Smash S01E09: Bombs Over Backstage
  • TUESDAY, APRIL 03, 2012

  • Posted by: Joe Puglisi

This week's Smash is called "Hell on Earth," and based on the promos, you could assume the writers/producers/cast/crew all took everything I said last week about emotional stakes and consequences VERY SERIOUSLY, because the commercials basically addressed all my points one by one. Derek is inhuman? Make him vulnerable by showing him getting ousted as director. No consequences for Tea-ho Julia patronizing the cheatery? Her husband is packing his bags and punching people. Ellis? Not in any preview scenes, thank Sondheim. Karen? Getting work. Ivy? Falling on her boobs. LET'S BRAVO WATCH WHAT HAPPENS.

We can skip the expository bits of getting up to speed with everyone, and jump straight to Tom's BF esq. going to a Republican fundraiser, which I might add is the equivalent of the Pope attending an abortion clinic fundraiser. NO COMPRENDE. He's a Republican? Gay Republicans are like unicorns and woman's basketball: NO ONE BELIEVES IN THEM. That's a dealbreaker, men who act like ladies.

Julia's husband stumbles upon some sheet music on her side of the bed, the contents of which almost certainly hint at her affair by the look on his face. Good. GOOD. She seems to have zero intention of telling him the truth when discussing it with Tom, which just really hits me like an out-of-tune piano. You can't just sweep things like this under the rug like some extraneous tea leaves. You gotta retune that shit.

Ivy Lynn is a walking pharmacy these days, popping every kind of prescription drug the writers could think of. I'm surprised token-sports-loving-Gay Sam didn't warn her about the dangers of doping with [INSERT SPORTS DRUG ABUSE SCANDAL HERE], his favorite sporting event scandal from his reading Sports Illustrated while wearing his favorite sports themed romper, because that's something a sports fan might do, right?

The gang are talking about looking for a star to inject in Marilyn: The Titleless Musical and I could not care less. Meanwhile, life goes on IRL for the almost-cast. Ivy is late for a commercial audition and Karen gets it instead. SHE'S FALLING APART! Ivy is bored at her old gig, which seems stupid, because it is a PERFORMING GIG. Karen goes back to her old job, and it's a goddamn restaurant, and we feel bad for a second until her iPhone rings. Oh yeah, I don't care anymore. You no po'. She got an orange juice commercial. A NEW LOW. A NEW HIGH OF VITAMIN C. JK, she's not allowed to drink the juice.

Ellis (more like UGH-llis) is doing some greasy work to recruit a new star to play Marilyn in TBA: The Musical, and we'd expect nothing less. He's having drinks with randos and being a creeper, sneaking into Rebecca Duvall's apartment (some celebrity we haven't met yet) and whoring himself out with her assistant just to get her to consider doing Marilyn. Are you joking? He tries a power-play to get a co-producing credit and falls flat on his stupid face, because he is Ellis, the twenty-something idiot who watched too many episodes of Mob Wives and thought he understood organized bribery.

Julia comes home to Frank playing the piano and singing her illicit song-evidence of her affair and he confronts her. Frank, the only genuine character on the show, delivers the single most crushing monologue of Smash, because it's a totally normal and honest reaction and he deserves every second of it. I actually feel something in my cold, dead Smash-hating heart for a second, I think. Tear. Frank then confronts Michael, who stupidly drops the intel that this affair started many many years ago. These guys would make awful spies/press correspondants. Tell all the secrets! And then Frank does what millions of Americans have wanted to do to Smash every Monday night at 10PM for the past eight weeks: he socks him in his pretty-boy jaw as hard as he can. Then, completely justified in anger and upsetness, Frank is leaving with his bags packed. Good. I wish I could leave with him. The first thing Julia does is meet with Michael to talk about his shiner. COME ON! HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING? She decides to call the musical "Bombshell." Haha. Because it tends to blow up in your face, right? You chai-ho. You're dead to tea.

Karen is doing her commercial dressed like a Philadelphia sporting event fan, (entirely in a skin-tight green suit) for CGI everything, and all she has to do is 30 seconds of a soul-sucking performance about 200 times. They try very hard to portray it as selling out, but I'm sorry, any actress would kill for that paycheck. A national commercial? She could become the Progressive Lady of orange juice! Ew, I take it back, no one should want that, unless it involves drowning the Progressive Lady IN orange juice. Best. Breakfast. Ever. This show needs a few shots of Ritalin.

The musical? Right, the musical. Let's focus. Eileen is (maybe) hunting for a new director. Michael Wheedle (Post writer) "runs into her" and publishes her little rendezvous with some other dude and Derek sees it and gets mad, but she was just tricking him, but wait hold on, is this show even about the Marilyn musical anymore? It seems like one bad review and the whole production took a backseat to everyone's personal problems, although I guess they mostly have to do with Marilyn-related shrapnel. Man, Marilyn ruins everything, especially any hope of character development balancing with plot movement!

Ivy is having misraeble drinks with friends and Tom shows up (at the bequest of Sam) and someone brings up Karen and she freaks out. It also turns out they switched sunglasses at some point? She's popping pills like Andrew Lloyd Webber pops key changes. Is this going to turn into some sort of Black Swan type-showdown in someone's brain? Is Ivy's drug abuse going to lead to a murder-musical-suicide? Am I ever going to care? She's ODing on pills and heads for the stage like a regular Marilyn, doped up on her own misery. She's higher than an upper-middle-class kid's self-esteem when she falls on her giggle face and everyone goes "OOOOOOOOOOOO" get off the freakin' stage! Oh Ivy, it's not your fault no one likes you, it's just the writers of Smash made you completely unrelatable by having you be both cocky and slutty, sleeping with the director, getting the part, and then losing it by not being good enough. No biggie. Then Karen tries to return her sunglasses and she's just a total bitch. Ugh, I wish her little angel costume was literal. YOU'RE DEAD TO TEA.

Tom hits up John's Republican douche-convention and the elephant in the room is almost literal (they've got more stuffed animals than FAO Schwarz, stuffed bears, stuffed elk, and stuffy people AMIRITE?). Tom says he has to leave, because Ivy is f*cking up her life again taking stupid pills and he has to go help her. John makes a perfectly reasonable point that Tom can't baby her forever, but it falls on flamboyantly deaf ears. Ivy Ivy Ivy! Tom winds up with Sam on Ivy's stoop waiting for Ivy and they bond. Hint. They go to a diner together. Hint hint. Wait, I thought Sam was a New York sports fan? Why the hell was he up all night partying when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup? He's a poseur AND a traitor.

I will admit that Ivy wandering around New York City going on a bender in her angel costume is kind of hysterical, but the so-called "character development" is not. Ivy gets drunk with Karen in Times Square and they bond over a song (the only performance this week) in the middle of an advertiser's wet dream, bright (advertisement) lights, big (billboard) city. Wait I'm sorry, but you're telling me that weeks of resentment and misunderstandings between these two polar opposites including but not limited to extreme fundamental hatred of one's origins and/or cronyism can all be solved with a stupid musical number and a bottle of Smirnoff? THIS. IS. BROADNOWAY. I'm not drinking to that, let alone drinking with any of my mortal enemies. Where's Frank's fist when you need it? "Hey, we're not best friends now, OK?" Samesies to you, Smash. I don't even like you and I never did.

Read previous recaps here.
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