Maybe it was because of that Bed Debacle in episode 8 but I took a week away from Smash and then Smash Crammed last night. Watching back-to-back episodes is an interesting experience, to say the least. You pick up on a lot of nuances. The ins and the outs. The what-have-yous.
Here are this (and last) week’s Smash Notes.
EPISODE 9 “Hell on Earth”
Julia -n- Frank: Frank put down the chemistry textbooks and realized, through some sheet music he found on Julia’s side of the bed, that she had an affair! Bravo, Frank!
When confronted, Julia initially said, “Nothing is going on!” but what she should have said was, “Remember that night I got out of bed to go for a walk at 10 p.m. in my pajamas and you said, ‘Have a nice time,’ and I didn’t come back until 4 a.m.? Yeah, that was an affair happening.”
I mean, the guy is stupid, right?
I think it was a play to our sympathies that, when he found the incriminating show tune, he was looking for the adoption paperwork. Ah, the adoption. I don’t know about you but I think they should definitely go through with it.
Duel, Lack Of: Frank goes and confronts Michael about the affair. It ends with Frank punching Michael. Yawn. I wanted Frank to challenge him to a duel with broadswords. The guy brought Frank’s honor as a husband, father and preoccupied chemistry professor into question. Also, they missed an opportunity to have Michael sing a song about dueling and anguishing over the logistics of the impending duel while dancing alone in a studio with rain pouring down outside.
Best put-down: Ivy referred to Karen as Midwestern Moonface. That’s kinda brilliant.
BFFs: After Ivy takes too many drugs (I hate it when a gal can’t hold her multiple prescription drugs), screws up a performance of Heaven on Earth and gets kicked out, she and Karen (who just happened to be watching from the wings because she wanted to return Ivy’s sunglasses – barf) go to a liquor store, buy a pint and walk around the city getting hammered. Now that’s more like it!
Karen says, “Oh, Ivy, you seem a little down.” To which Ivy should say, “Maybe its all these Marilyn books and photos I’ve surrounded myself with… Is it healthy to stare into the eyes of a dead woman every time I put on mascara?”
Then they launched into one of the best, most ingenious ways yet of sneaking in the mandatory Song Of The Week. Ivy and Karen overtake a busker in Times Square with a synthesizer. They sing a song together and completely upstage the poor guy but also draw a big crowd of people who enjoy the performance so much that they must be tourists. The song was something like, “I Drink To That,” which Ivy sang while still in her angel costume from the show and Karen sang in a turtleneck, cardigan and jeans, looking like a woman who came to a Jazzercise class she wasn’t sure she would like so she didn’t bother to change.
Best line: Tom says, “I haven’t been out all night since I camped out for Rent tickets in 1998.”
Sex, Ambiguous: Evil Intern (who is now actually Evil Receptionist) arranges for Rebecca Duvall, a big star, to play the part of Marilyn. He does this by working her agent over and then working her agent over. Know what I mean? Evil Intern has a girlfriend (who we see every third episode) but the agent is a man. So. Here’s my question: Is Evil Intern so obsessed with advancing his Broadway career that he’ll sleep with anyone, male or female? Or is he bi-sexual and we’re supposed to roll with that without further character development?
NBC took the easy way out. They showed Evil Intern propositioning the agent and the agent turning off his cell phone, then they cut away. The next thing we knew, Rebecca Duvall was in the show. So it seems as if maybe they are trying to be progressive while also keeping it confusing enough so that stupid conservatives don’t get all pissed off.
EPISODE 10 “Understudy”
Importance of Broadway, Inflated: After Ivy’s drug-induced flame-out in Heaven on Earth, Tom claims, “The entire town is talking about it.” Really? The entire city of New York is talking about Ivy falling down and having to leave the stage? Amidst New York and national politics, whatever Snookie is up to and the economy, we’re supposed to believe that people care about a chorus girl having a bad night?
Julia: Still rockin’ those baby doll dresses, long cardigans and tights. Look, I know what’s going on here. Baby got a little more back than in the days of Will & Grace. It’s OK! But let’s put her in some adult clothing, OK?
Frank is missing, off licking his wounds. Or maybe he said, “The hell with it. I dedicate my life to science.” Julia is obsessed with getting him back because she’s one of those women who like to push people away and then run after them. She’s so obsessed that she steals her child’s cell phone to find his phone number. Despicable!
When she calls him up she says, “Guess what I’m wearing? Yes, a flowing dress, a cardigan to cover the rump and a scarf!”
Things Everyone Knows About Gays: You can put any gay man into a Broadway rehearsal and he’ll be able to perform perfectly. Sing, dance, act. It’s in the genes.
And More About Tom: As predicted, he’s switching his allegiance from Republican Lawyer to Chorus Dancer. Lawyer is the one who spots the trouble first, after catching Tom and the Dancer sharing some laughs.
Lawyer to Tom: You never look at me like that.
Tom: Like what?
Lawyer: Like you find me attractive.
Karen: Trouble with perfect Brit boyfriend. He’s falling into an affair with a co-worker and considering moving to DC. Karen and Brit BF have these terrible non-fights where they exchange a few sentences and then look glum. It’s not gonna last, baby!
BUT, Karen also gets to be Marilyn’s understudy. And, since the plot required it, Rebecca Duvall is stuck in Cuba! So Karen plays Marilyn for rehearsals and she’s good. Really good. Way better than Ivy, who is too brash. Karen gives Marilyn some much-needed humanity and soul. Derek, the director, is feeling it. But then… Rebecca Duvall shows up. Surprise! It’s Uma Thurman! What? Yeah, Uma Thurman. The woman from Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill? Are you serious? Yes, Uma Thurman is guest-starring as Rebecca Duvall next week. Oh, huh. That’s interesting…. WHY?
Best scene:Â A montage they did of each character waking up in the morning looking glum and down-around-the-mouth. Oh the burden of the stage! I like to call it the We’re All Sad Bananas Montage. More of that, please!