Things got heated this week on Smash — in the bedroom, in rehearsal spaces, even in the offices of The New York Times.
Plus, a pair of supporting characters (sadly, not Bobby and Jessica) each got a musical number, frenemies Tom and Derek had another bonding moment, and Jimmy continued to act like a petulant manchild. (Where’s Eileen with one of her “throwing martinis” when you need ‘em nowadays?)
KAREN FINDS OUT IF JIMMY LIKE-LIKES HER | The episode opened with our brunette protagonist and her playwright/costar naked in bed, but when the Lady Cartwright snuck to the piano to steal some sheet music, it was clear they were in character for a Hit List rehearsal. The duo crossed paths a few times at work — Jimmy huffing about how Karen lets Derek push her around; Karen getting drawn in to Jimmy and Derek’s pissing contest — but things finally came to a head at post-rehearsal drinks. “I’m crazy about him,” Karen told Ana (as I shouted, “Yes, girl, you are crazy — for being interested in this prat in the first place!”). Karen finally confronted Jimmy with a question that sounded a little too 11th grade — “Do you like me or not?” — and when he stalled, she let Derek walk her home. Here’s where things got interesting: Karen rebuffed the director’s request for a nightcap, even though they exhibited chemistry hot enough to melt TV screens. But when her buzzer rang seconds later, she changed her mind and buzzed him up (woohoo!). When she opened her apartment door — again, girl, you don’t do this without checking through the peephole first, sheesh! — Karen discovered a hot and bothered Jimmy (noooo!), and the two of ‘em started going at it like two puppies at a bowl of kibble. Oh, Karen! Why’s it so hard for you to choose the right guy? And by “right guy,” I mean the one with the badly tousled hair, British accent, aloof exterior and bitchin’ sense of humor. (Sometimes we have to spell things out for Karen.)
DEREK INDULGES A CHILD | Poor Derek! He gives up a Broadway musical to do some underground theater, and gets repaid with whining and second-guessing — and mostly from the guy who’d still be waiting tables if it weren’t for his faith and support! Yep, Hit List rehearsals got off to an ugly start from Day 1, as Derek and Jimmy squabbled over the latter’s character motivations. “I guess we see the moment differently,” said Derek, diplomatically. “No, you see it wrong. No offense,” responded Jimmy. (Side note: Is there anything worse than people who say things like “no offense” at the end of a sentence that was clearly intended to offend?) Later, Jimmy had a tantrum over the names Derek had put together for a casting call. “Lea Michele!? Lea Michele!?” he screeched, before Derek shot back with the absolute best line of the episode (if not the entire season/series): “If you say it one more time, she magically appears!” (Can Derek be in the Julia/Tom sitcom spinoff of my dreams? This is a good idea, NBC!) Somehow, Jesse L. Martin’s chalk outline of a producer guy, as well as Karen and Tom, implored Derek to open his ears to Jimmy’s artistic vision — despite the fact that Derek is the person with actual, credible experience mounting a successful New York theater production. Derek eventually gave up the idea of LED projection screens (after even Karen gave them the thumbs down), opting instead to use dancers to symbolize “obstacles to love” in a silly production number called “I Heard Your Voice in a Dream” (which featured Jimmy writhing, snarling and singing, and Karen staring into the abyss like she’d taken a Lunesta three hours prior). Wait, are we supoosed to believe hiring a dozen dancers is cheaper than five donated LED screens? I’m choosing to believe this week’s Jimmy victories are mere setups for Derek getting his mojo back and reasserting authority in the weeks to come! #TeamDerek #YesI’mResortingToHashtags
TOM CHOOSES DICTATORSHIP (BUT NOT BEFORE GETTING SOME LIBERAL ACTION) | At Bombshell, new director Tom discovered the perils of treating the show like a democracy, or as he prefered to call it, “an intellectual salon.” (Ha!) He started soliciting cast ideas, and when Sam returned to NY for a sabbatical from his Book of Mormon tour, Tom sought input from “Little Tom” — if I’m not being too subtle. After Sam performed a rousing rendition of “Let’s Start Tomorrow Tonight” during a party at Tom’s apartment — be honest: Didn’t those penguin figurines on top of the bookshelf upstage everybody? — the twosome fell back into bed, with promises of Bombshell getting tweaked to include the song and a new role for Sam as Nat King Cole. (Whoa! Say what you want about Derek’s indiscretions in a position of power, but at least dude stays in control of his work when he’s being lecherous!) After Sam quit his job, Julia made Tom realize there was no way the new number could fit into the show — “that promise isn’t even 12 hours old!” she balked — and set up a Tom-Derek meeting to drive the point home. “How do you sleep at night knowing everybody hates you?” Tom asked, earnestly not comically. Derek pointed out that having the respect of your cast is more important than having its love. And so Tom dropped the bombshell that the now unemployed Sam isn’t getting a job in the Marilyn musical after all. Ouch! Is that the end of Tom and Sam? Not if the opening credits tell us anything.
JULIA & EILEEN & ANA & KYLE DO SOME STUFF, TOO | Eileen hounded an arts editor at the times to try to get some coverage for Bombshell that didn’t pertain to it being “a hot mess” — even though that should probably be crazy publicist lady’s job. This led to the idea of getting Ivy Lynn’s theater legend mother to come out of retirement to play Marilyn’s mother. Crazy? Maybe. But if it gives us a few more Bernadette Peters musical moments — and maybe even a duet with Megan Hilty — then I’m 100% sold.
Julia, meanwhile, did the whole “here I am 15 years too late saying I’m sorry” for dumping Jesse L. Martin’s character as the director for her first play, choosing to bring it to Lincoln Center (and taking up their offer to hire Mike Nichols) instead. Is there a romance brewing? These are good looking people, but I haven’t seen any chemistry yet.
And finally, Ana decided to go after the Lea Michele role in Hit List by performing Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy” on the top of a bar — and it worked! She sounded pretty good, I guess, and it lets Karen off the hook for stealing the lead role from her roomie, right?
And finally, somebody (Ana, knocking it out of the park this week) finally noticed Kyle mooning over Jimmy and told him to get a clue. “We’ve all wanted things we can’t have,” she said. Hours later, Kyle was all up in lighting director’s tonsils. That sure was easy!
Anyhow, over to you! What did you think of this week’s Smash? Are you happy that Karen and Jimmy got it on? Did you buy Ana getting the diva role? Did you miss the Liaisons subplot? (Yes, that last question was a joke.) Sound off in the comments!