Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 14

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.

If you’re an avid theatergoer, then you know that previews is where all the good shit happens. Cast changes, rewrites, new songs, different sets – and the occasional accident – it all seems to go down before the curtain “officially” comes up. No one knows this better than the folks over at Bombshell, who after one out-of-town preview performance in Boston have seen most of their show turn to complete shit.

Don’t worry – it’s nothing a good trip to church can’t fix.

It’s Episode 14, people. The last episode before the finale. “Previews.” And man is it a doozy. Come see it all unfold in the Reality Index:

Totally True
• Shirtless Dev! Plus 15
• Karen Cartwright tells Jessica about Derek and Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall. “Derek is doing it with the movie star?” Jessica asks. “Are you sure?” Plus 10 because everyone is always gossiping and plus 100 because Jessica refers to Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall as “the movie star.” As if this were Gilligan’s Island or something.
• “I’ll be there in 30 minutes,” Ivy Lynn tells Jessica on the phone. “He [Derek] won’t even notice.”  Awwwww Ivy. Poor little bitch girl.
• Dev and Ivy Lynn both agree not to tell anybody they hooked up. Which is hysterical because obviously Ivy Lynn is going to tell Sam, Tom, Bobby, Jessica, the picture of Bernadette Peters as her mom as Sally in Follies, and anyone else who’ll listen.
• Michael Swift arrives in Boston only to see Julia, Frank, and Leo outside the theater. They all have an awkward stare-off, and then Michael Swift sheepishly retreats into the theater. “Okay, am I the only one who enjoyed that?” Leo asks. No Leo. We did too. But we would have enjoyed it more if Frank had punched Michael Swift in the face. Again.
• Julia tells Tom she’s not speaking to him. Completely moronic childish behavior? Yup. Sounds like something Julia would do.
• Backstage at the Boston theater, we see posters for Mamma Mia!, Memphis, Catch Me If You Can, Les Miserables, Billy Elliot, something we don’t know that looks like Crazy For You, and American Idiot. This is seriously more television exposure Catch Me if You Can received than when it actually was open!
• Eileen to Derek, upon discovering his affair with Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall. “So you didn’t think you had enough on your hands? Ivy, Julia, Michael Swift, first preview… If this blows up in any way, I’ll strangle you.” We believe her.
• When Ivy Lynn walks into rehearsal, Jessica asks, “Hey, how are you?” in that condescending tone of voice people use when they already know the answer to that question. Plus 10.
• Also, Karen Cartwright confirms what Ivy Lynn knew would happen if she showed up late. “Nobody noticed,” she says. Cold as ice. 
• “Please don’t be nice to me,” Ivy Lynn tells Karen Cartwright. “I mean it, I’ll fall apart if you’re nice to me.” Ivy Lynn: so fragile!
• “This always happens,” Bobby tells us. “You go outta town and all hell breaks loose. I’m not even kidding.” The same thing happens to us when we take vacations. Except, you know, not at all.
• Derek refers to “History Is Made At Night” as “your favorite and mine.” We agree – we like that song very much.
• “Which one’s Ivy?” Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall asks. Plus 100K.
• “I just don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Karen Cartwright says. “Well let’s get out of show business then, Karen,” Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall replies. Aaaand scene!
• “Let Me Be Your Star” is once again playing every time Ivy Lynn looks into the mirror.
• Eileen Rand tells Tom and Julia, “I’m going to watch from the mezzanine. See you at interval.”  Yes and YES!
• The show begins with “Let Me Be Your Star.” Two lines into the song, Tom lets out a, “So far so good.” “We just started,” responds Julia.
• Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall is complaining that Michael Swift missed a cue. “Is that why we rehearsed today?” she barks. Not even at intermission and already a diva fit? Sounds about right.  
• Plus 50, BTW, for “I Want To Be A Smash” being the first number we didn’t hate Karen Cartwright in.
• Are we the only ones getting major 9 to 5 flashbacks with Megan Hilty and Marc Kudisch dancing around that office?
• Also, “I Want To Be A Smash?” Subtle reference there, Shaiman and Whittman. How much do you bet they change the name of Bombshell to SMASH by the middle of Season 2?
• Ivy Lynn tells Karen Cartwright that she was good in “I Want To Be A Smash.” And Karen Cartwright says the same thing about Ivy Lynn. And then they hug! You guys! That was hella sweet!
• Marilyn dies, and they pan to the audience where some dude is checking his Playbill to see when the show’s over, and another dude is sleeping. This is the most realistic thing that has ever happened on SMASH.
• The show ends and no one claps. Some people even leave before the bows start. 
• “First preview – something big always goes wrong,” Bobby reminds the rest of the ensemble. “Like no applause?” asks Karen Cartwright. Plus 5.
• Karen Cartwright tells Dev that she trusts him. Spoiler alert – he’s cheated on you twice with two different girls in the span of two days. And he already told you about one of them. Oh Iowa… when will you learn?
• Ivy Lynn refers to Dev as “the famous Dev,” which is obnoxious and exactly something you’d say when you’re trying to cover up your affair with him.
• “You can’t end a musical with a suicide,” says Tom. He’s right – but we’ve wanted to kill ourselves after some shows.
• Eileen suggests ending the show by giving Marilyn a reunion with her younger self, Norma Jean. Even though the idea is shot down, we don’t mind this one.
• Julia has done her research on Marilyn, even quoting the HBO film with Ashley Judd! “I saw everything,” she says. “And in everything, she dies.”
• Eileen, like most producers, has some serious delusions of grandeur. “Bombshell is going to run forever,” she boasts. “And every night that audience is going to rise to its feet in a standing ovation. Now this is a 3-performance weekend. And we’re going to need that new ending by Monday morning. And that’s all there is to it.” And then she throws drinks in everyone’s faces.
• Sam’s back! He asks Tom to come to church with him. Tom should hope he doesn’t mean Leap of Faith.
• The more we think about this, the more we realize that Leslie Odom, Jr. is basically playing the same character in Leap of Faith as he is here on SMASH.
• Nick likes Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall in Bombshell. “I think she’s pretty good,” he says. “And appealing as hell.” Yeah Nick. We get it. You’re straight.
• Catch Me If You Can’s “Butter Outta Cream” is playing in the background in the lounge. Plus 15 because once again, this is more exposure the Catch Me score has ever gotten.
• Holy smacks! That’s Marc Shaiman playing the piano at the lounge! And Scott Wittman in the audience. Woohoo!
• Anjelica Houston singing “September Song” is one of the most beautiful moments we’ve had on SMASH so far. Pure class.
• Karen Cartwright and Dev are lying in bed, facing one another, talking. “Do you remember when we met?” Dev asks. AND THEN WE BARF ALL OVER THE PLACE.
• Seriously – Dev and Karen Cartwright are the most boring, awful couple we’ve ever seen on television. Ross and Rachel they are not.
• Now that tech is over, Karen Cartwright is ready to get married! We wonder – does the “I’m in tech” excuse give a free pass to all affairs?
• We don’t like this exchange, but it seems like it’s something that would happen:
Derek: Rebecca needs my attention and I’m giving it to her. Is there any other approach?
Ivy: Is that all this is to you?
Derek: We’re opening a show. And you and I are professionals.
Ivy: Yeah, yeah we are.
Derek: That’s why we do well together
• Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall is on the phone with her shrink, complaining. “No one applauded,” she cries. “No I’m not speaking metaphorically, I’m speaking literally. I died out there. I’m alone in Boston.” HAAHAAHA.
• “There’s always someone coming up the back of you,” Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall tells Karen Cartwright. “Marilyn knew it. Nearly drove her crazy in the end.” Nearly drove Ivy Lynn crazy halfway through!  
• SOMEONE POISONED UMA THURMAN REBECCA DUVALL! And by someone, we mean Ellis, who’s the only viable suspect (though they’ll probably blame Karen Cartwright). We’d be shocked by these plot twists had they not showed them in the previews 100 times.
• We’re guessing Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall was poisoned from peanuts in her smoothie. After all, they mentioned that peanut allergy 30 times in one episode. You kind of knew it meant something.
• Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall is in the hospital, so they decide to cancel two days worth of performances. It’s like Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman all over again.
• Derek tells the cast, “No tweeting,” and it feels like he’s yelling at us.
• Everyone decides to go to church with Sam. “I could use a little faith,” Jessica says. Oh shit – they are going to Leap of Faith. #GetOffThatBuss
• Eileen says she’ll handle the New York press. Cue cameo appearance by Michael Riedel?
• Karen Cartwright throws her script on the ground so we all know that she’s stressed out.
• They don’t rehearse understudies until after previews. Plus 10!
• Christian Borle is playing the piano and we swoon.
• That whole scene between Julia and Tom was dead on. From Julia blaming Tom for Michael Swift trying to kiss her, to Tom telling Julia that he loved her and stood by her and didn’t condemn her, to Julia quitting. Ugh. So good. And although we’re obviously Team Tom on this one, we still think Julia’s behavior falls in line with her character. Pitch perfect.
• Plus, can we talk about Christian Borle’s acting in that scene? He was sooo good. THAT FACE! WE WANT TO KISS THAT FACE!
• The hotline! Plus 10!
• Ivy Lynn gets everyone to do shots. Plus 20.
• “Is it okay to be hung-over for church,” asks Jessica. Preferred, actually. 
• "I love church!” says Karen Cartwright. OF COURSE YOU DO.
• Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall decides not to come back to the show. DOES THAT MEAN HER 5 EPISODE ARC IS FINALLY OVER? YAY!!!!

Oh Hell No!
• Gossip Girl’s Josh Safran hasn’t even taken over as SMASH’s show runner yet, and already everyone is sleeping with everyone else. What are they going to do next season?
• Why do people on TV always sleep with their sheets around their waist? When we’re in bed, we snuggle under the covers like there’s no tomorrow. Aren’t they cold?
• That is not Boston. At least they could have faked a better outdoor shot.
• The Bombshell artwork is terrible. Like, Rebecca bad.
• Eileen Rand is on the phone, barking orders. “I needed those costumes yesterday.” No Eileen. You’re the producer of the show. You wouldn’t be on the phone doing this. That’s what Ellis is for.
• Karen Cartwright outright asks Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall if she’s sleeping with Derek. On the stage. Right before final dress. We don’t care how “green” she is, nobody is that dumb.
• We see that Playbill you’re holding in your hand, Tom. And we’re here to tell you that there wouldn’t be a Playbill in Boston.
• Obviously Bombshell is not sold out. Because even though the bartender has a ticket, Eileen ignores it and tells him he’ll just sit with her. Clearly there are a few open seats up in the mezz.
• Karen Cartwright is trying to get Dev on the phone minutes before curtain. It’s her first show. Surely she’d be focused on that.
• We’re assuming “I Want To Be A Smash” is the song that was cut from Heaven on Earth? How the hell did that fit into that show?
• Everything about Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall playing Marilyn as she’s dying is an “Oh Hell No.” Except for the set, which is kinda awesome.
• No one in the audience stood at the end of Bombshell. That’s bullshit because people give standing ovations for really shitty shows all the time.
• We love that Eileen thinks Bombshell will run forever. But nothing runs forever. Cats had “now and forever” in its tagline and even that closed.
• “Are you directing now Ellis?” Eileen asks. “I’m producing,” Ellis responds. “Someone has to.” AND THEN EILEEN DOESN’T SMACK THE SHIT OUT OF HIM! WTF?
• Julia just spent all this time talking to Tom about the new ending, but then she ignores him in the lobby of her hotel? Grow up. 
• Great message here, SMASH. If your boyfriend cheats on you and then tells you about it and you get into a huge fight and he disappears for a day, you should totally go back to him and apologize and say it was all your fault because you just needed some space. MINUS 100.
• How do you speak metaphorically about no one applauding you? Come on shrink, you should know better than to ask stupid questions.
• Julia asks to slow down this train. “Karen has had no time on that stage,” she says. And you, Julia, have had no time at rehearsal!
• Dev left Karen Cartwright’s engagement ring in Ivy Lynn’s room. How did he just realize that now? Wouldn’t you notice if you were missing a super expensive ring? Oh, we know. He wouldn’t. BECAUSE HE’S THE WORST PERSON EVER. Besides Ellis, which goes without saying.
• Karen is struggling because she wants Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall to be okay, but she also wants the part. “Hi, I’m Karen Cartwright. I’m from Iowa and I’m nice.” WE GET IT SMASH. KAREN’S NICE. But she also wants to be Marilyn, and any actress in her shoes would be smiling from ear to ear when the star went into the hospital. 
• When she finally starts rehearsing, Karen Cartwright sings “Let’s Be Bad” to herself. Didn’t she tell Ivy Lynn that she knew that number inside and out a few weeks ago?
• Is Julia’s clam made of gold or something? Why is Michael Swift obsessed with her?
• Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall is coming back and Karen Cartwright is “relieved.” What a lame-o.
• Julia, Frank, and Leo come to church too. Aren’t they Jewish? She’s a lyricist and he’s a chemist. Jew. Jew.
• Minus 100 for the priest not being played by Raúl Esparza.
• Minus another 100 for the song not being “Step Into The Light.”
• Sam has been back in town for two weeks and already he’s singing lead in his church again?
• And with Karen Cartwright, no less? When did they have time to rehearse this? The girl couldn’t even get her Marilyn lines/songs down. And she rehearsed that for 6 months! Maybe she should spend less time learning these gospel numbers and more time learning the show she’s being paid to do!
• Church is over and so, apparently, are everyone’s problems. Church solves everything! Minus 10.
• “Is Rebecca Duvall going to be back?” asks Sam’s mother. HOLY EXPOSITION BATMAN!
• Julia and Tom say they’re sorry in unison. And it’s kind of a let down because we don’t really believe it.
• “I’m not as ambitious and everyone else apparently is,” says Karen Cartwright. NO SHIT. How is it that you’re just figuring this out?
• No one has any idea who put the peanut in the smoothie?!? MAYBE IT’S THE GUY WHO MADE THE SMOOTHIE!?!? #idiots
• Aaaand we’re back where we fucking started. Who’s going to be Marilyn: Karen Cartwright or Ivy Lynn? It’s like déjà vu all over again!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

NBC has now changed the the image on Facebook.com, that the spotlight bathes in light. The first image was clearly Karen's bone structue...now...look at the heftier upper arms and chin...it is indicative of Ivy Lynn....NBC is just trying to keep us guessing...I say...Tom dons a wig and goes on as Marilyn...in the final episode...