The Smash Season 2 Premiere: Frosty Feuds, Scandalous Setbacks and Other Observations

Smash_trailer_DWNBC isn’t raising the curtain on Smash Season 2 until Tuesday, Feb. 5 — with a two-hour opener, no less. So to help the musical-drama’s fans, both existing and prospective, bide their time, we previewed the premiere and compiled this list of non-spoilery observations.

VIDEO | Smash Season 2 Trailer Raises the Curtain on New Faces, Foes, Setbacks and Hook-Ups

* Things between Ivy and Karen (played by Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty) are as fr-fr-fr-frosty as ever, no thanks to Derek (Jack Davenport). (Seriously, there’s one Derek/Karen scene that will have you progressively screaming, “No…. No!… NO!” at the telly.) Will that change when the almost-Marilyn is afforded a chance to save Bombshell‘s bacon? And are Derek/Ivy not necessarily dunzo — this despite a sordid scandal that erupts around him and threatens his planned revival of a well-known, super-soulful ’70s musical?

* It turns out the reviews for Bombshell‘s Beantown try-out were largely rousing — save for a chorus of damning digs aimed at one (and only one) person.

* Eileen rides quite the emotional roller coaster, going from proudly touting Bombshell’s tony Broadway home to… suffering all sorts of humiliation. But hey, she’s still dating Patrick Thornhart, right?

* The fallout from the Rebecca Duvall boondoggle is far from over (if I may invoke the title of the Satan’s Alley showstopper).

PHOTO | Smash Exclusive: Get Your First Look at Season 2′s Poster

* Of the four characters cut from Season 1, Michael Swift’s absence is swiftly dealt with, Julia’s husband Frank figures into a fantastically messy farewell scene and Karen’s cheatin’ fiancé Dev gets in a few last (handwritten) words. Ellis, meanwhile, is… not mentioned at all (unless you count a reference to The Poisoned Smoothie Incident of 2012).

* Meanwhile, new additions Jeremy Jordan (Newsies) and Andy Mientus (Carrie) get a good chunk of screen time as Jimmy and Kyle, pals/coworkers who aspire to write the next great musical. Alas, despite knocking Karen’s socks off with his skills, Jimmy gets off on the wrong foot with the highly eligible chanteuse. Karen’s new roomie Ana (played by Krysta Rodriguez) seems fun enough (if a bit morally casual).

* Oscar-/Grammy-winning recurring player Jennifer Hudson first belts out a rousing number as the Tony-winning star of a musical called Beautiful, then later duets with a Bombshell star.

* When Tom suggests that Julia crash with her gay bestie for a bit, he says, “It’d be like a sitcom!” — yet amazingly stops short of specifically likening the scenario to Will & Grace.

* There’s a quite random yet nonetheless visually irresistible performance number that manages to mash Robert Palmer music videos with the Eurythmics.

* Someone is faced with the difficult choice of love… or joining the Book of Mormon national tour.

* New York City namechecks during the two hours include the restaurant Butter (yummm), New York Post theater critic Michael Riedel (who gets quite an earful at a Bombshell party) and Broadway vet Harvey Fierstein (playing his raspy self in multiple scenes).

* Justified Emmy winner Margo Martindale sneaks in an appearance as a persnickety theater wing mucky-muck. Hmm, makes one wonder if Ellis got slipped some “apple pie”….

Will you be tuning in for Smash Season 2? And if you want more scoop on Smash, or any other show, email mattmtvguy@gmail.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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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83 Comments
  1. a says:

    But is it GOOD?

  2. andrew says:

    can’t wait,

  3. Androme says:

    Hell yes.

  4. Josh says:

    So glad to read this, but I still have yet to find a definitive answer on the following: Is Leo off to boarding school? Staying with his father who leaves? Doing anything that will keep him as far away from the show as possible?

    • Mark says:

      Can’t they just recast him? The actor played the character as if he had some kind of mental disability. Truly awful acting.

  5. Debbie says:

    only watching for Jesse L Martin. LOVE HIM

  6. Danielle H says:

    Can’t wait ! Hope they can bring back the magic of the first 5 or so eps of the show.

  7. marta says:

    very excited for Season 2 & having Katharine on my TV again!! hope there are alot of scenes with Karen & Derek

    • Davey says:

      Hope they stop pretending that Karen should be on Broadway and put her in some singing group.

      • Summer says:

        …I don’t think that will happen, given how it would entirely change the premise of the show.

      • Adam Barbee says:

        Karen is meant to play Marilyn, and most of Smash’s true fans agree…

        • Actually, anyone who truly loves and respects Broadway agrees that Ivy is appropriate for Marilyn. Her Broadway experience alone not to mention physical resemblance to Marilyn count much more than Karen’s awkward place in the role. Karen has more fans because of Katherine McPhee’s visibility on American Idol as opposed to a lesser number who saw Meghan Hilty play Broadway in 9 to 5. It kills me that audiences are so enamored with the bubble gum pop act Idol repackages every season and not more appreciative of old school Broadway show tune musical theater. I have already read that Hilty gets the Marilyn part in Bombshell anyway.

          • adam says:

            Actually I am a HUGE broadway fan. I have seen numerous shows on Broadway including The Producers, Billy Elliot, and Avenue Q to name a few. I LOVE Megan Hilty and her amazing voice, but there is just something about Mcphee’s character that makes me want to root for her. Just because I have a broader view of the situation that differs from yours doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate show tunes..

          • I’m not from the US so I didn’t know of Katherine McPhee before I saw this series, and I didn’t know of Meghan Hilty either. At the beginning of the series I would have agreed that Hilty was a better Marilyn, but the difference between them (between the characters) is that Karen’s continually grows. Her talent, her ability to learn, her confidence, her sensuality…. while Ivy’s stays put. And I think that that is the difference between them, and why people start rooting for Karen. By the end of the series, I did think that she was a better Marilyn than Ivy.
            Anyway, what kills me the most Michael Thomas Angelo, is that you think that anyone who doesn’t agree with your choice for Marilyn is a cultural sheep and an ignoramus. You shouldn’t be that conceited.

          • lola says:

            AGREED

    • Rose says:

      I’m with you, Marta! Some of my favorite scenes were the ones with Karen and Derek, especilaly when she sang “Our Day Will Come” to him (or when he was invisioning that, haha)!

  8. John says:

    If an actor’s paramour somehow doesn’t get the significance of booking the BoM tour, they have no business dating someone in this life. Pick the tour!

    It’s TV, though, so they’ll probably pick love. Sigh. Soooo much money…

  9. Titina says:

    I am excited for season 2! But what do you mean that Karen& Derek moment?
    We want them together! Their chemistry is insane.
    But she probably will be with that new boyfriend anyways, and Derek will have to keep tagging along with Ivy. All over again. Damn it. How boring…

    Hopefully Cartwills will get together someday anyways..

    • ABBY says:

      Really? I have never spotted a drop of chemistry between Derek and Karen, I was kind of hoping they would drop that plot point all together because of how bad the actors are together…

      • TMW says:

        I agree about Karen/Derek. I’m pretty sure that Karen will end up with Jeremy Jordan’s character, anyway.

        • I agree about Karen/Derek having not a drop of chemistry. In fact, I’d be happy never to have to watch Karen and Derek together. Derek has treated Ivy badly but at least their dynamic is interesting and not a cliche like May-December Derek-Karen.

      • Ana Morais says:

        Karen and Derek have a HUGE chemistry, PLEASE!!!!!! Can’t wait for them to be together!

      • La_Mosca says:

        Ivy and derek, yucks. Totally not for each other. She’s so hard up for him and he just takes her as a convenient screw. Just using her. I always shudder when I see them together. How she throws herself at him and thinks there’s something special between them, is so demeaning. Yuck!!

        • I don’t see this as the case at all. Derek often runs to Ivy, not the other way around, even at times when staying away from her means he could have an easy “guy breakup” without having to say any harsh words. He went to her for sympathy after Dev hit him, and had Karen so little on his mind that it didn’t even occur to him “gee, this could look bad, I shouldn’t tell Ivy who hit me, because she’ll think something went on to make Dev jealous.” When Ivy said “why aren’t you blocking the show now” – the “blocking” being the equivalent of the director’s fingerprint, the indefinable stamp where they do the real work – Derek’s response to Ivy was “I would be blocking the role if you were Marilyn instead of Karen.” The show is set in Manhattan, not Stars Hollow or Capeside – Derek is not limited to one woman if all he wants is “a convenient screw”. And I didn’t notice him telling Karen, even offhandedly, that he loves her.

    • marta says:

      Karen & Derek have ALOT of chemistry which was shown in the first episode, when they danced together, the quick glances between each other.

      PS does anyone else get the slow script message which is making me mad as he!!

  10. JAO says:

    I love the show! Of course I will!!

  11. Taylah says:

    Excited about more Megan Hilty performances… and that’s pretty much the only thing I’m excited about actually.

  12. ec says:

    I’m excited. There’s a certain freedom to watching a show that you know is a guilty pleasure – once you accept that, it can’t ever really be bad (except Ellis – he was awful). Love both Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty (never understood those fans who feel that because they’re rivals on the show, you have to love one and absolutely hate the other). I think they both bring something different to the show. Megan is an absolute energetic ball of fire in Broadway numbers, and Katharine McPhee really surprised me with her aptitude for dramatic subtlety and nuance, which I never expected from an American Idol contestant. Plus, her chemistry with Jack Davenport is so dirtyhot.

  13. visionsofourfuture says:

    “Someone is faced with the difficult choice of love… or joining the Book of Mormon national tour”

    so that’s most likely going to be sam right? having to choose between tom or the book of mormon?

    • Dizzle says:

      If it is then clearly he chooses “love” (blergh, hate the mushy way that sounds!) as the actor’s now a series regular

      • Megan Oyer says:

        I agree. I’m glad he choose love, because I love him and Tom, but that puts so much pressure on their relationship. Book of Mormon would have been a huge deal for him.

  14. Nisha says:

    So sad to see the Derek/Karen storyline to be dropped. But I’ll give their new seperate romances a chance. Can’t wait for season 2.

  15. Lori says:

    I was so excited when SMASH was renewed but now I am not looking forward to the show’s return. Karen and Derek have incredible chemistry so that is a storyline that should be pursued but sadly isn’t going to be. The idea of Ivy being given the role of Marilyn is absurd. No investor or insurance underwriter would sign on for the risk of having someone who has proven to be as unstable as Ivy playing Marilyn. Ivy and Derek are also boring….no chemistry at all. There are too many newbies and too many guest stars and they are not necessary. The show seems to be losing it’s class and heading away from the reality of the theatre. Instead it looks as though it will be another night time drama much like the new showrunner’s former series Gossip Girl and the OC. SMASH was exciting because it was fresh, smart and realistic. Do we have to make everything trite, dumbed down and convenient?

    • Jessie J says:

      Karen is boring in everyway a character can be. Ivy worked for over a decade in that industry, that “unstable” cop-out was just to build up the blank face, passionless, lazy Karen. Ivy is MUCH more talented and can do more in her pinky than Karen could with an entire choir backing her up (when people say Karen was better, that’s when you know they have no idea what they are talking about). At least Derek and Ivy are interesting characters on their own. I’m sick of these douchebags (hating their own genders) who over-look all of the nasty stuff Derek has done cause they fantasize THEY are Karen. All are day-dreaming they are Katharine McPhee rather than care about how good the actual product is. I don’t notice the “chemistry” idiots keep going on about with Derek and Karen because McPhee’s awful acting is so distracting.

      • tvguy says:

        Mcphee’s acting was good if not better than expected for the very limited story of her character, but we all knew that Mcphee as Karen wasn’t an Emmy winning role because they didn’t give that character enough screentime, which she definitely earned. On the other hand Hilty wasn’t able to take her golden opportunity to be the scene stealing supporting actress playing Ivy, who got way more story and screen time, but instead made us want to see less of her. So just by expectation alone Hilty did not so great a job playing Ivy and Mcphee did a pretty good job playing Karen.

        • Hoping and Wishin says:

          Almost every critic disagrees with you about Megan not taking over the show with her talent and range of emotions. Mcphee is “okay” but could improve, she has no subtext in her acting thus far. I sense you are biased though because Megan nailed what a lot of girls are like in that field.

          What I dislike about people going on and on about how they want Derek and Karen together is and that they hate Ivy. Truthfully all of the characters have done bad things (yes, Karen too, even if the show didn’t intend it) but singling Megan/Ivy out is childish and sexist. How is it perfectly all right for a man to be a bastard but when a woman does it suddenly it is unacceptable.

    • Samantha says:

      The showrunner on Smash was never on the OC. You are confusing Josh Safran with Josh Swartz.

    • Give it a chance. It hasn’t even aired yet.

  16. Well! That’s certainly goin’ to be a lots to wrap my head around for the next few months. LOL I love SMASH! It’s great!

  17. Titina says:

    Karen and Derek have the BEST CHEMISTRY on screen!
    Pls Josh Saffran use it! Or I am not watching the show.. I don´t want to see the boring no chemistry Derek/Ivy relationship all over again…
    So pls I am praying there is still hope for Cartwills! Karen & Derek are the main reason I watch this show!

  18. Silvia says:

    I agree with not seeing the chemistry between Derek and Karen (the only one who seemed to bring life out of Katharine McPhee and her “acting” was Megan/Ivy). Derek and Ivy on the other hand made up the only couple who was interesting and didn’t feel forced.
    I do hope that they give continuity to last season’s story lines and they are not just dropped.
    Also, I hope the new characters don’t take screen time away from Jessica, Bobby, and the ensemble. Those two are the only consistently good thing last season (and, in my opnion, Megan Hilty’s performances).

    And although I love Megan/Ivy, I don’t hate Katharine (but I do find Karen boring), I like her plenty as a singer :)

  19. Carolina says:

    I am excited! And I am also really excited about Karen & Derek!
    Love them together! They have the best chemistry on this show. Pls use it. Cannot wait all of their scenes together this season. Cartwills fan till the end!

  20. Carolina says:

    Oh and all the scenes Karen and Derek had in S1 were the best acted.
    That finale scene of both of them in the costume department while she was crying was epic. Pls let them hook up!
    Ivy is a bitch for sleeping with Dev! I am sick of her always playing the victim when in reality she isn´t, she always backstabbed Karen every time she could.

    • Kim says:

      Look I like Karen and Derek too, but I don’t think any scene with Katherine McPhee in it qualifies as best acted. Girl was adequate at best. I do hope the show improves though this season.

  21. vane says:

    Great drama so excited its back!

  22. Naazneen says:

    Matt, come on. Did you think it was good, so so or bad?

  23. La_Mosca says:

    Ivy gets the part because mama is financing the show. Eileen Rand temporarily no money. Ivy’s mama along with Jerry Rand puts up “Bombshell” and Ivy’s mama gonna be playing Norma Jeans’ mum. Predictable. See if I am wrong.

  24. Blable says:

    “Seriously, there’s one Derek/Karen scene that will have you progressively screaming, “No…. No!… NO!” at the telly.)”

    If it is a kiss scene (dreaming), I’ll scream YES YES YES

    And omg those talking karen/derek have no chemistry, well, we are def not watching the same show.
    THEY HAVE TO KISSSSS

    it will be EPIC

  25. Kelly says:

    I LOVE SMASH! Its taking way to long for season 2…I think Ivy gets all the wrong that gets done to her…she was soooooo wrong for sleeping with Dev! Karen is sincere and Ivy is a back stabber. Derek….well he is one of the reason why I watch…You never know whats next! I would love to see a hot steamy kiss with Karen and Derek (if anything). Welcome back Smash…Ive missed you :)

  26. Mavs Favs says:

    I’m looking forward for season 2. But I really hope there would be CARTWILLS moments, they have a good chemistry. I really like Derek’s character, even though he treats the people badly he still have a heart but I also like when people are against him, he doesn’t care and will do what it takes to prove them wrong.

  27. Anna says:

    I’m really excited for this! Even though Michael Swift was kinda my favourite… or one of my favourites. Sad to see him gone.

  28. Laura says:

    I guess Michael Swift got trashed in the reviews.

  29. larkie says:

    tired with ivy , bitch needs to drawn on a bottle of pills and die for good already.

  30. Jen says:

    Can’t wait for season 2! I absolutely loved Karen and Derek scenes and they just oozed chemistry so if that scene mentioned is a kiss (or more) then I’ll be screaming YES YES YES! All of the new additions sound great too.

  31. WarRoom92 says:

    “It turns out the reviews for Bombshell‘s Beantown try-out were largely rousing — save for a chorus of damning digs aimed at one (and only one) person.”

    Am I being too optimistic in hoping that these “digs” are directed towards the lifeless performer that is Karen?!?

  32. faith says:

    Can’t wait for Season 2 to start. Hoping for great singing and amazing Cartwills scenes!

  33. Brandon says:

    I really hope NBC didn’t screw up my favoite show, I can’t wait to see it but I hope they keep it they way it was last year.

  34. Opinionmine says:

    Yeah for anything that gives Megan Hilty an opportunity to move back in to the front and center. If you were only comparing her acting and singing talent to Katherine McPhee’s ( no personal hate here) it is obvious which one would naturally get a part such as “Marilyn” should it exist in real life. The characters could only perform as well as the actresses who portray them, and Hilty’s range as an actress is much deeper and broader than that of McPhee’s.
    On the other hand I am very sorry to see the exit of all the actors who were dismissed from the show – even Ellis’ portrayer” with the exception of the guy who played the son. These men are very talented actors, most with scores of Broadway experience, and added much to the dynamics of the show. The actor playing the son, however, could not act and made any scene he was in painfully slow to watch.

    • La_Mosca says:

      Never believe anyone who says no personal hate, there is. That’s why you feel a need to explain yourself. And in real life do you seriously think that an untrustworthy, drug/alcohol addicted performer like Ivy who messed up “HOE” would really be given another chance?

  35. PFitzDC says:

    Matt–
    I love the way you “spoil” after you’ve screened a show. You never give anything substantive away, but you know just how to create excitement and suspense. I can’t wait for the reveals of your hints and teases!

    Merry, Merry, Merry

  36. Pav says:

    You’re fifteen years behind the times, dude. Eileen is lucky enough to be dating Zach Slater. Much more dangerous fellow.

  37. Piper says:

    When Thorsten Kaye aka Patrick Thornhart, but more recently the fab Zach Slater, is no longer on Smash I would not watch. He is the reason I watch & hopefully someone knows he has a large fan base who watches this show for him.

  38. The middle-schooler in me is super excited that you mentioned my boyfriend Patrick Thornhart.

  39. hehe says:

    love smash cant wait :) hate Karen though- as she seems to love herself completely! Ivy is an amazing talent and . makes for a less perfect but more interesting character·AND a far more convincing Marilyn! :)

  40. John says:

    Derek and Karen do have chemistry, but why would Karen go with a serial womanizer??? In the “apology” scene he uses the excuse that as a “director” he has a record of having sex with the girls vying for parts. Karen dumped Dev because he cheated with Ivy. Why would she set herself up with a man who was supposedly with Ivy and sleeping with the Movie Star (Uma Thurman). -yet, the scene where Karen sings “Our day will come” was sensual and the chemistry between her and Derek (or Marilyn and Derek)… wow!

    The actresses who portray Karen and Ivy are just playing parts written for them, it’s not REAL it is TV. They are both great. A reminder, this is a TV show and they are not KAREN and IVY but Katherine and Megan, they have a TV persona and a private one too. We all have our preferences but in the end, both ladies are fabulous on the show.

    Smash is great and I hope this season is even better. Like the name.. a SMASH

  41. Megan Oyer says:

    My excitement for the Karen/Jimmy relationship knows no bounds. Anyone with me?

  42. Phil says:

    Love the show & all the actors !! Songs are fantastic!!!
    Katharine McPhee is a true rare breed – talented AND beautiful !!!! I a young Lesley Ann Warren !!
    can’t think of anything I’d change !!!
    Loved ” a Thousand and one Nights” song! Wish that was on soundtrack !!

  43. Phil says:

    Can’t wait for season 2 !!!!
    Btw the Smash DVD is even better than broadcast – no commercials – stereo sound!
    Both girls are fantastic and shine in different ways!!
    Thus the competitive edge over each other!!
    I’d love a complete soundtrack on CD – not only selected tunes!
    This is great !

  44. Jan Hare says:

    Of all the comments I’ve seen here, comparing Katharine McPhee to Lesley Ann Warren is the most wrong. Lesley Ann Warren has always been able to do EVERYTHING; remember her as Cinderella? Remember her in Victor/Victoria? I really like Katharine, but there is NO comparison.
    Put me in the NO Derek/Karen camp – makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
    I hope it isn’t changed that much from last year – I loved everything from the story to the music – but I have a feeling it will be MUCH changed and all the things that MADE it a gem will be gone and it will be just another night time soap.
    I can’t say how much I loved the show last year and I want to love it again.

  45. I have been duly shamed by a couple posters who objected to the conceited condescending tone of my Team Ivy assertions. I appreciate being kept in check but I just have a hard time accepting Katherine McPhee as Marilyn because the show is so obviously trying to sway audiences without a nod to the extraordinary superior talents of Megan Hilty in regard to the role.

  46. Smashin says:

    I hate the whole Ivy/Karen debate. They both bring something to the show. Ivy is a bombshell, she IS Marilyn and her storyline IS Marilyn’s life. I love all her scenes/songs-the camera loves her. Karen has grown on me, I feel like they are forcing the issue making her Marilyn but her “Our Day Will Come” is unforgettable. She has no chemistry with Derek, but I love the new storyline with the new young songwriter…this is where she belongs for her big break, this suits her!!

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