Wednesday, February 6, 2013

RETURNING: Smash, Now with Fewer Scarves!

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Last season I saw Debra Messing's Julia as an older Grace. This season she seems different, and not just because she's "losing the scarves." Still, she doesn't seem to have matured much, and I'm not sure how removing her family will help the waves of drama on the show. Of course, that doesn't really matter, as every other character seems to be bringing their own additional drama to the set, with the exception of Sam and Tom. Eileen has legal and financial troubles, Derek has multiple sexual harassment allegations, Ivy is considering a career change if she doesn't get a big break soon, and Karen is trying her hand at "discovering" the newest hit musical. When you look at all of that, there's no wonder that so many "fans" of this show are actually "hate-watchers," and I'm close to including myself in that population. I was NOT a fan of this episode, and others seem very mixed about it, too. Do you watch it because you love it or because it's a train wreck?

Smash "On Broadway" (S02E01): Dev has left Karen a note that she promptly crumbles, so she moves in with a friend whose former roommate is now working on a Disney cruise. [if he stays away, that's less drama, too.] She and Ivy are still not friendly, and Karen decides to ask Derek to remove Ivy from Bombshell after receiving some advice from a Tony winner who tells Karen to keep the work good so nobody can take her down. [I agree that it's good advice.] Michael Swift is also let go, as he requests. Ivy, however, is determined to stay part of the show, and Julia suggests she make it clear why she's apologizing to Karen, so she tells the leading lady that she had a terrible night in Boston once and she's sorry that she ever got in Karen's way. But, she's still questioning whether she needs to change careers, especially after running into a former colleague on the street. [what I wouldn't give to have a "guest house" at the age of 25!!]

Rebecca announces that Derek sexually harassed her, so Derek wants Eileen to make a statement in support of him. It doesn't much matter, though, as five other dancers come forward, and we learn that Derek doesn't seem to understand how he abuses his power. [seriously, though, who HASN'T he tried to sleep with?]

Julia doesn't normally read the reviews, but she read them this time, on Opening Night. This sends her into a depression which is only worsened when she catches her husband lying to her. She moves in with Tom, who is newly single. [I love the chemistry of these two coworkers but I don't know if they'll be good roommates...] See, although Sam is happy to stay with his piddly role in Bombshell, Tom asks him to take a larger part on the national Book of Mormon tour instead. [boo. I liked them together. good for Sam, though!]

Eileen books the St. James, and hosts a press event that features both Karen and Ivy singing numbers from Bombshell. But, Jerry begins a sabotage plan, working with an unknown person to get the feds to investigate how Eileen is financing the show. [who else thinks that Ellis is involved??] This gets the Bombshell staff booted from an American Theatre Wing Gala where Karen was supposed to sing. But, Tom, Julia, Eileen, and Derek plan to attend at Eileen's ex's table, though Derek's liability and Julia's depression are both issues. Tom lies to Julia and says that they're giving a speech, so she perks up and goes, only to learn shortly after arriving that it was all a ruse. [that was horribly awkward!] Tom tells Julia that she needs to get it together before she loses her career, and Eileen has Julia give an impromptu speech in honor of the woman who asked the group to leave. Ivy sings "Coming to Broadway" (Karen was on the subway at the time) and the group leaves afterward.
Eric Liebowitz/NBC
With all of this going on, everyone is kinda looking for new work. Ivy auditions for commercials and shows, but Karen listens to some after-hours music at a bar and thinks it's got great potential. [the bartender asking Karen to autograph a playbill was interesting... who keeps their collection of playbills at a bar??] She tells Derek about it and works hard to get both writers to share the work. she learns one of the songs and sings it, thinking it will win them over, though it backfires and the guy gets upset. [what's with Karen's up-do??] The next morning, however, he decides to share anyway. She rushes to Derek's to play him the music. [a little soon to be introducing the next musical, no?]
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