Smash: Boston Bombshells

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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May 16, 2012
Just saw this today-I'm so behind on tv.

Julia was being selfish and no right to demand that Will not come back. She should be a professional. And her family is so creepy. I don't mind her husband (though he's not written very well), but the son is just so....ughhhhh



As a New Yorker, I found it hilarious how the cast hopped on an MTA train from Grand Central and somehow made it to Boston. Like what? If you're taking a train, you use Amtrak from Penn Station. MTA goes to the middle of Connecticut, then you'd have to switch to Connecticut's commuter rail, then switch to the T, which would take you to Boston. But of course, all so they could film in Grand Central.



Derek is definitely just in love with Marilyn Monroe.

I see where Dev is coming from, but he picked an inopportune time to propose. Then Karen didn't use nearly enough tact in her rejection.
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May 08, 2012
Your totally right about everything, but mostly that Jessica is freeking amazing! she is seriously my favorite part of this Show! Honestly I feel like I watch this show waiting to see what that girl will do next! She needs her own spin off.
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May 05, 2012
No, no musical, but lots of plays. The stress level is extremely high, there is a lot of competition, and people love to gossip about you in the theater. It's hard to find a good friend that will be true to you in theater. The stress and friendship elements which appear in Smash are very similar to what I have experienced. The tech run throughs I live for, despite the fact I get so nervous every time from screaming directors to last minute changes and time ticking. DEV was being a jerk, and if you notice, his marriage proposal wasn't sincere...it's like he was using that to make everything better. Ivy and Dev are wtf. Julia was under pressure and I can understand she didn't want her marriage to unravel again, but she needed to behave like a professional. Number one rule in theater is to do what's best for the show and for everyone, not just for you. Claws on the poster scare me.
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May 05, 2012
What the heck is the matter with you? Dev wasn't simply attracted to RJ. Sluttly little RJ (whatever kind of a nickname for a girl is that) who already knew Dev was in a relationship kept dangling herself obviously and pathetically in front of him. And Karen should have said she was uncomfortable with them being together from the start. "I'm in tech" is understandable...it's a no...because she is stressed out from everything happening. There are women that give up their careers for men and their are men that give up their careers for women. If he actually cared about her fulfilling everything she's ever wanted, he shouldn't bitch and slut around with RJ and Ivy.
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May 05, 2012
Yes, Jessica, the little pixie-chorus girl is the real star of that show. She's always on the background, doing things that are actually more interesting than most of the main storylines. She's my favorite and I hope she gets more to do next season.
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May 04, 2012
dev = devil

that's all
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May 04, 2012
Just one complaint (or rather: comment) on your review: you wrote "The book is written, right? You know how to email if they need changes, right?" but it's not that simple. A scene might look good on paper (as we say in German: "Papier ist geduldig", i.e. "paper is patient"), when you see it on stage you might realize it's not working the way you wanted it to. So unless Julia re-writes every scene that Derek tells her doesn't work about 50 times in some sort of hit-or-miss, she has to be there. She is the writer after all, he's just the director. And as Tom said, he can't do it either.
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May 03, 2012
Why does everyone think that answering "No" to a proposal automatically means the relationship is over? It doesn't. All it means is that they are not ready to take that next big step yet. By the way, a non-answer to a proposal is the same thing as a 'no.' TV shows and movies do this all the time, and it's a little annoying. Just because someone isn't ready to marry you doesn't mean they no longer want to be in a relationship with you.
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May 04, 2012
I'll explain it the way I see it: Obviously, when someone asks you to marry him/her, he/she wants to spend the rest of his/her life with you. And if you say "no" it means you don't. So quite frankly if you still want to be in a relationship with whomever proposed to you even though you don't want to get married you're being selfish, because you are just wasting the other person's time (as well as your own, unless marriage is not what you are looking for).
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May 04, 2012
i'm thinking gsander2653 just said "no" to his/her lover's proposal and is trying to justify it...
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May 02, 2012
Okay ep but cringing at the thought of that whole Michael Swift stuff. Ugh! Here we go again! I have NO sympathy for Julia-NONE!
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May 02, 2012
Loved this review and the episode was great. The singoff almost worked for me and I was ready for Karen to sing back and not break the TV, but then they brought in the mid-singoff clipshow! duh-duh.

I pretty much think Dev is Satan by now but there was something slightly tragic about his attempted proposal, even though it was for the worst reasons.

Poor Ivy! I can just about forgive her sleeping with Dev after what you went through in this episode.

I performed in a few musicals in high school, although we were two insignificant to have anything that could be remotely called a 'tech' period. A few lighting checks and a dress rehearsal was pretty much all we got.
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May 02, 2012
Derek is the best - he's just in director mode now. It was pretty hilarious he casually said to Ivy he loved her (kind of) and immediately went on to mess up with Rebecca. That was a clever way to set up for Ivy's scheming tendencies to lead to food poisoning and hooking up with Dev....



And yeah... Dev's an idiot - How would he react if Karen turned up in the middle of one of his election campaigns and asked him to marry her?
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May 05, 2012
As they say in agreement, "for sure"

How would he feel if she constantly hung around one of his male co-workers, bought him drinks, went into his apartment alone, and made out with him? Not too good I think...not too good...
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May 02, 2012
Firstly, I am so happy that someone else shares my disdain for Karen. For anyone who knows anything about musical theatre, you would understand what an ANNOYING, not so talented, naive, unrealistic character she really is. I don't get why everyone creams their pants everytime she sings. Is she good? Sure. Is she THAT good? No, not at all.



ANYWAY.



I don't think Dev should have gone out there to propose, but he obviously doesn't understand what theatre life is like. But I still felt bad for him. I also don't think Karen should have freaked out so much about him and RJ. I don't know. I may just be feeling this way because I don't like Karen at all. So I guess I'm biased. I may also be feeling this way becasue I think Dev is super sexy with his dark skin and eyes and hair and that accent...mmmm. And call me crazy, but that Bollywood thing last week was amazing.



What I would focus on when it comes to recent plot developments though is Derek and Rebecca. Uuuuuh....where on G-d's green earth did THAT come from? I get the whole director and star thing, but there were no lead up moments. I thought it came out of nowhere and it was just the writers struggling to throw another wrench into the Ivy/Derek love saga.



Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to eat some banana and peanut butter. Maybe even throw in a little nutella too cuz I'm wild.



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May 05, 2012
Ivy is irritating. and a whore. :)

Karen is just naive and not as hard working.
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May 02, 2012
i don't think most people understand the pressure you're under when working on a stage or a set. Karen might have told Dev that was not the time, in a way that would have let him down easy. that would have been nice. Yet the mere fact that he would intrude on her work like that (even for a marriage proposal), makes you realize that he really doesn't consider what she's doing as important as she does. the first major failure in a relationship.



julie is a sad excuse for a career woman, and she got far more sympathy than she would in real life. even her kid realized that she was on a self-destructive bent. it's unfathomable to me that she could try to get out of her duties while a show she had written was in active development. in real life you either quit or do the job like everyone else does, even with all their problems. what a wimp and such a bad presentation of a woman in the business.
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May 02, 2012
-Dev is all kinds of wrong in this episode, and I don't blame Karen for mostly just being shocked and having no clue how to deal with all the crap he's piling on her doorstep all at once. While she's on a work trip.



You don't just show up on your significant other's work trip after they've told you that they're too busy to hang out with you and start making emotional demands. If you do do that, you're an ass.

You don't show up at someone's work and proceed to dump your long-held resentments that you've so far chosen to keep to yourself on them. If you do that, and expect them to be grateful, you're an idiot.

You don't spring a marriage proposal on your significant other when you've just cheated or nearly cheated or kinda cheated on them, just to make yourself feel better. If you do that, you're a selfish bastard.



-Ivy and Dev totally knew who they were making bedroom eyes at. I wish Dev had the balls to just dump Karen first, but his character's been circling the drain for a while now, so I'm not surprised.



-Julia is being unprofessional, and the others are being insensitive, but it's not their job to fix her personal mistakes.



-That is a pretty horrible poster.



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May 02, 2012
I have a question of my own - who the hell is in charge of Julia's wardrobe and why are they making her look so damn frumpy? I'm not expecting glam - she's a writer after all - but every time she's on the screen I'm shielding my eyes. Are they doing it on purpose?

That said, I loved that she was so selfish. It wasn't professional and there were loads of workarounds but hey , in real life that's how people behave.

Similarly Dev's ridiculous behavior. First, he fails to confide any of his troubles in his partner, then blames her for not being a mind reader and appreciating his sacrifice. She doesn't want to be disturbed over the weekend but he turns up anyway - he can't just let her focus - and then proposes, which is all about trying to assuage his guilt and cling on to her even harder. Sounds pretty realistic to me. Men! Utterly selfish and so was her response (she sounded like a moron) which was all he deserved.

I liked that this week didn't lean to heavily on Ellis and Leo - both poorly written characters in my view. Ellis needs some back story that explains his machinations - then I'd be interested in what he's up to. He's just an eye roll for me now.

Looking forward to next week!



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May 02, 2012
I keep thinking they are trying to hide bump, but she's not pregnant! What the hell was that brown rug with a belt on it, it's like someone high up really really really hates her and wants her to look as unflattering as humanly possible!
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May 02, 2012
Played sax in the pit for Dreamgirls in High School. It was glorious. Best ever.



Dev was in the wrong. Then again, I can sympathize with Karen on this one.



Ivy and Dev totally knew. Good for them!



Grow up Julia. You made your bed.



I think think the poster is for bloggers like Lily and Price. Cause they would catch it.
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May 02, 2012
- No, never been on a musical. Is that a requirement to understand the show? What the heck does I'M IN A TECH mean? Are we supposed to know theater lingo to understand the show?



- Come on, you propose to your partner when you both are on the same page, with common goals, and that's a natural step. You don't propose to win someone back when you feel you two are drifting apart, and you are about to cheat with another person! Karen was taken off guard. She's obviously not ready to marry, but was forced to give a quick answer. Those situations are always embarrassing. Dev could've only done worse if he had proposed in front of the whole cast! Now, THAT would've been really dumb.



- Ivy + Dev = unforgivable and stupid. Especially when he has a sweet little thing like RJ waiting for him.



- Julia is annoying. I hope she does a musical about The Walking Dead, the zombies turn out to be real, and and she gets eaten by them. I thought she would say to Eileen: "No, Michael can't come back. You know I can't keep my legs closed when he's around. I can't sacrifice my marriage again. Save me from myself!"



- Claws on the poster... An American Werewolf on Broadway? A tribute to a she-Wolverine? Shadows or no shadows, that's an awful picture. They should correct that.
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May 02, 2012
- I loved loved loved this episode for the simple fact that it reminded me of when i did theater in high school! i got to perform in 7 plays and i have to say the drama of tech they showed in this episode was spot on. its only such a big deal becuse everyones stress levels are off the charts. - so... i can almost understand why karen said no to dev because she already has a lot of stress from tech BUT it didnt mean they had to get married right away! they cant be engaged for awhile?? - I was so giddy with excitement to see Ivy and Dev making sexy eyes at one another! ugh i am a drama fiend!! - Julia irked me something ferce!!!!! how selfish to not "allow" micheal to come back just because she cant keep her hands to herself.. she is the writer and he is an actor they wouldnt actually be working together alone! if he asks to step outside so they can "talk" just say no! ugh! ~ I always look forward to your reviews! if i had a bad day i know you'll be there to bring a smile to my face! :)
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May 02, 2012
-No school musicals, just school choirs.

-I don't think she was being selfish. Dev shouldn't have proposed. If he felt guilty, he could have just told her what happened and let her know how he was feeling and where he wanted to go from there. They really need to talk, so they can see that they need to break up now. Dev and RJ are better for each other now that Karen is more into her career.

-Oh yeah, Ivy and Dev, WTF!!!

-Total crybaby, that Julia. She made her bed, she should lie in it. She and Michael were so HOT together. That husband of her's, BORING!!! The show has funds in it, people invested in it and depending on it and they NEED Micheal and all Julia can think of is herself. SELFISH!! BIG BABY!!

-Guess I got no comment on the claws.
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May 02, 2012
I'm not a Karen fan but I'm not soooo sympathetic to Dev.... He hasn't been telling her what's going on with work, they only had one fight about dc. she told him about a sleazy director, her boss, hitting on her, and he fought him like a high schooler. If I had to go away for work, and say I was in tons of meetings and was super busy, I would be pissed if my boyfriend showed up with flowers (Imagine this scenario with gender roles reversed and the girl would instantly look like a crazy stalker...) And when you tell a girl that you almost slept with someone but you didn't because you realized that you loved her (the woman you actually live with) don't be surprised when she doesn't smile and accept your proposal cause you're still a CHEATER!!!!!!
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May 02, 2012
Yep, Dev is the villain everyone wants Ellis to be.
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May 02, 2012
Claws on the poster are not claws but fingers with their shadows.
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May 02, 2012
But why doesn't the rest of the body show shadows? That's a bad picture anyway because of the creepy results.
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May 04, 2012
Agreed!!
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May 02, 2012
ah, on super zoom you can see her fingers are touching the wall!!
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May 02, 2012
Lily, I read just about all of your articles, although I hardly ever comment (can't get my thoughts straight most of the times), but now I really felt the need to.

I don't know how you do it, and I honestly don't really care, but get out of my head and stop stealing my thoughts you evil witch woman!!!!!!

j/k, but seriously, sometimes you write something and it's just as if you read my mind word for word (not specific to Smash, but just in general, and mostly about just very random thoughts/observations), it's creepy in a very odd-but-cool way...

Anyway, more on topic: loved this episode! Even though it all was actually pretty crazy when you think about it! (or maybe I should say 'because of'?)

I thought Tom's storyline was just so cheesy and perfect at the same time, but now I have this bad feeling that they are setting this up for Sam to actually really get hurt in the nearby future (I hope I am wrong!).

And Derek is basically in love with Marilyn, so whenever an actress truly embodies what she is to him (or how he puts it, when she 'feels' like Marilyn), he gets all tingly inside! (and horny obvs)

questions:

- no never! sad huh?

- Karen was acting completely crazy! I mean how does 'Tech' render a person incapable of knowing/deciding whether they someone enough to want to spend the rest of their life with said person? It's just a stupid response, it's not as if she's in Africa for 2 years doing volunteer work it's really just a bad excuse on her part to avoid confronting the actual problem/her actual feelings. Which is basically that she is so very self-absorbed that she doesn't have any real place for Dev in her life. Compared to her Dev's reasoning seems completely logical and sane, no matter how impulsive he was being and how much guilt was an actual motivating factor or not.

- WTF yes! I really don't like how much of a villain they are making Ivy. She used to be maybe a bit bitchy and cutthroat, but still relatable (she was just working so hard for everything!) Now it's almost pathetic how she blames Karen for all her problems and sort of projects all of her insecurities and pain unto her, and then actively sabotages her on the show, and now even her personal life (granted, Karen had already done most of the heavy lifting on that one herself). It's just sad... I hope she doesn't become a complete caricature...

- Crybaby, I am not even going to waste anymore time on the selfishness and stupidity of Julia.

- I don't know, it's a weird poster overall imho...

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May 02, 2012
The fact that they had an entire episode dedicated to Tech week made me go nuts. I miss doing musicals so bad and this show is making me realize more and more that I neeed to make a career change.
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May 02, 2012
What's with Karen?? Dev travels to Boston and shows up with roses and all Karen can say is "I'm in tech"!!!! Then he proposes and once again, all Karen can say is "I can't decide about this while I'm in tech"???!!! Talk about being self-centered!!!! The song that Ivy did was heart-wrenching, and I doubt that Karen could have topped that, although I think that it was wrong of Ivy to assume that Karen knew about Derek and Rebecca getting it on, but then Ivy has never really cut Karen any slack.
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May 02, 2012
your Star doesn't sweat, she glows!! One of the many Derek gems this episode.

And what about peanut butter on banana ? just looking at that will give Rebecca an allergic reaction.
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May 02, 2012
You know the "claws" are the fingers' shadows, right? If you were being sarcastic, sorry.

Anyway, great episode! Can't wait for Bombshell's debut.

But i do hate that they are trying to turn Ivy into a big villan. I don't want her to be a goody two shoes like Karen, but just not become a super b****.
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May 02, 2012
I hadn't noticed they were shadows, but then why do only the fingers have shadows?
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May 02, 2012
ok, Derek is one thing, everybody could probably assume he'd cheat on Ivy from the start.. but now Dev cheated on Karen with two different women? ugh. douchebag. I hope for once "Bitchy Ivy" does some good and tells Karen so Dev can leave the show, he started off alright but now he's the worst. Here's hoping somebody kills Rebecca, Dev, and Ellis all at once! how about a giant stage light falls on all of them. BWHAHA!
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May 02, 2012
I love that Dev's response to being seriously attracted to and making out with another chick was to run up and propose to Karen. Yeah, THAT'S healthy. Marriage will definitely solve all of those problems. Seriously, just break up already. We all know it's coming. You can both do better.
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May 02, 2012
P.S. I also kind of like the creepy Marilyn claws.
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May 02, 2012
I actually loved this episode. It was the first one of Smash that elicited multiple yells-at-screen from me! I do think that Dev was only proposing because he felt bad, when he did it I was like 'Are you f***ing kidding me?'. Also, I'm hating Julia more and more every episode, she seems so wrapped up in her own life and she was uber-selfish to try to block Michael coming back. Also, 'Sheeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.'

PS I don't really consider being into theatre a geek thing.
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