Dear ABC Family,
We need to talk about Bunheads.
I am not in your target teenage demographic. I have not watched an original show on your network since I hate-watched the first season of The Secret Life of the American Teenager (something I am not especially proud to admit to the Internet at large). The only thing I’ve ever watched and loved on your network on a regular basis was Gilmore Girls reruns.
Given that, surely you can understand my excitement when I found out you picked up a new show from Amy Sherman-Palladino. Bunheads brought AS-P’s signature wit, speedy references, and quirky characters to a new lovable little town. Visiting the residents of Paradise every week was a bit like going to Stars Hollow 2.0, and I loved it.
Over the course of season one, I grew to love Michelle – played flawlessly by the amazing Sutton Foster – as I watched her struggle to figure out her place in Paradise. I enjoyed watching relatively realistic teenage girls (something rarely seen on TV) going through normal teenage things – crazy families, fights with best friends, and curiosity about sex – all with the backdrop of Fanny’s dance school. The show dealt with some tough stuff, but was in general pretty light and fun – a remarkable feat in this age of the anti-hero – and was exactly what I needed when my life got really crazy awful for a while this year. Plus, where else on TV would I get to watch something like this?:
Now, Season 1 has come and gone. The last episode aired on February 25th – and ended with a heartbreaking moment between Ginny and Michelle, leaving me desperate for more. I understand that the ratings for the show were never that great. I was prepared to be disappointed when upfronts season came around. That’s the reality of being a television fan – shows you love get cancelled all the time. But upfronts season came and went, without a peep about Bunheads. Then, thanks to some prying from the critics who also loved the show, I found out that you were waiting to see how your summer shows – Twisted and The Fosters – performed before making a final decision.
The second you pinned your new programming against a show I loved in a fight for a future time slot, you instantly turned me off from the new shows. Were they something I would have watched? Maybe, maybe not. But I had zero desire to find out once I knew it was them or Bunheads. I got even less interested when the official Bunheads social media accounts basically turned into another platform to market those other shows instead of giving me Bunheads-related content or news – you know, the thing I signed up for in the first place.
Even beyond the questionable move of admitting you had four shows (now three, since you finally axed The Lying Games) gunning for the same time slots, with each passing day the lack-of-decision becomes increasingly unfair to the cast and crew. I’m sure Sutton Foster would love a chance to find a new Broadway gig if she knew for sure Bunheads was cancelled. I’m sure Amy Sherman-Palladino would jump at the chance to move on to her next amazing project if she knew this one was finished (she certainly doesn’t sound very hopeful). But instead, they’re all waiting to hear the news like the rest of us.
I have a problem with all of this. Beyond the fact that I just want Bunheads back on my TV, I don’t think this is a good way to treat your loyal fans or your employees. I will certainly think twice before jumping into a new program on your network again. Why should I trust you to treat the show well? And why should I bother getting invested if I know you won’t?
I may be the only fan on the planet annoyed by all of this (especially given the tiny size of the Bunheads fanbase). But I doubt I’m alone in asking you to please, make a decision already. Renew it if you can, cancel it if you must, but let us all move on.
Still waiting (im)patiently,