Pretty much everything and everyone got flipped upside down on this week’s Smash: Enemies became frenemies, marriages imploded, and gays fundraised for the Republican party. The one true constant was that little weasel wearing his hideous vests and bowties and continuing to be completely deplorable. But to be fair, even Ellis got himself into a new position by episode’s end. (Ewww. Sorry. I really regret writing that.)
Anyhow, let’s review the key plot developments from “Hell on Earth,” and whether or not they were heavenly or bound for hell:
* Karen becomes the wind beneath Ivy’s fluffy wings: Kinda heavenly-ish? | Fueled by an increasing reliance on a slew of prescription drugs, Ivy Lynn continued a downward spiral that found her huffing and sighing her way through a Heaven on Earth production number (anyone find it a stretch she’d sabotage her employment and reputation with such a display while she was sober?), raging that “midwestern moonface” Karen had snagged a coveted role in an orange juice ad, and then returning for another evening performance where her drugs made her absolutely loopy, causing her to goofily sabotage a rendition of (the pretty painful) “The Higher You Get the Farther You Fall,” while dressed as an angel. Cut to: Karen popping up backstage to return a pair of Ivy’s shades. An icy smackdown in Times Square (Ivy on Karen’s appeal: “There are thousands of girls just like you!” Karen on not sleeping with Derek to score the role of Marilyn: “It wasn’t because he didn’t ask: You weren’t the first choice, sorry.”). And then a truce, followed by a booze-fueled (and rather solid) duet of Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink to That).” I kinda like these ladies as reluctant buddies, but as Ivy warned, don’t go thinking they’re gonna be BFFs now. (Side note: Anyone else notice the Times Square billboard for Casual Friday 2 with Rebecca Duvall? Why not just make it a sequel to Sack Lunch?)
* Julia gets hers — and not in a sexy way: Heavenly! | When Frank discovered Julia had written a mournful ditty about kissing an illicit lover on the the Brooklyn Bridge, he made the fantastical leap that she’d had an affair with Michael. “It wasn’t anything!” she replied, which left Frank hollering (rather righteously), “That’s disgusting!” To make matters worse, when Frank confronted Michael, Cheaty McAdulterypants spilled the beans that his and Julia’s recent fling was a continuation of something that went down several years prior. Frank slugged Michael. Frank packed his bags and moved out of the house. The kid playing Leo still couldn’t conjure up a single believable emotion. And I had a serious case of interior-design lust over Julia’s living room walls. (Is that wallpaper? And how the hell is it so magnificent?)
* Tom’s eye starts a’wanderin': Neither heaven nor hell | Tom reluctantly accompanied his boyfriend to a Republican fundraiser (he shoulda known, what with the suits and the closely cropped hair), bailed when he got a text about Ivy’s meltdown (“I really like you, even though I don’t like Republicans,” was his overly loud parting shot), and ended up spending a long evening with so-straight-but-he’s-actually-gay Sam. Whatevs. Wake me when Tom is back to work and composing the next “Let Me Be Your Star.” (Love how the show uses the mournful “fade in on a girl…” melody to tug at the heartstrings).
* Ellis uses his sexual charms — wait, he has those!?! — to land a “star” for the Marilyn musical: Hellish in the extreme! | Ellis spied/eavesdropped/connived/stole computer passwords to land a meeting with movie star Rebecca Duvall’s manager, then convinced the guy to make the project the screen siren’s top priority by batting his eyelashes and noting they had a few hours alone before Ms. Duvall arrived at her apartment. No me gusta. Does not want to see “the chihuahua” (as Derek brilliantly nicknamed Ellis) having sexytimes with anyone: Not his girlfriend, not manager dude, I repeat, not anyone. Especially not in the same episode where he’s sported an awful aqua velvet bowtie, corduroy vest and plaid shirt. At the very least we got Eileen shooting down Ellis when the ambitious assistant huffed that he didn’t want to answer phones anymore and demanded a co-producing credit if the Lady Duvall signed on for the project. Instead of a “That’s cheeky,” though, wouldn’t Eileen have delivered a “You’re fired.” If I ran the world, or the Smash writers room, she sure would’ve.
What did you think of this week’s Smash? Did you howl like I did when Derek said Ivy could play “dead hooker” in the procedural pilot he hoped to direct? And wasn’t this hour a major improvement on “The Coup”? (Not that anything wouldn’t be.) Sound off in the comments!