Smash S01E07: You Can't Have Tears Without Tea
    • TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2012

    • Posted by: Joe Puglisi

    This week, Smash is focused on the workshop and presenting it to potential investors and other Broadway executive types, and it's sort of the first milestone of our journey from shitty tea-fueled brainstorm to bright lights and $150 orchestra tickets. Is the show good enough to warrant a room full of important people in suits dishing out big bucks? It's hard to answer that question while we're all a sweaty mess.

    The boiler in the building is broken, and thus the rehearsal space, and subsequently the room where all these fancy pants come together, is TOO DARN HOT. Opportunity MISSED, you guys.

    Isn't the boiler for heat, not A/C? Do they mean "broken" as in it's always on and they can't turn it off? Why do they need to replace it before the A/C works? Really just throwing out some backroom Home Depot terminology is not good enough for me, I need answers!

    Meanwhile, Karen is singing in the studio. Grumpy McTech had too much to drink and he's mean until he hears that voice. Every time she opens her mouth a man falls in love with her. She's a star! A RECORDING star! I hope she has her own Destiny's Child-like (but Country instead of R&B) super-group, called "Iowa's Child Support," and their first single "Slay My Game" goes quintuple platinum in the red states. "If no buck's around you/say baby I love you/ and head off to the range." Full lyrics to follow.

    Looks like Julia and Michael are in full-cheat mode, like not only are they using the Game Shark with infinite lives and invincibility, but they are skipping straight to the last base IN THE MIDDLE OF REHEARSAL. Tom is all like, psh, I didn't need cheats to beat The Legend Of Zelda: Homocarina Of Time. Ellis is still creeping on everyone's shit, spying on the makeout sesh, making Snidely Whiplash faces. Seriously, if this guy spent half as much time blackmailing already as he does creeping on Julia's dumb life, he'd at least have enough money to see Rock Of Ages like he's always dreamed. He sucks.

    Karen nails her recording and returns to the rehearsal but Bobby Raskin (sp?) wants her back, not now, RIGHT NOW. Her success is upstaged by the entrance of Ivy's mom, who I suspect has done a lot of upstaging in her day because her personality is bigger than Liza Minelli. Oh, she's played by Bernadette Peters, right. "She won't take the subway" "Not in heels I won't" (Nervous laughter). Sing something! Our penis is running late! Oh, I mean pianist. Sorry. So then Mom/Bernadette Peters breaks the sound barrier by singing within two minutes of first being introduced/appearing on screen. Good thing she's awesome IRL, or I would be totally inundating this wholly unorganic moment with jokes about it being the last midnight for Smash. Seriously though, they would not sell this moment in Whole Foods.

    Derek is nice to Ivy for a second and I'm beginning to wonder if he has like a reverse male-period where he's a totally imbalanced a-hole for three weeks out of the month and then for one week his menstrual cycle backfires and he spew compliments like he's on ecstasy. JK, it only lasts for two minutes. Michael's kid pops in to rehearsal and it really tickles Julia on the dirty-whore bone. She feels awful! She should! I don't feel bad at all! I hope she cries tea until the entire restaurant-owning population of China Town gathers around her chin with bowls.

    FINALLY Ellis drops the Julia/Michael ho-bomb on Eileen in the worst way possible (he just says it, no conditions) and she backhandedly thanks him for the intel and then demands he never repeat it or he'll never work on the Broadway again. Haha, Ellis. All that creeping for a big box of shuttup. Then (at the Cracker Barrel or whatever dumb name this bar had last episode) he convinces free-wheeling Eillen to solicit some illegal immigrants to work on the heat problem in the studio, and gruff bartender Eddie (whose actual name I refuse to learn, because too many characters) agrees to help. RUT ROH! Hope they don't screw it up!

    Tea spends the night with Ivy Lynn's mom. Julia catches her son smoking the wacky and he more or less accuses her of being a steaming cup of Chai-ho. Cut to angsty everyone thinking-about-stuff in-their-beds montage!

    Girl-dancer #1 convinces Karen to go sing for B. Raskins instead of taking one for the team and staying in rehearsal because she's just in the ensemble, but girl-dancer calls it the chorus, jeopardizing all of Ensemble guys hard work making sure we KNOW it's called "THE ENSEMBLE". Bitch, please. Julia tries to break it off with Michael and then they act out their dramatic relationship mid-reading lines for Derek and Eileen. Derek and Eileen chat about CRUSHING the workshop, because the musical has to succeed, because Marilyn deserved it, not because it's important to everyone to succeed for their own selfish reasons, right? Right. Then a lot of things happen in quick succession just like the exposition in a musical (See, I get it!).

    The building super is pissed about unauthorized, illegal work on the building (makes sense), if someone gets hurt, it's on Eileen. Normal. Casting directors show up and Ensemble Guy and Karen speculate they are bringing in a big stay to play Marilyn and Ivy overhears, sports-loving-gay (Sam) gets pissed and tells Tom who is busy smooching his BF-Esq., who shows up to say hi and so does Mr. Julia, who blows off Leo's toke by proclaiming "he's in high school, he was going to start sniffing something sooner or later." Dad of the year! He shakes Michael's hand and although the Kill Bill music doesn't play (like it does in my head), we know sooner or later these two will have a sing-off of Les Mis proportions! Just kidding, only one of them has the chemistry, the other just teaches it! Hi-yo! Just kidding, Frank is the only remotely likable character at this point (him and BF-Esq.) so I feel bad for him, at least, confirming what little shred of humanity I have left after the 10-11PM hour every Monday on NBC.* Meanwhile Tom has a crush on Sam because he likes straight-ish guys, also he's madddd for jazzzzz. He calms down Ivy by telling her she was "born to do this" and she has "ice water in her veins" which, I may have to consult Web MD on this, but would mean she's either Aquaman, or should be in a coma immediately. I'm cool with either, Smash writers.

    Eileen hits on the bartender/boiler worker guy because it's a classic uptown girl romance (I hope they don't have to pay Billy Joel royalties, please, anything but the pianoman). Ivy's mom crashes the workshop and makes Ivy's ice water blood boil, so we're know we're in for a pot of steaming hot angsty daughter noodles, or something. Ew. Maybe Julia can cry out some tea to go with that. Who's bringing the spicy sauce? EVERYBODY! ACTION!

    The workshop begins, and it's kinda clear that Ivy is f*cking it up. Everyone is exchanging nervous glances, especially when she falls off the Cheatery-branded couch. Guys, sex happened there. Stop dancing around it (literally and figuratively). Karen is fantasizing about being the star and she falls even more dramatically off the bleachers than Ivy has been falling. Geez Karen, with the falling. You even upstage Ivy's screw-ups. You're worse than her mother! Michael imagines he is singing to Julia about their suspiciously close-to Marilyn-Joe levels of dysfunction, but despite my best prepackaged Rent jokes, he sounds pretty good! The air conditioning jolts on mid-show, hooray! $7 bartender can fix a boiler with the aid of one (or more) illegals! Eileen gazes lustily at her working-class love interest, wondering if he also does plumbing. She wants her next "drink" shaken AND stirred, amirite Dr. Ruth? Put that on my joke tab.

    The workshop is more like a work-flop, and the critics give it tea thumbs down. Derek suggests they replace his girlfriend with someone more famous (ulterior sex motive?), but Tom suggests they replace Julia's illicit boyfriend because "clearly" he is the "problem" (actual avoid sex motive). Man, if only getting rid of your annoying/inappropriate boyfriend/girlfriend was as easy as firing them and sabotaging their career for your own selfish comfort. Julia is quickly joining the ranks of such notable TV annoyances as that guy who blew himself up on Lost, Andy from season 3 of The Office, Jar Jar Binks (honorary member) and nearly the entire cast of True Blood (but especially "Eggs.") Maybe someone will shoot Julia in the face in the parking lot of a shitty Louisiana diner (metaphorically of course, with song!). She goes home and exchanges non-specific banter with her son where they dance around the issue just enough for him to cry like a baby. What is he, high? This would never have happened in real upper middle class life. He would have demanded an iPad 3 for Christmas or he's telling dad. But by the looks of those stainless steel appliances and the size of his room in what appears to be a brownstone somewhere in a neighborhood where you can peer out your windows without getting harrassed, he already an iPad 3, and he uses it to watch Dark Side of the Moon on YouTube (totally blitzed) while mom's too busy choreographing the mattress mambo with Michael "Someday I'll be on Maury" Swift. Check please.

    Ivy and Mrs. Ivy make up, kind of. We gotta leave it open enough to have a B.-Pete appearance. Singas got a deep repetroire. And according to the ratings, it's not quite the last midnight for Smash. No NBC execs singing "Your Fault" yet, which is good, because that is a hard song! I wonder if Sondheim stays up past bedtime every Monday to throw rice pudding at his 1993 Panasonic. Just kidding, he hates television.

    Next week on Smash: Tom will probably find out exactly what kind of sporty balls Sam prefers, and we're not talking about his Mets. Julia finds a way to make me even more indifferent. Karen might actually do something to complicate her boring and strereotypical nice midwestern girl routine. Everybody poops (not pictured). The previews showed a lot of confusing things with the word BETRAYAL flashing, so I guess the emotional stakes will be raised again, not that they were very high to begin with. Let's just say on a scale of impossible limbo to Julia's son, the emotional stakes are about as high as those kids I know who bought and smoked oregano in seventh grade. Noobs!

    * NBC, where's my check?

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