Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 7

Inspired by NYMag.com’s brilliant Reality Index recaps, Dave (@NineDaves, www.NineDaves.com) and I have teamed up to bring you our take on what’s keepin’ it real and what’s faking it each week on SMASH.

Thanks to Dave for writing the recap this week while I was at Gavin Creel's cramazing CD release concert at Joe's Pub.

The superstar stopped by this week’s episode of SMASH and totally took control and showed us all how it’s really done. Sure, her character wasn’t really much of a stretch (she played form Broadway diva Lee Conroy, who’s also Ivy Lynn’s mother). Still, her performance of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” was outstanding and perfect and everything we expect out of the legend. Moreover, we got to see Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy basically criticize Ivy Lynn at every chance she got (Seriously – can mom visit ever?). Conroy delivered some of the best snark of the season. And for a show with Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) on it, that’s saying a lot.

When Bernie wasn’t on screen, most of the action of episode 6 (“The Workshop”) revolved around Marilyn the Musical’s first workshop. Of course, Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) was a total emotional wreck. And Michael Swift (Will Chase) was still acting like a total dick. But did they pull it together and deliver a successful workshop?
Well, if by success you mean a Broadway-ready musical, then probably not. But our definition of success is a long list of reality index items. And man do we have a doozey for you this week:

Totally True
• Right off the bat, Plus 15 for being on 44th Street. Always appreciate a good live shot!
• Remember when you secretly dated that guy in high school and didn’t tell your friends about it because he was outside your social circle? But sometimes you would sneak in a hand hold or a kiss every now and then? That’s totally what Julia and Michael are doing now, only they’re both married. We don’t condone their behavior, because it’s obviously childish, but we also can’t pretend it wouldn’t happen.
• After Derek complains how hot it is, Ellis tells him, “I actually just overheard the building manager. He said there’s a problem with the boiler.” Of course you overheard him Ellis. Because you’re ALWAYS EAVESDROPPING ON EVERYONE ALL THE GODDAMN TIME.
• It’s the day before the workshop and they’re still changing lyrics. Again, things are always changing, right up until the end.
• Surprise surprise. Ellis is once again hanging out in dark corners. I swear the guy has watched too much Downton Abbey.
• We spy The Addams Family’s Brad Oscar, playing the building manager. Wonder if Wes Taylor got him the gig?
• The boiler is going to take some time to get fixed because they can’t find a repairman. “What can I say – it’s New York. Those guys work on their own schedule,” the building manager tells Eileen. Plus 100 – 50 because that’s totally true and 50 because the building manager was probably being racist when he said “those guys.”
• There’s only been one entrance line better than, “Traffic was never like this when I lived in New York,” and that’s, “SING OUT LOUISE!” And both of them were obviously spoken by Bernadette Peters.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy knows Derek by reputation. The best actors know the importance of sucking up to the director. (That’s sucking up Ivy Lynn. Not sucking off).
• Everyone is totally star-struck by Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy. AS THEY SHOULD BE.
• The whole cast laughs at Bernadette Peters’s Lee Conroy’s joke about not wanting to wear heels on the subway, even though it’s terrible and not at all funny. Plus 15 because we’d do the same thing.
• Jessica tells Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy that she saw her do “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” when she was 8 at some community playhouse. We sometimes may be guilty of telling our Broadway idols all the obscure shit we’ve seen them in.
• Tom knows how to play “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” As any good theater ‘mo should.
• Karen Cartwright is in a rush to get out of the studio, until Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy stars singing. BECAUSE WOULDN’T YOU?
• Remember when Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy refused to sing “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” and then knocked it out of the park? Yeah, so do we.
• Seriously. Dave saw Bernadette do “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” when Bernadette did Gypsy on Broadway. It was this good.
• Fun fact – according to Katharene McPhee’s twitter, Bernadette’s originally shot and recorded “Rose’s Turn.” No reason why they reshot it, but your move, LuPone.
• Also, did you notice how Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy sings most of the song to Ivy Lynn? We love this because Ivy Lynn thinks she’s a Louise, when she’s really a June.
• Everyone (except Ivy Lynn) claps for Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy. We do a standing ovation, and then immediately rewind and watch again.
• Derek and Ivy Lynn clear the air after their big fight last week. He tells her she’s “wonderful in this show. And you’re going to be great tomorrow.” Even though Derek’s a total asshole, he knows how to turn it out.
• Derek hates kids. Because, as Tom puts it, “you’re a reptile.”
• Ellis tells Eileen Rand that Julia and Michael are having an affair. That little shit.
• AND Eileen Rand tells Ellis off, threatening that if he repeats this information to one more person, he’ll “never work on this production or in this town again.” If she had a drink in her hand, she’d throw it right in his face.
• Julia’s son is smoking weed again.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy is staying at Ivy Lynn’s apartment, making herself at home but also looking totally uncomfortable at the same time.
• This entire scene must be transcribed because it’s so money:
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: (watching old Marilyn Monroe movie). That Derek’s very charming. And so handsome.
Ivy Lynn: Mom…
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: He’s a very important director. I’m not sure I’d let him slip out of my hands.
Ivy Lynn: I am not talking about this with you.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: You poor thing. I was over getting nervous by the time I was your age. But you’re used to the ensemble.
Ivy Lynn: It’s not nerves. It’s the prednisone. I got these sleeping pills but I don’t want to start taking one thing on top of the other.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: I won a Tony without any of it.
Ivy Lynn: (frowns)
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: (watching old Marilyn movie) Look at that magnetism. No wonder you’re nervous. I don’t know how you’re going to pull any of that off.
Ivy Lynn: (takes sleeping pill)
• “So you live on the Lower East Side and you’ve never heard of a Chinese plumber?” Plus 5
• Eileen’s only question about the plumber: “Does he speak English?” GOOO RACISM! Plus 10
• The bartender, on this new plumber: “He’s illegal so he prefers things done under the table.” Plus 15
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy and Ivy Lynn are sleeping in the same bed!
• In the montage of people waking up, we hear Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy say, “I slept like a rock!” while Ivy Lynn looks like she’s going to barf. Get those digs in early, mom!
• Ivy Lynn’s eye rolls for Karen Cartwright and her Bobby Raskin nonsense are so real, there’s no way she’s acting. She must have been seeing the “and introducing Katharine McPhee” SMASH promos.
• There are 100 keys to get into the boiler room, and eventually Eileen breaks the lock by smashing a wrench against it. Okay, so maybe this isn’t realistic, but we love it.
• Michael is acting like a total child again.
• Eileen tells Derek, “You’re truly a great enough director to justify your behavior.” See? Even the producers need to suck up to their directors!
• “Oh call the cops. And I’ll call the Shuberts and the Nederlanders!” WE LOVE EILEEN RAND!
• Oh heeeeey Joe Machota of CAA!
• Karen Cartwright and Bobby are gossiping about Ivy Lynn being replaced by a bigger star. Theater people are such bitches sometimes.
• Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy is fighting Eileen Rand for the title of “Queen of the One-liners” tonight. This one may be our favorite yet. Upon entering the rehearsal studio: “Apparently, some do like it hot.”
• We will never grow tired of hearing these songs. Especially “Let Me Be Your Star.”
• Karen Cartwright envisions herself in the lead role during the entire workshop. Probably because she saw the opening number in the movie version of Chicago.
• Julia and Tom’s sex couch makes another appearance!
• While daydreaming Karen falls off her stool. Sure, it would probably never happen in real life. But we loved watching her fall anyway.
• Tom gets angry with Derek for being harsh to Ivy Lynn at intermission. “You do not talk to an actor like that at intermission,” he snaps. Derek responds, “Well you do if they’re off their game.” We actually agree with Derek, but wonder what’s more likely to happen: Tom’s way or Derek’s way?
• This “Lexington and 52nd Street” song is a great song for a villain. So far, Shaiman and Wittman’s score has been the most consistently good thing about SMASH.
• The workshop audience claps harder for the air conditioning than they do the cast. Ouch.
• Remember when Bobby was friends with Ivy Lynn during episode 3? Well not anymore apparently. When Karen Cartwright says Ivy Lynn was “incredible,” he sassily responds, “I don’t know about incredible…”
• Karen Cartwright compliments Ivy Lynn, “You guys know she’s not my favorite person, but she was great.” People from Iowa are so nice.
• Let’s just transcribe every conversation between Ivy Lynn and her mother, shall we?
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: Bravo darling!
Ivy Lynn: Thanks, Mom.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: The songs are excellent and the direction and who was that boy who played Joe DiMaggio? He was terrific! I loved the whole thing.
Ivy Lynn: But what about me:
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: Well…
Ivy Lynn: Forget it. Just forget it.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: Ivy…
Ivy Lynn: Look, how am I supposed to be anything when you’re always here sucking up light like a black hole.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: Sweetheart…
Ivy Lynn: Don’t even. You say something cruel every day when you’re not ignoring me. You’re my mother and you can’t even say one kind word. And you know who else had a mother like that? Marylyn. Look how she turned out.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: She was a legend.
Ivy Lynn: She was an unhappy drug addicted disaster because her mother didn’t love her. That’s what Marilyn was.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy tells Ivy that she’s a star and we seriously tear up a little bit – Dave from being emotional and Linda from rolling her eyes.
• Eileen talks about regrouping and repackaging the show. From what we’ve seen, this happens after most workshops.
• While listing off the names of possible stars to lead the show, Eileen mentions “Scarlett Johansson, Michelle Williams, Sutton Foster …” And right as she says “Sutton Foster,” Tom screams “STOP.” And then we and the rest of Twitter die a thousand deaths because Christian Borle, who plays Tom, used to be married to Sutton Foster. Plus everything.
• Again, the conversation with Tom, Julia, Eileen, and Derek about the problems in the show has probably happened 100 times, and we wish that we got to see more of this.
• Julia’s son is sitting in the kitchen, playing on his phone, talking to his mother, and not looking up at all. Teenagers are the worst.

Oh Hell No!
• Illegally crossing in the middle of the street? Karen Cartwright would have been hit by that cab.
• The recording studio is on the same street as the dance rehearsal, and yet Karen needs a note to help her find it. Groan…
• The sound engineer at the recording studio is a complete cliché. No matter how late Karen Cartwright was, he wouldn’t be acting like a total dick to her like that. And he wouldn’t be lying on the couch, waiting for her to get there.
• When Karen Cartwright stars singing, she’s so loud, the sound engineer screams, “Whoa whoa whoa – you trying to blow up my speakers?” Wherein Karen Cartwright responds, “Sorry I’m more of a stage performer.” And then the sound engineer tells her to back up from the mic! That must be why Simon Cowell and every singing TV judge ever knocks people for being “too Broadway,” eh?
• There’s no way Karen Cartwright could sing this good this early in the morning.
• And we highly doubt that any record producer would want someone to record a demo that early in the morning.
• Remember what we said about it being okay for Julia and Michael to hold hands every now and again? Yeah, making out like that is totally another thing. Minus 10 because, no matter how giddy, Julia would have been a little more professional.
• And surely Tom would have confronted them right then and there.
• Bobby would never have screamed “SING SOMETHING” like that in front of Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy.
• Michael’s wife and son just run into rehearsal without knocking or being let in by the stage manager. Their presence completely stops the scene, and not a single person – not even Derek – tells them to get out.
• Julia sits outside the studio, leaning on someone’s bike. The bike owner just patiently waits for her to move, not saying a thing. This is New York City. That guy would have told her to fuck off and move a loooong time ago.
• Julia wouldn’t have just left rehearsal like that.
• Julia’s son tell her that she “sucks” and then storms out of the room. First of all, he would have used worse language. Second of all, have you ever tried to do that to your mom? Call her a bad name and then storm out of the room? It doesn’t go well. And Dave has the scars to prove it.
• Why is Eileen still going to this bar? I know she loves the LES, but she’d be over that shit by now.
• Derek is sleeping with his shirt on. We think Derek would really sleep naked, don’t you?
• Bobby Raskin would not call anyone at 6am.
• Raven Simone’s Sister Act commercial. Minus 200 (editorial note from Linda: I can't wait to see Raven in Sister Act)
• Jessica tells Karen Cartwright it’s okay to skip out on the workshop because she’s “in the chorus.” Didn’t we cover this in the first few episodes Jessica. It’s called the ENSEMBLE. Say it with us now. EN-SEM-BLE!
• How on earth does Julia know that Leo knows? She would have said, “I think Leo knows.”
• Ivy is stuck in the elevator? You’ve got to be kidding here.
• Michael and Julia would have never had that fight in front of Derek and Eileen. We don’t care how bad things are, or how emotional Michael is acting. He would have known better than to throw a tantrum like that.
• And did we spy Eileen Rand sitting in the background of that fight with Julia and Michael? Wasn’t she supposed to be in the boiler room?
• Eileen tells Derek that “Marilyn deserves” a good show. And we barf in our mouths.
• We saw this Tom/Sam/John thing coming last week. We hated it then and we hate it even more now.
• Ivy’s back, and makes no mention of being stuck in that elevator. There’s no way she wouldn’t have been losing her shit about that.
• Why did John ask Sam to get Tom, and then go into the workshop anyway? These damn pretty boys get everything they want.
• Didn’t Ivy Lynn tell Tom that Sam was gay last week? And the week before that?
• And if she didn’t, how is it taking this long for her to tell Tom that? Surely they would have gossiped about the cast before this.
• When asked how she’s doing, Ivy Lynn responds with a ton of bullshit: “My mother is doing everything she can to undermine me. And Karen Cartwright is just handed everything on a plate. And I just don’t think that I can do this.” Thanks for summing up all your plot points into three sentences, Ivy Lynn!
• We’ve only known Ivy Lynn for a few episodes now, but it’s pretty clear she does not have “ice water in [her] veins.” She’s freaked out what – 15 times each episode?
• Eileen’s budding romance with this bartender is annoying.
• Do producers usually spend this much time talking about the show during workshops? Or this little? Either way, this seems off.
• Why haven’t they brought in fans by now? Surely they would have set Ellis out by now?
• Reusing footage from the first few episodes? Come on SMASH, you can do better than this!
• Why are they doing everything to make Ivy Lynn look terrible? She’s awesome!
• Michael’s being a brat yet again, trying to confront Julia while her husband is in the same room. We now officially hate him.
• Everyone in the workshop audience is overacting how hot it is. Seriously – you don’t need to pat your head with a towel or fan yourself with a program. We get it. You’re not.
• Wait, did they just use fans under Marilyn’s skirt? WHY WEREN’T THOSE RUNNING THE WHOLE TIME?
• Tom just walks away from John, leaving him alone in the studio. How obnoxious.
• Sorry Jessica – workshops do pay something (at least $200 a week, from what we heard earlier in the episode). And they do often go somewhere. And most actors in New York City would be seriously going from them.
• Minus 1500 for not having Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy tell Ivy Lynn, “I made you! And you want to know why? You want to know what I did it for? Because I was born too soon and I started too late, that’s why. But what I got in me, I could have been better than any of you! What I got in me – what I been holding down inside of me, oh, if I ever let it out… There wouldn’t be signs BIG enough. There wouldn’t be signs BRIGHT enough. HEEERE SHE ISSSS BOYS. HERE SHE ISSSS WOORLD. HERE’S LEE!!!”
• The reviews for the workshop are posted online? Does that happen?
• They really need to stop blaming the heat. How hot could it really have been?
• In that entire conversation, no one said that the book was the problem.
• Clearly if Ivy Lynn wouldn’t have slipped coming off that couch, the workshop would have been picked up.
• Firing Michael Swift? How did Eileen let that happen?
• Leo would have confronted Julia about the affair by now. Teenagers are dicks.

So how’d we do this week? Hit up the comments section and let us know!


Anonymous said...

Definitely a better choice for Lee to sing "Everything's Coming Up Roses" as opposed to "Rose's Turn". The latter shouts to the world, "Look at me! What about me?!?!" and the other song is seemingly a song of encouragement which Lee does sing to her daughter...and similarly to the original context of the song in GYPSY, it isn't really for her daughter, nor does her daughter take any encouragement from it.

Glad they changed the song.

Anonymous said...

Regarding reviews for workshop online - theater people on twitter have been known to discuss shows. Rembmber the Vassar thing the Craptacular talked about?