Somewhere buried not far below the surface of Smash‘s second season lies an addictive TV musical.
It’s got a great cast, some fabulously catchy tunes, and a really compelling story. And yet, six episodes in to the proceedings, Anjelica Huston’s Eileen seems to have forgotten how to toss martini bombs into the faces of insolent troublemakers, Megan Hilty’s Ivy Lynn has gotten herself stranded in a most peculiar sitcom, and Katharine McPhee’s Karen has become hypnotized by one of the most unredeemable, thoroughly repugnant wankers in small-screen history. And no, the show’s writers don’t seem to view the ingenue’s unlikely love interest Jimmy with any of the scorn or apprehension he deserves; au contraire, they seem to be painting McPhee’s smokin’ hot Broadway baby as the dunce for not sacrificing all of the dreams she’s worked so hard to achieve on the altar of a borderline abusive, borderline nonexistent relationship. GAH!
I know, I know, I’ve kvetched, moaned and complained about Jeremy Jordan’s Jimmy in every Smash recap this season. But come on: Without Karen and her A-list theater connections, dude’s musical would be playing nowhere but the bottom of his desk drawer. How is it possible that he continues to treat her with profound ingratitude and an utter disregard for her own career, and yet she’s the one who’s always apologizing? My inner feminist doesn’t know how much more she can endure.
With that complaint on the record (again), let’s jump to this week’s proceedings:
A SHAKEUP AT BOMBSHELL | Rehearsals for Marilyn: The Musical continued — yep, in the concusion to last week’s cliffhanger, Eileen sided with Tom and Jerry (!) and chose the older Bombshell script over the one Julia and Derek preferred. Julia considered abandoning ship and joining the hot dramaturg for a job in London when Jerry insisted on cutting “Never Give All of the Heart” from the show, but Tom retooled the number into a cautionary tale rather than a lament — and everyone loved it…except for Derek. The bad boy director bade good riddance to the project and exited with a huffy monologue.
In other news, Karen (who’d run into Ellis’ ex-girlfriend) shared shocking intel with Eileen that her former sneaky assistant was in cahoots with Jerry; Eileen found out her ex had been behind exposing her ex-boyfriend/investor’s criminal history; and the plot to reclaim her producing power began. First step? Eileen and Julia decidicing that, in Derek’s absence, Tom should direct the show. (Um, yeah, that got telegraphed from 20 city blocks away, but I’m not mad at this particular plot development.)
HARSH TRUTHS AT LIAISONS | Ivy Lynn continued to marvel at the broad, comic awfulness of Terry Falls’ (Sean Hayes) performance in the lead role. When Ivy Lynn then stole the show with her light comic solo at press day — what girlfriend can do with a feather and some cleavage! — Terry had the number cut from the show. But Ivy Lynn later won the Hollywood star’s respect (and won back her solo) when she broke down and told him the play — and his performance — were terrible. Ivy Lynn’s courage spurred the rest of Liaisons‘ cast to spill their own bowls of beans, and a newly humble Terry (and the show’s pushover director) took notes on how to save the sinking revival.
GOOD FORTUNE HITS THE HIT LIST | The Hit List readied for its rushed debut at The Fringe Festival, but when Jerry discovered Karen’s participation, he gave her an ultimatum: Choose her buddies’ underground, unproduced musical or her role in a multimillion dollar Broadway musical. Karen (obvs) opted to keep her paying job, but instead of being gracious about her predicament, Jimmy lashed out: “Your career is more important than your friends!” Opening night turned out to be a disaster, but Karen showed up for Night Two (after Derek quit Bombshell and she simply stopped caring) — and her duet with Jimmy (“Heart-Shaped Wreckage”) caught the attention of Jesse L. Martin’s producer dude. Oh, and Derek’s back on board as Hit List director, too, but Jimmy’s not holding a grudge against him because, well, he has a penis, and only female characters need to be brought low on a weekly basis. (Ugh, sorry, I’ll stop complaining now and turn things over to all of you.)
What did you think of this week’s Smash? Are you ready for Jimmy to meet the front end of a city bus? And how about this week’s big, booming ballad “Heart Shaped Wreckage”? Sound off in the comments!