Smash Recap: Ellis Learns Julia's Secret

debra messing smashSay what you want about Smash‘s Ellis, but the Creepy Little Assistant That Could(n’t Quit Lurking in Hallways) has at least one impressive accomplishment he can put on his résumé: In the course of just three episodes, he’s managed to place himself near the top of the list of TV’s most annoying characters ever.

Bad enough that the guy thinks he’s entitled to payment for coming up with the idea for Tom and Julia’s musical — even though he did nothing more than grab a book about Marilyn Monroe off his boss’s coffee table and casually mention she’d make a good topic for a Broadway show. Come on now, it’s not like he imagined the idea for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind out of thin air. But this week, Ellis continued his best impression of a Downton Abbey servant with irrational entitlement issues, hovering in the shadows and collecting information to advance his station in life.

“Why do you not like him?” Tom asked Julia this week. Dude, let me help your BFF count the ways! There was Broadway newecomer Ellis playing the sycophant, telling Tom his melody was “amazing” when Julia (a seasoned songwriter with several hit musicals to her credit) suggested some tweaks. There was Ellis playing the spy, rifling through Julia’s bag, “borrowing” her notebook, and taking it home to scour it for intel. There was Ellis playing the tough guy, telling Julia she should “be careful about what you say next” during a heated exchange in Tom’s hallway. (Oh how I wished she’d called his bluff and fired him on Tom’s behalf once more.) And there was Ellis playing the eavesdropper, listening in as Julia confessed to Tom that she’d cheated on her supercute hubby Frank with the actor they were about to cast as Joe DiMaggio. (Also: Ellis is straight? I guess Julia’s gaydar is better than mine!)

But wait, let’s go back to that needle scratching across the record from a few sentences ago. Yep, Julia cheated. Five years ago or so, but still. You could see immediate panic in Julia’s eyes the minute Director Derek and Producer Eileen brought up stage star Michael Swift as a candidate to play DiMaggio, but that scene where the former lovers bumped into each other in Eileen’s office was fantastic. Debra Messing conveyed a deep pool of regret, discomfort, shame, and desire — all with the simplest of surface dialogue and one eye fixated on the slow-to-arrive elevator door. I just wish I’d been more impressed with Michael’s rendition of “Grenade” in that Bruno Mars musical. Dude was processed-cheesy enough that I half-expected him to come packaged in a cellophane wrapper. I know the show’s writers are setting things up for Julia to once again be tempted to stray  — Michael’s “you smell good” told us where he stands on the issue — but I’m really hoping Julia tosses his advances into the dumpster along with the discarded swing beat of the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” first draft. (Burning question: Are we really supposed to believe established actor Michael is getting the same $200/week rate to workshop a lead role as neophyte chorus girl Karen? I’m no Broadway expert, but that seems somewhat dubious.)

In other storyline developments from the week in Smash:

* Has anyone noticed the alarming way Derek uses the word “darling” to play mind games with poor Ivy Lynn? I couldn’t believe that moments after sex, he coldly joked to his new lover that their romp was his idea of working on her character together. Later, when she tried to have a real moment about why they always met at her place — “I thought you didn’t want me in your home or something.” — his flip response (“Darling, I want you everywhere.”) filled in all the missing pages in his hard-to-believe story about his gas being switched off due to building construction. Bottom line: When your man never has time to call, but still manages to swing by to noisily knock boots in your dressing room, it’s time to exit the relationship stage left.

* Ivy Lynn and Michael’s duet on “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (embedded below) was positively lovely — and I’d go so far as to say it proved that Tom and Julia and Derek and Eileen picked the right woman for the job. Seriously, is there a place I can pre-book tickets on the off chance this show ever does make its way to Broadway with Megan Hilty as the lead?

* It’s pretty clear Derek likes to keep his irons in more than one fire — if I’m not being too subtle. What other reason would he have for one-on-one cocktails with a memeber of the ensemble in his Marilyn the Musical workshop? And no, he doesn’t really seem like the type to spend his off hours nurturing young talent. Anyhow, Dev’s surprise arrival and huge kiss during Derek and Karen’s meeting may have been inappropriate, but nothing was worse than Derek asking Karen’s beau if his mom and dad were “just off the boat.” Would someone actually say that aloud in 2012?

* Karen going all the way to Iowa for her BFF’s baby shower seemed like just an excuse to let Katharine McPhee show off some surprising country chops on “Redneck Woman,” no? Okay, maybe the trip also reiterated her small-town girl roots and her parents’ concerns about her fiscal well-being, but the whole experience felt a tad disposable. Get the girl back to New York City, and get her scheming or dreaming — or doing something to advance the plot!

* Please, please, please tell me Anjelica Huston’s Eileen is going to throw a Manhattan into the face of her cheating/estranged hubby every week. (“Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t know why that keeps happening. I’m such a klutz.”) I don’t know why I find this visual so delightful, but hey, even Jerry  seems to kind of enjoy the splashy way they end every conversation, ordering a drink for Eileeen and telling her “It’s for throwing,” then later giving an “ahem” and waiting a beat so Eileen could give him his punishment before he made his way out the door. Dude needs to realize: Whether or not their romance is completely dead, the woman is producing this show on her own.

* Did Dennis really not think it was a big deal to tell Tom about his bestie Ivy Lynn having sex in the dressing room with Derek, or is he such an opportunist that he’d use gossip as currency to climb his way into a bigger role in the show/Tom’s bedroom?

What did you think of this week’s Smash? Are you hooked in for the entire season? Sound off in the comments, and for all my TV recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Steven says:

    I don’t buy Ellis as a straight man for even half a second.
    But I suspect the entire gay community is grateful that little worm isn’t making them look bad.

  2. Gaby says:

    Ellis makes this show hard to watch for me, he’s so terrible.

    • dan says:

      Ellis is the worst. He’s the one thing I can’t stand about Smash.

    • jenna says:

      agreed! Rather than feeling entitled to payment for his ‘idea’ he should be grateful he still has his job after the whole youtube thing. I’m hoping he gets caught with the whole ‘borrowing’ act as well, ugh he just needs to leave

      • Zayne says:

        It’s just such an implausible plot line. There’s no way it would hold up in court. I had an idea as a 7 year old that a dinosaur movie would be awesome, should I go after Spielberg for a piece of Jurassic Park?

    • dan says:

      Every soap opera (and that is truly what this show is) needs a good villian. Unfortunately, Ellis isn’t it. Either the actor sucks or the writing for this character is just terrible. Dump him fast and go with Jerry being the main villian.

  3. Gary says:

    They have seriously messed with this show and its only 3 episodes in. I had high expectations for this show and they have cast the wrong Marilyn. Sorry but Kat would have been so much better. Megan is ok but i don’t think she is the part. Its forced and just not Marilyn.
    As for the annoying assistant shoot him now please!

    • Steven says:

      Really? I thought Ivy was the clear choice from the pilot, and was beyond thrilled that they squelched the rivalry so quickly. Katherine McPhee may be the leading lady of “Smash,” but Megan Hilty is already a Broadway performer and deserves the moment as the star of “Marilyn.”

      • Gary says:

        Yeah really. NBC made the entire series look like it sets up Kat and they give it to Megan. I am in the camp where experience isn’t everything. Sorry but i don’t warm to Ivy and i hope things change in the future with the lead. Right now the show is a real turn off for me. Like i said had high expectations but its just another show on NBC for me atm. Glad i have Castle instead. This weeks episode was great.

        • Steven says:

          Well, there are a few things to consider here…
          1) It has nothing to do with the experience of the fictional characters. The songs thus far were “written” with Ivy in mind, Ivy actually looks like Marilyn, and Karen, while, yes, innocent, is also kind of… waify.
          2) Keep in mind that casting is just the first part of the first season. There’s a lot of drama still to come, and there are plenty of articles here on TVLine alone suggesting that there’ll be changes before “Marilyn” actually opens.
          3) “Smash” and “Marilyn” are not synonymous. The promos made Katherine McPhee a big deal because she is a huge part of the show. Whether Karen gets the part or not, she’s a central character and that’s obviously not changing.

    • syb says:

      Has it occurred to you that the series would be over if Ivy had the part locked up for the remainder of its run?
      Stay tuned. Kat will be wearing the blond bombshell hair on stage yet. I’d be willing to bet my nest egg on it.

    • Rainey says:

      Megan Hilty is uber talented without a doubt. But even with her blond hair she’s not Marilyn to me. She plays her too “hard” without enough natural softness of character and vulnerability. And IMO Marilyn always, always had that evident vulnerable side. When Ivy tries to soften up for the Marilyn character it looks like acting. You know?
      And I detest Ellis in every way. He’s not even fun to hate, he’s just distasteful. Ditch him, Smash.

  4. John says:

    Re: workshop rates – yup! Workshops and readings remain low-rent gigs, even for big stars. They’re often done as favors or by folks like Karen and Ivy hoping for career opportunities.

  5. Mick says:

    Was that Debra Messing singing because she sounded beautiful reignited my love for this woman in this role. Along with that Brooklyn Bridge scene

    • Rowelle says:

      Yes, that was her singing. She sang a lot on Will & Grace.

      • Steven says:

        … which is why I think it was a surprise. She sang a lot on “Will & Grace,” but always BADLY, to the point that it was a running joke. (Remember when she took it upon herself to teach the children why she loved “The Sound of Music” and they eventually ran away screaming?) Admittedly, a lot of times, singing that badly takes a trained ear, to ensure that they don’t accidentally do a halfway decent job, but I don’t know that anyone expected her to sound quite as accomplished with that training as her character is supposed to be.

    • dan says:

      I thought Debra Messing looked pudgy throughout the show. Not sure why; either the wardrobe is too big for her or she has put on significant weight since her “Will & Grace” days (I know she had a baby, but she looked chubbier in episode three than she did in the pilot). Just sayin’…

      • Mimi says:

        I agree. She looks as if she’s packed on 40 pounds at least. I’ve searched for confirmation but can’t seem to find anything. Perhaps it’s just special effects for the show?

  6. Davey says:

    Katherine McPhee is a bore. And she comes from Iowa? Yeah, that’s believable. Not.
    Typical of the writing on this show: When Will Chace sees Debra Messing he tells her that she smells good. The writing on this show is terrible.

    • Eli says:

      Right, compared to this show Terra Nova, Two and a Half Men and Ringer are just terrifically written shows.
      Don’t make me laugh you fool. You may find some of the plot hard to believe and unrealistic, but that doesn’t mean its terrible writing. Get an education, cause you obviously have no idea what good and bad writing even means.

  7. van green says:

    did not see any color in there ,for one thing,and i’m not using my conscious past,on this one. acting is a matter of giving away secerts.

  8. Drew says:

    I watched a couple of Marilyn Monroe movies over the weekend and it brought me to two conclusions.
    First, Ivy is does not look the part, as people say. Karen/Katherine’s body type is not that far off. Marilyn was much thinner than she is usually depicted. Her facial features were also more like McPhee’s than Hilty’s. Nothing against Hilty, but the “she looks the part” argument doesn’t fly with me.
    Second, why was she such a famous actress? Yeah, Marylin was pretty, but she was really not a great actress or singer. Watching “How to Marry a Millionaire”, I thought that Lauren Bacall was much more captivating.
    Ellis needs to go away fast. He’s an unneeded element on the show.

    • diane says:

      Firstly, I’m actually surprised that you find Katherine’s body type much closer to Marilyn’s than Megan Hilty’s. I say Megan is much closer, particularly since Marilyn worked some seeeeeerious curves in her day. But to each his own. Frankly I prefer Megan/Ivy as Marilyn because, being a huge fan of Norma Jeane’s myself, everything from her image to the sometimes-breathy-sometimes-low singing to the acting just screams Marilyn to me.
      And to answer your question: basically, sex appeal. To the American public eye, Marilyn Monroe was first and foremost a sex icon. I love Marilyn, but I’ll agree with you that she isn’t really a great actress. She’s an alright singer, a fairly good comedienne, and if you do a bit of research on her you’ll find that she’s also very intelligent and well-spoken. However, her biggest appeal WAS her status as a sex icon. Unfortunately. (And I can’t blame you for saying Bacall was much more captivating. Lauren Bacall could steal the scene from any lead player imo.)

  9. David says:

    Wow, so obviously the writer of this article has never had a boss use him and treat him like garbage. Actually, he is probably the type of person who treats everyone under him like crap, just like Julia treats Ellis. Ellis is probably my 2nd favorite character behind the McPheever. First off, he was completely right in saying that he is not Julia’s employee and she has no right to fire him. Second, I’m so glad he finally stood up to her punishment. I don’t care if you work on Broadway, in Hollywood or in a grocery store, no one deserves to be treated like Julia treated him. I hope he finds more dirt on her and uses it to go a long way. Plus, I hope someone tells her poor husband she cheated on him…and from the looks of the previews, will be cheating on him again. Come on people…if it was the guy doing the cheating, you’d be all over him calling him trash, and you know it!!
    Oh, and of course Ivy got the part because she slept with the producer! He tried to sleep with both of them and the one who gave in won the part.

    • John Smith says:

      I agree seriously Business 101, if you know someone has it out on you then acquire leverage. Also Business 101, nothing wrong with sucking up to your boss to get ahead. Julia is not his boss so he does not need to suck up to her.

    • dee says:

      This post says a lot more about you than it does about the show.
      Ellis is a weasel.

    • Chris says:

      Although Ellis is Tom’s personal assistant, Tom and Julia are business partners so Julia has a right to fire Ellis from anything that has to do with their business. And there is no excuse for rifling through someone’s bag, reading their journal, and eavesdropping. Everything Ellis did proves Julia is right about him and if Tom knew about it, he’d fire him. Julia’s is his best friend!

    • jessica says:

      So its wrong for a boss/business partner to treat you like crap but its ok to go snooping through their bag and ‘borrowing’ their notes. Yeah….cause that makes sense.

    • Caroline says:

      Okay, listen up David.
      1.) When someone has a boss, that boss has the right to order them around. Tom and Julia ARE buisness partners, and Julia has every right to boss Ellis around. Ellis isn’t being a good assistant. Do you ever see him accomplish anything other than snooping and thievery? Stealing someone’s belongings, no matter how they treat you, is a CRIME. Don’t praise the pathetic excuse for an assistant because you’ve had a bad experience with a boss before. It’s not about treating someone like crap just because you feel like it, it’s getting mad when someone doesn’t do their job properly.
      2.) Ivy didn’t get that part because she slept with Derek (who is the Director/Chroeographer. Eileen is the producer). She got that part because everyone agreed on it. Derek doesn’t get the final say on who gets the part. Everyone else involved would have to agree also.
      3.) Ellis clearly doesn’t know how copyright and Broadway shows work. Just because someone hears something you say and is inspired by that doens’t mean that you’re entitled to any money whatsoever. Don’t defend his idiocy.

  10. Amanda says:

    I kind of want them to split the role into Marilyn (Ivy) & Norma Jean (Karen). They could do a duet.

    • Steven says:

      That, actually, is really interesting. And could be really good.

    • Drew says:

      This was done in a movie called “Norma Jean and Marilyn”. If they do end up doing it on the show, they would need to at least reference that movie, otherwise I think it would be seen as the characters (and possibly the TV show writers) ripping off that idea.

  11. Andie says:

    I’m literally in love will Will Chase (Michael). I have a picture of him hanging on my wall in the Broadway poster of failed musical High Fidelity, and I have seem him on Broadway many times. So happy he has a good TV gig! Loved “Grenade,” though I agree it was over produced, and I hope he sings many more musical numbers.

  12. that conniving says:

    little skunk, ellis, i absolutely loathe him. I hope he gets knocked down a few pegs soon.

    • Lime says:

      I HATE HIM! I seriously cannot believe that he stole Julia’s notebook – it was seriously uncalled for behavior. HE IS A STINKY WEASEL.

  13. Brent says:

    Did you actually look at Marylin in these movies? Girl was not Katherine McPhee skinny, she would be considered fat today. Megan is even too skinny but closer to the right body type.

    • Drew says:

      Wrong. I was looking at Marilyn in a couple of movies over the weekend. It’s tricky, because the cut of clothing today is different, so you have to watch for when she’s wearing clothes that show her figure properly. She was not as “curvy” as people today claim. Aside from the fact that her breasts looked dangerously pointy at times, she seemed to have a very thin figure, which I compared to McPhee’s when she was wearing some of those incredibly well tailored dresses on the show.
      I’m sure it’s possible that over the course of ten years, Monroe’s figure could have changed, but in the movies that I watched, she was pretty thin. Nowhere near fat by today’s standards.
      The catch is the cut of the clothes. Back then, clothes were made to accentuate hips, etc. Camera angles also accentuated those curves for a lot of the still pictures. But if you watch the movies and look for the dresses which flow more naturally to show her figure, you can see that she really wasn’t as “fat by today’s standards” as people tend to think.

      • Chris says:

        I read somewhere that Marilyn was a size 16. Of course, a size 16 was smaller than a modern one but still she wasn’t skinny the way Katherine is.

        • Drew says:

          She varied in weight. I just did a quick search online and found one woman (journalist Sara Buys) quoted as saying that she actually got to try on some of Marilyn’s clothes and she definitely was not a 16. More like a (British) 10, which probably translates to smaller American sizes. Especially earlier on in her career, Marilyn was smaller than she is usually given credit for (and that makes sense, since both movies I watched were from the early 50’s)
          I can’t post pictures here, but I’ve done some looking around and have found a lot of pictures of Marilyn where she looks quite thin… not disturbingly thin as a lot of models/actresses today are, but pretty thin. I don’t think that McPhee is too far off from those pictures.

      • Lauren K says:

        In modern day sizes Marilyn Monroe was a size 12. I’m fairly certain you could fit 3 of Katherine McPhee or two of Megan Hilty in a size 12. I don’t care what the clothes and the camera angles “looked like” Marilyn’s measurements are very well known. Which is a actually depressing but still serves to illustrate my point. Katherine McPhee is entirely too skinny to be Marilyn but even more important than that I have yet to see her do an even remotely good Marilyn impression. Whether or not Megan looks the part or not she ACTS the part in every single scene that she is portraying her. Katherine McPhee hasn’t done that.

        • Drew says:

          Her size probably depends on which point you’re talking about.
          When it comes to their performance, I think that Ivy does do a Marilyn impersonation… but do we think that the Marilyn that we see on screen was who she was off screen, or was that all part of the act? Watching her perform is one thing, but capturing the character of who she was off screen is more important when doing a show about Marilyn, rather than her characters. I haven’t been impressed with Ivy’s tendency to do that very controlled performance.

        • mrjack says:

          I think it’s an urban legend that Marilyn was so large. I’ve heard female friends of mine state proudly that Marilyn was a (British) Size 16 (US 12) and so it maked them feel better about their own bodies but in the pictures and films I’ve seen, she is nowhere near that size. Everyone thinks she had a body like Christina Hendricks (who I think is smoking) but it’s not the case.
          I read an article by the guy who had to arrange an auction of her clothes and jewellery and he said he could not believe how tiny her dresses were. To me she looks likes a UK 8-10 (US 4-6) but maybe she probably had relatively high body fat and low muscle mass compared to today’s no-carb, excercise-crazy actresses and models making her small but jiggly. That paired with clothes that she seemed to be spilling out of because they were probably a little on the small side gave her the curvy appearance.
          And if she was so large, why was Michelle Williams cast to play her in the film. She’s so tiny, you’d think they’d have made her pork up à la Bridget Jones if their was such a difference in their sizes.
          I think Katherine McPhee looks most like Marilyn in every way but hair colour. She is so beautiful in the face and can do the smouldering “sleepy eyes”. But more importantly, her character has the vulnerability of Marilyn, unlike Ivy’s caricature. Lastly I prefer Katherine’s voice – it’s creamy (if you know what I mean) but when Megan Hilty belts out it’s too #there’s no business like show business!# and jazz handsy.

          • mrjack says:

            *made not maked – yes, surprisingly, English is my first language…

          • syb says:

            While it is true that sizing has become more generous to serve our vanity, it is also true that curves and meat on the bones wasn’t considered “fat” in the 50s and 60s. I’ve read she weighed in the neighborhood of 135 to 140, and some of her costars have mentioned she wasn’t exactly a featherweight. Neither Megan nor Kat is anywhere close to Marilyn in looks or shape. It isn’t the point anyway. Can either or both project her image on the stage. I’d say yes in both cases.

  14. Zach says:

    Not enough katharine this episode, loved her redneck woman vocal, can’t wait for her “Touch me” episode! :D

  15. Opinionmine says:

    I thought tonight’s episode was compelling TV, it kept me interested most of the way though. Of course the character of Ellis is evil and annoying, but that is what gets people talking isn’t it? Ever stop and think his gayness/non-gayness could be yet another tool in his ability to get what he wants, when he wants it?
    Megan Hilty was absolutely the correct choice for the part, Kat McPhee would not be believeable in the part of a second. As someone said about another Katherine (Hepburn) her acting skills run the gamut from A to B. Unfortunately the show is telegraphing that there WILL be a change in leads, and Hilty just signed on for a real Broadway show, so the die has been cast.
    I am growing in my admiration for Debra Messing each week. So glad to know she is so much nore than her one note Grace character!
    I feel that most of the show is extremely well cast and certainly well-played. The fact that they are using so many. Broadway vets is wonderful, although it makes Kat McPhee stick out like a sore thumb. But again, perhaps that is a desired effect.

    • Danielle H says:

      ALLL THIS. Great post. And I hadn’t thought of Ellis in that way until you said it.. he is totally playing his sexuality in whatever gets him what he wants.
      I am HOOKED!

  16. Will says:

    I only have one major problem with this show as it currently stands, and that is that none of the writer apparently understand the concept of an understudy.
    I mean seriously, you have 2 girls who you are strongly debating over and considering for the part, but the prospect of one being an understudy is not only never mentioned, but the second individual is shuffled to the chorus instead with no mention that she would be the one to take the job of being in the role were the main pick to suddenly fall ill? It’s absolutely ridiculous that even for a workshop, and alternate for the lead role would not be definitively selected.

  17. Christina says:

    i’m enjoying the show, but some of the plots? Ivy’s gullibility with Derek is ridiculous. Its making me lose sympathy for the character quick. And everything about the Ellis character is striking out. There’s no redeeming qualities in him whatsoever. And who are they kidding by making him straight! They can keep Eillen throwing a Manhattan in Jerry’s face every episode though.

  18. Laura says:

    Me too! He’s one of my favorites!! I saw him in High Fidelity. He is fantastic and I’m happy he’ll be on my tv screen.

  19. airhead says:

    Ugh, I hate Ellis sooooooo much. On the outside, he acts like the perfect assistant, but really, he’s a little scheming devil assistant on the inside. I wish Julia could actually fire him

  20. Dominic says:

    Love the way Dev and Derek sized sized each other up, a very British way of doing things, spot on actually and yes here in the UK you still do say off the boat.

    • Rob says:

      I know, by the way for those wondering the other place is Cambridge Uni.

    • mrjack says:

      Assuming his parents were ‘just of the boat’ is pretty racist and definitely dumb. Dev looks like he’s in late 20s/early 30s so if he were 2nd generation, his parents would have come by plane. Being English myself, their entire interaction made my stomach turn.
      This is not what “we do” thanks very much Dev. Maybe upper middle-class, public schoolboy w*nkers like them talk like that to each other when they meet in a foreign country but nobody I know (or want to know) does.
      NB Public schools in England are private schools with tuition fees. State schools are for everyone else.

  21. Jess says:

    Ellis needs to go! I don’t know what the writers “have in store” for him, and I don’t really care. The less he’s on my TV, the happier I am about this show! “Ellis continued his best impression of a Downton Abbey servant with irrational entitlement issues” LMAO SO TRUE!!!!!! Love it! I really wanted Julie/Debra Messing to slap him… lol
    Agree with you about the whole Bruno Mars show, I don’t like that song and it didn’t help that Michael was kinda screechy and 100% cheesy.
    Like Dominic above, I LOVED the Dev and Derek exchange. The anglophile in me has been waiting for it since episode 1, and it did NOT disappoint! Kudos to the writers to get that British bitchiness spot on! I can just watch that scene over and over again!

  22. dan says:

    Now that I’ve seen the show, I can’t believe how horrible Ellis is, even for a drama. To me, all of the characters are flawed, yet you sort of understand where they come from and still like them. Ellis is just disgusting. He should be grateful that Tom and Julia tolerate him being around, after posting their song on Youtube. He shouldn’t say Julia has it out for him, because it’s a miracle that she even tolerates him being around. And now he wants credit for the show? He should have negotiated that with them before offering his opinions about Marilyn. I’m sure professional writers can’t pay off everyone who inspires them to come up with an idea. He’s just disgusting.

  23. KD says:

    UGH! I can’t stand Ellis…nor do I believe for one second that he is straight or could bag that hottie.

  24. Lucy says:

    The only worry I have for this show is McPhee’s acting. It was good the first episode, but since then it’s been a bit weak. So from that perspective it’s good she has a less prominent role in the beginning. I also wish they would put some clothes on her. Tank tops & sleeveless dresses are not a good look for her.. she looks way too thin – skeleton like. Loved her singing on the Red Neck Woman, but her visual performance was not good. They should have put her in jeans and a nice top for a more casual look and had her perform like a country star…it would have been a greater moment for her and the audience – such a lost opportunity.
    The rest of the acting is wonderful. I think Debra Messing and the director carries the show right now. In terms of where it goes from here — it’s obvious Katharine takes on a bigger role eventually, but they’ll probably focus largely on her singing since she cannot compete with the acting like Debra Messing. I do hope I’m wrong though. If she does step it up.. it truly will be a smash.

  25. Dan says:

    With all the advertising for this show, pre-debut, I decided to check it out. The first episode was decent and sucked me in for the McPhee audition scene alone, but the last two episodes have faded. This show does not seem to have legs. The plotlines are predictable and contrived. The acting is uneven, as some characters are strong and have to carry the others. But most of all, the show is not compelling. Great TV leaves you longing for more. The last two weeks, I was just happy the show was over so I could delete it from the DVR.

  26. wtfnyc says:

    All in all, I’m pretty much in except for 2 things: (1) Why on EARTH do you hire Brian D’Arcy James for a show about musicals, then not have him in a role that, you know, SINGS??!?! (2) I’m already finding it seriously UNcomfortable watching D. Messing and W. Chase play co-adulterers, considering the fact that in real life they started filming, then left their spouses for each other. It’s just….icky and sad.

    • dan says:

      Her marriage was over before she even met him, supposedly. I’m not sure what was going on with him. Does seem a bit icky, though.

    • Maggie says:

      yeah, i was kind of curious to see if their chemistry was as “electric” as everyone was saying it was considering they’re now dating. i think dan is right, i “think” their marriages were over before they started working together. it does feel weird, though, knowing they’re dating.

    • dee says:

      Couldn’t agree more about Brian d’Arcy James. WHAT A WASTE! This guy has an amazing voice, people! USE IT!
      That said, one of the best things about this show is seeing all of these established Broadway stars (Christian, Brian, Megan, Will) on my TV each week.

      • dan says:

        The character of Michael’s wife was played by Michelle Federer who was the original Nessarose of “Wicked.” She played the part for several years (was one of the longest original cast members in the show until she left) and was in it when Megan Hilty played Glinda (I saw them together on Broadway). I love that the casting people are using Broadway veterans for many of the roles. Now if the writers could actually write some compelling dialogue and keep the show from becoming a bore.

        • Maggie says:

          Michelle is also real-life wife of Norbert Leo Butz, who was in Catch Me if You Can (did anyone catch the poster in the background of the elevator scene bet. Julia & Michael?) & Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman, who write the songs for the show, wrote all the music for Catch Me. Theater vets for the win this week! Also, in a blink & you’ll miss it part, Jessica Lee Goldyn, who killed it as Val in the revival of A Chorus Line, was Lucy, the backup dancer

    • eviltwit says:

      “icky”? What are we, 12? Real life is messy and not always black and white. I don’t give a crap what these actors’ love-lives are in real life. They contribute to the show as actors and singers. That is all I care about.

  27. Slizabeth says:

    I. Hate. That. Assistant.
    I’m sorry. He has to go in a big, big way.

  28. Naturally Curlie says:

    Particularly considering they are successful B’way composer/lyrisists, it doesn’t seem logical they don’t have final say in casting and other aspects of creative production. Even for a workshop. The weasally asst. is there for conflict. Otherwise there’s not much intrigue. Not realistic = ass’t would be so brazen or rude to Debra Messing who is the long time partner/friend of his boss. Any halfwit who is confessing such an important and huge secret would be sure they are alone before starting a conversation. Asst had intruded several times before so her confession without making sure they were alone and especially after the confrontation is not realistic to me. Ridiculous forced plot devices at every turn ie adoptation angle. Whole show is amaturish and predictable in it’s storyline. Just not good enough. Not the actor’s fault. It’s the writing.

  29. John says:

    Lot of Ellis hate here (me too): so the character’s doing it’s job. lol

  30. Traci says:

    I really don’t like Ellis so I find him hard to watch. Also, Julia confessing that she cheated on her hubby in a place where she can be overheard is just so trite and overused as a plotline that I hate seeing it here.
    Not really loving Ivy as Marilyn either. She looks more like MM but she is too confident. MM was very vulnerable and extremely fragile under the bombshell exterior and Katherine McPhee conveys that essence much better than Megan does. Sadly, not being able to buy Megan as MM taints the Marilyn numbers for me but I am still enjoying the show overall.

  31. Carla says:

    I loved it! And I agree with everyone on the Grenade-trainwreck, lovely Mr-Mrs Smith duet. Megan Hilty is amazing, and I love Ivy Lyn! It pains me to even think about how Derek, a** that he is, will eventually dump her. And possibly give the role to Karen or whomever else he fancies at that moment. Alas, can’t wait for more! Go Smash! (Except for the affair storyline. Why can’t it just be merry singing and drink-throwing? I feel this is really taking it into too dark territory. But maybe that’s just me.)

  32. Guy says:

    This show had so much promise and then somehow it’s gone from amazing to just plain stinky in the space of 3 weeks. The writers are to blame because they cast the wrong Marilyn. People I know we’re all for McPhee but they cast the hard to watch Hilty. This show had lost me as a viewer and I am not coming back. NBC sure know how to kill a show. No wider they are in 4th place.

  33. KSM says:

    Seriously, Ellis is so bad, I may have to quit watching the show. Also, totally thought he was gay as well.
    I disagree with others though – the only thing this show has gotten right is the casting of Ivy as Marilyn – she is much better than McPhee.

  34. Sharon says:

    As much as I like Debra Messing and Anjelica Houston, both of whom look terrific, Will Chase is the real reason I watch “Smash”. I’ve had a crush on him since “Miss Saigon” and I’ll continue to watch as long as he appears. I’m just hoping the writers continue to allow him to sing at least twice in every episode.

  35. billl says:

    As for the comment re: Ellis being one of TV’s most annoying characters ever, how about a bracket contest to determine who actually is? My number one nomination would be Matt from Nip/Tuck. It was a combination of the actor and the role, like Ellis.

  36. penny says:

    Megan Hilty is WAAAAAAY to heavy to play Marilyn. Marilyn Monroe had a 23 inch waist. Hilty is more like 33 and that’s probably being kind. Katharine McPhee is much closer to Marilyn’s body type.

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  38. Rainey says:

    Derek wants Karen because she bruised his giant ego by turning him down at his apartment. Now he sees her as a challenge, and probably wonders how far she’d be willing to go for the part of Marilyn once she sees the show coming together. He’s a devious bugger, that one. ;) But I don’t ship them at all, because Derek is all kinds of arsey.