Bunheads
Better Luck Next Year

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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How A Young Lady Should Do Things

Here, you've got Boo's mommy so worried that she's going to give herself an eating disorder that she ends up doing her best job of giving her an eating disorder -- and the show even takes it further, which is to show Boo's mom's own culpability in that scenario. Parenting is tricky -- when to protect, when to keep quiet -- but in this case it's not that complicated: You can't support your child's quest for physical health at the same time you're saying bullshit like "It's more fun when we overeat together." That isn't love.

Neither is this: "I worry, a little bit. I mean this Joffrey audition seems so important... You were so disappointed last year when you didn't get in, remember? You cried all week long. I got you that cake to cheer you up, and we ate the whole thing, every bit of it. That was a good cake."

Here's what Fanny said, by way of contrast, in the premiere -- and she'll say it even better at the end of the episode.

"Ballet is very hard, Boo. And a lot of it does depend on how you're made. You have to be realistic. You're a big-boned girl. You have a tummy. Your waist is very short. But none of that means you shouldn't try. Right?"

Imagine this were a show about baseball: Not every kid that plays baseball in high school is going to the majors. For most of them, it's a way of developing character, strength, an understanding of group dynamics: A powerful set of skills for life. But somewhere along the line, if you turn those ball-players into women, and put them in a sport that is literally about visual aesthetic, drawing lines with the body, somehow it gets all tied up in the lie that is "fat acceptance," and suddenly up is down and chocolate is a feminist issue...

...Or, you can sidestep the whole mess and say, "None of that means you shouldn't try." That the act of trying out for Joffrey will do more for Boo than being accepted into Joffrey. That regardless of Joffrey's interest in Boo as a dancer, she's still a dancer. And the only person who seems interested in teaching Boo that central life lesson -- perhaps the most important lesson you can learn in your early life, that your powers are not limited by anyone but you, that nobody ever withheld validation that had the power to give it in the first place -- is Fanny Flowers herself. Fanny who has seen it all, Fanny who sees Boo.

GUESTHOUSE

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Bunheads

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