This week Smash really takes a giant two-step forward-- Julia drinks something other than tea, Tom goes on a date, we find out what the word "intervention" means to backup dancers, Eileen proves she doesn't need her old man (just a young, strapping, fifteen-year-old Jonas brother), Dev fufills his role as the Greek chorus and gets annoyed at all the dancing finally, and Julia's family is entirely absent from the plot-lines because who cares!
It's the first day of the workshop. Julia loves first days. Oh good, she doesn't only love hot leaf-based beverages and boinking Adam Pascal knock-offs. The dancers arrive and surprise! They think "Iowa" (Karen) is a joke. Grow up, dancers. You all came from somewhere, and if that somewhere is New Jersey, then you're the worst. Witty banter witty banter cut to where's Eileen? WHERE'S THE MONEY? SHOW ME THE MONEY! Eileen doesn't have the money to fund the Hulk-Smash because her old-timey husband froze all the assets with his receding hairline. She considers selling art and hey, that's the name of the episode, right? "The Cost Of Art"? Could it be some sort of double meaning for ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
Derek welcomes everyone to "Marilyn," but not all is well in workshop land! Karen is dangerously awesome and keeps sticking out, and Ivy is mad. Everyone is always mad about something. The catty dancers are already picking sides, DANCER #1 thinks Ivy is great because they were in Chicago ten years ago, in the chorus. Ivy then calls the dancers 'the chorus; and DANCER # 2 solidifies his role as "the ensemble guy" by correcting her. "It's the ENSEMBLE." Love that guy! Can the episode end here? DANCER #2 and Karen get kicked out of the number because Ivy doesn't want K-bomb sharing the (still non-existent I might add) spotlight. DANCER #2 is assigned a name (Bobby) and maybe he'll be recurring! Oh good, another character to keep track of. Come on Smash writers, this isn't The Wire.
Derek invites Ivy to a swanky party at his apartment for some kid he nurtured into stardom when he was eight. Immediately you know this kid is going to be played by someone famous and he is going to sing a song. You pray to whatever God you worship that it's not Justin Bieber, thus missing the entire conversation. Don't worry, it wasn't important. The catty dancers don't like Derek, as is evident by DANCER #1's commentary, calling him "The Dark Lord," "Sauron," and "Darth Derek" in one breath. Congrats Smash, you've reduced an entire genre into one insult. I guess he is going to be the token "I have other interests besides musical theater" guy. Karen finds out that Ivy and Derek and doing the mambo more than just in rehearsal, and she looks flabbergasted. Tom finds out Derek said he discovered Lyle and he's mad because he discovered him and Ellis is mad because he wasn't invited to the party and I'm confused at who is supposed to be mad at what until Derek says "what's she upset about?" about Tom and I laugh and I guess I'll just move on.
It turns out Eileen's sketch is like a sketch from SNL in 2010, she's selling and nobody's buying. The bill of sale is in her husband's name! Damn him! Ivy is a slow learner and gets Karen kicked out of another number and now she MAD. DANCER #3 catches the shrapnel from Karen's explosion, but also feels a bit of her own hubris. The show has a brief glimmer of sincerity and emotion, where Karen laments that she could given Derek's little orphan annie a hard knock and then she'd be Marilyn, but she chose the nobler path. The catty dancers (minus DANCER #1) agree to help transform her with a "dancer intervention," which I'm sure is something that will inspire me to hang myself from the chandelier from Phantom of the Opera (sorry, running out of ways to incorporate Broadway things).
DANCER #1 and Ivy are talking about Karen when he drops some sports "knowledge," and it's so hilariously forced. I'm pretty sure no self-respecting sports fan says "My Mets." Hahahahahaha COME ON! The rest of the catty dancers annoy Dev with their presence, and finally we have someone in our corner. "Things haven't improved?" "I'm not gonna lie, it's a disaster." MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY. They are coaching Karen to be more reserved. "Ladies, shall we show her how it's done?" Oh god, no NO NO NO NO. NO DANCING TO ADELE. I haven't been this uncomfortable watching a television show since that Sex and The City where Samantha finds the guy who gives her good oral sex that I watched with my parents.
Lyle "I'm a Jonas Brother IRL" West does a song at his birthday party. That's cute/expected, sure. Ellis crashes the party, which Julia is not happy about. Great. Eileen is busy trying to get Lyle "millionaire 15-year-old" to "invest" in her show by buying the sketch. Now we're talking! Getting a 15-year-old drunk so he'll invest in your show? THIS. IS. BROADWAY.
Lyle wants points for the show in exchange for his contribution, that's smart business. Oh good, not only is he not believable as a 15-year-old based on looks, he doesn't act like one either. He wants to see the gang perform a Marilyn number so he knows it's Campbells (read: Mm mm good), giving us yet another excuse to hear an entire musical number from the Marilyn book. Call in the troops! Tom brings his date, and Michael leaves his family. Broadway rangers, assemble! Side note: I'm not sure if they're doing it on purpose, but I don't really like Ivy's breathy-over-confident Marilyn voice. It sounds like she's constantly talking to a baby. Is that what Marilyn sounded like? And if so, does she really need to be super accurate? So everyone gets to sing and dance, Ellis, Julia, Lyle (who knows the words?), the catering staff, EVERYBODY. The power of Broadway! Ivy notices Derek flirting with some floozy and she takes Lyle (he's 15?) to the bedrooms to get revenge. The power of boobs!
Derek tells Ivy that there is nothing safe about being a star. True that! There is also nothing safe about this show, because at the end we're thrust into some sort of horrific karaoke-dance nightmare. Please tell me there is no such thing as dance-karaoke, because it's almost as close to my nightmare as a clown-dentist.
Will Karen seduce Derek for the part? Will Ivy lose the part because of her learning disability/statutory rape? Will Tom become interesting? Will Julia dump whiskey and make up with tea? DOES ENSEMBLE GUY GET MORE LINES?
This show is worse than the New York Press.