“Smash” Recap: Hashtag #60MinutesCloserToDeath

Previously, on Smash

We open on yet another Bombshell rehearsal and the cabal has made the inexplicable decision to go with the workshop book, but still graft that dreadful “Public Relations” number from last week onto it. No word on whether the agony auntie will be in drag like Mary Sunshine.

The intro ends and Derek directs the ensemble on how to avoid being crushed under the hideously expensive and unnecessary airplane that will be wheeling in from the wings. Tom and Eileen love it, but Julia declares it artistically void. Eileen shows just how deep in the weeds she is, declaring it a “Technicolor fantasy of the way Marilyn made herself”. This devolves into a fight over Eileen’s choosing the old new book instead of the new new book culminating in the loathsome Jerry’s saying they might have to cut a number to make room for this one because there’s just so much music in this musical! Derek limits himself to one derisive short and I admire his restraint.

Out in the sticks the kids from Brooklyn have found themselves an old barn and they’re gonna put on a show! It’s the cast of Hit List, getting ready for the Winter Fringe Festival. No one’s very happy about the dingy space but Jimmy Charming of all people shines a ray of light on the proceedings, praising the general funkiness of the venue along with its acoustics and besides, the show is really good!

He tries to raise everyone’s spirits by performing The Zombies‘ “This Will Be Our Year” and it’s surprisingly peppy and fun until it’s cut short by a stage manager barking at them to pipe down. Karen checks the time and heads off for Bombshell rehearsal. Kyle is worried that they haven’t worked on the new material enough, apparently not having recognized Karen’s mutant ability to absorb entire musical numbers including choreography directly through her skin. She departs while Jimmy glances longingly after her and Kyle gripes to Ana about it. Jimmy reassures him that’s Karen’s a pro.

The pro enters the rehearsal building and winds up sharing an elevator with Ivy. Karen lies about how smoothly Bombshell is going and Ivy lies about the wonderful time Liaisons is. Ivy’s lies are the first exposed when the elevator doors open directly on the Liaisons rehearsal space where an actress weeps openly.

Her sorrow is explained immediately, when Ivy encounters an unmedicated Terry Falls hauling a stuffed sheep around the set.

He gloms onto her, raving about how going off his meds was the best decision evah and how he hasn’t slept in four days because he’s been learning French and becoming a certified archer and getting arrested, and I already want to see that episode more than another minute of this one. Ivy wonders if Terry is planning on using real sheep: “Of course! Stuffed sheep can’t act!” He’s less sure about the live peacocks, having heard they’re notoriously hard to work with.

As he swans off to another part of the set Ivy grabs the director and implores him to stop this before it’s too late. He wimps that Terry is the only reason the revival is happening at all and brave-faces that maybe it will turn out to be comic genius. Then Terry walks by with another sheep on his way to grab the giant pantaloons in which he will play his and Ivy’s love scene. She gets a look on her face like she’s in the middle of a hostage situation.

Karen’s not faring much better upstairs as she runs through “Never Give All the Heart”. It was the first song Tom and Julia wrote for Bombshell and Ivy sang it back in the pilot. It was never one of my favorites, but if the point of this scene is to show that even with mediocre material Ivy can sing rings around Karen, it has succeeded. Tom praises Julia’s lyrics and she tells him he’s pushing it.

Karen wraps it up and Derek makes to move on but Jerry calls a break to inform the cabal that “Heart” has to be cut in favor of “Public Relations”. He says the show is overloaded with ballads and he doesn’t need another sad song from some girl standing alone on a stage. Julia protests that it’s not just some girl, it’s Marilyn, but Eileen interrupts, saying Jerry meant Karen. Jerry continues that Karen’s not a star yet and if the show is going ahead without one it needs…Derek cuts him off: “An aeroplane on the bloody stage?” Jerry insists the airplane is golden. Eileen asserts that Jerry is right which Julia takes (and I concur) as evidence of Eileen’s diminished capacity.

Julia storms out with Tom on her heels, ranting that Jerry won’t be satisfied until he’s turned Bombshell into “Marilyn: The Radio City Prison Spectacular” and I would watch the hell out of that show. Tom reminds her that they are all working on a book that she wrote, but she retorts that it’s a book she’s no longer proud of. Tom offers to work on Eileen to get enough of the show together so that they both can be proud of it again. Julia enters the elevator and warns Tom to get her song back and then they’ll talk.

Back inside Derek wanders up to Karen and spots a paint fleck on her cheek. She tells him it’s from the Hit List set. He’s surprised they went ahead with that without him and she replies that they all knew he was never really going to direct their show. She takes a call from Kyle and Derek looks mildly hurt at his exclusion.

Kyle’s thrilled by a blurb about Hit List in Time Out magazine and all the theatre people who’ve “RSVPed”.

Karen’s excitement over it is short-lived once that damn Jerry gets ahold of her. He explains that the entire marketing campaign for Bombshell is built around “Introducing Karen Cartwright” and that it only works if they are actually introducing Karen Cartwright.

Have they not already introduced Karen Cartwright through three weeks of out-of-town tryouts in Boston? And I don’t believe for a second that with a show that’s been through as much as Bombshell has in its short existence that something so tepid as “Introducing Karen Cartwright” would even figure into the promotion, much less be its centerpiece. So dumb.

Anyway, Jerry delivers an ultimatum: If she appears at the Fringe she’s fired. Derek offers his consolation, noting they’re both stuck there. Titles!

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