After last week’s subpar episode, this week Smash rebounds to regain its second season above-average status while giving us a look at three shows in the making. My questions: where is J-Hud? Where has Nikki Blonsky been hiding? And why is Christian Borle not singing in every episode?
After last week’s bombshell (*snicker*) that Eileen (Angelica Huston) stepped down as producer to get the show on Broadway, this week things start to take shape. They book a theatre for the show and Julia (Debra Messing) finishes the new book with the help of Peter (Daniel Sunjata).
Let’s start with the new theatre because it’s the set up for a new song, ‘Public Relations,’ which is one of my favorite performances the show has done. Seriously this number is so much fun, and it’s all thanks to Tom (Christian Borle). It’s so enjoyable watching Tom that when Karen (Katharine McPhee) appears as Marilyn I inadvertently let out a groan. Watching them together gave me flashbacks to Oscar night 2012 when James Franco and Anne Hathaway were hosting (Tom is Hathaway – obviously – which makes Karen a Franco-esque dud). Despite Karen’s presence (and the fact that it’s all for nothing, really), the number has so much energy and is so much fun to watch that it still comes out on top. Will this number even be included in the show? Who knows. Who cares?!
While Tom is imagining new songs that won’t make it into the show, Julia is busy with Peter writing the new book. So busy in fact that no one gets to see the finished draft before the read-through, not even her bestie, Tom. (Side Note: She’s got a new man and she’s already forgetting her friends? What a bitch). The secretiveness surrounding the new book sets up the drama: we learn from Julia’s random street friend that Peter backstabbed the last writer he worked with (Gossip – it’s fun!). Of course, all the tension is for nought since everyone looooooves the new book.
Everyone except Jerry (Michael Cristofer), who refuses to produce the show because he’s worried it won’t attract enough of an audience – even though he agrees that it’s brilliant. Instead he wants to produce the draft from the first workshop which he got from Tom. Yikes, seems like that friendship is on thin ice.
I like this turn of events, especially considering the way Broadway has changed over the past 20 years. Musicals are expensive and audiences want to be entertained. With ticket prices soaring it can sometimes be hard for a show to recoup it’s costs, so producers do look towards money makers instead of Tony winners. The pull between art and entertainment is definitely a reality when it comes to Broadway. It makes sense for Jerry to want to produce a show he feels will make money, regardless of its artistic value (plus, he’s a scumbag). My only qualm about this whole thing, and it’s kind of a big one, is that they let Eileen make the decision after the two sides become deadlocked. Why would Jerry allow this? After spending S1 trying to cut Eileen out of this show, there’s no way he would give her this much input! Maybe Jerry is confident that she will side with him, but – CLIFFHANGER – we’ll have to wait until next week to find out (At least I hope we will. Have you seen those numbers? YEEESH!)
Meanwhile, Karen is busy rallying friends to do a read-through of Hit List. And while everyone agrees that Jimmy’s (Jeremy Jordan) music is great, there’s less love for Kyle’s (Andy Mientus) book. This is mostly because the book is…well…not so good. You gotta feel bad for Kyle: putting your work out there is scary and then to have a room full of people tell you it’s crap can’t be pleasant. Thankfully all is not lost as Karen, Jimmy and what’s her face simply decide to make the show an all-out musical a la Rent. This way we get Kyle’s story, just not his sh*tty dialogue.
Our final show is Ivy’s (Megan Hilty) production of Dangerous Liaisons, which begins rehearsals with leading man, Terry Falls (Sean Hayes) (Side Note: Please tell me they will have a Will & Grace reunion at some point) It’s great to see Hayes again; I just wish he didn’t have such a boring role. This is basically a retread of the Uma Thurman plot (actor coming into a role obviously not meant for them). The twist here is that Terry is a comedic actor and the show is obviously dramatic, or at least it’s obvious to everyone but him. Since he’s a big star, the director decides to go with that comedic instinct (rather than confront him like a real director would) so everyone has to play it for laughs.
Ivy is obviously not happy with this. I mean, who would be really? Unfortunately her decision to play the scene dramatically scares off Terry and zzzzz….oh sorry. Hopefully this gets more interesting because it really doesn’t interest me much. Seems like Smash is suffering from the Will & Grace effect: amazing guest stars with little or nothing to do. Of course with Terry going off his meds at the end of the episode, things might get more interesting.
- I loved seeing Nick (Thorsten Kaye) again, and thought Smash did a great send-off for him. I might have shed a tear…or a few.
- Am I the only one groaning when Ana (Krysta Rodriguez) – ah that’s her name! – talks to Jimmy about how great Karen is and what a difficult year she’s had? Ugh!
- Everyone notice Golden Globe nominee Nikki Blonsky! I know she is just the assistant, but they have to let her sing right? Right?
What did you folks think? Did you love Borle’s performance in ‘Public Relations’? Were you excited to see Sean Hayes back on TV? Do you wish he had more to do? Do you think NBC will play out the rest of the season given how atrociously bad the numbers are? Sound off below.
Smash airs Tuesday nights at 10pm EST on NBC