I’m not sure about Rebecca Duvall as the star of Bombshell, but I sure am enjoying what her portrayer Uma Thurman is bringing to NBC’s Smash: Namely, a wry, unflinching look at the entitlement that can come with celebrity, and the way so many other folks feed into it.
Indeed, Rebecca’s obsession with kale and flaxseed smoothies — so glad the writers didn’t forget that little detail from last week — punctuates the whole circle of stardom that’s enveloped Marilyn the Musical (as I still like to call it) and everyone involved in trying to get it to Broadway.
My favorite moment from “Publicity” came when Derek got all huffy about his Hollywood star hijacking stage manager Linda to make those bloody smoothies, and holding up rehearsal in the process. Rebecca, not embarrassed in the least, headed back to practice with her director, but not before this little kicker to Linda (accompanied by a breezy smile): “If you could just do it all, then bring it in, that would be great.” Why should Derek’s anger get in the way of Rebecca’s snacking, after all. And there’s the thing: No, Linda is not paid to blend natural ingredients into a (possibly) refreshing health shake, and it’s kind of offensive that she’s asked to do so. And yet, there she is, immersion blender in hand, crushing kale without complaint. Ditto for Tom and Julia rewriting the Bombshell book to suit Rebecca’s “suggestions.” And the same goes for Derek reconfiguring rehearsals to suit Rebecca’s whims. Heck, the woman can’t really sing, but she’s got the starring role in a Broadway musical. Viva celebrity!
No one seemed more transfixed by Rebecca, though, than wide-eyed Iowa gal Karen, and her blind devotion to her new “gal pal” could cost her in the end. Naturally, common garden snake Ellis overheard Derek hinting to Karen that he might yet need her for the lead role, and he slithered to Rebecca’s manager (can’t believe that dude would allow Ellis within 10 feet of him!) with the intel. This led to Rebecca taking Karen under her wing: Scoring her a guest-vocal slot at a swanky NY concert (to deliver a pretty rendition of Snow Patrol’s “Run”), sharing some of her couture swag from a photo shoot (because one can’t live one’s life in yoga gear!), landing her on Page 6, and (uh-oh) planting seeds of doubt that Dev might not be able to handle her potential celebrity.
Oh and how those seeds grew once the formerly supportive Dev, continuing his descent into douche-dom, played into Rebecca’s dismissive hand as they sat down to dine at an Indian restaurant. I couldn’t help but giggle at the way the movie star, ignoring everything Dev had told her about Indian cuisine, immediately asked the waiter, “Do you have something without peanuts in it?” And while it’s hard to fathom Dev wouldn’t just indulge the obnoxious Hollywooder before him — after all, she’s in a position to potentially make or break his girlfriend’s career — I guess the writers needed some excuse for that jaunty “One Thousand and One Nights” Bollywood number that played out in Karen’s mind as she tried to escape the tension. Katharine McPhee looked amazing in her Indian attire, and yowza she certainly can dance. (Side note: Funniest line of the week goes to Ivy Lynn, commenting on Karen taking Dev and Rebecca to dinner together: “Wow. That’s bold, since you’re dating both of them.”)
In other news…
* Ivy conspired with Ellis (gross!) to trick gullible, gullible Karen into leaving rehearsal early, and would up getting to deliver a sublime rendition of “Second Hand White Baby Grand” in her rival’s absence. Eileen was moved to tears, the company was moved to slackjawed awe, and Rebecca was moved to try to pick off another potential rival from the collection of Marilyn’s “shadow voices”: “Derek? A suggestion? I think Marilyn should sing that song!” I don’t care how underhanded it all was — and honestly, Karen, do you trust just any text that lands in your inbox — because Megan Hilty pretty much needs to sing in every episode. Thank you and goodnight.
* Julia and Frank’s son Leo went missing for a few days, but it turns out he was just hiding out on his best friend’s bedroom floor. (Oh Smash writers, couldn’t you have kept the kid out of the picture till he went off to college?) At least the subplot allowed Julia a chance to hurl another barn directly in Ellis’ face. “Oh great. Now I have to take messages about my broken marriage from him?” And while I don’t object to a Julia-Frank reconcilliation, you’ve got to admit she’s a lot more fun (and funny) in her repartee with gay bestie Tom, no?
* Eileen took Nick to some kind of boring high-art production, and ran into her estranged hubby in the process. Jerry’s bimbo had one of the night’s best lines — “Hello, Mrs. Rand. I mean, hello.” — but the whole run-in made Eileen realize she’d traded up, and so she traded in her own bed for Nick’s, if I’m not being too subtle. You get it, Eileen!
What did you think of this week’s Smash? Are you digging the Rebecca dynamic? And how do you think it’ll all play out in the end? Sound off below, and for all my TV recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!