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Flesh And Bone Leaves Us Flesh And Bored
After a promising premiere, Flesh And Bone is already going over the same steps.
I regret to report that Flesh And Bone's second episode doesn't live up to the promise of its premiere, in large part because it doesn't feel like it needs to be a separate episode. We learn almost nothing new, and there's hardly even any dancing. In my assessment of the premiere, I wrote that this show might not be great, but it could be great fun. This episode is mostly a slog, though it does have its moments: if you've been waiting fifteen years for another chance to ogle Charlie from Center Stage on screen (hi!), Jody Sawyer's ex is still looking damn fine (not sure how I feel about the tattoos, but that's me). And a template for what Flesh And Bone is seems to be emerging. Let's break down the steps, shall we?
|Flesh And Bone-y Element||Present?|
|Paul treats "his" dancers as property||Well, duh. Claire has misgivings about meeting with the board president. "This is a business dinner, right?" "Monsieur Brousseau is investing in you," says Paul. "And us. He wants to get to know you better is all....Everything in regards to ballet is such a delicate balance, isn't it? Nothing has been explicitly stated." But...it's been implied? Then, dangling her featured role in the new ballet: "Primas don't travel in a pack! You've gotta start thinking for yourself, so think!" Though what he obviously means is "You have no choice in this matter."|
|Art is prostitution||Well, duh. Dinner seems innocent enough, and particularly unsexy given that Claire has mixed an unknown drug with wine and is high as a kite, but Brousseau abruptly passes his hotel room key across the table and tells her to meet him upstairs in five minutes anyway. Once there, he orders her to strip, inspects her, and lays her face down on the bed. She cleverly (and disgustingly) makes herself throw up, which puts him off the whole thing and saves her.|
|Art vs. Commerce||Jessica, who as far as I can tell is the company's Managing Director, wants to do more new work and thinks it would be good for box office, encouraging Paul to do the new ballet he's been talking about. Unlike the last episode's argument over prosecco, this actually seems like a pretty good portrayal of the Artistic Director/Managing Director relationship (when it's not super-healthy), and reminds me of my beloved Slings & Arrows except that Jessica seems actually effective and good at her job. We also hear about Jeffrey, who apparently ran the company with Paul and is missed, but not what happened to him or exactly who he was. Was he Jessica's predecessor? A co-Artistic Director? Paul's lover?|
|Being a dancer is legit hard||When Kiira complains to Paul about Claire getting the lead (suggesting that she premiere it and Claire perform on the second night, still getting reviewed, which is actually a pretty good idea), Paul expresses concern that she's not up to the workload because of "[her] injury." (It's unclear whether Paul is actually concerned or just manipulating her...the latter is a safe bet!) She says she is, but we later learn she's lying, and that this is a big factor behind her drug habit. We also learn that Claire was hired on an corps contract, and the fact that she's now dancing a principal role doesn't change that, so she's making crappy money, and them's the breaks.|
|Bryan is creep-tastic||The episode starts the morning after it left off, with Bryan on Claire's childhood bed with his pants unbuttoned (but at some point he put on a shirt?). So there's that. Later, as he takes a bus to find Claire in New York, he fondles a wallet photo of her in such a way that the old man next to him assumes she's his girlfriend. But hey, who hasn't wanted to knock out our seatmate in a rest stop bathroom so that we could get the row to ourselves on a long trip?|
|Claire's past is hinted at||Nothing new, just whatever's up with Bryan.|
|Claire is the weirdest||There's that whole "sleeping under a pile of books" thing. Later, she tries on Mia's lipstick without asking, then kisses the bathroom mirror with it. I'm no expert in makeup, but that seems to me like an unsanitary thing you don't do without asking. Plus, who's going to clean the bathroom? Later, she pokes at her nasty toe in the studio, then rubs the blood on her lips and kisses the mirror in the studio! Like, not even at home! Shared space!|
|Claire is the dumbest||She hasn't been able to get the stain out of Brousseau's tie, so she goes to Canal Street to buy him a replacement, as if the super-rich dude who's literally buying you wouldn't notice that you got him a tie from a street vendor. Then, of course, she's totally naïve about her dinner with Brousseau, despite Paul's having pretty clearly told her what was expected of her. Last but certainly not least, Romeo offers her a pill to help her get through said dinner and she takes it. The homeless dude who lives under your stairs gives you a pill, doesn't tell you what it is (it's not even wrapped in anything!) and you put it in your mouth?? A world of no.|
|Claire is so sad you guys||So sad.
So very sad.
|Ballerinas do DRUGS!||Kiira visits her dealer, who is also a good friend and maybe an artist, from the look of his place. She's in a lot of pain, but can't lose her job. So naturally the solution is cocaine.|
|New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of||Bryan's arrival appears to have been shot at the actual Port Authority Bus Terminal, which has literally never looked better (low bar). On the other hand, the bathroom in Claire and Mia's "terrible" apartment is twice the size of mine.|
|Mia is mean to Claire, but actually she's nice underneath||Pretty much just the first part, which seems like a pretty big 180 from the last episode, which was supposedly just a day ago. Granted, she's understandably jealous about Claire getting the lead after being in the company for a minute, and that lipstick thing was a dick move (Mia grabs it from Claire and throws it out, rather than the possibly more reasonable "keep it"). She passive-aggressively gets into the bath while Claire is getting ready to go out, so Claire passive-aggressively positions herself next to the tub to put on the shoes Brousseau gave her.|
|Daphne is wild and crazy and doesn't care what anyone thinks but actually she's nice underneath||Pretty much just the second part. She tells Claire she can keep the shoes, and has her back when the other girls tease her in the locker room. She shows bravado in rehearsal when Ivana calls her out on a move in rehearsal, asking for a do-over right there. But then she keeps practicing into the night to get it right.|
|Romeo is weird and psychotic but actually he's nice underneath||Romeo is basically Huck from Scandal only instead of being able to hack into the most secret government computer and dispose of a body, his most useful skill so far is helping Claire carry a mattress up the stairs. He also offers her directions to Canal Street via walking, subway, or tunnel, reads her his garbage writing, and calls her Clementine because she gave him that orange (not a clementine), which he still hasn't eaten despite the fact that he's presumably starving.|
|Dancer pain/prep porn||In addition to a close-up of Claire's toe, which is even more disgusting than it was in the premiere, we've got the requisite shoe-pounding, and a "take no prisoners" tattoo on the side of a foot, which I understand is one of the more painful places to get one. Plus, some of the ballerinas watch longingly while a woman in the office eats a burger. A different administrator, played by national treasure Marylouise Burke, announces to the locker room, "You all look the same to me and you could all use a ham sandwich."|
|Tovah Feldshuh and her Russian accent are amazing||"Why you look at floor?" "What are you man? Light, light, light."|
|Bitchy ballerinas are bitchy||"Am I a man? Suck my dick." "Has anyone ever died from menopause?" "Look who's got a new chairman of her board." "Her tits are two counts behind." On some baby birds on the studio windowsill:
Random Dancer: Should we feed them?
Trey: Not unless you want to throw up in their mouths.
Mia: Puking is passé. Maybe a rich Frenchman will buy them dinner.
|Sexy sex||None. Apparently, Mia's parade of men in the apartment to establish her character as the whore to Claire's virgin (or is she???) was just that, and she's done now.|
|Deeply unsexy sex||See Prostitution, above.|
|Dance as a metaphor for sex||Ross asks Claire for help rehearsing a pas de deux in an obvious ploy to get into her tights. She's great while they're dancing, but obviously uncomfortable the second the choreography ends. "That's it, right?" she asks. "I don't know, is that it," he says creepily, running a hand up her thigh. It's actually a sort of interesting look at boundaries in a job that requires you to touch other people all day; their dance moves look far more intimate than his pass. It is not, however, a smooth move.|
|Specific reference to another dance property, intentional or not||I'm choosing to believe that Paul telling Kiira she's not good at "edgy modern" is a reference to the Cooper/Jonathan feud in Center Stage even though that's ridiculous. The toenail thing is very Black Swan.|
|Specific reference to Smash, surely not intentional||Claire's childhood bedroom has a Degas ballet painting on the wall. It's just a print, though, so Nick Jonas wouldn't want to buy it.|
|18 / 22
Flesh And Bone
A show without a single shirtless guy for some reason