s just kind of stopped.

TVLINE | Does Michelle have her work cut out for her when she gets back to Paradise?
A bit. I don’t want to reveal anything because I love the way [creator] Amy [Sherman–Palladino] has written this. What’s wonderful is people see more in [Michelle] than she sees in herself. People see the good in her, see that she is capable of so much more. That’s what helps Michelle – the people see greatness in her, and Michelle can’t see that. I think that’s what ultimately brings her back.

TVLINE | It seemed like they were scaling back the relationship between Michelle and Fanny in the later episodes. Does that continue? Or will that dynamic be explored more?
That’s a big part of the show, obviously. A lot of that was probably just introducing the girls’ storylines and really broadening the show as a whole. But Fanny and Michelle are very much a part of the back half of the season.

RELATED | Bunheads Casts So You Think You Can Dance Alum

TVLINE | I was also surprised that it took Michelle as long as it did to start working at the ballet studio, so there wasn’t quite as much dance as I was expecting in the beginning. Does the fact that Michelle’s in a different place and job mean we won’t be seeing as much dancing?
No. Actually, there’s more dance in the back half [of the season] than there was in the first half. There’s quite a bit of dance going on. Michelle coming into Paradise and becoming part of the dance studio, if it happened right away, it’s almost too easy. This is major, finding a whole new life and unraveling that plot. Amy and the writers wanted things to unravel very organically. That took time… Michelle is becoming more committed to her life in Paradise in the back half of the season. There’s a lot of dance. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

TVLINE | On a related note, my favorite scenes were Michelle’s recurring dream/dance sequences. Is that a tool that’s going to carry over into the new episodes?
There hasn’t been one yet. There may be. I’m not sure. It’s a great tool to see Michelle’s continued pull towards a professional career and also an opportunity to sing and dance. I have a feeling that there will be more of that down the road, but I don’t know for sure.

TVLINE | Does that mean you haven’t sung and danced this season yet?!
[Laughs] I’ve definitely sung, and I’ve definitely danced… I’m not going to give anything away – just that it’s one of my favorite moments that we’ve shot so far.

TVLINE | Those dream sequences were a great opportunity to see Hubbell again. Will he be back?
I can’t say yes or no.

TVLINE | Is Michelle moving on romantically? They threw a couple love interests at her. Is anyone sticking?
I definitely think there’s some flirting and fun going around… Before Michelle can really find love, she’s got to figure herself out first. That’s what I hope for. I’d like for her to find some stuff out on her own, and then maybe love will come. So we’ll see. I don’t know what her romantic future is. I’ve been looking at Amy, going, “Is there anybody on the horizon? Is there anything going on?” But right now, she’s really just trying to find a foothold of her own that doesn’t involve a man or a guy being the answer. I think that’s kind of cool.

TVLINE | There is that hot bartender…
I know, right?! [Laughs] Godot is definitely still hanging around.

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  1. Lily says:

    I am sad that Jane By Design is canceled yet this crap is still on. I tried to like it but it is basically gilmore girls lite.

    • CJ says:

      So because you don’t like it and a show that you liked was canceled, which may or may not have anything to do with Bunheads, you think it’s crap? Great rationalization there!

      • Lily says:

        I don’t understand what you didn’t get from my post. I think this show is crap; I tried to like it but it reminded me of gilmore girls lite. Michelle is not a likable character, I blame the writing for that. The only interesting character is Boo but the writers seem to not have any idea on how to handle that characterization. I mentioned Jane by Design because it is a good show that got canceled so that abc family could add more shows. They should canceled Bunheads instead of JBD. Got it?

    • Sara says:

      ITA. Calling it GG lite is IMO too generous. There is nothing there to interest anyone over the age of 16. Sutton is, through no fault of her own, not leading lady material, more of a bridesmaid. ASP has made her look like a tramp, marrying Hubbell without love, coming on to rich driveway guy and making out with bartender surfer dude in front of everyone with her husband only recently deceased.

      • mia says:

        In response to the under 16 comment, my entire family watches and loves Bunheads. My sister and I are in our mid twenties and my parents are in their 50s and we all enjoy it immensely. My Dad is particularly fond of the show. And we’re probably not the only ones like this.

    • it’s exactly why a lot of people are watching it. remember that a lot of people stopped watching GG because amy left it… a lot of people just watched the last episode of the 7th season without watching the rest (i’m one of those) as a huge gilmore girls fan that i was/am when i got a hold on the news that amy was producing and writing this new show i checked it out… i really don’t like musicals or broadway-like bits but yes… the gilmore girls lite has it’s charm

    • Alex says:

      I am thrilled that crap like Jane By Design is canceled yet this wonderful show is still on. I tried to like Jane By Design, but it just plain stank.

  2. Babybop says:

    Excited! Really liked this show in the first half.

  3. Amlang says:

    I’m happy the show is coming back. And I totally agree with the comment about Boo. She’s definitely the most interesting character, and the actress who plays her is obviously hugely talented.

  4. arial2 says:

    I love this show. My first reaction was “what a dumb idea” but then I realized the writers understand that life doesn’t start out with everything perfect and go downhill from there as most comedies do. People start out in new situations not really knowing what they’re doing and adjust as they become familiar with what’s happening around them. I think the dialogues between Michelle and Fanny are written with more seriousness than the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law set-up schlock in most comedies. I wonder if our expectations for comedies have become too one-dimensional. The point of this show is to make you think a little while you’re laughing. Many people seem to hate a new show if it doesn’t follow a formula with which they are already familiar. Personally, I have trouble with GG and JBD, but find this one interesting even if Paradise is not like any town I’ve ever visited. Although, having lived in the Deep South, there are some similarities in the townspeople’s attitudes…..; )

  5. Geo says:

    Sara just a clarification for your fact book…there is a significant senior fan base for Sutton Foster and her amazing talent. Just saying, when attending 2 of her lastest concerts there was a definate buzz in the audience as word of BH premier next week spead. I would venture that the Sutton Foster fan base looks more like 8-80 than that of the oft mentioned GG.

  6. Eric says:

    I’m still undecided about Bunheads. I tuned because of Amy Sherman Palladino, and her fantastic work with Gilmore Girls. But Bunheads has yet to prove itself as MUST SEE television they way Gilmore Girls did. Gilmore hooked my in episode 1 till the very end. To my recollection there was not a single episode in the first portion of Bunheads season that I can say made me say, “Wow! There’s something special here!” I’m give the back half of the season a try, but if by the end I’m not WOWED, I’m done!!!

  7. Jared says:

    I like some shows on ABCF but Bunheads is pretty bad. Its narration is just too slow for me and I haven’t gotten invested in ANY of the characters storylines..or lack of storylines. I don’t necessarily want it to get cancelled but I’m sure if it doesn’t start picking up viewers during this upcoming second half of the season I don’t see ABCF holding onto it much longer.

  8. JoJo says:

    I agree..ABCF is giving this show a second chance based purely on the terrific Amy Sherman Palladino and the talented Sutton Foster. The ratings during the first half of the season were nothing to write home about. My problem with this show is that it could have so much more fun..energetic dance performances but what’s the point of casting Sutton if she rarely gets to use her talents? In my opinion Bunheads just doesn’t have enough appeal to make it appointment viewing…which is going to hurt in the long run.

    • Templar says:

      For what it’s worth, i think the show suffers from too much estrogen and too little testosterone. Michelle has slept with Hubbell [dead], the show guy [Digger] once, came on to the rich guy and the bartender, but there are no significant men in the story. From the get-go GG had Luke, Richard, Michele and shortly after Kirk, Dean, Jackson etc. Sutton Foster may have talent, but as a female lead, she’s a bit of a wet noodle and for a dancer her posture is atrocious.

    • wasabi says:

      Bunheads has a standing appointment with our TV starting next Monday evening.

  9. CAM says:

    I just keep thinking how great it would be to have Lauren Graham guest star as Michelle’s sister. She and Sutton Foster do look a bit alike. Fanny could see her before being officially introduced to her as Michelle’s sister and say something like, “You look familiar.” Lauren Graham and Kelly Bishop were so wonderful together on Gilmore Girls.

  10. onlyakb says:

    in the beginning Michelle reminded me Lorelai a lot, specially the shorts and the boots on the first episode!! but then they were set apart, there is a lot that is due to Amy’s writing, which I really like, and the series need time to find it’s place, I think is charming and I really enjoy the girls, specially Boo, and I was missing GG, so I hope it gets a second season!!

  11. scorpionglow says:

    I was determined not to watch this show, but I caught the pilot and fell in love with it. I have no idea why it’s so damn charming, but I enjoy it and look forward to more. Sutton Foster is hilarious and of course, how can you not love Kelly Bishop?!

  12. I think people should be more patient with the show, because I don’t feel Gilmore Girls was a home run when it first started either. The pilot for Bunheads was great, but then it lost it’;s way a little bit and then the show started to figure itself out in the later half of the season.I’m hoping this second batch of episodes is a continuation of that, because the show does have potential in my opinion.

  13. Too much of the girls and not enough adult interaction led me to stop watching. I realized it’s ABC Family, but it’s just too tween.

  14. mia says:

    Woot Bunheads! Love it! Looking forward to more of Fanny + Michelle together, they really are the heart of the show.
    Also would love to see Sasha and Michelle bond. They have so much in common, I think Michelle could be a really positive influence in her life.

  15. mia says:

    And Sutton Foster is HILARIOUS on the show. She gives Michelle so much warmth and charisma.

  16. ABC says:

    This show had one of the weirdest pilots I have ever seen. I felt like ASP lost a bet and someone said write a show about a Las Vegas showgirl ending up in a small town with an adversarial mother in law after marrying a dude who dies in a day. Oh, by the way, throw in some dancing.

  17. Holly says:

    Like any show, there are those that love it and hate it. I happen to love it. It’s funny, warm, and charming. There are very few shows that I can watch with my daughter, so I’m very excited that it is coming back.

  18. I always had a feeling that Hubbell faked his death. Maybe I’ll be right?

  19. Ally Oop says:

    I think Bunheads has potential if they reform a few things. The main character of Michelle is poorly written and needs more depth–I saw a little bit of depth in that scene with Sasha in which they are sitting in the bleachers talking about their hardknock childhoods but it’s one of the only ones I can think of. I also enjoyed the final scene of the last episode in which there’s that “Captain my Captain” exchange, but again, that was a rare moment for depth and I want more. You can’t help but compare the character of Lorelei Gilmore with that of Michelle but the reason the character of Lorelei worked was that even though Lorelei spoke in the same humourous wacky fashion, she was a character who also showed a lot of responsability (ie. she was a mother and a manager then owner of an inn) with a serious side to balance it all out. I think, and maybe many disagree with me, a serious love interest would balance things out for Michelle’s character. We could see a more adult side to her and it would give some more purpose to her character. Bunheads needs to show more of a dramatic side (it’s a dramedy of course but needs more drama in it). I also think that the show should definitely keep its multigenerational focus and expand on linking the characters of Boo, Sasha, Fanny and Michelle up. It’s difficult though because despite their dance connections, they lack actual familial connections. Maybe Sasha could move in with Michelle, for instance, or Michelle could start dating Boo’s dad or something. Either way, Bunheads needs changes and I will be watching the second half of the season in hopes that it will be better than the first.

  20. Alexis says:

    I love this show. Sutton is magnetic and her dynamic with Kelly Bishop is what makes this show work for me.
    And the girl who plays Boo is charm personified. I am not looking for a replacement for Gilmore Girls in my life so can appreciate Bunheads for the unique delights it brings.
    I’m happy to have it back.

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