• Tue, Jun 12 2012

Why Cast Cameron From Ferris Bueller’s Day Off In Bunheads If You’re Just Going To Kill Him Off?

Bunheads does Hubbell die? Sutton Foster Alan Ruck Cameron Ferris Bueller

ABC Family’s Bunheads is the kind of show that carefully considered its casting for optimal throwbacks: Star Sutton Foster brings in the young Broadway fans; Kelly Bishop brings some lovely Gilmore Girls nostalgia; and for the part of sweet, older protector Hubbell Flowers, they brought in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off star Alan Ruck.

That’s right, the guy who played sweet, perpetually anxious Cameron alongside Matthew Broderick is now middle-aged and sweeping Sutton Foster’s Vegas showgirl Michelle off her stiletto heels to live with him in the sleepy seaside town of Paradise. When the pilot begins, Hubbell has been chastely courting Michelle for a year, showing up backstage with flowers and expensive gifts. When he finally convinces her to come out to dinner — after she has a horrible audition where the director won’t even let her dance — she’s so depressed with her current life that she agrees to marry him. At the same time, he does give this lovely answer when Michelle claims that she’s horrible at relationships, like Godzilla:

“I promise you I won’t flee. I’ll be the one scientist who understands you, the one who knows that you’re not burning the city down because you’re evil. You’re burning the city down to protect the giant lizard eggs you just laid in a cave by the ocean. A cave no one knows is there but me.”

Over the course of the pilot, we see Michelle warming up to both Paradise and Hubbell himself, and we think maybe this May-December romance could blossom into something. (Especially once they consummate the marriage!) Plus, Michelle is even starting to bond with her new mother-in-law FannyThen in the final moments, Hubbell’s ex Truly bursts into the bar and says that there’s been an accident. CLIFFHANGER. Is Hubbell dead? How could they do this to us right as we’re starting to see him as a good guy for Michelle?

The thing is, this isn’t really a cliffhanger. Alan Ruck isn’t listed on the show’s IMDb page, and only for the pilot on his page. Furthermore, Entertainment Weekly‘s review unequivocably says that Hubbell dies. And now that I think about it, I remember when this show was first announced, it was made clear that the premise is how Michelle and Fanny, as widower and bereaved mother, support one another in the wake of Hubbell’s death.

Bunheads does Hubbell die? Sutton Foster Alan Ruck Cameron Ferris Bueller

So, why cast such a recognizable star in a one-episode role? In some ways it seems like a waste, but it was also an incredibly savvy casting choice: Establish a guy who we already know to be responsible and dedicated, so our acceptance of the Michelle/Hubbell romance happens faster. And though he’s gone, he’s not forgotten at all. If they try to bring in another love interest for Michelle this season, we’ll steadfastly defend Hubbell because of that mental shortcut to envisioning him as the ultimate good guy.

Do you think the show can go on without Hubbell?

Photos: ABC Family

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  • Ellen

    I actually hated Cameron in Ferris Bueller. He stressed me out with all his stressing.

  • Sissy

    I adored Hubbell and feel so manipulated that they made me fall in love with this sweet, strong, mysterious guy just so they could break my heart when then killed him off! I guess it is a testament to Alan Ruck that he was able to make such an impression in his short amount of screen time, but I am not inclined to invest anything in a show that does something like that.

    • Natalie Zutter

      Maybe he’ll return in some sort of flashback? I for one would be interested in seeing what that year leading up to them getting married was like–poor sweet guy coming to woo her, her blowing him off.

  • Julie

    I actually only watched the premiere because of Alan Ruck. It seemed like a fun light-hearted show. Great fare for a lazy stress free evening of television, right up until the end. Sometimes drastic actions flow or shock and you accept them. I have to say, last night’s cliffhanger did two things. It guaranteed I would watch the second episode to see what happened. And it also left such a nasty feeling that if he is dead I won’t turn in for the third episode. I’m sure that some people enjoy watching a show with 8 or 9 women all the time, but I have to say even with Sex and the City – without Big, and Aiden and Steve and Jared and all the others, it got pretty boring to watch. If I want to watch catty women who gripe at each other I can just go to the gym or watch my neighbors. Hopefully, Ruck will resurface but I don’t have high hopes.

    • Natalie Zutter

      Julie, I love your comment. So true! Catty women griping at each other–even if one of them is Emily Gilmore–stop being entertaining very quickly.

    • Natalie Zutter

      But, another thought–would you stay tuned if the writers introduced more male characters?

  • Rachel

    Stop spoiling shows with the name of your blog posts! You did this with Mad Men last week too! People DVR things, it’s in-polite to slap major plot points in the title of blog posts that unsuspecting readers will see.

    • Natalie Zutter

      Sorry Rachel! We try to moderate spoilers between what you see on Google and what you see on the site, but sometimes when it’s big enough we have to bite the bullet and address the spoiler head-on. We’ll try and be better about it in the future!

  • lori bush

    I totally agree, I love Alan Ruck and I think ABC Family really blew it! I think their relationship should have been an intregral part of the story. I loved it up until the end, will not watch another episode!

    • Natalie Zutter

      I gotta say, I saw him as an asexual older guy up until he kissed her… It was a really sweet scene and I could see the stirrings of chemistry between them.

  • Lenora

    I actually thought casting someone recognizable was a good, shorthand way to establish that the character was nice, sweet, quirky and not creepy. It made it believable that she would go with him. I will definitely watch this; I miss Gilmore Girls, I liked the pilot for this and I actually like shows with strong females on it!

  • Erin

    Loved the show UNTIL they killed him off. The aftermath will be funeral, fighting about the house & then another love interest. So boring. The unusual love story had sooooo much more potential. Was so interesting to watch how their relationship change from stalkerish to prince charming she never saw coming. His speeches blew me away and THAT was what got me hooked. Now I have nothing to look forward to :(

  • jennifer

    I completely agree will all of your comments. The dancing also drawn me to the show because i use to be a dancer, i did jazz, tap ballet, and hip hop for about 6 years. i loved it but then it just got to expensive and well you know how it is.. but i love watching movies, plays shows ect. about dancing. i did love the first episode again up in till the end, i really wanted to see where the relationship was going.i agree with julie on watching the second episode to see what happened, and it also left such a upsetting feeling that if he is dead I won’t turn in for the third episode either. i also love sewing and design and love jane by design i just wish they showed more of the design part.

  • Judy

    Please, don’t kill Hubbell off. I love the show BUT it needs that male/Hubbell influence to draw a larger crowd. PLEASE….!

  • patts marshall

    Hubbell was the balance, the steadying influence, between the two women in his life. His developing romance with Michelle and, obviously, new self-confidence with his mother was a part of the story line. Killing Hubbell off ripped a piece of the heart from the script.

  • Paula E

    I loved Hubbell, so upset they killed him off, but Kelly Bishop is wonderful as always, and it fun to watch the hell she will now wreck on Michelle because you know she will blame her. It also fun to see some of my favorite actors from Gilmore Girls now on this show. Who will be the new man in their lives?

  • redcoatsax

    I do think that the actor’s history helps the audience believe he isn’t crazy (or as crazy). As a former dancer, I know there are studios with crazy competition levels, and some studios that just do one recital per year. I think this show might bring the dancers into a more unified front of talent, rather than the current perceived mod-podge. Also, my classes were never that small! I think we will see more dancing as Sutton Foster decides she wants to “Show Off.” The purpose of a pilot is to reel you in, and despite how sad it makes us, Alan’s character dying does that.

    Also, not to be a brat, but she would be a “widow” (not a widower), because she is female.

    • Janet Barnes

      My daughter is a competitive dancer, and she’s had classes even smaller than that….I think the smallest was 5 dancers. The largest, of coarse, is her production class.

  • Rix

    I agree with all these comments especially the ones that say that they LOVED the show until the final moments. Throughout the show, I kept thinking that I would watch it 3 more times before the 2nd episode and that it reminded of GG back when it was good (before Amy Sherman Pallandino left) then I was left in shock with the Hubbell’s death. I googled to see if he died (like it looked like) or if he was in a coma (like I hoped). I really wish they would have left him alive…. He actually had you rooting for him and Michelle.

  • LinLee

    OK, there is much I have enjoyed about Bunheads but, as someone else said, my heart is broken that Hubbell is gone. I may watch the third episode but as far as I’m concerned there is a huge hole in the story line. Alan Ruck’s charming character was the glue that held the two women together.

  • Angie

    I want to escape reality, not be depressed. I was drawn to the nerdy sweet guy wooing his Vegas showgirl. I was looking forward to the story of Michelle and Hubbell. It could have been a magical romance. I’m just not interested in watching the MIL/ DIL relationship or dancer- teenage drama. Wasted opportunity to show a sweet relationship, IMHO

  • Patti

    She’s pregnant, people!!! She’s gonna have a baby Hubble!! I think it’s a hoot!!! :)