21
Feb
2012
Smash: Season 1, Episode 3
Enter Mr. DiMaggio
Rachel
The problem with this week's Smash is one I definitely saw coming but still lament: there's very little time spent on the actual musical. Instead we're wrapped up in the lives of our characters, including the ones we don't like (I'm looking at you, Ellis and your annoying as shit friends), which really slows down the propulsion forward.

The episode opens with Derek and Ivy in bed. This is potentially my least favorite of the major plotlines, which doesn't bode well for the episode. All of a sudden Ivy is all doe-eyed and innocent and concerned about whether she got the part because she's sleeping with the director. Pick a side, Ivy: are you a shark or are you a sheep?

To show how duplicitous Derek is, his encounter with Ivy is quickly followed by a meeting between him and Karen, in which he tries to lure out her anger on being passed over for the part of Marilyn. And I get it, because Karen would be much more appealing if she got a little riled up. Anger would do wonders for her generally bland character. During their sit down, Derek tells Karen it's all about experience. And so begins a new wave of personal anger over this bullshit: how does one get experience if no one will give you a shot? But really I don't have that much sympathy for her, because she seems so willing to escape Broadway. I want her to eat, sleep, and breathe her dreams, as Ivy seems to do. Instead she's a generally non-engrossing in-betweener, not really cutting it as a country girl or a city dreamer.

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Karen is basically a non-entity this episode, relegated to the B-plot (or, really the C-plot"¦), but that isn't entirely unfortunate. This episode she heads off to Iowa for an important life event: her bff's baby shower ("She's your best friend and she's holding a baby shower in a karaoke bar." Holy shoe-horned musical number, Batman!), as if, somehow, this simple life is better than a stint on the Broadway stage. I think this show's future might be contingent on Karen working as a character, and if they don't figure out how to write her, and fast, there might be some major problems.

One of the biggest problems with Karen is Dev. He, like Karen, is such an undeveloped character that he does little but serve as a general annoyance. He seems to be compensating too hard, in busting in on Karen's one-on-one with Derek to assert his boyfriend-ness. I can't help but think him and Ellis are going to fall into bed together and cause quite a stir.

Because of course I don't buy the whole "Ellis sleeps with women" thing. Who keeps letting him in the room? He steals, he manipulates, and he seems like such an obvious and un-entertaining impediment that I just want him to disappear. But moving right along to people I actually like"¦

Ivy is proving that maybe she's more Marilyn than we thought, just in the bad ways. She seems pretty earnest in her ambitions, and is clearly not learning any of the lessons that the story of Marilyn should be teaching her. But that voice! I can barely blame her.


Smash

This is an Anjelica Huston heavy episode, which is great. She throws two more drinks. I think this joke will be funny for maybe one more episode. "I'm sorry I don't know why that keeps happening. Such a klutz" A line like that is pretty hilarious when it comes from one of the most composed women in the history of women. Eileen's quest to assert herself as a legitimate solo producer is significantly more entertaining than the startlets' quest to become Marilyn, because this is not a woman who works on whimsy: she is a smart, independent, business-minded woman trading on way more than her glitz, and her trials, therefore, are significantly more compelling. More of this, I say.

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In the end, however, I'm left with the fact that the musical is really coming together. The musical performance, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," is definitely the highlight of the episode, coming in the last three minutes of the episode, proving that this should definitely be the main thrust of the series. Here's to hoping that, once we move closer to workshops, they stick to the stage.


Grade: C

Miscellaneous

Ivy and I totally have the same Ikea bed!

"Life is long. Theater is longer."

Who has a four-person baby shower?

Tom and his "date," who happens to be one of Ivy's bbfles. Lets see where this goes.

"We'll spend the night making our own little league baseball team." This show should really handle nothing but the explicit preparation for the musical.

"Fresh off the boat?" Derek is fun, even if he's borderline racist when trying to make a point.

"Those two tigers who wound up eating Ziegfried and Roy were talented too."

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The chemistry between Julia and Mike is painful in a mostly-good way. The flashback kiss isn't exactly hot, but their encounter in front of the elevator, when he comes in to accept his offer for the role of Joe DiMaggio is sizzling.

Tom's reaction to Ivy and Derek is fantastic. "It is completely unethical," says the guy who had a blatant favorite in the casting process.

"Why don't we ever go to your place?" Derek, you're in theater, you should really be better at excuses.


Tags: Smash
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