Smash Recap: The 10 Most Cringe-Worthy Moments from 'The Coup'

smash the coupJust because parents love their kids doesn’t mean they don’t need to discipline them when they’re naughty. In that same spirit, I’m skipping my typical recap of this week’s Smash — which found Derek staging a baffling one-song workshop (with help from Karen, Eileen, and…Ryan Tedder?) to inspire/overthrow Tom and Julia — and instead putting NBC’s Monday-night musical on the naughty step by counting down the episode’s 10 most cringe-worthy moments:

10. Frank putting on Rock Band in the bedroom and singing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” to Julia — while wearing a fedora! (Surely the show’s writers could’ve come up with less random/painful ways to let Brian D’Arcy James sing/remind us his character still exists.)

9. Tom and Derek’s post-workshop confrontation — chock full of borderline-absurd details like Tom almost crying about how he and Derek used to be friends (whaaa?), then accusing him of being a homophobe, and finally dropping this bit of unintentional hilarity: The critic who gave Derek a glowing review on his and Tom’s collaboration 11 years ago just so happened to be sleeping with Derek’s father at the time. (Why the face!?!?)

8. Eileen’s trust-fund baby daughter (Grace Gummer) whining about her mother using cutthroat techniques to salvage the troubled Marilyn musical. Sample dialogue: “This kind of crap made me want to flee to Micronesia!” Um, honey, if mom and dad didn’t run their business like a business, you wouldn’t be able to afford a plane ticket to Micronesia in the first place, mmmkay?

7. Presented without comment: Trust-fund baby making her exit with the excuse that she had to go count wild salmon in Alaska.

6. Still more of Derek’s annoying psychobabble about Karen’s supposed frigidity (“Don’t be afraid of the sex.”) when he knows zilch about her sex life, and Marilyn’s mystique (“It’s what Marilyn had: Purity. On top of that purity was sex.”). Who speaks like that? Or more accurately, who in the Smash writers’ room thinks people speak like that?

5. Wait: We’re supposed to believe uber-producer Ryan Tedder would spend a week in a Brooklyn warehouse writing and producing a song for an unproduced musical without any kind of contract, and then blithely apologize and walk away when the show’s producer calls the whole thing a terrible mistake because it bruised the original playwrights’ egos? And who exactly paid him for his services?

4. Julia exploding at a judge — in court! — as he pondered expunging her teenage son’s record of a minor infraction. Since when did her character get a lobotomy? Also, it has to be said: That kid of hers cannot act.

3. Ivy and the Marilyn chorus staging a song-and-dance routine to “Dance to the Music” in a New York City bowling alley — without a single patron telling ‘em to shut their pie holes?

2. Ellis stalking Ivy outside her dance class, passing intel like a theater-queen equivalent of Sydney Bristow, lounging in bed with his girlfriend (oh I just cahhhhn’t!), and then breezily dismissing Tom after getting hired by Eileen. “Thanks for the opportunity! I really enjoyed working with you!” As if Ellis isn’t going to continue working with Tom for the duration of Marilyn the Musical, and as if Eileen wouldn’t have discussed with her coworker that she was about to poach his assistant? Come on!

1. The least sexy performance and staging of a song called “Touch Me” in the history of ever. Was Karen supposed to be konked out on cough syrup during that production number? And how are we supposed to buy Derek as a directing genius when his grand idea was a giant cliché featuring Marilyn in a white sheet-dress, a bunch of masked/faceless dancing paparazzi, and a wrought iron bed turining into a prison?

In other news, there was one decent scene where Tom and Ivy cried together after he told her Eileen wanted to go with a known star for the show’s titular role. But that wasn’t nearly enough to salvage the hour.

What did you think of “The Coup”? Were you as disappointed as me? Did I miss any other cringe-worthy moments? Sound off in the comments!

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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99 Comments
  1. Josh says:

    I’m hopeful that with a new showrunner, this show will turn around. Usually when a showrunner writes an episode it’s one of the best episodes of the season, not the exact opposite! To me that makes it seem like the root of the problem starts there. So with her weeded out, I could see a turn around..They have all the elements…save for the writing(and Julia’s son acting skills…someone needs to hop on a bus to a Connecticut boarding school, and that bus needs to hit Ellis on the way)

    • Nick says:

      She writes every episode. She said so in a New York magazine piece about the show several weeks back. No trust for her writing staff, total control freak…probably good to move in a new direction from both in front of and behind the camera.

  2. Anthony Newhall says:

    I’m disappointed in the show in general.

  3. Slizabeth says:

    In one episode they managed to throw away all the charm and humor the show has. I’ll tune in next week, but if it isn’t better, I’m out.

    • Couldn’t agree more! I loved the first ep but none of the others have lived up to it due to the fact that the writers seem to be happy to keep them all as 1 dimensional clichéd characters! Lazy :-(

  4. Joe says:

    I don’t understand the critics hate of last night’s episode. I thought a lot happened, I thought it was entertaining and even the “far out” stuff that many are touting as horrific was MILES above the crap that critics praise about Glee. Yes, even critics here. That bowling alley number shouldn’t be on SMASH, but it would have been loved if Chris Colfer and Lea Michele were dancing in the alley. SMASH is not the most flawless show on television, but it is entertaining and unique and I think people need to just take a step back at being so overly critical of it.

    • Peter says:

      Agree entirely. Accept that it’s a fictional TV show and not a documentary and enjoy it for what it is. Personally, I think “Smash” is one of the best things on broadcast network TV right now, and it’s only going to get better. So glad it’s been renewed so it will get the chance.

    • Donna says:

      I totally agree and I thought Derek & Toms argument was great. The Touch me segment was entertaining & served it purpose in the story line. It was not the best Smash episode but it was way better than any of Glees. I think it is a very interesting show and I love all the musical numbers. Please do not bash a show that dares to be different. I do agree about Julia’s son who is a horrible actor and really needs to go. Karen’s voice is fabulous and anything she sings sound wonderful. Smash is a great show & I look forward to future episodes.

    • Leah says:

      I actually thought the bowling alley number was one of the best moments of the night. I was a theater kid in high school, and that actually happened when my friends and I went bowling (much less staged, but singing and dancing? absolutely!), and the other bowlers just thought it was funny. I found it really believable and relatable in an otherwise lackluster episode.

  5. Not The Lowest Common Denominator says:

    Thank you Michael! Wish someone had the stones to review Glee like this.

    • YowzaPowza says:

      They would be doing this every week if that were the case. This episode of Smash was no worse than any Glee episode, yet these critics praise Glee every week with new spoilers and plot points they think we all care about. I love you Slezak, and I love this site, but how can you possibly do this for Smash after one mediocre episode but allow Glee to continue with its ridiculousness for years and never do this once?

      • Lisa says:

        AGREE so much.

      • Morgan says:

        TOTALLY AGREE! Why do critics praise Glee even though it has had worse plots for the majority of its 3 seasons and completely trash this one mediocre episode of Smash?

      • Edash says:

        Agree ten million times over.

      • Christina says:

        Seriously!!! Can’t agree more.

      • Ryan says:

        Because they’re not the same show? For the same reason that if a former Alcatraz inmate showed up on Smash I would think it’s crazy, even though everyone praises Alcatraz when that happens!

        It just doesn’t fit. Glee is meant to be over the top and ridiculous beyond reason, that’s the point. That isn’t how I (and many others) see Smash.

  6. It’s too late to apologize, it’s too late!

  7. Sarah says:

    I think the most puzzling thing of all was the court scene. Why did her son get arrested? It was clearly unimportant and normally, when they throw in a stupid plot point like that its so transparent. Plot A happened and the result of it was X. I’m still not sure what the point of it was.

    I’ve been giving smash a chance, but this week I just wanted to…well, smash it.

  8. YowzaPowza says:

    Agree with everything. Though I sort of liked the fight between Tom and Derek. So much word about Julia’s son. That kid is the worst actor on TV. This show needs a major turn around. What started off with so much promise has turned into a show that just caters to stupidity and character cliches.

  9. Kat says:

    I have been consistently disappointed in this show since its once-promising beginning. For me, I tune in now for the ridiculousness of how bad it’s become. So many cliches, not to mention being beaten over the head with convenient plot bats and character lightswitch moments.

  10. xwiseguyx says:

    I don’t see the Glee and Smash comparisons .. other than they are musicals one has mostly Karoake type of songs and the other has a lot more “original” material.. really kiddies, the comparisons are silly,.

  11. Maggie says:

    bahh!! what a dud of an episode! you have 2 legit Tony nominees in your main cast (Christian Borle & Brian D’Arcy James) and the first song that Brian “sings” is Bob Marley?! really?! what a waste…yes I know he’s a science teacher in the show but at least give him a good song to show off his amazing voice!

    though the dialogue was a bit clunky, I thought the best part of the episode was the fight between Derek & Tom, it was 2 characters actually pushing for something, it was nice to see these 2 actors with such different dynamics go at it.

    how is Derek’s trenchcoat not mentioned as another cringe-worthy moment?! hahaha

    • Temis says:

      Oh right Derek’s trenchcoat, that was hysterical. I forgot about it because I watched Once Upon a Time on my DVR last night too and I got Derek mixed up in my memory with The Mad Hatter.

    • Salsa Girl says:

      Ha. The trench coat was absurd. He looked like Professor Snape

  12. Kayla says:

    I cannot wait until the terrible showrunner is GONE. I think that’s the only reason anyone should stick around for season two: to see if this mess can be salvaged.

  13. Amanda says:

    EWW! Please don’t compare disgusting Ellis to the wonderful Sydney Bristow. I think you owe all Alias fans an apology.

  14. Jon says:

    Has anyone mentioned McPhee’s acting? Nope, guess not. As the saying goes “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all”. But… in my opinion her lines were delivered in a deadpan monotone manner, as if reading off cue cards. No emotion at all.

    • davey says:

      I know I’m definitely in the minority with this, but I find Karen to be one of the most watchable things about the show. Maybe it’s just that I can’t stand how they’ve written Ivy – she drives me crazy!!!

      • Christy says:

        No, it’s not just you – I love Karen too. She’s my favorite thing about the show.

        This episode was more confusing than anything – it just seemed to undo what they’ve been trying to build towards in terms of half the characters.

    • Temis says:

      If they have guts, they will fire Katherine McPhee. She doesn’t have what it takes to be a TV star and certainly not a Broadway star, which is a jarring contrast with Megan Hilty who is both. The idea that we don’t know which one to root for – which must have been the original idea here – is ruined by the fact that it is so obvious that there’s only one to root for. The other will get the show closed on opening night.

      • Ashley says:

        Agreed! She is so boring! Show would be just fine without her. Or at least take away the idea that she is supposed to be any kind of real contender for Marilyn. Ridiculous.

      • thaty says:

        The problem is Karen, not McPhee. I can’t even say if Mcphee is a good actress or not because her character is so poorly writen and hasn’t done anything worthy till now. If they give her something to work with – like they did with Hilty (who by the way is terrific) – then I can judge if she is a good actress or not.

      • Realist says:

        Katharine McPhee can’t act, period.

      • mooshki says:

        I disagree. I find Hilty annoying, and Ivy unbearable. And I know other people feel the same. You’re confusing your opinion with fact.

        • twee says:

          Well, the original commenter at least offered an opinion framed by a logical train of thought. You have here offered only opinion. That’s not a very promising direction to take. :(

    • Carol says:

      We’re watching two different shows because I found McPhee’s scenes and her spunkiness very charming and engaging. Particularly, her interactions with the actor who plays Dev are very lighthearted and fun. Some of the best scenes last night were her ranting to her boyfriend about secrecy and Broadway politics. It was funny and entertaining. However, I find that some of the writing of her character in a lot of the other scenes are stilted. Most of her lines are cut off by other characters, and she isn’t given very much to do or say except “why?”. Poor writing and poor direction. It’s happened to all the actors on the show.

      • Liz says:

        Agree. I like Megan Hilty too, but McPhee is given zilch to work with in terms of character and lines. She is a fabulous singer, and though I am in the minority here, I find her musical perfomances more appealing that Hilty’s.

    • daviduter says:

      McPhee is the only reason I am watching this show.

    • laylagalise says:

      I wouldn’t go that far, but I don’t buy that any director or producer worth their salt would think that Karen should be cast as Marilyn Monroe. She’s got a wonderful, pop star voice, but Ivy has a Broadway-belting voice and can act (plus she looks a little like Marilyn). No matter how they write Ivy, I always end up sympathizing with her because she’s so much more talented than the girl they keep pitting her against.

  15. susela says:

    This was a truly awful episode. Michael, you forgot to mention said trust-fund daughter fully furnishing her mother’s apartment while mom was out for a few hours. Is this show supposed to be a comedy but we all just don’t get it? If they would stick with a plot about putting on a show—with all that entails—and also stick with only show-related songs instead of lamentable karaoke numbers, “Smash” could be great.

  16. Ilana says:

    The best thing about the “counting salmon in Alaska” part was that when Eileen questioned her daughter’s plan, she responded “I don’t ask you why you produce Broadway musicals.” Okay….but counting salmon ACTUALLY makes no sense!

    • twee says:

      It’s a bit odd that a university isn’t doing it, but then with funding so low, she’s probably going with some grad student friends.

      Yes, veering wildly from the topic of Smash, but it is vitally important to keep track of wild populations, especially for species like Salmon that are fished. And there is a point at which people literally hang around counting them. It’s strange, but true. *shrugs*

  17. Drew says:

    Yeah, Karen was supposed to be out of it during her “Touch Me” number. She went from sexy, to dazed, to terrified… Derek was trying to show the spiral of Marilyn.

    Aside from that, I agree with the rest of the comments about the episode.

    • Drew says:

      Oh also, Michael claiming that his family means everything to him.

      Sorry, how do you forget that your family exists for several weeks if they mean everything to you?

    • Christina says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that got it then. I liked the Touch Me number because it was attempting to get at the craziness that had to be her mind towards the end. It was kind of out there, but that is what drug addicts are.

  18. Tania says:

    I guess that I’m in the minority here. I thought that last night’s episode was very good and very dramatic. Honestly, it appears that you guys sat down and didn’t watch this episode. Rather many of you sat down with the express purpose of childishly picking it apart (yes, I’m specifically talking to you Amy). It is your opinion of course however silly.

  19. Jean says:

    I really liked the scene where Tom told Ivy they were hiring a star for Marilyn. I actually thought that was really well done. And I mostly liked the scene where Tom and Derek fought. I thought Touch Me was a terrible song, not sure anyone could have made it sound any better. And it would have been terrible for a Broadway show. I want to like Kat McPhee more, but she just always seems so low energy to me, and when people like Ryan Tedder say she sounds amazing, it seems silly. The courtroom scene was ridiculous, Tom’s relationship with the lawyer seems ridiculous. I don’t know why I watch this show!

    • Christy says:

      I really liked the song, but thought it was way more of a pop song than a Broadway song. But maybe he was trying to do some sort of Greenday the Musical type thing? That was weird.

  20. Ashton says:

    Although this episode wasn’t my favorite, I still am loving the show. I want to see more Tom and Julia for sure and less of the Karen scenes, to me she isn’t the star of this series so I would like to see the storyline spread out getting to know more of the characters. I’m glad the show was renewed for another season and one average episode isn’t going to turn me away from a very promising show.

  21. Brad says:

    WTF? I love Smash, except for a few things that I think need Smashed. I thought last nights episode was great. It was the first time I ever felt bad for Ivy, and I really dislike the character.

  22. Temis says:

    Thank you, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought the episode was 90% stinkeroo.

    Grace Gummer needs to never return to the show. She needs acting lessons first. A famous mommy doesn’t give you automatic talent, kiddo. The character is sappy and pointless anyway. How nice for the trust fund baby that she’s a globe-trotting do-gooder. Who cares?

    The “big song” that Derek put together as his amazingly devious coup was an idiotic monstrosity. Tom and Julia should have fallen on the floor laughing and told Derek not to quit his day job and leave the composing to the professionals. Why Eileen didn’t fire Derek instantly, I’ll never know. After that catastrophe, why should she have any faith left in his taste in music?

    In addition to the great scene with Tom and Ivy, I also kind of liked the big blowout between Tom and Derek. The line about “he was sleeping with your father!” was a borderline howler, but it’s a tribute to Christian Borle and Jack Davenport that they actually made the over-the-top writing work. Still, they deserve better writing. I hate seeing good actors abused like that.

  23. kelly says:

    katherine mcphee is the best thing about this show and i’m sorry but I loved ryan tedder’s song and the performance of Touch me. the first song i’ll buy from smash if it ever makes it to iTunes.

    • Temis says:

      And now we know why they included that song, despite it being totally inappropriate to the TV series. To sell it on iTunes to suckers like you.

    • Chris says:

      I also enjoyed this song but I do think it was in there only to get you to download it. It did not fit with the rest of the Marilyn numbers. I enjoy Katherine McPhee when she sings but lose all interest when she speaks. She’s not an actress. And Dev is even worse. I just don’t care about his character’s job problems. I say axe him and give Frank all of his air time.

  24. I liked the episode. I guess I’m in the minority. Can’t wait for next week!

  25. Jim says:

    Please, the best thing about last nights show was Katharine’s rendition of “Touch Me”. The song was hot and McPhee was amazing.

  26. RD says:

    I am now certain that they make this stuff up as they go along.I could have come up with better plot ideas.Sad,because I was really beginning to enjoy it.But this was up there with Sue Sylvester marrying herself on Glee.Fail!

  27. jisstill says:

    The idea of Ellis I’m actually OK with. I like the idea of a kid trying to squirm his way into the theater scene by any means necessary is at least interesting. I just think the execution is horrible. They should make him seem more hungry to get into the business instead of making him so pesky and annoying and a little bit creepy. I’d rather feel like he’s more deserving to be around instead of just seeing him as just a weasel. They need to make him seem like a hustler…. but better than they’re doing it. Does he actually have a plan of execution or is he just lucking up? If he’s fooling them, I’d rather him fool us, too… and be a little more sly about it.
    And… I’m trying to understand what they want us to think about his sexuality. Are they trying to show contrast between him and Sam (the gay dude with straight tendencies) by him being straight with gay tendencies? Is he lying to himself? Is he putting on a front? I can’t tell what we are supposed to get here and I’m less intrigued than I am annoyed by it.
    In any case, I don’t mind rooting for a hustler if he actually seems cunning and cleaver… and regardless of his sexual orientation.

    • thaty says:

      I think it would be interesting if Ellis was just a kid trying to understand the business. The same way that we learn – or at least should learn – through Karen’ character how it is like to begin in broadway as an actress, we could learn through Ellis the details about running the business, how to get the money, contacting people, dealing with celebrity divas etc.

  28. This episode was a doozy. Makes me less excited for the next episode but I still can’t wait!

  29. lisa says:

    so much ridiculosity and no one has mentioned the dev storyline? he has weiner photos of the guy and doesn’t leak him to the press himself? what kind of a pr guy is he??? and the manufactured stress with him and karen and “rj.” whatever! i’m gonna go count salmon.

  30. Emily says:

    THANK YOU. Whoever cast Julia’s son must have been delusional that day. Not only does he look nothing like his parents, I have to look away when he’s on screen because his acting is such a trainwreck.

  31. Coolio Jackson says:

    I don’t get the Katherine McPhee hate, I didn’t like her on American Idol but I think she is the best think about SMASH. This show is full of unlikeable characters…especially “Julia”, “Ivey”, and “Tom”. Just because someone is a good Broadway performer doesn’t mean they are going to be a good TV performer on a show about Broadway. Grace Gummer was terrible and the character annoying and insipid. The actor playing “Ellis” just doesn’t have the chops to play “evil”.

    This show needs a do-over.

  32. Emily says:

    And I didn’t understand the Ryan Tedder project at all. Whether the song was good is beside the point: when would Marilyn Monroe ever be associated with dance-trance-pop? Would you ever do that to the Beatles? As far as I could tell, the point was either to be so off the wall that the audience would not be left with a shred of doubt that Tom and Julia are the best people for the job, or to attempt to infuse some pop interest into the show to draw in the Glee crowd. Probably both, which is unfortunate, because neither is a good reason and both were a colossal failure. And I say this even though I didn’t hate the song.

  33. Leo says:

    That “Touch Me” number was one of the most embarassing things ever. That song was so bad and that number looked so stupid. Karen is not an interesting character and she just makes it worst for herself.

    I did not dislike Tom and Derek’s fight.

  34. Mister Mister says:

    I agree with Mr. Slezak’s appraisal. This show is so wrong-footed it wouldn’t even be cast in the workshop. When are we going to get homo sex between Davenport and The Composer? These two have been playing their scenes like Tiger and Pussycat. And who, WHO, cast the blonde willowy Streep Child as the daughter of Spanish/Irish Amazon Anjelica Huston? Their confrontation scene was just bad writing.

  35. kateshomesick says:

    OOOOOKAY….here’s the thing. There’s a combination of bad writing/bad casting choices going on…1. Ellis- I do actually believe he is supposed to be straight…doesn’t come across as that, way too cartoonish…2. Derek & Tom- I actually love both actors, i liked their fight scene- even if it was a little unfocused (again: WRITING) but I got this very weird lost-love momentum from that. If they are not going to let Tom confess about being in love with Derek back then…it doesn’t make sense at all…(if they would go that route…I would really like that- it would give cosure to some of the weird plot-/character holes) 3. I don’t think that Julias son and Eileens daughter are bad actors but they have been given the worst clicheed lines ever…PLUS…they DO not fit their respective roles in this case. 4. The fired musical guy…what a waste of a storyline…the character came across as WAY to unlikeable and also his motives weren’t cohesive at all…(now all of a sudden his family is the most important thing to him?) 5. Katherine McPhee….as a trained actress and classical singer I have to say: it’s not the acting (though what she is doing is very wooden) nor the singing that is bothering me…the thing is: girlfriend has NO charism at all…

    It’s about creating cohesive storylines and character. That’s all that’s reall missing and a bit more attention to the details, I might add.
    There are several other problems that I’m not going to mention now cause in general I really,really LOVE the show (and I aso have to pack my luggage for my vacation).

    I’m glad they seem to at least put a bit of effort into the Derek character…

  36. About a week or 2 ago, my perspective of this show definitely changed from that of a person thinking its a good show to that of a person who enjoys campy camp camp-I watch it with the same eyes I watch Valley of the Dolls or Glitter with!!

  37. Mishele says:

    Reading all of these comments lets me know. A. I’m not the only one still watching “Smash” and B. the coup was a crappy episode. I’ll give smash one thing it’s a more adult comedy/musical thing. But where do I go from there.
    Well they really need to decide already who marilyn is gonna be. Karen? Ivy? Some star? I would love it to be Ivy, she’s sexy, she’s got talent and she damn well worked for it. And if Karen Cartwright gets another thing handed to her. I’m gonna flip. Like bar mitzvah, demo, song. What the hell!? Who are you, you just came in last week. Go do some work and wait your turn. The whole abstract view on Marilyn was stupid. That so was plain awful. I couldn’t bare it and it looked ridiculous. And Ryan Tedder, why are you here? Derek that defininetly was not your best idea. Don’t get me started on Eileen’s daughter. “oh I’m rich. So I’m gonna go to 3rd world countries and help people.” Go sit down, and spend your 3 million. If my parents gave me 3 mil I wouldn’t be complaining. I’ll breeze by Julia and Michael angst because they need to move on. I won’t discuss the stupid husband, I don’t even know his name because he’s not important. I will however talk about the son. What the hell is wrong with that kid? First he’s crying about adoption, then about his mom having an affair. Then he’s smoking dope, jeeze be a little more sneaky, you idiot. I just don’t understand this kid, I think he’s a bit slow and a bad actor. Do I hear military school to change his bad habbits, yes I do. Lastly I will touch on my biggest annoyance, ELLIS! Why the hell is he everywhere? He just gets his nose into everything. I didn’t like him from day one. Going around stealing notebooks. He should have been fired. But no here he is rubbing elbows with Eileen the producer. Someone should kick this guy and send him packing. There’s an extra seat on the bus to military school Ellis and its calling your name.

  38. joe says:

    “Also, it has to be said: That kid of hers cannot act.”

    Truth. That kid must be doing something to someone on set/behind the scenes.

  39. Dee says:

    After reading Matt Mitovich’s tweets during the show last night I didn’t think I wanted to waste my time. I decided to read this before watching and have decided that the 42 minutes it would take me to watch are better used doing something else. I hope next week is better. I have high hopes for this show but at this point the writing on Glee is better!!

  40. 777 says:

    After reading the article and watching all the episodes I’ve reached one conclusion. Yesterday’s episode showed very little of Ivy and a lot of Karen. The episodes that were the best have shown more of Ivy. yes, her character is annoying, but Megan Hilty is so damn talented, it’s impossible for me not to be on team Ivy.
    as for Katherine McPhee, I didn’t even knew who she was before the first episode (i don’t watch AI). The girl can’t act, and while she can sing, she CAN’T sing broadway. The only people who think she is the best thing in the show are the ones who were foolish enough to spend their money on her when she was on AI. It’s not about hating or loving. I simply think she is not good enough for the part.

    • twee says:

      The thing is, this is a show about Broadway, but it is a show about Broadway for the popular audience. The fact that McPhee doesn’t/can’t sing Broadway just makes her more appealing to those who are used to listening to pop and haven’t acquired the ear for what needs to happen on stage.

      ITA Hilty rocks it all.

      • 777 says:

        My biggest problem with Katherine is, like i wrote above, her acting. Broadway or pop music, Ivy or Karen, all of it doesn’t really matter when the star of a TV show can’t act.

    • Siria says:

      Well said.

    • Katy says:

      McPhee is a better actress than Hilty most of the time. She’s much more natural and spunky. Megan does great with the intense crying/yelling scenes, but her delivery in the casual scenes are cringe-worthy. She tries to hard instead of just letting it come. Broadway doesn’t translate well to tv. She should take some notes from Christian Borle (and Katharine for that matter) and learn to be more subtle.

      The scenes with Karen in this episode were some of the most entertaining. The problem with this episode was the overload of Ellis and the distracting sideplots of Dev and Eileen.

  41. syb says:

    I like the cast, but it’s getting a little soap opera-ish for my taste which means I will probably lose interest soon. I wish they’d focus on the politics of puting on the show, and not so much what’s happening in everyone’s relationships. This whole Ellis thing is getting too Snidely Whiplash. The best villains aren’t villains through and through, just like the best heroes aren’t perfect. A little nuance.

  42. julia says:

    Can’t take any more Ellis. I don’t mean that in a “I love to hate him” way, I mean that in a “going to turn off the tv and stop watching” way.
    Also, Ellis in bed with a girl? Are we seriously supposed to believe he’s straight? Come on!
    This show is becoming a train wreck.

    • julia says:

      also…the breakup with Julia and her loverboy was WAY too easy and makes me believe they are going to bring him back by making her magically fertile and pregnant all of a sudden. Just a thought.

  43. ana says:

    I really hate Ellis, and I don’t think Eileen would ever hire someone as sneaky as he is.

    She would know for sure that if he betrayed Tom, and was in an event he wasn’t even supposed to know was happening, he is bound to betray her as well.

    I just really, really dislike this character.

  44. suzanne says:

    I may be alone in this, but I find Debra Messing miscast in this role. I find her acting forced and inadequate. The writing doesn’t help, but her exaggerated facial expressions are out of place (scowl and purse lips to show frustration) in a dramatic setting. It may have worked in a comedic setting, but it doesn’t belong here.

  45. twee says:

    I’m still unclear on why Tom apparently did not have Ellis sign a confidentiality clause. Especially given that he works out of his home. Though I do think that Eileen has little delusion about what Ellis is, and will be able to keep him in line/make something of him.

    Personally, I love Ivy, I think she and Derek have a host of interesting reasons why they work, Karen’s eternal entitlement bugs me, what with the conflicting message of “oh, look how hard it is for her!” laughing at how opportunity jumps in her laugh, if only she’d bother to take it.

    But mostly I’m pissed that of all the strong opinions and emotions running through Smash boards, the vast majority are lacking in anything approaching reason, and the most ridiculous ones of all are likely going to win all the changes to the show next season, and I will be left with yet another “OMGWTF, … at least I will always have season 1.”

  46. stef says:

    I still don’t understand how this show is getting such a harsh critique and Glee has been getting praised for so long- especially on this site. Are we watching the same shows? Every second of Glee is cringe-worthy! I feel like this needs an SNL segment of REALLY?!?!

    Other than Derek’s Professor Snape coat (and I though I didn’t like “Touch Me,” the point of it was to show how much better the other songs work), I don’t see how any elements of this episode was so off the wall that it derailed the show.

    • veelish says:

      The same reason that the Family Guy doesn’t get the same critiques as the Parenthood?

      Substitute “any teen show” and “any adult version of the show’s subject matter” if that first comparison was too broad.

  47. sana says:

    i have been watching this show since the beginning. i agree that it’s not as strong or mind blowing as i anticipated when they first announced about it, but i like it nonetheless. i love Tom and Derek’s characters and wish they would focus on them and their previous history together more as i really loved their scene in tonight’s episode.

    As for Ivy and Karen, i started out rooting for Karen, but it’s true, she is dull and wooden in this role, her voice is amazing tho. but Ivy, well, she is proving that if anyone deserves to portray Marylin, it’s her.

  48. Tim says:

    Forget the McPhee vs. Hilty debate. Can we just talk about the monstrosity that is Ellis? Such a poorly written, annoying character. And the dude playing him CANNOT act. He has a blank, botoxed looked on his face like he is trying to pull a “Blue Steel” or “vogue” look. I cannot stand him.

  49. Danielle says:

    And…Ellis with a girlfriend? Straight? PUHLEEZE……….

  50. RKSwartz says:

    Great review – and shame on SMASH!

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