Time for our weekly installment of Smash. Too many characters? Check. Too many plotlines? Check. Half of those plot lines boring and/or irrelevant? Check. Okay! Looks like we’re good to go!
1. Despite the workshop that is scheduled to take place — in front of potential backers — in one week, Julia has still not finished the story or the lyrics. She tries to plead Frank’s absence and Leo’s recent brush with the law as an excuse, but it’s mainly because she is too busy daydreaming over Michael to do things like write lyrics or cook pancakes without burning them. Michael is not making things any easier, first accosting her at rehearsal and threatening to cause a scene if she doesn’t talk to him, then calling her house and chitchatting with her recently-returned husband before prevailing on her to meet him at 10:00 at night in the rehearsal room. Meet him she does, ostensibly to “get through to him,” but I think she knew damned good and well what was going to happen before she even stepped outside her door. And what happens is that Michael is a Class A douchenozzle, going on about how he can’t think if he doesn’t touch her, and unbuttoning her…
Okay, she’s either wearing a pajama shirt, or one of Frank’s shirts, and I’m pretty sure it’s the former, but I’m definitely sure it’s not the sort of thing one should be walking around the streets in. Anyway…
Michael convinces Julia that maybe they can just look at each other, and since she is not in fact in the 6th grade and playing her first game of spin-the-bottle with Steve Cunningham in the upstairs of his garage (not that I, um, did something like that or anything… oh, shut up.), she should damn well know better. But since I think she went there knowing full well that she was going to hit a home run with Joe DiMaggio, she lets him take her shirt off, then take his shirt off, and then there’s shirtless hugging, and then there’s the conveniently placed pleather sofa right there under the windows…
I think you get the idea. Not getting the idea? Frank, who is clueless about the affair five years ago and was hoping to have Michael over for a beer. Awkward… But hey! The GOOD news is that Julia’s writer’s block was apparently located in her vagina, because once she “rehearses” with Michael she’s able to complete the lyrics and get the story back on track.
2. Ivy’s vocal chords are “inflamed, not infected,” but her voice is cracking and breaking in rehearsal. The doctor prescribes prednisone, but Ivy is “hypersensitive” to drugs, and worries about the side effects, which include insomnia, nervousness, elevated heart-rate, hallucinations, and growing hair like a “wolf-man.” Ivy is going to try resting her voice for a day instead, but Director D-bag pushes her to take the prednisone, saying that if she’s not ready to rehearse the next day then they will have to go with Karen for the workshop, a suggestion that: a) Tom asked Director D-bag NOT to mention to Ivy; and b) was overheard by Karen when she was crouched behind the piano picking up the contents of her overturned bag. Because Ivy is pathologically insecure, and because she has no idea what self-esteem even is, she takes the prednisone, which resolves the issue with her vocal chords but leads her to hallucinate Karen-as-Marilyn in her mirror.
Tom and Sam come to Ivy’s rescue by… um, making her tea and snuggling on her bed to watch TV with her? I guess? Tom, worried, covertly sends a text message to Karen saying they may need her to be ready, but he sends a follow-up text later, basically “LOL j/k.” Ivy shows up at rehearsal ready to sing. She and Michael rehearse the now finished “History is Made at Night,” but gaff it when Ivy trips as they pose on the sofa (which I hope Julia and Michael washed down the night before). D-bag pitches a fit and begs for some professionalism. You know, D-bag, I’m pretty sure sleeping with your lead is NOT in the professionalism handbook, so maybe you could STFU? Ivy goes off on him, saying that maybe she could deliver notes to her without publicly humiliating her, something he scoffs at as “Ms. Monroe is having a moment.” And as patronizing and condescending and assholey as it is, it’s so perfectly British, and while I hate this character with something fast approaching the passion of a thousand burning suns, I LOVE the actor playing the role. Ivy finishes her snit by storming out of the rehearsal room, telling him he’s not that good-looking, and he’s not that good in bed, either! D-bag: ”That’s just a side effect of the prednisone.” Hee!
3. Eileen has a meeting with “Ralph,” a potential backer for the musical. He is surprised she is only asking for $7 million. That money won’t help her with her more immediate financial woes, though, such as the maintenance fee that is due on her apartment, despite the fact that Jerry owns said apartment. CW offers to help her with the apartment situation during one of his many trips to her office to tattle on the progress, or lack of same, on the musical. He gets his friend Zach to show her an apartment that is not yet technically available, and for the bargain basement price of $10,000/month, but that’s not quite bargain-basementy enough. One thing that IS bargain-basementy enough is the “Bushwhack,” a lower-end bar that CW and Zach take her to, where the martinis only cost $7.00 rather than $20.00 and where there is both a dartboard and a “Big Buck World” video game. Ralph must like the ambiance too, because he meets her there not only with the promise of attending the workshop, but also a solution to her apartment situation via his nephew, who owns a nice building.
4. Karen is freaked out over her $326.38 credit card bill. I and the other chorus members laugh our asses off at the widdle bitty teeny balance. (Amateur.) One of the girls asks Karen to fill in at a bar mitzvah that Ivy had originally passed off to her, and since it pays $500, Karen readily accepts. It’s abundantly clear that Karen hasn’t done a bar mitzvah before, but she evidently acquits herself well, because Bobby Raskin, a bigwig along the lines of Tommy Motolla, leaves his card for her with a message to call the next day. When Ivy hears this, she can’t even believe this fucking shit.
5. Last, AND least, Tom is still dating John. It is still boring.
Songs this episode include “Who You Are,” sung by Ivy; “Shake It UP,” sung by Karen; “History is Made At Night,” sung by Ivy and Michael, and snips of the other Marilyn songs as Ivy tries to get her shit together.
This show, you guys… It continues to frustrate the bejeesus out of me by refusing to pick an identity. It’s watchable, and some parts are enjoyable, but I wanted to really, really love it, and I just don’t. The Ivy story-line this episode was good, but they keep cluttering things up with boring intercuts and scenes that don’t last more than 15 seconds — other than the rehearsal room seduction, which I could DEFINITELY have stood to see less of. Watching Will Chase and Debra Messing trying to position their arms so that NBC didn’t get hit with a fine from the FCC was all kinds of awkward and uncomfortable, and not at ALL hot.
Next week seems promising, since we’ll finally see the “workshop,” but Smash hasn’t been terrific about living up to its promises, so I’m adopting a wait-and-see attitude. If they jump around and give me a bunch of irrelevant crap while only giving me five minutes of the workshop, I may have to divorce this show. Hopefully Anjelica Huston won’t throw a martini in my face.