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‘Abby’s Studio Rescue’ recap: This is your last chance to dance

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Abby to the Rescue” | Aired June 24, 2014

We all know Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms, where she yells at tiny dancers and can barely disguise her disdain for their mothers. Now we get to see her in a new role — as a rescuer, a hero, a white knight with a mission to save dance studios in need. This is Abby’s Studio Rescue.

We start with a brief segment where Abby introduces herself and the show’s premise. Then we’re treated to a fabulous opening sequence that features Abby with a construction hat and a golden sledgehammer along with the show’s tagline “This might be your last chance to dance.” Did I mention the glitter graphics? There’s a lot of glitter … and I LOVE IT.



This week’s featured studio is Triple Threat in Warwick, Rhode Island. Marlaina, the owner, tells us she opened a new 5,000-square-foot facility in 2013. The building has numerous plumbing, electrical and cosmetic issues to be fixed. In addition, the stress of dealing with the moms has taken a toll on her, and she breaks into tears talking about it (hey now, save your tears for the pillow, Marlaina!).

Dance instructor Bethany does an interview where she lays out one of the major issues with the studio: Marlaina is never there to run the business. Bethany (who is only 18) admits that she’s overwhelmed and feels like they need a better ballet teacher with a firmer grasp of technique.

Abby’s Arrival

Just when we think all hope is lost for Triple Threat … Abby swoops in to save the day, walking into class looking like a member of the Night’s Watch in her Muppets-inspired black fur coat. It’s comical how surprised everyone looks. Their expressions are a mixture of excitement and abject terror.

When Abby asks to see the owner, we discover Marlaina is not there. Oh no, this is not a good start. It’s tense as Bethany calls, begging Marlaina to come in, only to be turned down flat. Abby resorts to making the call herself and instructs Marlaina’s horrified-sounding husband to get her to the studio (or else)!

Initial Assessment and Owner Meeting

Abby asks the kids to dance for her and notes the lack of technique. Then Marlaina walks in, and Abby sarcastically snipes, “Thank you for coming.” (Awkward!) Abby explains that she’s there to help, but in return they have to spend the next four days preparing to host a showcase so the community can see the new and improved Triple Threat.

Abby then has a sit-down with Marlaina, and Marlaina admits she struggles with anxiety related to the financial strain and stress of opening the new facility (not to mention dealing with the moms!). It’s so severe, she has difficulties even coming into the studio. Abby consoles her, but then tells the camera she’s concerned that Marlaina may be too “weak” to turn this place around (ouch!).

Dance Assessment

Abby brings all the dancers into the main studio and gently chastises them for their poor technique. Whoa, the kinder, gentler Abby is out in full force this episode! She then gives them their assignments for the showcase.

First up are the Mini Elites. (They are so tiny! I want to put them in my pocket!) She assigns them a contempary routine that will be choreographed by instructor Bethany. She also calls up three older girls (the “Seniors”) and assigns them as leaders for the group’s big production number. Marlaina will choreograph. Abby reminds them they only have three days until the showcase, and Marlaina looks like she might throw up.

The Inspection and Studio Moms Meeting

Abby and Marlaina do a walk-through, where they see electrical chords hanging out of the ceiling and another large, unfinished room that’s in terrible condition. They then get to the main studio, and Abby exclaims, “It’s gross! It’s disgusting! It stinks!” (Tell us how you really feel.)

Abby checks in with the moms to get their take on things. They all agree that technique is an issue and reveal there’s no consistent schedule of classes. Most admit they’ll probably be gone once their contract is finished. When Abby asks if they get along with each other, the floodgates open as the women begin arguing amongst themselves (doing the original Dance Moms proud!).

Owner Follow-Up (2 Days till Showcase)

Abby has another sit-down with Marlaina to talk about the scheduling issues, but Marlaina thinks the moms are exaggerating and complains that Abby is judging her. Wait a minute! Isn’t judging her the whole point of this endeavor? We’re all judging you, Marlaina! Just go with it.

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Mini Elite and Group Number Rehearsals (2 Days till Showcase)

Abby works with the Mini Elite group and recommends doing more choreography that communicates the lyrics of the song. She then observes the group rehearsal, where we find Marlaina yelling at dancers and giving us serious crazy eyes. Abby calls the studio dads in to stay overnight and help fix up the studio, announcing, “I am gonna turn this junkyard upside down!”

Studio Reveal (1 Day till Showcase)

Abby brings everyone into the studio to reveal the results of their all-nighter, and the difference is kind of amazing. Studio A has silks and ballet bars and new floors, while Studio C (the former abandoned room) is unrecognizable. There are ballet bars, mirrors, completed walls, and a state-of-the-art floor that’s shock-absorbent. The suppliers who donated the materials are named in some brilliant bits of product placement, and now I’ve learned that a Marley floor is the stuff of dreams.

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Mini Elite Final Rehearsal

Bethany is working hard with the Mini Elite girls while the moms chat in the waiting room. Abby comes in to check on them (oh, this room’s been jazzed up too!), and they complain that Marlaina hasn’t seen this new routine yet. This inspires Abby to find Marlaina and tell her she needs to crack the whip. Abby tells her, “It’s your time to set the boundaries. Those people are the reason that you’re hiding in your house and can’t get better … now is the time to face that fear!”

Marlaina takes Abby’s pep talk to heart and walks into the waiting area to tell the moms to stop talking behind her back. She assures them that she has seen the routine, and she’s back for good. But she also warns them that if they’re not onboard with that, they’ll have to go.

Side note: While these ladies don’t seem like sweet summer peaches, I don’t know why we’re supposed to feel their concerns are unjustified. Yes, they could be less catty, but why shouldn’t they be worried when Marlaina herself has admitted she’s frequently missing in action? It seems to me she needs a lot more than one day’s attendance to prove she’s truly turned over a new leaf.

Showcase Day

The theater is packed, the dancers are dressed and they’re only 20 minutes from showtime. Abby pats herself on the back, telling the camera she gave Triple Threat a safe studio space while Marlaina shut down the “mama drama.” Abby then decides 20 minutes out is the best time to ask Marlaina if she’s created the new schedule. What? Is now the right time for this? Luckily Marlaina is ready for her: She pulls out a clipboard, shows the new and improved calendar to Abby, and promises she’ll stick to it.

Mini Elite Performance

Most of the girls are dressed like mini extras from Britney Spear’s “Baby One More Time” video. (Why? I don’t know!) I’m not sure what story they’re telling, but they’re so cute that I don’t care. Abby is happy with the girls’ progress, and the audience seems to love it.

Group Number Performance

In true Abby Lee Miller fashion, the dancers are all covered in dirt and blood and wearing torn clothing (all but one girl in red), doing a very dramatic routine to weird, pulsating music. The whole thing is really dynamic (if a bit scattered), and both Abby and the audience give them a standing ovation.

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Marlaina then brings Abby onstage and gives a speech, saying, “She’s tough. She’s intelligent. She knows what she wants, and she set me straight!” Abby shares that she’s very proud of each and every one of them, and Marlaina begins to cry again. (We’ve been over this, Marlaina! Save your tears for the pillow!)

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 Abby ends the night smugly telling the camera, “Let’s face it, I make dreams come true!” Yes you do, Abby.

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Next week: Abby goes to West Coast Dance Studio and works with what appears to be a very harried studio owner, who screams, “You’re driving me crazy!” I can’t wait.

What do you think of the show so far? Is Abby making a meaningful change, or is this all just a smart way for these studios to get some refurbished rooms? Let me know in the comments below, and come back next week to talk more about Abby’s Studio Rescue.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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