Smash delivers some interest this week, primarily due to the inclusion of some much needed dancing, but is that enough to keep the show going?
Let’s break it down after the jump:
It’s no secret that I’m not really a fan of Smash, but as a self-proclaimed Broadway nut, I simply can’t turn away from this show. But my issues are at the very least consistent. The two things that keep me at a distance with this show? Predictable clichés and Katherine McPhee. Everything else I can deal with. Unfortunately, in a show like this, neither of these issues are going to go away anytime soon. McPhee is the star of the show and she’s not going magically turn into a good actress overnight. But the clichés? I’m confident the show can work with this aspect.
Case in point: Eileen played by the wonderful Anjelica Huston. She’s descending into tired old archetype of woman scorned by her old rich husband. I could predict her every move and every line in the episode. Huston is capable of doing more then throwing drinks in people’s faces or looking longingly at paintings that represent memories long since passed. (Yawn!) She had a single breakthrough moment in this episode: While at the party a waitress tries to pitch her talents as a singer and dancer, to which Eileen curtly responds “Not now sweetheart.” A perfectly delivered zing, and in that moment I saw the passion and the potentiality of her character. I really hope she’s able to break free of the tired clichés that she’s succumbed to the past few episodes. Currently, she’s just going through the motions and such an amazing actress is wasted in this capacity.
Conversely, I turn to Derek (Jack Davenport). He’s working completely within the confines of his character, but he’s embracing it and really mastering the conventions. I didn’t like him initially but every week he keeps surprising me and is fast becoming one of my favorite characters. The scene where he smoothly explains to Ivy (Megan Hilty) what a silly little girl she is for being jealous of him stroking the rear end of a potential investor was brilliant. So skeezy yet smooth, manipulating her in believing he was completely in the right just as a slick director should. Ivy is his puppet on stage and off. Davenport is relishing in his character, having fun with it and it shows. Yes, it’s cliché and expected, but it’s still entertaining and interesting.
In fact the best parts of the episode came when the show just embraced the clichés and went with it full steam ahead. Where we get our first real number “Never Met a Wolf Who Didn’t Love to Howl” at the party, much of the cast participated and it sure was fun to watch. Complete uninhibited abandonment of anything that came before or after it. When the show breaks into these almost standalone numbers, it really shines.
I didn’t even have a problem with the “frenemy” crew that consisted of ensemble cast members that we meet during rehearsal (Savannah Wise, Jenny Laroche and Wesley Taylor). These bitches are complete jerks to Karen during the workshop because they have allegiances to Ivy. A completely unbelievable motivation, but I didn’t care because the claws were out and it was great fun to watch. Equally as unbelievable – they do a complete 180 after Karen shames one of them on a bathroom break. Within ten minutes they’re all of a sudden BFFs. Normally I would rag on this, but the show doesn’t care, and neither do the actors so I was in for the ride. Their closing number “Rumor Has It” had the same kind of infectious energy as the “Wolf” number – that is until McPhee decided to suck all the energy out of the room by breaking out into a solo. Push that girl back into the ensemble and I think you’ve got a winner.
- Nick Jonas was a guest star this week, singing a pretty impressive version of Michael Buble’s “Just Haven’t Met You Yet.” This was almost good enough to erase the memory of his absolutely horrendous appearance as Marius in the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert. Almost.
- Oh by the way, Nick Jonas was supposed to be a twelve year-old in this episode who is trying to seduce Ivy. Yes. TWELVE. (‘Scuse me I just threw up in my mouth a little…)
- Debra Messing’s Julia better watch her back. Not only is her bitchiness to assistant Ellis (Jaime Cepero) a bit too overt for my liking, but the spoon-feed fairy tells me it’s gonna come back and bite her in the ass very soon.
So Smash fans what did you think of this week’s episode? Do you think dancing is the key to keeping the show fresh? How do you think the inevitable casting of Karen in the lead role is going to happen? (Here’s hoping SOMEONE ends up falling down some stairs…) Let us know in the comments section below!