Just 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!