What ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ and ‘Bunheads’ Have in Common — Other Than Amy Sherman-Palladino

If you’re a fan of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Bunheads, and/or Gilmore Girls, you’ll probably know that they were all created, written, and produced by the same husband-wife creative team: Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino. But what else do these 3 series have in common — in particular Amazon Prime TV’s Maisel and ABC Family’s Bunheads?

‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’, ‘Bunheads’, and ‘Gilmore Girls’ all carry a particular element through their seasons

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel actor Rachel Brosnahan
Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel | Nicole Rivelli/Amazon

Sherman-Palladino recently asked The New York Times: “Dance — when are we getting it back?” Given the COVID-19 pandemic, things like live performance are rare these days. But the Maisel creator was glad to chat about the art form. In fact, dance is what links almost everything Sherman-Palladino has created for TV. As the publication reported:

Dance is infused, indirectly or not, in just about everything that Ms. Sherman-Palladino touches, even going back to Gilmore Girls. Remember the dance competition in ‘They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?’ That recital at Miss Patty’s dance studio? When Rory had to review a dance for the school paper?

Of course, next came Sherman-Palladino’s ballet-themed show, Bunheads, “in which dance was everything.”

How ‘Mrs. Maisel’ and ‘Bunheads’ are connected through dance

Dance isn’t a main focus of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — but it still shows up, in small ways and big.

The Times points to several “over-the-top numbers with the fervor and splendor of an MGM spectacle.” However, movement finds its way into subtler moments, “like the dancers floating along the Seine in season 2 and the sultry dance between Midge Maisel and Lenny Bruce in season 3.”

While all of Sherman-Palladino’s creations are linked by dance, Bunheads and Maisel have an extra connection: “a choreographer: Marguerite Derricks.”

Bunheads
A still from the Bunheads episode “What’s Your Damage, Heather?” | Adam Larkey/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Family via Getty Images

“We call Margueriteour secret weapon because it’s as if we have another almost a director onstage,” Sherman-Palladino told The New York Times. The choreographer, who has worked on Glow and Little Miss Sunshine, has a special talent for putting the craft on film.

“She understands how to do dance for camera, because it’s actually a different animal — it’s not a proscenium, it’s 3-D,” the Gilmore Girls creator continued. “It’s everything the world envelops.”

Between Bunheads and Mrs. Maisel, the Times argues that Sherman-Palladino is, and has been, “presiding over an unofficial dance preservation movement.”

She is, they continued, “always emphasizing the idea that choreography on television is not just a possibility, but a shimmering, transformative experience.”

The ‘Bunheads’ creator uses dancers in her cast — and has ballet in her background

Why is dance such an essential element to Sherman-Palladino’s creative work?

Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino pose with the award for Best Television Series Musical or Comedy for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in the press room during The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards in 2018 | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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“I was a dancer,” she revealed to The Times. “There was one point where I was never out of tights. I think that everything I do is filtered through that lens.” Sherman-Palladino will sometimes cast dancers as “extras” to add “physicality” to a scene. (Which is probably why scenes in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel can often look like a dance).

Even writing for characters who are not specifically dancers, she creates “with a dance rhythmic view of a scene in mind.” Sherman-Palladino continued:

I think that my characters tend to have an energy that even when they walk down the street there’s sort of an internal beat to them. … I definitely direct like a dancer.