Smash: Boston Bombshells

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Smash S01E13: "Tech"


What a saucy episode! Were you nerding out seeing people rushing around in costumes under colored gels and flats swooping down and people in headsets pushing equipment? The way this show captures real theater production—something handily skipped over by Glee—chills every nerve in my musical-theater-loving body. If that makes me a nerd, slap on the nerd handcuffs and take me to nerd jail! I have a feeling I'll like it.

The ensemble pirouetted onto the train to whisk themselves to Boston and see if they couldn't make a success off-Broadway with their Bombshell. (By the way, the poster—did you notice Marilyn's creepy claw fingers? What's that all about?) This left Dev open to that saucy minx R.J.

RJ reminds me of so many different young professional women I've worked with who were perfectly apt in managing their careers but tortured themselves endlessly about their relationships. Imagine if Sisyphus had two balls to roll up the mountain at the same time, and you'll get a glimpse of the mind-melding pressure these women are under to excel at both having a career and being a sexy temptress, and why they so unfailingly use alcohol to manage the phase between the two contrary skillsets you need for both goals.

However no amount of alcohol could get Dev to forget the creamy-smooth, bony-limbed understudy partying it up in Boston. I love how when we saw Karen a couple times this episode, she was wearing her $2,000 jacket. There are little consistencies like this throughout this florid singalong melodrama one of the realest shows on TV.

Meanwhile, Derek dropped the L-Bomb on Ivy, which clearly made her loins sparkle, but then he proceeded to spend the episode entering a Director + Star affair with Rebecca Duvall, which was brilliant. Such a classic star move. Derek was right about using her sense of terror, because Marilyn was so terrified of appearing in front of cameras that she'd anesthetize herself with fistfuls of pills and bottles of champagne, and when that failed she'd simply refuse to show up. Les artistes! Any star will tell you it helps if your director is jonesing for you, you need a loving gaze from someone who's directing your lighting. Also, I guess we can just assume Derek's carrying a real torch for Marilyn herself? Think about it, he unfastened Ivy's hair and kind of squinted his eyes before they did the deed, he only really got into Rebecca when she put on a platinum wig, and all his fantasies about Karen center on her Marilyn impression.

How gorgeous did Uma Thurman look all Marilyn'd out?! She's so gorgeous. My loving stare was fastened upon her for real-sies. Speaking of loving gazes, Julia was fooling no one with her tender stare at Frank over the bed pillows. Yuck. I know she needs help keeping up with the needs of thick Leo, but making pancakes while laughing maniacally doesn't look like a healing marriage to me, it looks like manic-depression. So glad Michael Swift is back next week! Good luck trying to gaze lovingly at old Eyebrows McGee with Michael Swift in the room, you layer-loving ho!

It's truly unfair of her to put it all on Tom, and I felt for him, trying to deal with her "end of discussion! Don't cave! I'm out!" ultimatum-type statements that she has no authority to make, and the cooler heads (i.e. Eileen and Jack) prevailing in Boston were like "Let's get Swift out here and make this show a success." Also, she could just take a break from production for a couple weeks, right? Didn't Eileen leave that door open for her? Julia's being incredibly selfish to demand Michael Swift not be involved in the wake of the current Joe Dimaggio leaving for a pilot. The book is written, right? You know how to email if they need changes, right?

My skin crawled seeing her eat in bed like this. Her home-life is such a nightmare, and now she's taking Leo and Frank with her to Boston to cockblock her flapjacks. Sigh.

Speaking of tag-along musical groupies, Dev schlepped up to Boston to sideline Karen with a proposal (didn't the show hint that he'd tried to convince her to marry him before?) and Karen was like, "I'm in tech!" ...which, let's be real, that's a "No." I completely sympathize with Dev, the writers crafted it in a way that it's impossible not to see his side: He's been cut off at the knees at work, he's curtailing his own opportunities to support Karen as she disappears for days at a time to shimmy in front of a perv director who he's gotten into a fistfight with... like, it's time to break up, guys. Karen is reliving her freshman year of college.

What was especially drama about Dev and Ivy then meeting in a bar and giving each other boner eyes was that I think they sort of recognized each other's names. Ivy sure as hell recognized Dev, and knowing Derek had forsaken her for the arms of Uma effing Thurman, and unapologetically hating Karen, and realizing she was getting the once-over from Karen's boyfriend—it was like munching fifty tabs of chocolate-dipped female Viagra. And I'd even wager that Dev knew exactly who Ivy was too, which makes them both so terribly flawed and naughty. Dev will have MUCH to explain to RJ when they finally get married next season. (I HOPE. TEAM RJ!)

The episode was fantastic, I enjoyed every moment except the cringe-worthy "sing-off" in the hotel room (if you ever hear someone start crying "sing-off" run in the opposite direction) because while music theater nerds ARE that annoying, our bad habits should not be encouraged, and I did a fist pump when Karen got out of there to talk with Dev instead of singing back at Ivy. If she HAD engaged in the sing-off, she would have become the most unbearably vain woman in the world, so thank you, show for inching up Karen's credibility. She's becoming almost root-for-able... well, until she opens her mouth and says "BUT IT'S TECH!" like she's the main surgeon halfway through a brain operation.

Also this one gal just loving every second of Megan Hilty vocalizing while eating Chex Mix CRACKED ME UP. A capella jazzy blues songs and Chex Mix: the barfy pleasures of the semi-successful off-Broadway performer.

This is the same charming pixie who earlier in the season revamped Karen's wardrobe out of the goodness of her heart, and Smash consistently puts her in gauche situations and gives her little standalone moments to glow in. What's her deal?! She's kind of a star. She's like the real-world Karen of the actual show Smash.

In Tom and Sam news, Tom came over for a dinner with Sam's disapproving father and then they had a touching moment on the world's most beautiful porch. "You are my better self" is a stunning line and whatnot, but seriously Sam, you are going to blow out your knees, so think about that.

As stunning as this episode was, and it was stunning, the promo for next week's episode was even more sizzling still! Dev and Ivy did the deed! Rebecca gets poisoned! (Peanut oil, obvs.) Karen must be a STAR!!! (Do you think at the sound of her voice the entire audience will simultaneously climax in the world's largest auditory-driven orgasm?) Seriously I'm very excited for next week and I love that Smash is making crazy complicated bedroom escapades happen. Just like in the real theater, for those of you who didn't perform in high school musicals.


QUESTIONS:

– Have you ever performed in a musical at any level (high school, community college, Branson)? If so, how'd it compare to what we're seeing on Smash?

– Was Karen being super selfish in giving Dev a non-answer or was he a jerk for going up there and foisting a proposal on her because he felt guilty?

– Ivy and Dev! WTF, right!?

– Is Julia being a big crybaby and should she should learn to behave like a professional, or are Eileen and Jack being insensitive?

– Claws on the poster? Not sure how I feel about that!:

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