In case you missed Episode I: The Phantom Marilyn, here it is.
It's fitting that this episode centers around callbacks, because America is essentially calling back Smash
for one more audition (we loved tea, but really, we need to see something else). Will Smash
get the part of pop-culture talking point and beloved Monday night serial? Will Julia have an asian baby by the end of the season played by Lily 1 from Modern Family
? Will Tom have a personality by the end of the season other than "the Will to Debra Messing's Grace"? Will Derek get it in with one our contestants? Find out the answer to almost none of these questions below!
The episode begins with Karen sexy-singing Blondie's "Call Me" in some sort of casting cabaret, which I'm pretty sure would get you shot in most casting situations. Good thing she's just fantasizing! Derek and Tom are reviewing everything we need to know about the show-- we're making a Marilyn Monroe musical (produced by Anjelica Houston) with two contenders for the lead, Ivy looks like Marilyn and has the chops, Karen feels like Marilyn but is a "neophyte," Tom is boring, Derek is a slut-magnet, and Julia is tea. Whew. Good review, writers of Smash
. On with the show!
The Marilyn casting debate rages, and Tom's assistant spies on the deliberation. He just wants to be a part of the process, you guys! Meanwhile Ivy is reminding us how long she's been in the chorus and how EXPERIENCED she is. Karen is reminding us how INNOCENT she is. I don't think we get the difference between them yet, please explain it again with more cut-scenes. Karen's mayoral boo is not pleased to hear how "interested" the "director" is in Karen's "innocence." Good spin! The adoption agency tells Julia and husband they have to wait a long time for a baby and literally "the waiting is the hardest part," so Tom Petty got a fat check from this show, and somehow most of the music still sucks. Julia and Tom (the boring one, not the Petty one) are also working on the structure of the musical, which leads to our first scene from the musical, the opening number, "Let Me Be Your Star." Ellis (Tom's assistant) wants in on the brainstorm session, but Julia makes sure he remembers who has to get the dry cleaning around here. He's great at organizing closets, maybe he can write a musical about that? Maybe Julia can get her own tea. Bitch.
Derek decides to introduce the competing actresses, and the mind games begin! Karen bitches about Derek's douche-prowess to Dev, who reminds her that men are a-holes, and they have a special dinner with a deputy mayor on Wednesday. Guess who is definitely going to have a Marilyn conflict at the exact same time? WRITERS?
Julia's husband is having second thoughts about their potential Chinese baby, and her son is upset because he doesn't have a vote! Too bad we don't have a vote to get rid of this completely unnecessary sideplot. Maybe we can make a musical about it.
Tom is so gay for Ivy when in any logical real-to-life situation, him and Dev would be gay for each other. There, I said it. Eileen's ex-husband is understandably gay for young, ditzy blondes, and crushing Eileen's dreams by reminding her that she's the romantic, and he knows the business. Then she gives him the business (coco tea, mezcal, grapefruit soda on ice), in the face. It's worth noting we've reached the point in the show where we've heard "Marilyn" so many times, it's starting to sound like a funny word. Marilyn! Marilyn! Marilyn! Marilyn! Marilyn! Marilyn! Marilyn! Marilyn! Marilyn!
Derek is probing Eileen for a game plan, and it's pretty clear she doesn't have one. "Let's just do it!" is definitely not a good business model, Eileen! Just ask Starla
. Julia's husband wants to go back to work (as a Science Teacher, H2LOL), and she seems to think he needs to stay home for the baby, and this is beginning to feel like a reverse "working woman" storyline, but more importantly, WHO CARES?? Unless this is going to lead to a "That's me in the corner, losing my adopted Asian baby" musical number, it's pointless character development because we already have Julia down to a tea (sorry!).
You can guess what happens next-- Karen misses the Dev dinner because of Marilyn, and obviously her not showing up hurts Dev's political attractiveness because no one wants an absentee girlfriend in their campaign, it's un-American (kind of like Dev is, oi oi)! Ivy figures out that the way to Derek's casting favor is through his pirate of penzance, so yeah, they do it. Karen does the "20th Century Fox" dance (literally, and not figuratively), and the best part of the whole thing are the fake props they use. A camera made of a tissue box! Because this choreography blows!
CLIFFHANGERS (kind of)! We won't beat around the bush here, Ivy gets the part because Derek beat around her bush. Karen didn't. Glad we're teaching the youth of America how to properly audition. Derek ditches the option of directing Eileen's ex-husband's future production of My Fair Lady
for Marilyn, leaving one fair lady for another, so heavy handed! Julia reads her baby adoption letter, which is so unfair, because she's a writer. Of course it's going to be amazing and full of potent similes and a great idea for a musical! Karen drowns her sorrows in beer and Dev, but it's not over yet!
This episode seemed a bit devoid of hits. Other than the Blondie cover from the first scene, the songs aren't really poppin' yet, IMO. The same could be said of the story, because Smash
is already starting to feel like a sucker punch. In the penzance.