Smash Recap: Liza With a B-Day

liza-minnelli-smash-season-2Nobody puts Liza in a corner! But apparently, NBC can (and will) put her — and her lively guest performance on Smash — in a Saturday-night primetime wasteland. Oh the indignity of it all!

Then again, so what if the Peacock net is using the weekends to burn off the polarizing little musical that could/(n’t)? We’re in the DVR era, for cryin’ out loud, and if we’ve stuck with The Romantic Trials of Karen Cartwright (and Her Inconvenient Frenemy Ivy Lynn) for this long, we might as well ride it out to the end, right? Right? Right.

This week, Karen momentarily regrew her backbone, Ivy Lynn celebrated a birthday to remember (on multiple levels), and Julia and Eileen made tentative strides in their should-be-more-exciting personal lives. Also, Kyle spoke (about something/to someone other than Jimmy)!

KAREN COMES OUT OF THE CLOSET | Respecting Jimmy’s desire to keep their affair a secret, Karen finds herself hooking up with the bad-boy composer/costar in the wardrobe closet, where his romantic gestures include covering her mouth and shushing her (so as not to get on Derek’s radar) and responding to her comment “I’ve been thinking…” with a dismissive “You shouldn’t do that.” (What a peach he is!) Ana, however, exhibiting the kind of good sense a gal wants in a best friend, asks Karen a pertient question on one of their many coffee walks: “Don’t you think this ‘top secret’ thing is a bit of a red flag?” Buoyed by the chat, Karen finally takes a stand and puts the kibosh on these closet encounters after Jimmy can’t even articulate why he needs to keep a lid on their “romance.”

Cut to Karen working late in the theater, and a drunken Derek admitting, “I care about you.” No, care-care, Karen, you dimwit! Karen finally fesses up: She’s seeing someone, and that someone is Jimmy. “I hope this doesn’t make things weird between us,” she says, but come on, of course it will. Sure enough, at their next rehearsal, Derek explodes over Karen and Jimmy’s nonexistent performances. “This is the last time I use untrained actors!” (Good point.) Suddenly an argument erupts between Derek and Jimmy: Derek’s all “I told you to keep away from Karen!” And Jimmy’s all, “Duuude!” And then Karen finds her self-respect under a back-row seat in the auditorium and puts the guys in their places: It’s not Derek’s job to control her personal life or pee on the fire hyrdant outside her apartment. And it was supposed to be Jimmy’s job to be honest and tell her he was keeping their affair hush-hush because he feared Derek’s response. “I thought you were more of a man! I thought you both were!” she says, and finally, it looks like the scrappy Season 1 Karen has returned. Oh wait, she’s gone again! Jimmy shows up at Karen’s apartment at midnight asking for forgiveness and promising to take her on a real date. And just like that he’s giving her his coat and taking her out for a bite to eat — no planning, no forethought, no reservations. To make matters worse, Karen finds that little baggie of drugs (from last week’s last act) in his coat pocket and doesn’t say a damn thing. Oh grrrrllll — you need to take six months off from dating and focus on nothing but your work, mmmkay? (Look, I’m just being the gay BFF this character so desperately needs.)

IVY LYNN HAS THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER | Ivy Lynn, still smarting over the revelation that Tom spearheaded the move to hire her mother (and supporting pal Sam after Tom basically cost him his job), winds up clashing haughtily with her director during “Tech” (ahh…remember tech!?)  — and makes plans with most of the cast and crew to celebrate her birthday with much booze (and possible sex with the guy playing JFK). One caveat: Tom can’t know about it. Meanwhile, Tom, remembering Ivy Lynn’s b’day at the last moment, realizes this is his big chance to restore their friendship by taking her out for dinner, writing her a new song, and getting Liza Minnelli to stop by and perform it. Ivy Lynn agrees to go — what else can she do? — but acts like a she-beast, checking her phone and pouting, until Liza makes her entrance and belts a tune written just for Ivy Lynn. All is forgiven — Ivy Lynn even admits she might’ve overreacted a bit — despite the fact that Eileen made sure the paparazzi was there to capture the moment for posterity publicity.

Things seem back on track for the pals, but when dinner ends, Ivy Lynn decides against inviting Tom to come with her to the cast bash. “We should lighten up on Tom,” she tells her buddies. “Haaaapy birthday…” sings Jessica, holding a cake. And there’s bitchy Bobby outside the bar, eyes popping out of his head, because here comes Tom with Ivy Lynn’s keys. Uh-oh! Tom seems hurt from being left out, but Ivy Lynn makes a salient point: For Bombshell to truly succeed, he needs to be a director, she needs to be an actress, and their personal relationship has to take a back seat. He concedes, and the party rages on, till the birthday girl is the last one left at the bar. And then there’s one more twist, when we hear this line in a hot British accent: “You didn’t think I was gonna forget your birthday.” Yep, it’s Derek, and it appears Ivy Lynn might get her cake…with a side of beefcake. (OK, maybe it’s just platonic, but I don’t think that’s how the scene was played, do you?)

THE “FREE KYLE!” MOVEMENT BEGINS | Scott keeps Julia in dramaturg mode — the better to pump up Ana’s role as The Diva — and the duo meets with Kyle to improve the Hit List story with little time to spare. It doesn’t even help that Kyle can’t use deductive reasoning when Julia asks him if he and Jimmy use a board in their work. (I kinda had a sick thought that she should get up in his face and whisper “waterboard,” but that didn’t happen. Long story short, The Diva is becoming Hit List’s Big Bad — and her expanded presence comes at the expense of Karen’s character. Derek, still pissed that his dreamgirl is now dating the whiniest prat on this side of the Atlantic, turns out to be okay with that idea. “Give Ana some of Karen’s songs,” is the essence of his parting comments.

ETC | Scott admits he had suppressed his romantic feelings for Julia while she was married; she invites him for a drink. NY Times Dude and Eileen go to dinner, he gets pissed when he realizes she’s orchestrated a paparazzi moment during their quiet night out, but then they agree they both have baggage and decide to give it another shot, as long as they take it slow. (How slow can they go? There aren’t that many episodes left. Besides, I’d rather see Eileen throw a martini than get her groove back, if I’m being honest.)

THE WEEK IN MUSIC | Karen sings a pretty lame Hit List number called “Somebody Original,” which is the life story of Lady Gaga with awkward dancing and another awful outfit for the Lady Cartwright. (What’s with wardrobe always putting her in messes that sparkly sweater and flared blue miniskirt?) Liza, meanwhile, belts the sublime, understated “A Love Letter from the Times” and shows these young beeyotches how it’s done. Can she be on the sitcom of my dreams, the one with Derek, Tom and Julia? Or the other one with Bobby, Jessica and Hot Dennis?

What did you think of the first Saturday Smash? Was Ivy Lynn right to back-burner her friendship with Tom? Do you wish Karen had at least waited an episode (or 10) before giving Jimmy another shot? Did Derek and Ivy Lynn’s night end in bed (or something like it)? 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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  1. Anna says:

    A better episode. And even though I’m sure smash is slowly dying on Saturday I really love it. Love Liza (who doesn’t) and I really like Collins (or whatever Jessie L Martin characters name is). I just hope they don’t do ivy and Derek again. It’s not that I don’t like them together it’s just I want ivy to have a legit romance, we’ve already done ivy and Derek when Derek’s in love with Karen. Maybe she’ll get to go with JFK, just not with Derek she deserves more. Also ivy made a good point about her Tom but it broke my heart when he saw her at the bar :(

    • Annie Sisk says:

      Agree with those points. I get that Karen is just pathologically incapable of being on her own- whatevs, honey – but really? Those are your two choices and you go with … JIMMY?

  2. chris says:

    So I thought this one of this seasons better episodes story wise, but weaker music wise. I realize the move to Saturday was a big downgrade but glad we are getting to see the last eps

  3. Meg says:

    Sadly, I thought this was one of the stronger episodes of the season. I enjoyed the glimmer of Karen (re?)building her backbone, I enjoyed Ivy being pout-y and reasonable in the same hour, and Liza freakin’ Minnelli was on my tv screen! I’m sticking with it until the end. And sign me up for the Derek, Tom, Julia sitcom.

    • Harmony says:

      ” And sign me up for the Derek, Tom, Julia sitcom.” What petition do I sign to get the ball rolling on this?

  4. Megan Hilty rocks. Bummer these are the last episodes.

  5. Barbara says:

    I realy with somehow this show could be saved. I know lots of people who watch and love it. It so much better than the too many reality shows that unindate our TV.

  6. SylwekG says:

    By the way, where is hot Dennis? We haven’t seen him for a while. I was hoping he and Bobby would get together.

    • Maggie says:

      Phillip Spaeth, aka Hot Dennis, got a real Broadway show, that’s why we haven’t seen him. He’s a principal in Matilda. Supposed to be a fun show!

  7. Peg says:

    They can’t be dropping Smash! This is one of my favorite shows. I’m so sick of every other new show being cop/firefighter/espionage/medical/sexplicit garbage. Yes it’s a soap opera – but with great music and talented singers and dancers!

  8. rebecca says:

    So sad that this show is probably going off the air….have loved it since the beginning…especially love Ivy and Tom talented…maybe a cable channel will pick it up?.

    • John Crook says:

      That’s a really lovely thought, but given the size of this cast and the multiple artistic “components” involved, I am guessing “Smash” must be absolutely ungodly expensive to produce. I doubt that it would make economic sense for cable, unless they could put together the kind of international distribution deal HBO has for big-bucks shows such as “Game of Thrones.”

  9. marta says:

    was soooo happy that Karen spoke up–to both Derek & Jimmy even if it lasted for 5 minutes! the writers have just ruined Karen on this show. she was an amazing young woman in the pilots of Season 1 & 2! still hoping for Cartwills, but no gonna happen! they really do bring out the best in each other!

    loved the song, Original, & the dance number! these are always my favorite moments of Smash!

    Ivy & Tom are boring & making Bombshell boring

    • Nichole says:

      Agree with all of this. I really enjoyed the Hit List number, which I doesn’t usually happen. Jimmy didn’t get on my nerves the way he usually does. Still don’t like him and Karen together though. Liked watching Julia mentor Kyle. It was really nice to see her give him the tools to improve his own work rather than shoving her ideas down his throat. Loving Swift-less/Leo-less Julia. Also agree tha Ivy & Tom are boring and making Bombshell boring. While these were the best parts of Season 1, they have now lost their magic. I also hated the ending with Derek and Ivy. So hoping they don’t go back there.

  10. forwarddad says:

    Why can’t the writers do a plot line that is not so obvious with Jimmy? So unlikeable.

  11. jax says:

    I enjoyed this episode. It felt like the show finally hit its stride tonight; too bad it’s too late. I think the juxtaposition of the big budget musical and the small production is interesting. It’s much more believable that Karen would land a role in a show like Hit List than the lead in Bombshell. I like the romance brewing between Julia and Scott and Eileen and the newspaper guy. I missed hearing Ivy sing. I wish Smash could find a new home on cable next year.

  12. dan says:

    That was a pretty good episode, Jimmy was almost tolerable at the very end when he asked Karen out, aside from the baggie of drugs he’s still carrying around.

    I really hate how Karen and Ana are being pitted against each other, didn’t she get enough of that with Bombshell and Ivy? Or maybe her life is Groundhog’s Day, and she’s doomed to dating the same horrible guys and struggling to get stage time in musicals that are a mess right up to opening night.

    At least it was enough to keep me watching for the last seven episodes.

  13. Yes, tonight’s show was a bit better. However, NBC programming experts are idiots to move Smash out of the way for a juvenile “reality”show. I will reprogram my Saturdays to include the rest of the show that is already in the can. Do wish the powers that be had enough professional sense to schedule season 3.

  14. Danielle says:

    Derek FINALLY admitted he had feelings for Karen!?!?!!!!!!! OMG! I am not understanding what’s wrong with her!! What’s his name is totally annoying and obnoxious. Karen may not deserve Derek, but, OMG, they are so great together. I can’t believe it took him this long to say something. And now, he’s going to go back to Ivy. AUGHHHJHHHH!!!

    Ok, i feel a little better now.

    But seriously, that guy is SO annoying. SO. ANNOYING. I can’t believe that Karen is dating that jerk. I did miss the great music this week. And felt so bad for Tom when Ivy didn’t tell him about the party. But seriously — GET RID OF JIMMY.

    Do wonder what’s going to happen with the musical now, and I wonder if it’s because it is a good idea, or if it’s because Derek is so mad at Karen and Jimmy, he doesn’t care in general that she’ll have less time, etc.

    • Janie says:

      I dont think that Derek REALLY wanted to go the relationship route with karen.. He had just been told by the newspaper guy that it would make a great story and THEN he goes for it?? I think he likes to control her but she is too goody goody for him

      • Becca says:

        Thank goodness someone said it! Derek never even showed the slightest love interest in Karen until some newspaper guy told him it would be a great story! I like Derek, but him and Karen… never! I don’t know what everyone is hating about. I always thought Derek and Ivy should get back together. I feel like they fit together and now that Derek isn’t ( I mean wasn’t until this episode) a big jerk all the time he might be able to respect Ivy more.

  15. bobbie says:

    You really captured this episode, Michael Slezak. I do think Ivy and Derek are in for a roll in the hay! And why not? Shirley Temple is busy complaining that the boys aren’t men, and oh the angst! The angst! But, she’ll give the munchkin another chance, even after finding his magic powder. Derek might care-care about the Karen, but Ivy is his equal.
    Julia’s smile was particularly beautiful….
    Tom and Ivy are bffs, that’s forever.

    But! Where’s the friggin’ MEGAN HILTY SINGING???? Three episodes without her singing is too much to bear!

    • twee says:

      She sang Bittersweet Symphony. They went weirdly sneaky and just had it as montage music without even pretending Ivy was singing it, but still. We even got a single *shrugs*

  16. Caro says:

    I loved seeing Karen stand up for herself and I adored seeing Derek admit he has feelings for her. Now, if Karen will only reciprocate! Liza didn’t impress me but I’ve never been a fan of hers so I could have done without her. Hated the idea of Derek and ivy getting together!

  17. Smasher says:

    Was great seeing Karen finally show some self respect and stand up for herself against Jimmy and Derek ….. well up until when she agreed to the date with Jimmy, doh!!! Oh and I’ve been massively for cartwills all season, but the way Derek started acting out like a spoilt kid the moment Karen turned him down, Ivy’s welcome to him, seriously! Karen needs to just be single!! I loved the ‘Original’ number too. It was super cheesy but cute <3 The whole Ivy party plot was pretty juvenile imo. How old are these people?!! I've just lost all interest with Bombshell now

  18. danoregon says:

    Smash is still a good show. Funny thing is, it would have fit right it on those classic Saturday nights when networks still programmed the night. Makes me miss Carol Burnett.

  19. Crickey says:

    You may dislike Karen/Katharine McPhee but to call Original “lame” is an insult to Pasek and Paul – the actual musical theatre writers who wrote the song. Come on.

    • ER says:

      Don’t become a writer if you can’t handle criticism.

      • Crickey says:

        Nice try, Einstein, but calling a song “lame” does not qualify as criticism. I doubt the actual writers give a damn either way.

    • marta says:

      ‘Original’ sung by Karen/Katharine & that dance number was amazing! Hit List music is really, really amazing!

    • MM says:

      I didn’t love the song, but see your point on reducing it to “lame”. A better criticism would be to point out that the pop flavor of it totally clashes with the rugged, anti-establishment sounds we’ve heard from “Hit List” so far. Are we supposed to buy that Jimmy wrote that? Surly, smarmy, makes-me-want-to-slap-him Jimmy writes a Taylor Swift/ High School Musical cotton candy song? Really?

      • Becca says:

        I wish we could just like posts instead of having to comment on them, but… Well Said!! :) Angry tortured Jimmy didn’t write that poppy crap! And as much as I love Karen/Katherine McPhee she needed some more practicing, hair not flopping in her face, better outfit… not really sure what could have fixed that number!

  20. Ivyrocks says:

    Finally more Ivy, more Julia and more Eileen! I enjoyed seeing Kyle being professional and working on his show like he should be. He deserves the success. Julia/Scott romance also seems like a really good idea. Seeing Derek with Ivy again reminded me that I was rooting for them way back when. Now that he isn’t her director anymore, they could work out. He’s seconds away from realizing what a fool he’s been crushing on a girl who’s way too young and immature for him. She can stay with Jimmy for all I care and drown in his drama. I hope her part in Hitlist gets cut down significantly and her face vanishes from the poster. Let’s see how that will affect her romance.

    • Crickey says:

      So Ivy, the pill popping loser who throws hissy fits whenever she doesn’t get her way, and stalks out of rehearsals like she’s being paid to do so, and whines about how mommy didn’t love her enough growing up, is “mature”? Yeah, sure.
      For a second while watching Original, I tried to imagine Ivy doing it, then I burst into laughter at the thought of her dancing. Wonder how she’s going to pull off the uptempo Bombshell numbers now. Notice how Karen always did the numbers that involved actual movement – 20th Century Fox Mambo, I Never Met A Wolf Who Didn’t Love To Howl, Public Relations – How is The Fat One going to pull them off now? LMAO

      • Will says:

        Well, that’s the most repellent comment I’ve seen online all week. Congratulations.

      • marta says:

        agree 100% with Crickey! IVY CAN’T DANCE! she just gets thrown up in the air, or does an awful should roll! Tom & Ivy & Bombshell – snoozefest

        • marta says:

          it should be ‘shoulder roll’

        • Will says:

          Have you ever seen a Broadway show? Because a leading lady who isn’t a great dancer really isn’t a new thing. Unless it’s a dance-based show like “A Chorus Line,” if you’re a brilliant singer and actor, they work around the dancing by surrounding you with…a chorus of dancers. The idea that Ivy, who has a gorgeous voice but is also brilliant at weaving in a character voice for Marilyn; is physically similar to Marilyn, including build; and is a stunningly talented actress couldn’t do the role because she isn’t the world’s best dancer is patently ridiculous.

          • Lexus says:

            Considering Bombshell is a show which has quite a number of uptempos, your point is moot. Not to mention, Hilty’s Marilyn voice and accent are, honestly, stupid. McPhee does it much better.

          • Will says:

            Um, Hilty actually sounds like Marilyn. It’s as simple as that. McPhee’s breathy, affectless voice just ain’t cutting it.

      • AngieD says:

        Ivy has matured considerably since she hit rock bottom at end of season 1. That’s why she apologized to Karen and why she considered inviting Tom to her party. However, she realized that inviting Tom would make things uncomfortable for her other friend Sam and the others. She was mature enough to go after Tom and tell him that they had to put their friendship on hold for the sake of the show. THeir friendship is important to her and she knows that they need to take a step away to avoid taking every little criticism personally while he’s her boss. Ivy already went through having a personal relationship with director/dictator Derek which sent her spiraling down with each critique and rejection. Wise of her IMHO to tell Tom they need space to preserve their long term friendship.

        Karen is the correct choice of Hit List and Ivy for Bombshell. McPhee’s voice is much better suited for pop vs belted out Broadway. As for dancing, plenty of Broadway stars are not the best dancers. Laya Salonga didn’t dance in Flower Drum Song nor Miss Saigon. Also, it’s pretty hard to belt out a Broadway song when dancing across the stage.

        • Lexus says:

          Save your silly “broadway belt vs pop voice” talk for other ignorant losers like yourself who think you can gain some cred on the internet by claiming to be “theatre geeks”. Trying to imply that there is one type of “Broadway voice” is dumber than implying Katharine McPhee can’t belt which is even dumber than implying all Broadway songs have to be fully belted. Get outta here with that nonsense.

      • Rob says:

        You are disgraceful. Hiding behind your computer and calling a beautiful woman, “The Fat One” is going to get you real far in life. Slow clap for you. You are repulsive.

        • Alice says:

          what Rob said and i have no doubt you are a sad, self-hating troll but it doesn’t make your hateful remarks excusable.

        • Lexus says:

          And hiding behind your own computer calling someone else repulsive because he/she considers someone you think is “beautiful”, fat, is what is going to get you far in life? Makes perfect sense. You Hilty fans are hilarious.

          • marta says:

            Thanks, Lexus, couldn’t agree more with you!!!

          • Ben says:

            People who call out others on their prejudice do, in my experience, do tend to go far in life. And in the end, if you are a person who judges others on things such as appearance it will become known and hold you back in life.

          • Kellie says:

            Meghan Hilty is amazing. Have you ever seen her live? I saw her in Wicked, 9-5 and Gentleman prefer blondes. Girl can dance.

    • Nut says:

      Ok, saying Karen is too immature for Derek compared to Ivy just made me lol. Did we not watch the same episode? Ivy and her ensemble crew were an embarrassment to junior high schoolers with their immature, battiness in this episode, and Derek threw a toddler-like hissy fit the minute he didn’t get his own way.

  21. Lexus says:

    Original was fantastic. Katharine McPhee is fantastic.

    • Jessica says:

      Agree Katharine McPhee is fantastic. She can dance and sing at the SAME TIME. Do not see Karen’s fascination with Jimmy; hope she and Derek end up together but I can see that Derek will hook up with Ivy after Karen’s rejection. Ugh. Unbelievable Karen-Derek chemistry wasted.

    • Sebastian says:

      You need to grow up. You post your stupid ignorant bully comments and think everyone is wowed or better yet afraid of your smack talk. You obviously love Katharine McPhee. Good for you. But rest assured there are just as many Hilty fans (frankly, more). You dont get to make up our minds who we like better. Name calling is so 5th grade playground.

      Agree with Rob. You are gross.

  22. ATP says:

    I feel like the show is going to end with Jimmy overdosing on drugs/dying with Karen and Ana being the stars of Hit List without him. Ivy is great as Marilyn but I just haven’t liked what they’ve done to Bombshell this year. I know this is a late thing to say but I was one of those people that thought Jennifer Hudson had permanently joined the show this season. They promoted her so much before this season started and since her storyline wrapped up so quickly I have missed her. I feel she added a refreshing subplot compared to this Jimmy nonsense. If they had focused more on her and got her in Hit List (as the diva) I would be enjoying this SO much more.

  23. Shar says:

    Dear Karen – so, you reach inside your boyfriend’s jacket and find drugs and don’t do or say anything?? You and I are now over.

    There is now no on this show to root for… so sad and will not miss it when it’s officially cancelled.

  24. Fran says:

    I actually semi-cheered when Karen grew a backbone this episode and called Jimmy and Derek out on their crap ….. and then that last scene with Jimmy happened! Oh Karen! And omg, I’m with the people calling ivy & co out on their immaturity. No wonder its so hard to root for these characters when they act like that. “Hey everyone I’m having a huge birthday party with a huge cake, and lots of champagne, and it’ll be the best birthday ever, but shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, don’t tell Tom!!!!” PATHETIC!

  25. JoshSafranScrewedUpWithMyOTP says:

    Oh no, Derek and Ivy again.
    Oh no, they’re endgame.
    Oh no, Karen and Jimmy are endgame too.

    Oh yes, I’m done here.

  26. Will says:

    I agree with most of this review, except I actually liked “Original”. A lot. It was actually the first “Hit List” song that made me think, “Huh, I’d actually like to hear this again.” I haven’t been a fan of any of the previous songs and I’m not the world’s biggest Kat McPhee fan, but I thought this song was, fun, full of energy, didn’t fade into the vague, all-sound-the-same pop ballad mush of the previous “Hit List” numbers, and was actually right for McPhee’s voice and vocal range in a way most of the “Bombshell” songs weren’t. I could picture McPhee, in the real world, being cast in a show with that sort of poppy, modern number, whereas I could never see that happening with “Bombshell”.

    • LauraLee says:

      Katharine McPhee is unbelievably talented and versatile. She was amazing in Bombshell’s Don’t Forget Me and Let Me Be Your Star (and incredible in that Bollywood number) and equally amazing in Hit List. While she can star in Bombshell, I cannot picture Megan Hilty in Hit List. Wonder if they will make Megan do full production numbers with real dancing in Bombshell. Hated ending of episode last night when Derek joined Ivy at the bar. And I enjoyed Season 1’s Ivy more; she has lost her spark now that the writers have tried to make her more sympathetic.

      • twee says:

        Do you mean a production number like Let’s Be Bad? (NO ONE thinks McPhee could pull that one off.) Or like National Passtime?

        • Lexus says:

          You need to go watch season one again. Let’s Be Bad is the only big production number Hilty has done. McPhee did all the rest, and perfectly too. So what you “think” (though I doubt you’re doing much of that at all) is irrelevant.

          • twee says:

            How was National Passtime not “big”? There was dancing, there was throwing Ivy around in the air – as impressive as Karen’s Wolf, to be sure, since all she really did was fall over and walk down some hands. They even did a little dream sequence so it’s half actually staged, rather than entirely in rehearsal room. FWIW, I watch closely, and know 90% of season 1.

            McPhee is a better dancer, but that has no bearing on the characters, just what the production plays up. Note, please, that many other little minds besides yours have become confused, baffled even in awe, by the fact that most of Karen’s numbers come with full costume, lighting, and camerawork designed to make it look professional and huge and impressive.

            Name one credible source that indicates McPhee could do LBB. They explicitly failed to have her do it in her little montage of everything at the end of last season, they bring it up constantly and show the clip during interviews even with McPhee… I’m trying to help you, I am, but the instant defensiveness reeks of ignorance.

          • twee says:

            I don’t know if links work, so it’s easily found on youtube but:

            It’s a full number. If you’re so naive as to be incapable of initially arguing why “National Passtime” shouldn’t count, I’m jumping strait to Ivy’s Wolf being a fully staged number, and very effective. More effective than Karen’s version. Because we don’t have to flash and bam giant airplanes everywhere with Hilty, she “moves” and communicates more than McPhee’s efforts at mediocre technical dancing.

  27. Rachel says:

    Is it sad that Im just skimming the shows waiting till the end of all the episodes for the “series” finale to see if Derek and Karen will get to together until I fully watch all the episodes together. I know Im pathetic but praying to all Gods that they end up together. (the writers must of known by the second episode of this season their was a lot of general hate for Jimmy).

  28. TV Gord says:

    I kept expecting Lucille Austero to fall down, but she never did.

  29. gipsy says:

    I really enjoyed last night’s episode. The story was solid and it kept me interested in the development of the characters. My favorites as always Ivy, Tom, everything on the Bombshell side. I hope the show doesn’t get cancel.

  30. A says:

    I wish that in the finale or maybe they would a special where we get to see the full Bombshell from start to finish. I wouldn’t mind seeing The Hitlist in full too but I really wanna see Bombshell in its entirety

  31. Myokie says:

    Last season – what made it “work” was that each week we progressed on the development of Bombshell – to a logical end of sorts, by opening in Boston. This season is not progressing anything, and if they are going to try to rely on character development instead of using a getting Bombshell up as the gimmich…then PLEASE give me characters I want to watch! I watched season one because it was fun to see what it might take to get a show up. This week has cemented the fact that the show is about “the people”…who are much less interesting.

  32. Linderella says:

    One of the better episodes but I suppose I have to accept a few more episodes and it’s all over. If Derek and Karen do not end up together at the end of this it will be as though it was two seasons of watching a very slow train wreck. NBC strikes again with not supporting what could have been an awesome series.

  33. gail says:

    I thought last night’s show was really good and I think it will even get better. I hope we have a season 3 because it is a great show.

  34. Kit says:

    What’s with all the Hilty haters? Dissing on her weight and lack of dance skills? Do you Kat McPhee supporters not realize that she isn’t ACTUALLY singing AND dancing on Smash? It’s called dubbing & lip-synching! Megan Hilty is a legit Broadway STAR who has played Glinda in Wicked and originated roles on Broadway as well as revues. Broadway leads don’t typically sing AND dance at the full clip you see on TV & in the movies because they are singing live. Production numbers on Broadway are usually singing with dancing happening between verses or slower bits (if the leads do much dancing at all). Even if you don’t like Ivy, please stop trashing Hilty. She’ll have Broadway offers to turn to when Smash ends, but Broadway is not coming calling to McPhee. She is a legit (albeit prefab) pop star. They can both be famous and sing beautifully in their own lanes, but their non-Smash careers will not likely intersect. I don’t think movies will be calling for McPhee either because her emotional expressivity leaves a lot to be desired.

  35. Luli101 says:

    The Karen/Jimmy relationship is terrible and I think it was the final nail in the coffin for the show. It was not believable at all and required reinventing the character of Karen as it went along. Karen of season 1 would never have ended up with this loser. She had determination and self-control and would not have put up with the crap he was dishing out. Talent? Yes. Relationship material? No.
    And, totally off topic—I love Tom so much!!

  36. Luli101 says:

    I love you, too, Michael Slezak! Your recaps are divine!

  37. Sparky says:

    Hilty and Mphee are equally talented i think they are just really different. Megan hilty has a real strong soul like voice deeper than Mphees, Mcphee has a very melodical voice and her best acting is done when she is singing. my problem with the show is the material, karen look half asleep lately and only really seems to have any interest in her expressions when shes around derek. Ivy i actually like now, she has grown up a fraction. Jimmy yeah i dont have words to describe his annoying one dimensional chracter. i mean what the … were they thinking. I have also grown to like juila, who seems as bored with bombshell as the rest of us. bombshell feels like dead weight as they arent adding anything new and upbeat to it. i would have faith that they were going somewhere with karen and dereks storyline as well as ivy if the dude from gossip girl wasnt running things, but just like gossip girl there will be no continuity of chracterisation here either. poor derek :(

  38. Kit says:

    Are the writers being really predictable again? Does anyone else think that Veronica Moore coming on board to play the (challenging and against-type-for-her) Diva is now an inevitability? Seems like an ideal way to launch “Hit List” from Manahattan Theatre Club…err, Workshop to Broadway. How about Jerry produces and then Ronnie goes on to win her 10th Tony, leaving Karen AND Ivy clapping respectfully in the audience? That’s a perfect series finale! *sarcasm*

  39. Lauren says:

    I actually really liked the Hit List number in this episode. I found myself smiling while watching it, thinking “I would actually like to see this full show.” Not sure why you thought it was “lame.”

  40. Danielle H. says:

    Yep, I’m here to the end. Is it not sad that these recaps are more interesting then watching the actual series?
    Totally called Derek visiting Ivy. They willl definitely end up in bed. God, He’s so freaking hot. HAHA

  41. Smash fan nonetheless says:

    I absolutely love “Smash,” for these reasons:
    (1) I love Broadway and NYC,
    (2) it’s educational about Broadway,
    (3) I am VERY fond of several of the actors,
    (4) it’s visually gorgeous,
    (5) it’s well-directed and mostly well-acted (Angelica and Christian, to name a couple, are fantastic), even in the face of imperfect scripts and stories,
    (6) it’s plain entertaining.

    I really hope it continues for a 3rd season and beyond.

    But I know it has flaws.

    If someone were to ask me to identify some flaws — and implicit corrections — here are some things I would identify:

    (a) So many characters are so unlikeable. Sometimes I think TV and movie writers have a knee-jerk, formulaic reflex that “there has to be a villian”. Why? Or that things have to be soap-operatic, with rollercoaster up and downs. Or that it’s not entertaining if the characters aren’t awful to and competitive with and back-stabby with each other in one or more ways. Julia and Ivy are permanently unlikeable to me due to their behavior in Season One (although I adore Debra Messing, and love to “just watch” her in every scene she’s in). Ellis was unlikeable, and murderous, even, which is totally off-tone and not welcome. Jerry is unlikeable (although once again I like the actor). Rebecca DuVal wasn’t likeable. (I’m in the minority in that I was fine with Leo; I think he was realistically portrayed as a semi-dazed, unnuanced teenager. But I appreciate how semi-dazed, unnuanced teenagers are not inherently popular characters.) Now, this year, Jimmy’s very, very sketchy and scary — hard to feel comfortable with at all. Veronica Moore had a fine voice, but virtually no personality whatsoever. And, oh yeah, Derek and his chronically foul mood and arrogance and perpetual 4-day whiskers and carefully-sporadically-spiked hair — also unlikeable.

    (b) Relatedly, the characters and plots and dialogue are too often cartoon-like and unsubtle. The Liza episode felt like a whiplash of multiple, formulaic, Brady Bunch-esque misunderstandings (the Brady kids don’t *really* dislike Alice the maid!). Also related to that is that apparently the writers feel like they absolutely have to rotate among all the main characters in every episode. Maybe they are afraid one of the actors will get pissed if he or she is left out in a given episode. What that does, though, is dilute all the characters. You never get to know them, and really care about them. So you’re left with, again, a cartoon. Another part of the problem is having too many stories crammed into one episode. You lose depth, and satisfaction in the viewer, that way. A better approach might have been, or yet be, to just focus on the creative core — the composer, lyricist, producer, and (while I’d want his or her character to be different!) director. Or maybe just the composer and lyricist. It could be very entertaining to watch them make mistakes, learn from mistakes, and ultimately have a triumph or two or three. It could be modeled after very interesting real-life stories of how shows had new songs put it at the last minute that forever changed the fate of the show. Creative “discovery” can be very interesting to watch.

    (c) Also, personally speaking, I don’t find the topic of Marilyn Monroe to be all that rich with potential. It’s not nearly as interesting to me as, say, skewering religion.

    Thanks for reading. Good luck to “Smash.”

    • Smash fan nonetheless says:

      Also: Michael Swift = unlikeable

      Leigh Conroy = unlikeable

      Nick’s criminality = unlikeable.

      Michael Reidel as Himself = unlikeable (while I know that’s reality-based)

      Bitchy chorus boy and snarky chorus girl who have one or two lines in every episode (again, that very unfortunate mechanical, formulaic, constraining “rotation” matter I referred to earlier) = rather hard to like, also.

      I’m seeing a trend.

      Jerry Herman has talked about how the development of “Mame” was a splendidly happy experience, and of course it had great, joyful results. Why can’t “Smash” likewise reflect Broadway as the joyful thing that it actually often is? Instead it was marketed from the very beginning as a story (or set of stories) about nasty competition and nasty behavior. In the abnormally miserable world of “Smash,” someone is always committing or being victimized by offensive behavior. The whole emblematic frame of the series was kind of set up (per the pilot) as “Karen competing with Ivy.” (I think “watch your back” was part of the marketing tag-line for the show.) To me, that’s just so, you know….shallow — cartoony once again.

      If I could personally take over “Smash,” I’d make it a happier place, with MUCH deeper and less predictable stories…cliche-free, cartoon-free, realistic, super-intelligent writing…and convey much more of the joy of Broadway.

  42. LISA says:


  43. Titina says:

    Awww! I knew Derek LOVED Karen.. But how heartbreaking was that. Poor Derek, I almost cried watching him being so vulnerable. Jack Davenport is a really great actor..
    But man! I dont want hom to go back to Ivy! We had enough of that last season. I love Megan, but she dorsnt have the same chemistry with Jack like Kat does..

    Sigh.. I just really really hope Karen & Derek get together in the end, otherwise I am gonna be really pissed and this show would have been a complete waste of time
    Karen open your eyes! Derek is the one. Screw Jimmy, he is not worth it..