Thursday, February 16, 2012

Smash: Marilyn is Cast

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

... I'm not thrilled. Ivy may have the experience to be a Broadway lead, but she looks a bit old to play a young Marilyn Monroe. And just because she had the resources to spy on her competition shouldn't have given her an advantage. (I think, mentally at least, it did.) But, then again, sleeping with someone always gets you what you want, right? Why did they pull out that big cliche about how every director sleeps with his star actress? Frankly, I'm sick of it. Especially as someone who was formerly involved in the theatre. It seems that it wasn't a one-time thing, either, since the promos for future eps depict Ivy and Derek as a couple, with Tom and Julia discussing how it affects the production. I realllllly don't want to have to give up Smash because I can't stand the values in the show, since that's why I stopped watching Glee, but it's early yet, and I have hope. Speaking of which, I really hope that this adoption storyline is going someplace... I got pretty interested in Julia and Frank's family in the pilot so I wasn't in love with the idea that they were calling off the adoption because there would be so much waiting involved. Though, I would like some background on how they decided to adopt, specifically a girl from China, and why now. I assume that this information will come... so it better.

Smash "The Callback" (S01E02): Julia wants to keep writing songs, but Tom thinks that they need to start thinking about structure. We see more of what they're picturing the musical will look like. ["Let Me Be a Star" sounds like Jason Robert Brown could be the writer, if you ask me.] Julia has to tell Ellis to give them some space. He spends the bulk of the episode annoying Julia and trying to eavesdrop. [are they trying to imply that all assistants are busybodies? because that's not the case and the idea bothers me.] Tom tells Ivy to let him know if Derek is inappropriate, and that he would have given her the role. [how is she like his favorite-favorite? because she's only an ensemble dancer in one of his other shows, not a lead.] Eileen runs into Jerry (with a younger woman) at a restaurant, and he tells her that she's delusional if she thinks Marilyn: the Musical will work.

Tom wants the part to go to Ivy (she has the experience), but Derek wants Karen ("innocence is Marilyn"). Derek decides that he couldn't give the part to Karen without more information, so they have another callback, this time with scenework, as well as dancing for Karen. [sounds fair.] Karen is worried about dancing, since Derek is also the choreographer. She learns the dance with an ensemble, a member of which is a friend of Ivy's, so he feeds her info about her competition. [I wonder if I would have been suspicious of something like this if I were Karen?] Ivy is reading some Marilyn Monroe books while she waits, and is brought in to meet Karen. [it could have been more awkward, I suppose.] Derek tells Eileen that Ivy is trying too hard, but Karen is too "green." Ivy works on the acting with Derek... and they end up sleeping together. We see an entire song performed by Karen, then the room talks about the pros and cons of both girls. Tom is the one to congratulate Ivy, while Derek tells Eileen that Jerry picked up the option on My Fair Lady, but Derek isn't going back to it. [that whole scene was pretty awkward to me... are we supposed to get the feeling that Derek and Eileen have a past, too?] The episode ends with Ivy singing in celebration at a small venue which she frequents.
Photo by: Patrick Harbron/NBC
There was another part to Karen's story... she's supposed to meet her boyfriend at an important work dinner of his after one of the callback rehearsals, but after she's already changed, Derek tells her that she needs to come back in and work some more. She never passes the message on, so by the time she gets to the restaurant (HOURS later), dinner is long over and her boyfriend is (understandably) upset. [he gets over it a bit too quickly when she apologizes...]

And, lastly, let's look at the adoption storyline... Frank and Julia turn in some paperwork to the adoption agency and are told that, even though it's already been ten months, it could be another two years (conservatively) before they could get their Chinese baby. They're assigned to write a hypothetical letter to their baby's birthmother, but as Julia begins it, Frank is worried. He'll be 47 in two years, which would make him 65 when his daughter graduates from high school. [it's a bit old but not ancient. I had a friend in high school whose father was older than that...] Julia asks him if he wants to throw in the towel, and he does... he even says that he wants to go back to work as a science teacher. [interesting... a Broadway writer and a science teacher... makes for an interesting party, I'm sure.] Leo is upset - he's always wanted a sibling. [though the lines they give that kid to work with seem to have been written for someone significantly younger... the dream of "always wanting a baby sister" is something you hope for when you're six, not sixteen...] In a support group of sorts, Julia shares the letter that she wrote to the birthmother of her daughter, and it seems that Frank wants "back in" after all.
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