Smash Recap: The Nude Normal

Smash Season 2 recap Dress Rehearsal BobbyThis week on Smash, Ivy Lynn proves that art can sometimes imitate a wardrobe malfunction, Karen backbone-building exercises begin to pay dividends and (say it ain’t so!) Julia and Tom’s friendship hits a rocky patch. Plus, Julia makes big contributions to Bombshell and Hit List, Kyle completes his transition from forgotten dustpan into a real human boy and Eileen gets double-crossed by the lamestream media. (I kid! I kid! I just always wanted to type the phrase “lamestream media” for kicks and giggles, and figured, “I’m recapping a show on a Saturday night — here’s my shot!”)

Okay, so let’s cut to the chase of what happened this week on Smash…

IT’S NOT EASY BEING TOM | We open with Tom having one of those dreams where he’s naked on stage in front of his entire cast (with Ivy Lynn snapping photos, the little hellion). Then he wakes and finds he’s in bed with…ELLIS! (MY EYES! MY EYES! THEY BURRRNNN!) Yep, that’s the moment where Tom’s internal GPS directed him to take a left off Anxiety Dreams Lane and onto Frakking Nightmare Blvd. (Show of hands: Anyone miss Ellis a little? Nah? Okay, moving on…) So it turns out Tom is stressed because Bombshell is doing a run-through for friends and family and selected media — and he feels like his future as a director rests on how he fares in his first attempt. Julia counts 14 mistakes in Act One — including Ivy Lynn’s Marilyn flashing her netherregions to the audience when JFK accidentally removes her negligee along with her dress. Whoops!

The next day, Eileen is all “you have to fix the technical problems by 3 pm or cancel the show’s first preview…but oh, can we talk Ivy Lynn into getting nekkid on the regular?” Okay, she didn’t say it like that, but I translated from Fabulous Producer into Commoner-ese. At 3pm, Tom is still scrambling — it takes so long to bring in the giant plane for “National Pasttime” before Act Two that intermission has to be stretched to 45 minutes. And that’s when Julia has an idea: Stage “Dig Deep” out in the audience and in front of the stage. (Pause here to celebrate the awesomeness of bitchy Bobby’s work in this number. Yes, NBC’s press site had a photo of the adorable scamp…and I used it for this recap. #TeamBobby4Eva) And so the preview goes on, and goes seemingly well. Until Sam quits because he doesn’t want to be a bench-warmer waiting for the next cast-member injury. And until the Times runs a big piece noting how Bombshell and Hit List both delve into the “power and price of transformation” — with Marilyn’s story clearly influencing the central characters in the latter show. Except Bombshell, the story goes on, rakes over the past, while Hit List mines the present and the future. Ouch! When Tom gets to the part in the article about Julia being “Hit List‘s informal dramaturg,” a fact Julia neglected to mention to him, he loses it — and actually tells his BFF/current roomie to spend the night “with your boyfriend.” (I’m assuming he means Scott.) (Also, it’s a good thing Julia didn’t follow Derek and Karen and quit the big production or she might not be able to afford a dang hotel!)

DEREK PUTS HIS WORK BEFORE HIS LIBIDO | Seeing Derek all sulky and toussled (okay, he’s always sulky and toussled — but this time not in a good, sexy, British way), Julia goes in for a heart-to-heart: After she broke up with Michael Swift, she saw Bombshell more clearly than ever. Whatever’s happening between him and Karen, she adds, he ought to channel it into Hit List. “Run it,” she instructs. “Maybe you’ll see something new.” And, in fact, he does just that — making a decision to open the show with The Diva (Ana’s character) in the audience for a concert by Amanda (Karen’s character) — singing Amanda’s signature song before firing a gun at someone on the stage. Karen and Jimmy respond with the maturity of two-year-olds who’ve just had their crayons taken away after drawing on the wall. It goes something like this:

“You’re punishing us!” whines Jimmy.
“It’s my character’s anthem! Don’t give it to Ana!” whines Karen.
“This is how development works,” sighs Derek, who remembers they’re staging a musical for public consumption, not a game of kickball during recess. Oy!

Somehow, Scott passes the ball to KYLE (who apparently read a copy of Broadway for Dummies! over the last few weeks and is now a Major Storyteller). “Derek’s right. I’m sorry. It’s better,” says the Artist Formerly Known as Gay Wallpaper. Jimmy makes a pukey face, as is his wont, and rages that Kyle is just like Derek — jealous because he and Karen are doing the nasty. Later, Jimmy apologizes to his roomie for being “a dick,” and everything’s hunky dory with the men of Hit List. (Side note: Derek’s opening was pretty flippin’ fantastic. I’d sign up for that show. Plus, having Ana sing a few bars in creepy stalker mode hardly negates Karen’s ability to have a moment with it. Sheesh.)

KAREN ALIENATES, WELL, PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE | So here’s Karen’s week in a nutshell: She gets in a fight with Ana after telling her roomie that “[Derek] only gave you that song because he was pissed at me” (neglecting to remember that Ana had the lead role in Hit List at Fringe Fest before Karen blithely quit Bombshell and took over). Karen gets in a fight with Derek after he informs her Jimmy gets paid in cash BECAUSE HE HAS NO SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. “You don’t know what you’re dealing with,” he tells her. “Yeah I do: A jealous old man,” she snaps back. And finally Karen looks like she’s done with Jimmy after she confronts him with concerns about his drug use, his real name and his general sketchiness and all he can do is snarl and say “I’m sorry.” I’ve now decided that Karen needs to be single to focus on her work and her self-actualization. Who’s with me? Also, Jimmy’s Sketchy Drug Dealer Pal gets flirty with Ana outside the theater and so you know that foreshadows Very Bad Things.

IVY LYNN BARES, WELL, EVERYTHING | Ivy Lynn spends a lot of time in her birthday suit this week. She opens the episode in bed after a casual encounter with Derek, and ends it by inviting him back inside — with plans to spend the night. Maybe these two complicated grown-ups are meant for each other? I’m not sure. As for the nudoty in Bombshell, Ivy Lynn keeps her nightie on when JFK strips her down, but later, as Marilyn pleads for Mr. President to come back to bed, she drops her sheet and — bazinga! — shows the crowd the full monty. In the context of the play, that moment of naked vulnerability really works, so kudos to our Broadway scrapper for her fine actorly choice. It certainly answered Bobby’s question: “Nude or prude?”

As for Eileen and Times Guy, well, it looks like they’re splitsville again, but alas it didn’t end with a tossed martini. Why The Face?

What did you think of this week’s Smash? Are you digging the rekindled Ivy Lynn-Derek? Did Karen have any right to be angry with Ana? And did Tom have a right to be angry with Julia? Sound off in the comments!