Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Smash Season 2, Ep. 8 – “The Bells and Whistles”.
This week’s episode of Smash is brought to you by the number too many and the lesson compromise. As in, how many plots about the necessity of compromise does it take to really send the message home? Too many, according to the writers of Smash.
The two latest compromising storylines revolved around our dueling directors and their very opposite styles of directing. Like a young parent desperate not to repeat the mistakes of their own parents, Tom decided that the best course of direction was to agree to every note his cast gave him; from completely valid requests for a break in the second act to the completely ludicrous idea that some chorus boy with one line should get a monologue. But the real problem came when his ex, Sam, showed up. Turns out that touring with The Book of Mormon isn’t nearly as much fun as being a glorified extra in a messy, tense workshop of a (presumably) not so good future Broadway show. There have been a lot of moments in the history of Smash that have required substantial leaps of faith. This required the most.
But, luckily Tom happens to have the perfect song for Sam to get him back on the Bombshell bandwagon. It’s a Nat King Cole song entitled “(Let’s Start) Tomorrow Tonight”, originally intended for a 60’s Vegas musical (because duh), but that can easily be worked into Bombshell despite the fact that Marilyn never knew Nat King Cole and that it completely negates the need for their perfectly good Kennedy Raping Marilyn Bossa Nova (also known as “Our Little Secret” which actually makes it sound creepier than my title for it).
(Side Note: “(Let’s Start) Tomorrow Tonight” had the most believable transition from party to full on musical number to date, mostly because clearly Tom keeps hats canes just lying around for that very reason. )
But this week Julia is playing the voice of reason and calmly explained why Tom can’t just say yes to everybody. She also decideed that taking him over to Hit List to watch Derek in action will help him learn to say no, because this is the woman who raised Leo so her lesson teaching skills need a little help.
Not surprising to anyone, Derek has resorted to his usual directorial tactics. This mostly consists of barking orders at everyone and snarling at anyone who dares to look in his general direction. This may have worked on Bombshell (it didn’t), but this is Hit List and it has one thing no other musical has ever had: Jimmy. You know Jimmy, the guy who wanted nothing to do with making a musical, well now he has a lot to say about how a musical should be directed; basically not in any way Derek wants to direct it. Let the Douche War begin!
I honestly thought Derek would win this battle because Jimmy is nothing more than a younger version of Derek, but without the charm, wit, or underlying heart. Essentially he’s a robot whose only settings are rude and ruder, but in the end, he’s the one who got his way. Life lessons, kids.
And he also got the girl.
After a night of heavy drinking to celebrate the first non-disaster of a rehearsal and the first song of Hit List that didn’t put everyone to sleep, Karen attempted to find out if Jimmy liked her, if he really liked her, but he took too long answering so she went home with Derek. They almost kissed, but Karen dodged it, only to find Jimmy at her door a moment later. Jimmy offered her a heartfelt speech about how much she means to him and gently took her in his arms for a passionate kiss. Just kidding! He forced himself into the apartment, threw her on a table, and had his way with her because even when he’s being romantic it’s in the douchiest way possible.
Other Random Musings
Ana officially landed the role of The Diva (Kyle must have been in charge of the character names) after a killer performance of “If I Were a Boy”. It’s a relief Krysta Rodriguez (The Adams Family, Spring Awakening)finally got her own number and gives me hope that all of our other silent Broadway background characters will get their time to shine too. This is mostly in reference to Jesse L. Martin and new addition Daphne Rubin-Vega. Rent reunion, make it happen.
Speaking of Collins Scott, turns out his past with Julia didn’t involving screwing, but it did end in him being screwed over. They attended grad school together and he was supposed to direct her first play, but Lincoln Center picked it up and offered her Mike Nichols , whom she gladly accepted, leaving Scott to scrounge and suffer, only ever managing to make it to off-Broadway after the betrayal. I like that their tension isn’t sexual, but I hope it turns into that. Related, what happened to Dramaturg Peter?
Bombshell wasn’t getting enough good press (surprise!) so Eileen decided the best way to drum up some news was to cast Ivy’s real mother, and Broadway superstar (and real life Broadway superstar) Leigh Conroy (Bernadette Freaking Peters!) to star as Marilyn’s mother. Nothing says “take this show seriously” like a gimmick.
Next Week: we delve further into the complex mind of Jimmy and learn that deep down… he’s still a douche.
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