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Smash: Star Power

Smash S01E11: "The Movie Star"


I'm kind of still dazzled over last night's episode of Smash, "The Movie Star." While much was made of Rebecca Duval not having a strong voice, her jazzy ending number was fine, and Uma Thurman is just so damn appealing it made the fluster around the star just that much more believable, strengthening the motivations and storylines of everyone involved. She's well worth carrying around some mace.

I love that Derek sees a huge guy in a leather jacket starting to make trouble and just rushes him. Derek, you are a solid column of testosterone. You cry cigars. I know it wasn't Kyle MacLachlan, but the seedy boyfriend who broke into rehearsal looked kind of like Kyle MacLachlan circa Showgirls, so I'm just going to pretend that was the case.

Rebecca is causing so much trouble! But it's carefully considered, totally plausible, believable trouble. If Rebecca Duval had been played by someone less gorgeous and charming than Uma, the plot would have worked just as well (this whole episode had a pitch-perfect pace, plenty of drama, and no unearned moments) but I was leaning forward in my seat watching UMA effing THURMAN dance around in a blonde wig because WTF, I've got to see this. So that alone made a perfect argument for why kowtowing to “Rachel’s” demands was absolutely necessary.

I mean, buying a blender and adding a few more lines of dialogue, that's not so unreasonable. I know Julia and Tom are hyper protective of the book they threw together in two months, but Julia does have that incredible talent for monologue, which she was not shy about bringing to the guidance counselor's office.

The guidance counselor in this scene made me smile, with her inquisitive expression melting into awkward terror as Julia unspooled her nerdy feud with Frank. It's entirely believable that Frank would want to maintain a public front while he and Julia sew things up/break things off, so I was impressed by that. Smash excels in character consistency: I feel like I know Frank, as quickly sketched as he is, and even as Ivy morphs into more and more of a villain, the insecurities that were always present in her character are what she's using for scaffolding as she transforms.

I do think the writers should have shown us the conversation between Derek and Ivy that brought her back into the rehearsal room, though I have to wonder if it had anything to do with his fight with Dev, since she alluded to that later in the episode. Although it definitely made her attempts to be chummy with Karen that much more sinister. Whatever Derek told Ivy about the confrontation or whatever she can guess about his continual flights of fancy are turning her into a toxic and exciting villainess, and Megan Hilty seems to absolutely relish it.

I loved Karen for calling her out in the bar after the Casual Friday 2 screening for her awful jabs. She got a little too hateful and in a commendable moment, Karen threw down the tab and picked up her new scene partner, a.k.a. that gigantic metal-studded purse, and got the hell out of there. Although Karen wasn't exactly barfing rainbows at Ivy, I winced when she called her "unstable."

Dev blew off the screening for drinks with his lady reporter friend. Wouldn't we all? If you're going through turmoil at work, sometimes talking to someone who understands the context of your references is immensely therapeutic, and while Karen lives in a hypersexual showbiz world where she regularly dodges booty calls from her boss, so far we haven't seen Dev and his reporter friend put a hand or word amiss. And if they are headed for a relationship together, awesome. They can show this screengrab to their kids.

Even more awesome, it would leave Karen single so she and Derek could get together, because damn those two have chemistry. Katharine McPhee and Jack Davenport enjoy being across from each other so much, I'm kind of worried about their significant others. While Karen's cooing Marilyn transformation in Derek's second fantasy sequence was totally indulgent and silly, it was maybe my favorite part of the episode. I am no McPhee fan, but stick her across from Davenport and the fun they have together is infectious.

Tom’s fledgling romance with chorus member Sam has been launched, and it looks like they’re putting the first brick down in the foundation of a proper will-they-or-won’t-they build-up, so that’s cool. Also in budding-romance news: Eileen and Older Colin Ferrell are officially together. How can you resist a man who knows how to mix drinks and paints portraits of astronauts?

Plus, bonus moment: For once the weaselly Ellis got caught being a user and was completely called out. Amazing! I'm going to go out on a limb and say this was one of the most well-written episodes of Smash thus far. I've enjoyed the content of other episodes more, but in terms of interweaving stories and laying groundwork, this was a masterpiece: Hats must be tipped. And after Uma's dramatic turn in the promo for next week, I can't wait to see what's waiting in the wings.


QUESTIONS:

1. Now that her character's being so reasonable about working with everyone, how will the writers eventually get Uma out of there? Will it be her choice or theirs to re-cast?

2. Did you pull a fist pump when Ellis got called out?

3. Derek's fantasy sequences: Are you enamored by them or not so much?

4. Are Dev and Karen heading for Splitsville or is Dev allowed to get a drink with a coworker even if she's female?

5. How did you like Uma's performance as Marilyn?

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Great episode, and totally realistic in my book. Love this stuff.



1. I don't know, but there are any number of ways to realistically do that. I have faith in the writers at this point.

2. TOTALLY!!!!!!!! I want to see that every episode until they burn his character.

3. I am not totally enamored of them. BUT, I fully believe them as part of his character. I think in the near future we'll see him dick out a little more in rebellion to them, too.

4. Dev is allowed to get a drink, absolutely, and Karen's being a little too unreasonable about that; Dev has of yet not done anything at all wrong with his coworker. That all said, Dev did wrong when he didn't tell Karen about the work stuff/lack of promotion/etc.

5. It wasn't my ideal Marilyn, but within the world they've worked out, I can see it working. Look forward to more, and they've got a second season to work with, so we'll see where they go with it.
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1. I'd like to see Derek deminish her like any other and get rid of her as he sees the true marilyn in Karen.

2. Ellis enoys me greatly. I hate it that everyone just lets him be.

3. They take to much time. The songs outside of rehearsels or performance are to glee for me. I like that he sees marilyn in her, but come on. Stalling for the real storyline!

4. Probably gonna take a while, but this ain't gonna last i'm affraid. Sure he can have a drink, they can fight, but this ain't a good relationship. Once you stop communicating..

5. Uma stinks. I don't get why you are so happy with her. I think she makes an average Marilyn and she ruins the more interesting storyline.



So! That's it for now.
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"The songs outside of rehearsels or performance are to glee for me" YES! preach sister
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1. Either way would be good, but I think Uma will leave.

2. Not really. I like Ellis.

3. Last week's was good, maybe because of the novelty factor. This one was OK i guess.

4. Your point is interesting but far more important is Dev and Karen drifting apart because he's excluding her. The context of the drink was important because he blew off the time he would have spent relaxing with Karen. Plus this is a tv show so obviously we can't assume that this female coworker will never be flagged as a love-interest. Splitsville seems most likely at the moment.

5. Uma was great and the final number was surprisingly strong but not so strong for her to be a long term Marilyn option.
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The thing I liked about the episode was there wasn't a Katherine McPhee singing some top 40 song in a bar/studio/whatever (which always seems a bit Glee to me). I don't think this show needs Hilty or McPhee covering whatever is on the radio to be good.
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Derek's fantasy sequences are so cool! I've never felt anything particularly strong for Jack Davenport, have seen 'im in several UK telly eps & stuff but I think he is PERFECTLY cast here! He looks so hot playing Derek, I just can't believe it...



I totally think Dev is " allowed to get a drink with a coworker even if she's female" but I hope things happen after that because I really want to see Derek & Karen collide head on! I think they have a super chemistry together those two!



Love Uma and this is the 1st time I've felt like "getting rid of her" LOL! Her number wasn't so bad at the end...
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I love that they mentioned the elephant in the room, that Uma is totally too old for this role, I am a huge Uma fan, but I agree she's too old for it, and her pregnancy bump is poking out, don't think they can cover that up with black jackets for dance sequences much longer!!

I. hate. Ellis. Fist pumped when he got busted!!
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I have to agree that this episode was definitely one of Smash's best, I really enjoyed it.

Also I couldn't agree more about Jack Davenport and Kathrine McPhee, so much chemistry!!! Derek is my favorite on the show by far and I love their scenes together. There is a fun behind-the-scenes interview up on YouTube of Jack being interviewed and Kathrine crashing in that just proves that the chemistry is just there.
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I didn't like Umas performance but I don't know if that is because it was so different from the direction I thought the musical itself was going. Understandable about the plot but she is good for giving grief to the other characters. I like Dereks fantasy scenes make for fun moments. I loved Karens "our day will come" call me a romantic but it was lovely. Dereks expression was soo schoolboy crush. Imagine Ivys' reaction..... more dramatic diva performance to come...
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1. Yeah, medical reasons for sure.

2. Absolutely. Such a good moment.

3. Definitely enamored by them, I love them. I'm definitely a Derek/Karen shipper, and Kat just kills the scenes as Marilyn. Also, Derek's face while watching them is just the best.

4. I'd say Dev and Karen are probably going to break up. Which I'm pretty fine with if that means more Derek and Karen.

5. Uma is great in the show, period. But Karen blows her out of the water as Marilyn in my opinion. I'm not a fan of Ivy at all, but I'd prefer either of the girls over Rebecca.



This was a fantastic episode. Made me laugh out loud a few times too. And next week's episode looks absolutely amazing!
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pretty eh episode, not bad or anything but not really stands out. more Ivy and Karen friendly time so that's good, even though Ivy seems pretty.. depressed I guess? so that's weird to me. Ellis didn't annoy me this time but that's only because he only had maybe 2 minutes of screentime if even that much, so I'll let him live this episode. I don't think it's wrong for Dev to go for a drink, but it was wrong to blow off his girlfriend to do so. I'm pretty sure he's going to cheat on her, which would suck but atleast we can get rid of him.
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Finally, someone else who didn't think this was "one of the best episodes of smash yet". This episode was rather boring. It felt like stunt bringing in Uma Thurman, and the plot didn't really develop, since we know she's going to leave. the character of Rebecca Duval is annoying and a waste of time. I'd rather see the characters who we already know and care about progress and grow. I liked Ivy in this episode a lot, somewhere between Karen's friend and bitchy rival is the perfect place for that character. What was up with that scene in the guidance counselor's office. I don't really care or want to hear about Julia's personal life outside of how it related to the musical, and Frank is just an uninteresting character. The other thing that bothered the hell out of me was how Derek was written in this episode. He's is straight forward, even cruel at times, b/c he cares more about the production the feelings of the people working in it. He would have been Rebbeca Duvals face two notes into her song and told her exactly how she sounded. All in all, this episode felt weak and I was bored watching of it. Oh, and the music this week kinda sucked.
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1. Looks like it'll be medical reasons which is fine by me. Get back to the real singers. No offense, love you Uma!

2. YES! HATE Ellis!

3. Not so much, don't buy her as Marilyn in the least bit and this chemistry with Derek you speak of? Don't see it myself and wish they wouldn't try to put them together. Ivy doesn't deserve that.

4. Uh, it clearly looks like splitsville to make her single. We'll see.

5. Glad she pulled it off at the end. Good job but again, made for Ivy-the better singer and all out better fit.
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I should say I'm enjoying this show quite a lot. Sometimes a show has a female lead and lean more towards a female audience and I might feel hard to identify with the characters and situations, but Smash is not the case. It's totally relatable and in the end what counts is art.



In this particular episode, I loved Uma Thurman's participation. She really conveyed the idea of being incompetent, and then, in the end, finally showed she was up to the job. She even made me doubt she could really could be in a musical, when I (duh!) remembered she was in the musical "the Producers," so of course she can sing.



But I found it unsettling how easily Eileen was swayed into accepting her boyfriend's shady past. Basically he sweet-talked her. He didn't say anything consistent to change her mind and trust him, and she flipped like a pancake. (And, by the way, I can't believe how old Angelica Huston looks...)
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can leo just go to college or fall into an elevator shaft or something? totally skipped over the "talk" scene. bleh. overall, good episode but i gotta say, worst line ever: "now, that's a movie star". ugh.
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he does look about 24 years old
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LOL I'm quite sure it was not the writers' intention to make Leo retarded or so weird, but there's something really off about him. It's like not even the actor who plays him believes his own character, and he looks like he's laugh any minute. I don't know, maybe they should've cast an actor that looked a little more like a kid.
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They should replace the actor with a cardboard cut out of the character.
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1. I think they should come up with my brilliant idea: Ivy plays Marilyn and Karen plays Norma Jean. duh!

2. hell yeah! I can't stand that d.b. and his "I just got busted." expression was priceless

3. I am loving the fantasies!!!

4. they're gonna split and it's so obvious it's going to happen. just pull the band-aid off!! he's being an asshole and she doesn't see her part in it. they don't belong together.

5. Uma was good but not nearly as good as Hilty or McPhee. I love them both so much!
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I totally agree with that! That's what I've been thinking the whole time. They should both be in the show.
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I loved the Ellis moment! I can't stand that little snot! I think that Karen shd dump Dev and move on to greener (sexier/manlier) pastures. I love Uma as Uma... not as Marilyn!
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I couldn't agree more with tvaddict_14 :)
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1. Rebecca Duvall mentioned a peanut allergy so that could be a way to get her out.

2. Hell yes! Ellis being called out was like Christmas morning! I'm still confused over his sexuality, I feel like he's clearly gay.

3. I love the fantasy sequences and I love Karen as Marilyn!

4. Dev and Karen are over. He doesn't even care to try anymore, that's a clear sign that things are beyond repair.

5. Uma Thurman is an amazing addition to the show but of course she's no Marilyn. That's all I will say on that.
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I thought Ellis was gay (flirting with his then boss Tom) until they introduced his girlfriend early on. Now I just think he's manipulative and is willing to swing either way to get what he wants. I can see why they keep the character since he helps advance the plot and is someone that you love to hate, but I would not be sad to see him hit by a bus. It was nice to see someone call him on his weaselly ways. Unfortunately people like that in real life often get ahead because people either won't believe that they are being manipulated or will advance them just to get rid of them.
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Glad it's not just me! When I met Ellis and then they tried to show he actually had a girlfriend I'm like um, who do they think they're fooling??
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