Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Smash Episode 204: The Song

Ivy and Karen do some dirty Fosse dancin' 
Jimmy beat Derek in the Biggest Asshat contest on this week's Smash. Julia moved a little closer to Peter's bed--and his home in the Berkshires. Eileen lost control of the show. Kyle soulfully expressed his suppressed passion for Jimmy. Jerry twirled his mustache and Ellis returned, but only on the other end of a phone conversation. The show is still Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, but at least things are getting interesting.

The episode begins with rehearsals for Veronica (Jennifer Hudson)'s big one-night concert which evidently only takes a couple of hours. The talent behind Bombshell are apparently the only people on all of Broadway available to put this slapdash thing together. Of course both Ivy and Karen are in the chorus and Derek perversely has them fondle each other in a blatant rip-off of the Air-Erotica number from All That Jazz. The Fosse references are flying fast and furious later on as Veronica is forced to perform the ultimate uptune I Got Love as though it were Steam Heat with a bunch of hip thrusts and flared wrists. Veronica's momager (Sheryl Lee Ralph in a weird bit of casting--the Broadway Deena from Dreamgirls playing the mother of the movie Effie) demands that Derek keep her little girl's pure image in tact and drops a further foreshadowing hint that Tom would make a great director. Ivy said the same thing last week. Will this mean Tom will threaten Derek's position as the stager of Bombshell? Plus the mom has arranged for Bravo to tape the concert and NBC's sister network and its logo are shown and mentioned a million times.
To add to the improbability, Derek demands a brand-new song to be written, orchestrated and rehearsed in six hours. Karen calls Jimmy and Kyle who take the super-jet from their impossibly massive loft in Brooklyn and show up in ten seconds. Of course, tortured genius Jimmy is able to deliver a socko song, thanks to the vapid, zombie-like inspiration of Karen. What exactly does Kyle do anyway? Does he write the lyrics? Does he polish Jimmy's work? His shoes? What? But the momager doesn't want new material and Derek caves in, negating the song. Jimmy throws a hissy fit because he can't have his big break right away, prompting Derek to utter the sanest thing that's ever been said on this crazy show: "Nobody in this business deserves anything." Jimmy disappears and takes some drugs. 

When Kyle tells Karen Jimmy is missing, she reacts with all the concern and passion of a pile of wet laundry. When she says "Let me help you look for him" she sounds like Ruth Madoff on Quaaludes. Then everybody sings a Billy Joel song and we learn Jimmy has a history of vanishing when there's trouble. (And we still don't know what that crackhouse was where he went last week.)

OK reality check again--at this point any, I repeat any, Broadway producer, director, actor, music director, composer or choreographer would drop Jimmy like a hot rock. It is just too freakin' difficult to mount any show without having to worry about some obnoxious, snot-nosed, drug-addict kid who thinks he's got talent.  He wouldn't even make it to Joe's Pub in three decades, let alone three years. End of sermon.

In the meantime, Julia has a breakthrough on the Bombshell book, something about seeing it from a male point of view, huh? Anyway, we learn that in addition to possessing an enormous Manhattan apartment, a hot gym body, and exquisite taste in coffee, wine, and cigars, Peter the Dramaturg has a house in the Berkshires when he invites Julia to finish the rewrite. How does he do it on an NYU teacher's salary plus fees for uncredited doctoring on Broadway musicals?

Eileen is forced by Jerry to cede control of Bombshell to him when she admits she knew about the illegality of the show's bankroll. Still not clear on that--wasn't the money from some rock and roll guy who was a friend of Nick the bartender?

Veronica's concert is a smash--of course--after she goes with Derek's faux-Fosse sexiness (which Tom was against, but then he was for it). For some reason Jimmy and Kyle are backstage dressed like they're on a break from their waitstaff jobs at Orso's and Karen and Ivy are the only two backup singers. But it turns out Veronica is singing their song (which sounds like all the other songs they've written) and she brings them onstage for a bow, introducing them as Jimmy and his partner Kyle--like Jimmy is the more important one and Kyle is just a lackey. Their careers are instantly made after writing on napkins and post-it pads.

Eileen calls everybody to her office in the middle of the night--no it can't wait till morning like in the real world-- to inform everyone Bombshell is back in business but she has to step down and Jerry is taking over as producer. (Good, more work for Michael Cristofer) We cut to Jerry revealing the snake in the grass who ratted on Eileen is.... ELLIS! Cue the organ music as Jerry explains everything for us and tells Ellis he never wants to hear from him again. Thank God!

Next week: Side plot with Sean Hayes as the star of Ivy's weird-ass musical version of Liaisons, another script of Bombshell emerges, and Jerry takes over.



  1. Another brilliant assessment. I look forward to your recaps more than I do the show itself! Bravo and thank you!