It's impossible for me not to have crazy high expectations for any new show from "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. And that's probably not all that fair.
"Bunheads," debuting Monday night at 9 on ABC Family, is an "okay" ballet drama starring Tony Award winner Sutton Foster as a rejected Las Vegas showgirl who in a weak moment marries an adoring/stalkerish fan (Hubbell Flowers, played by Alan Ruck of "Spin City" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off") and runs away to live with him in his sleepy -- and of course, totally quirky -- beach town.
Okay yes, the show is built around a premise that sounds equal parts creepy and skanky, but Ruck somehow manages to pull off the stalker-fan-turned-husband role in a way that makes him seem sweet and good, and you even start to see why Sutton's despairing character, Michelle Simms, might take a chance on him.
Michelle has the fast-talking sarcastic wit you'd expect from a Sherman-Palladino leading lady, but she's no Lorelai Gilmore -- a character so perfectly played by Lauren Graham. But I do love that Kelly Bishop, who played Lorelai's mother Emily Gilmore, plays Michelle's eccentric mother-in-law, who just happens to run a dance studio in town. And I love even more that Bishop's Fanny Flowers character not once but twice snaps at Michelle about how fast she talks: "Oh my god! The quips, the chatter! Don't you ever just shut up!?"
How many times did Emily want to say that to Lorelai -- and Rory?
One of the more interesting things about the show could be the way it handles body image issues of the young girls who study with Flowers -- girls Michelle ends up mentoring. In fact, the showgirl's presence has an immediate positive impact on Boo, a sweet girl who loves to dance but who is too "big boned" to fit the traditional ballet dancer mold.
Michelle has to adjust to her new husband, small town life, and living and working with her mother-in-law all very quickly. In fact, the pilot throws her curveball after curveball, and the one delivered in the final moment of the pilot episode is the most shocking. Seriously shocking.
Given Sherman-Palladino's pedigree (at least with regards to a show I love), even an "okay" pilot is more than enough to make me come back for more.
"Bunheads" debuts Monday, June 11, at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.