Smash Recap: Hey Now, You're a Stage Star

smash gay kiss tom samThe existence of God, the seat-filling power of a Hollywood star on Broadway, and even the health benefits of a kale and flaxseed smoothie (insert a churn of the tum-tum here) were up for debate on this week’s episode of Smash. Yep, Rebecca Duvall (Uma Thurman) — she of Sack Lunch Casual Friday 2 — dove right into rehearsals for Bombshell, and kept getting “inspired” with “ideas” she wanted to share in “pow-wows” with Derek, Eileen, Tom, and Julia. Too bad she didn’t have actual vocal ability to go with all that inspiration!

The good news, though, is that Smash didn’t take the easy route in making Rebecca a total cartoon buffoon. Sure, her early insecurity — mixed with a healthy portion of ego — had her cooing that the show might be better with “a little less singin’ and dancin'” and complaining about her character breaking into song at inopportune moments, but ultimately, she didn’t make a name for herself in terribly titled action comedies Hollywood without knowing her own strengths and weaknesses.

When Rebecca finally copped to needing Bombshell‘s songs in a lower key, fewer solos, and (to everyone’s relief) a vocal coach, it was clear that despite her breezy diva antics (and specific demands for smoothies and chewing gum) that she was taking her role seriously, that she wanted to be as great as the show’s writers, director, and producer wanted her to be. “It’s a musical,” she conceded (condescended?). “People want to hear a bunch of songs.” That was a major shift from the woman who opened the episode with a wretched sing-speak twist on “Let Me Be Your Star” that had Julia suggesting “group suicide” as the next step in workshopping.

Still, as if we didn’t all know there have to be more problems afoot, Rebecca went back to casual diva-with-demands mode after not ruining a new production number called “Dig Deep.” Sure, she sold it with charisma and a decent voice — she’s no Ivy Lynn or Karen, though — but then she turned on that Hollywood smile and told Eileen: “I’ve got lots more ideas.” Uh-oh. But oh, oh…Rebecca’s vocal issues gave Derek an opening to get Ivy Lynn back in the chorus, despite her Heaven on Earth meltdown. Come on now, dude has to have somebody to step in for Rebecca should she not have the chops for the role, and it ain’t gonna be “the Cartwright girl,” as Derek refers to Karen when he’s trying to negate whatever personal and/or professional longing he feels toward her.

With the central story arc covered, let’s list the remaining plot points from “The Movie Star” in order of most to least appealing:

* Julia, exasperated by Tom and Sam’s flirtation, booked them a dinner reservation with eye-rolling brilliance. But when Tom tried to take things in a wah-chicka-wah-wah direction (see scene, embedded below), Sam revealed his religious beliefs — and his opinion that sex is holy. Which led to my favorite exchange of the episode:

Sam: The Republicans don’t own God. You know that.
Tom: (all high-pitched-like): Do I?

I’m still not 100 percent sold on the Tom-Sam chemistry — and one more reference to Sam’s love of sports and I will throw a basketball at my TV set — but I loved our butch chorus boy calling out Tom on his glaringly obvious intimacy issues. Hey, Julia’s only been trying to point ‘em out for a decade now!

* We got some more Ivy-Karen bonding, with the former revealing more of her tart bitchery to “midwestern moonface.” I loved how conspiratorial Ivy got in rehearsals, whispering to Karen that Rebecca’s singing was “the sound of 1,000 ticket-holders demanding their money back” and telling her rival she was in the wrong business if she wasn’t rooting for the Hollywood interloper to implode. “She stole our part. We hate her!” That’s the Broadway spirit, girl! Later, after ditching Rebecca’s move screening in favor of drinks — and I like that it was drinks, not coffee — Ivy did that boasting-by-assocation about Bombshell’s workshop: “I’m sleeping with the director: I basically blocked the whole show.” Alas, though, Ivy’s jokes about Dev skipping the premiere to have a dalliance with another woman hit too close to home for Karen. “You need a thicker skin, Iowa!” Indeed!

* Speaking of Dev, he had draaaaanks with that reporter chick who apparently never has to be at work, skulking around city hall and flipping her carefully straightened hair instead. Naturally, rival brunette was on the scene when Karen discovered her man hadn’t gotten his promotion, although I have to admit: Katharine McPhee’s acting in this scene was flatter than an Iowa cornfield. “Is there anything else I should know about?” she asked wanly. Um, yes, the dude who’s presumably paying the lion’s share of the rent on your apartment is quickly drifting away. Act now while supplies last, grrrrl!

* Derek had another Karen-as-Marilyn fantasy, where the latter sang “Our Day Will Come” and writhed on his lap. Is it just me, or should these sequences be Rated I…for I Cahhhhhhn’t?

* Frank showed up at lunch with adulterous Julia just to tell her he had nothing to say — he didn’t even order fries! — but when he tried to keep mum in front of Leo’s principal — blah blah blah, the kid is failing some of his classes (OBVIOUSLY HIS ACTING CLASSES!) — Julia laid the family secrets on the table. “I had an affair, which was totally and completely wrong on every level,” she confessed. “Did I leave anything out?” Only the laugh track. I have to admit, now that her affair has ended, I’m back to loving our saucy, doesn’t-have-time-for-eggshells playwright.

* Ellis continued to exist, huffing about having to carry out assistant duties and accidentally blowing up a major connection when he had a call-waiting fail during a chat with Rebecca’s manager (the one he sexed up a couple weeks back) and blurted “I’ve got to suck up to that loser again.” Whoops. Now someone on Smash other than Julia hates Ellis as much as the rest of us, and even got to tell him off (“I hate users”) when Ellis tried to explain himself. As much as this character infuriates me, it’s fun to watch him get his comeuppance. Maybe the writers can keep him around just for weekly scenes where he pays for his dreadfulness, getting run down by a bicycle messenger, being overcharged at the dry cleaners, having to endure a painful root canal. Fun!

* Oh, and Eileen got her smooch on again with Nick. So what if his money’s a little dirty? Eileen can pay her own automobills anyhow!

What did you think of this week’s Smash? Are you digging the Hollywood diva-takes-Broadway story arc? How about the Tom-Sam dynamic? 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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46 Comments
  1. Josh says:

    Haha you’re list of what you what to have happen to Ellis cracked me up.

    I really like Ivy/Karen together. I agree Katherine McPhee wasn’t on point during that scene with Dev. I think she’s usually good but she just seemed…out of it. Maybe she’s as into the Dev relationship as we are? She comes most alive during the Ivy/Karen scenes. The two play of each other well. They need to keep them as friends. But given this show hasn’t done anything right, they won’t be friends for long.

    • diane says:

      “I agree Katherine McPhee wasn’t on point during that scene with Dev. I think she’s usually good but she just seemed…out of it. Maybe she’s as into the Dev relationship as we are? ”

      bahahaha. Karen is always falt in all scenes with dev because he is so boring and they have no chemistry and nothing in common. They are just paired together ebcasue the plot requires that she has a boyfreind and that there`s some boring predictable soap opera in case viewers don`t relate to broadway stuff. Well, guess what? We don`t care for Dev. At all. And judging by mcPhee acting in all scenes with him, she doesn`t care either. Good girl!

  2. Dee says:

    How can I have missed two guys smooching on prime-time tv?

    Maybe I should start watching this show :)

  3. Jessica says:

    I was really excited for this show to premiere but feel it’s really disappointing at this point. Hopefully since it’s already been re-newed for a second season they will use the hiatus to make major changes to the story line and cast.

  4. Maggie says:

    I really like the Tom/Sam dynamic. It was a nice change of pace for them to be talking about something OTHER than theater. Tom’s reaction when Sam left, like he had to take a minute to think about what had just happened (Sam calling him out on being afraid of commitment) great. It will be interesting to see Tom try to adjust because it seems like he really likes Sam compared to lawyer guy.

  5. manylayers says:

    I love that Sam is pushing Tom to try something new…and that it’s not the same gay-male story line that most shows seem to aim for…. i think they are sexy together….and will enjoy watching the relationship grow/struggle as all relationships must.

    VERY happy to have Julia return to wit and snappy comebacks…the affair arc was terrible for everyone…

    In general liking the hollywood to broadway transition so far… i like that Uma is bad but not terrible…and as a movie star probably has no clue what makes the theatre different…

    Ellis…oh, could he spend an episode or three stuck in an elevator…

  6. Drew says:

    Tom and Sam are both annoying characters. Sam, because of the one-note “I like sports” thing and Tom because he is a huge, arrogant bigot who acts utterly shocked when people don’t believe exactly what he believes… he’s annoying, but pretty realistic.

    Julia’s whole family needs to go on a road trip together… to the Grand Canyon… without breaks.

    I didn’t like the acting class number that they did. It was pretty bad. Uma was entertaining, but I see them positioning Karen and Ivy to both play Marilyn… now, they’re playing those shadowy figures in Marilyn’s mind. Next, they get rid of Uma’s character and it’s just Karen and Ivy as Marilyn and Norma Jean… I just hope that someone gives credit to the writer of “Norma Jean and Marilyn”, who came up with this idea in the 90’s.

    Honestly, I wasn’t paying attention to McPhee’s acting when she went to Dev’s office. I was too busy yelling at the TV because Dev has to be the stupidest man on Earth, letting Karen slip away.

    • diane says:

      No, he`s the most generous man to fans because letting Karen slip away means he`ll exit the show. And that`s a crazy good news for the show itself, fans and poor Karen who was always lifeless in all scenes with that boring twat.

    • Judi says:

      Totally agree with your comments. I will watch a few more shows but I will not watch if more focus is given to the sexual development of Sam and Tom’s or other gay relationship. Dont care to watch this. I stopped Glee for the same reason.

  7. dan says:

    I’m not seeing the Sam/Tom chemistry. Karen and Derek are smoking hot together, I love the fantasy sequences. I also love the frenemy scenes with Ivy and Karen, they need to show more of that.

    The Ellis phone blunder was lame on the part of someone so sneaky, but perhaps showing him suffereing miserably would also help the show. They should have shown Rebecca’s assistants sending him out for coffee and gum, it would have been great.

  8. llws says:

    THANK YOU! I thought I was the only one that thought the guy who plays Leo CANNOT act……like everytime he opens his mouth…it’s cringe worthy!

  9. Smasher says:

    More Karen and Ivy scenes please! I never thought I’d say this but Kivy is becoming my fave Smash pairing, lol! McPhee and Hilty have great chemistry together on screen. I even want them to be friends now and not just frenemies, although I am sure they will eventually! Maybe they can be roomies when Karen ditches dreadful Dev. Personality transplant or what?! Why was Karen so forgiving so quickly when he had the nerve to tell her it was her fault for him not telling her about the non-promotion earlier! Are the writers making us want to hate Dev?! It’s working. I’ve realised what it is with Dev – he only supports the idea of Karen, the Broadway star, but can’t actually handle the reality, or his own feelings of inadequacy. It is kind of sad though to see their relationship slowly disintegrating. :( Was back to loving Julia again in this ep, thankfully! And I LOVED Uma!

  10. Phillip says:

    Karen/Derek fantasy sequences annoy the hell out of me. Is Dev even relevant at this point? The characters are all over the place in this show (we could do without at least two)…
    However, I love love LOVE Tom and Sam together. Yes, even Sam’s frequent (and at this point unnecessary) sport references. I think they have nice chemistry and I’m excited to see how they’re going to work around their differences.

    • diane says:

      Dev was never relevant. He was kept on the show to take his shirt off and to provide an excuse for upcoming Bollywood number.

  11. davey says:

    I don’t get why Derek is having almost religious visions of Karen dressed as Marilyn. Does he want to have an affair with her? Is her seeing into the future? Is he on drugs?

    I want them to do the two shadow Marilyns for Rebecca but it’s such a good idea that Smash will probably forget about it.

    • Jennifer says:

      I too am not certain why exactly Derek is having Karen/Marilyn visions. I can only hope they worry Derek enough so he has to go to a shrink/doctor to see if he has a tumor/mental breakdown due to the stress of the musical. I enjoy them, random though they, just because it means I get to see Derek sitting with a bewildered look on his face. Personally I think they are the subconscious expressions of his crush on Karen and his directoral belief that Karen has Marilyn’s heart. I definitely don’t think it is drugs. I don’t think Derek is big into loss of control(another reason why these fantasies are fun to watch, he can’t stop them).

    • diane says:

      “I don’t get why Derek is having almost religious visions of Karen”

      Because she`s St Mary Sue duh!

  12. I love Tom & Sam,Sam is just a gentlemen and I think him and tom are so different but yet so alike if that makes sense.

    I am sorta liking Ivy again because she’s being nicer to Karen but of course we all know they just using her but I hope they become true friends soon.

    I still havent warm up to Rebecca and I have a feeling I won’t.

    Ellis story line last night was once again pointless.

    I love Smash but I have to admit last night episode had so many corny moments, The whole Leo story was just corny like why is this actor so bad at his job and why did the actors write this what 16 year old boy to act like he’s 10. Debra is a wonderful actress but even she seems so corny. Derek seeing Karen as Marylin again was corny as well and it was so weird.

  13. rubytu says:

    Even in Derek’s fantasies of Karen being Marilyn she can’t pull it off! She’s a pathetic Marilyn. I know this sounds like I don’t like her, which is not true. She’s beautiful, talented, with a lyrical voice. The part is not right for her. I don’t understand why he has these fantasies. Is he harboring feelings for her?
    Uma Thurman wasn’t bad as Marilyn, but let’s face it – it’s like Ivy was fated to play Marilyn. She’s so natural for it. She’s better at it that the person who played in that movie, “My Week With Marilyn”.
    The cast of this show is great, and I wouldn’t get rid of anyone, including Ellis. They all have their parts to play. And, yes, I do find Ellis amusing. I don’t dislike him at all. I do think that Rebecca Duvall is just “passing through”. When she was singing and dancing, I just couldn’t imagine her doing this every night for weeks on end, months on end, or longer, if it becomes a hit. She’s a movie star, and would have to stick with it. I don’t think she can do that.

  14. stef24 says:

    While I DO think that Katharine McPhee is a wonderful singer and a good actress, I think it’s not fair that Megan Hilty doesn’t get the same press attention that McPhee does. She, too is a wonderful singer and great actress yet this seems to be ‘Katharine’s’ show. Prior to the show airing, all of the reviews claimined that it was NOT the next ‘Glee’. I beg to differ. It IS ‘Glee’-perhaps not with high school issues but it has the exact same format as ‘Glee’.

    • KiP says:

      I completely agree! Megan Hilty is amazing and seems to get thrown off to the side because some marketing director decided that it should be Katherine McPhee’s show. As to the Glee comment, yes, the writing is making many perfectly likable actors into inconsistent and unsympathetic characters too often!

  15. Cody says:

    I love the fact that Sam said and did everything he did. It goes to show that not all gay men jump into bed and relationships right away. Bravo Smash writers for pointing that out!

  16. Ryan says:

    That SACK LUNCH reference made me so happy

  17. Jane says:

    I enjoyed the episode a lot except for that god awful son. How did that kid get cast in anything?

  18. Ha ha Ausiello – love the bitchery towards Leo and the whole silly Tom/Sam issue. Their chemistry is okay – although having it AND the whole showtunes vs sports issue crammed down our throats since day 1 is exasperating. Hey thinly veiled homophobia, get over it!

    We talk about Rebecca’s return to rationale human being as the highlight of the episode, but man it sure felt like everything before that is filler.

    Also, the whole lapdance (and Matrix-leather jacket)? So gag worthy

  19. kate says:

    I liked this episode for it’s Karen/Ivy scenes, and I really like Derek’s ongoing fantasies of Karen as Marilyn. Uma Thurman’s character was driving me crazy until she finally sat down with the rest of them and said, “Guys, you’ve got to be honest with me. Here, I’ll start,” and she goes and shows she isn’t completely clueless. Dev is really on my nerves. He didn’t get his promotion and now he’s going to cheat on/dump Karen because her career is going better than his? And how is she supposed to be upset about his non-promotion if he doesn’t tell her about it? And then when she’s rightfully annoyed that he didn’t tell her but has no problem telling his new reporter BFF, he b*tches her out.The personal lives of these people are so completely annoying and/or uninteresting (except Bernadette Peters as Ivy’s mom, that was great!). Stick to the musical, things will be fine.

  20. Carla says:

    One thing: Megan Hilty did not sing. WTH? Huge let-down this week.

  21. ana says:

    Derek’s fantasies make me nauseous.
    Karen/Ivy scenes are very nice, my favorite thing from this episode.
    Although I really, really like Uma Thurman, didn’t like the new musical number at all. I guess I just think the other singers are just so much better than she is. And maybe, for the first time, I didn’t care that much for the song…

  22. SMASH says:

    Tom and “butch” (rolling my eyes) Sam are not interesting together. They are too forced.

    Michael, are you the writer on here that was in love with Tom weeks ago even when he was being a jerk to John (before Tom found out he was a Republican)?

  23. iamkessuki23tw says:

    does anyone know the song that played when Dev went to meet his colleague at the bar? it went along the lines of “im a prisoner of her desire…desire.” i want that song but iv’e no idea who the artist is. :( HELP??!!!!

    • Beth t says:

      Try googling the words and you should get a number of audio/video references. Admittedly not the most efficient way to find the song, but it’s worth a shot if you don’t get the actual info…

    • Ali says:

      did you ever find the song? im looking for it too

    • DjHaz! says:

      Any luck anyone? I tried searching several times with no luck. If anyone knows, please post…thanks!

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  25. sana' says:

    i actually loved tonight’s episode,and i loved tom and sam together, here’s hoping the writers will take this storyline to the next season without screwing it up.

    Ivy and karen are good together too, but the scenes of Julia and tom are priceless. i love how they are very close to one another on a personal and a professional level. their exchanges are always funny and playful. i hate her domestic wows, though!

    didn’t like uma much, still thinks Ivy is the best marilyn so far, we missed her singing in tonight’s eps.

    am i the only one who finds it extremely difficult to understand what Derek is saying most of the time? i know he’s British and all, but come on..

  26. tvadict says:

    Who played Rebecca’s Assistant?

  27. Beth t says:

    I guess I’m in a tiny minority – I actually like Karen and Dev and that story arc. It seems realistic to me – two young folks growing apart as their dreams diverge. I defintely have a lot of “been there, done that” moments when I watch those scenes…
    I don’t really see any logical way for that to end except Dev’s departure form the show. I wouldn’t be cheering, but I wouldn’t be surprised. It would set up a situation where Karen has to find another way to live in the city – for which a Karen/Ivy roomie situation also wouldn’t surprised me… (Because I totally do not expect Ivy/Derek to last another season…)

    • diane says:

      Lol, wut? Ending that boring relationship is more logical than having it on the show in every freakin episode. Why is chorus girl`s boyfriend a main character equal to director, producer, 2 actresses, writer and composer, and, yes, secretary too who at least is working in the industry? It makes no sense. he is an outsider. Should have been in 5 episodes tops without a special plot created only for him (mayor`s office crap). Julia`s hubby doesn`t appear in every episode and he certianly doesn`t have his own story arc about his work,etc. That nobody who tune in to watch a show about Broadway cares about.

      Just get rid of him which is really easy – he is offered a job in DC, he`s obviously attracted to RJ – so send him away with a new woman on his arm and have Karen struggle for a change like real actors in NYC. Anbd use that vacated screen time to properly flesh out and layer these chardboard cutouts standing in for characters. Thyere are too many characters already so at least cut the one that didn`t belong to begin with.

  28. Volcfom says:

    I think what upset me most was that the writers tried to sell that 7-digit numbers still exist! I know it has to be 555, but throw in an area code, please.

  29. Marion Slaton says:

    I love Smash. It’s not perfect, however, it’s perfect for me. I agree that the on-screen dynamic between Hilty and McPhee is excellent. I like them as friends. I hope they find a way to cast both as Marilyn. The presence of Uma Thurman annoys me, however, I believe that was done on purpose. I cannot wait for the finale. I am not big on prime-time tv. Smash has my undivided attention. There’s a lot of talent on this show. I’ll buy the cd for sure when it drops.

  30. Kevin says:

    I dont’ need to see any more gay kissing on this show. The rest of the show is well worth it. I love McPhee’s solos

  31. Anna says:

    I love Tom and Sam and it upsets me it took them so long to get together. Hopefully the relationship lasts so their are more scenes between then next season. I really love Smash but Ellis, Derek and Dev need to go somewhere.

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