Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 13

Oh shit. They're gonna fuck!
Inspired by NYMag.com’s brilliant Reality Index recaps, Dave (@NineDaves, www.NineDaves.com) and I have teamed up to bring you our take on what’s keepin’ it real and what’s faking it each week on SMASH.

First of all, some crazy news to report. Dave and I saw Peter and the Starcatcher a few weeks ago. Afterwards, we introduced ourselves to Christian Borle and guess what? HE TOTALLY READS THE SMASH REALITY INDEX! AHHH! So heeeey Christian! Hope you’re doing well. Congrats on the Tony nomination that you probably got this morning. We love you. Call us.

Now on to the goods. Episode 13: Tech. The final countdown to the out-of-town opening of “Bombshell.” Things, honestly, could be going a little bit better. Rebecca Duvall (Uma Thurman) is a nervous wreck. Our Joe DiMaggio (Tony Yazbeck) has left to do a pilot, and it looks like Michael Swift (Will Chase) is the only option to come back. And Julia (Debra Messing) is threatening to quit – even though the book is still a total mess. All of this is, of course, happening while the set, lighting, and costumes of “Bombshell” get worked out. Meaning Derek Wells (Jack Davenport) is super stressed. We wonder what he’ll do to relieve that…

Perhaps a trip through the Reality Index will help?

Totally True
• Christian Borle and Leslie Odom Jr. sing “Another Op’nin,’ Another Show.” In harmony. As if it’s no big deal.  And they look and sound lovely. And we melt.
• Hey Grand Central Station! Plus 10!
• The theater in Boston has touring posters for American Idiot, Catch Me If You Can, and Wicked. If this was 2004, Dave would totally be ushering at that theater.
• “Another Op’nin,’ Another Show” ends and Derek screams “Oh bloody hell.” We presume this is because the song ended and not because the lights went out.
• Julia stares at Frank in bed while he’s sleeping. Because if we were in bed with Brian d’Arcy James, we’d do the same thing.
• Ivy Lynn points out to Derek that the problem he’s having with the set is actually a problem that can be fixed through choreography. Ivy Lynn may be selfish and a bit of a diva, but she clearly learned something over there at “Heaven on Earth.”
• Karen Cartwright tells Dev that they’re working “10 out of 12s.” Which is totally a real thing! It’s when a cast works 10-hours during a 12-hour period, with only 2-hours of break in-between. In this case, 10am-10pm. “And then we go out,” she explains. That’s probably a real thing too.
• The desk is too heavy so they need to use smart casters. We’re not sure what this is, but we looked it up and it seemed techy and legit. Plus 10?
• Tom wants to reuse a cut song from “Heaven on Earth” in “Bombshell.” This happens all the time, we imagine. After all, the entire score of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is made up of cut songs from U2 albums.
• Derek doesn’t want to put a new song in at tech. This seems reasonable, especially when you have to stage the whole goddamn show. Besides, that’s what previews are for!
• Ted drops out of “Bombshell” to do a pilot. Plus 10.
• And his TV show will probably get cancelled. Plus 20.
• Ted says “Bombshell” is great as he’s running out the door. Plus 30.
• P.S. HEY TONY YAZBECK! Plus 100!
• Derek knew about Michael and Julia. Because there are no secrets in the theater.
• Dennis is Ivy’s new gay best friend. Normally it would be Sam, but he’s in a relationship with Tom now and obviously doesn’t have time for her. Besides, cliques among theater casts happen soooo quickly.
• “It’s been over a week. Is it time to make it official?” Leo complains. Typical teenager – pissed at your parents when they’re breaking up, pissed at your parents when they get back together. All he wanted was for them to get back together and now he’s annoyed about it. Go smoke some pot and shut up.
• Derek asks Ivy Lynn, “What would I do without you?” While the spotlight is on them. And again, we see Ivy Lynn staring into space, planning their future together. This time, with babies.
• Ellis sees Ivy Lynn eavesdropping. “That’s usually my thing.” Touché , Ellis.
• At least we got about 20 minutes into the episode before Ellis showed up. Thank god for small favors.
• “No civilians during tech. We’re at war. They won’t understand,” Jessica says to Karen Cartwright. Accurate.  
• Slutty RJ brings Dev some bourbon, knowing fully well that Karen Cartwright is away and he’s home alone. We could learn a thing or two from this chick.  
• Eileen does what Tom couldn’t do and tells Julia “we have to bring back Michael Swift.” She’s the only one with balls on the entire show.
• “You’re taking this far too personally,” Eileen reminds Julia. Then she throws a drink in her face.
• “Michael is not coming back,” Julia barks. “End of discussion.” Then Julia storms out of the room. Because sometimes in the theater, the creatives are just as dramatic as the actors.
• RJ and Dev toast “to rock bottom.” Then they make out. Again, we’re taking notes here.
Dev [while on top of RJ, making out with her]: I’m sorry I can’t.
RJ: Feels to me like you can.
• “We’ve seen actors come in the night before and be great,” Julia tells Tom. We’ve seen actors rehearse for months and be terrible, so we suppose that’s possible.
• Plus 10 for Julia telling Frank the truth.
• We agree with Tom. Intro music into “History at Night” is a terrible idea.
• Ivy is pissed that Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman is singing “Happy Birthday” to Derek. Because now she’s sloppy thirds. 
• Aaand Ivy’s back to confiding in her best friend, Sam. See how quickly these things change?
• Sam’s parents find out about his involvement with “Bombshell” because of a publicity photo in The Globe. Plus 10.
• Eileen Rand speaks the truth! “I’m very sensitive to this situation, Julia. But ultimately it was your mistake. Now I don’t think it’s fair to keep an entire production hostage… I have millions on the line!”
• Tom and Derek disagree about the book. “It’s not terrible,” says Tom. “Do not tell me it is not terrible – it is truly dreadful,” says Derek. Yes Derek, we agree. The dialogue in that scene was worse than Rebecca Duvall’s Uma Thurman’s singing.
• “I am not doing 3 weeks of previews without a book writer or a lyricist,” barks Derek. No shocker there!
• “Our leading lady doesn’t sweat, she glows.” Plus 25!
• In order to cover for Rebecca Duvall’s Uma Thurman’s long costume change, Derek gets Ivy Lynn and Karen Cartwright to pull off Rebecca Duvall’s Uma Thurman’s gloves on stage. Plus 10 because you don’t get to be a top director by not being able to come up with creative solutions and plus 100 because this obviously pisses off Ivy Lynn. (“Wait, we’re taking her gloves off for her?”).
• When Ivy Lynn questions Derek’s decision to have her remove Rebecca Duvall’s Uma Thurma’s gloves, he says, “You heard me. Do it.” This is probably why Ivy Lynn fell for him in the first place.
• Dev brings Karen Cartwright flowers. Because that makes up for the fact that he cheated on her.  
• Another tour poster in this Boston theater! Million Dollar Quartet!
• Eileen Rand is upset that if Julia quits, they’d have to get a new book writer. Honestly, would that be a bad thing?
• Eileen Rand has a thing for know-nothing lowlife bartenders. Us too!
• Tom tells Sam’s family that “dancers are one injury away from financial disasters.” This is totally true – but we’ve also seen Center Stage, and Erik totally makes the ballet company even though he’s on crutches.  
• Derek and Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman make out after Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman asks Derek “Why is it so hard to get a damn compliment out of you?” She and Ivy Lynn are the same person.
• “You’re not at your post,” Ivy Lynn tells Ellis. Wow – we might actually like not hate Ellis when he’s around Ivy.
• Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman’s assistant is guarding the door to her dressing room, and asks Ellis, “Can you handle this?” when Ivy Lynn approaches. YESSSSS.  
• Dev proposes to Karen Cartwright. Because that really makes up for the fact that he cheated on her.
Remember in the pilot when Karen Cartwright’s acting ambitions were being criticized by her parents at dinner and Dev was all like, “she’s a wonderful actress” and we all swooned? Well now he’s an asshole and we hate him.
• Sam tells Tom, “This is what theater is. It is joy one day and then gone the next. It’s like a religion.” WE BELIEVE AND WE WORSHIP IT WEEKLY!
• Tom tells Sam, “You are my best self.” And even though he’s saying it to Sam and even though he’s clearly playing a character, we pretend Christian Borle is saying it to us.
• Sam’s brother teases him when he kisses Tom. Our brothers would do the same thing. Though if we were kissing Christian Borle, we wouldn’t stop when they started their shit-talking.
• The whole ensemble is having a party in the hotel room. If we were staying there, we would have probably called security.
• Jessica and Bobby still refer to Karen Cartwright as “Iowa.” And we laugh every time.
• Ivy Lynn confronts Karen Cartwright about Derek cheating on her with Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman. “She’s your new best friend. You expect me to believe you didn’t know?” Ivy Lynn would find a way to blame Karen Cartwright for this.
• Ivy Lynn imagines all the women Derek has slept with, while singing Mary J. Blige’s “I’m Goin’ Down.” Damn if it isn’t a flawless performance. Even thought she’s totally drunk.
• Julia is eating peanut butter and banana in bed. We do that all the time!
• Frank and Leo encourage Julia to go to Chicago. This probably wouldn’t happen, but we like the idea of seeing Brian d’Arcy James for at least two more weeks. And who knows – maybe Leo will get left behind, Home Alone-style. [fingers crossed]

Oh Hell No!
• We understand trying to use this “Another Op’nin,’ Another Show” performance as background music, but we’d rather watch Christian Borle and Leslie Odom Jr. sing than watch Katharine McPhee and her ridiculous green pants stand around looking surprised that Grand Central Station is big. 
• Megan Hilty packs a picture of her mom. Which is weird. But her mom is Bernadette Peters dressed as Sally in Follies. Which is weirder.
• Isn’t it a little soon for Julia and Frank to be sharing a bed again? Surely Julia would be on the couch or something…
• The entire cast meets in Grand Central. Have you ever tried to meet someone there? It’s miserable. And not that easy. And in large groups like that, someone always is late or buying a ticket and totally misses the train.
• Also, wouldn’t the cast of a Broadway-bound musical heading for an out-of-town tryout all be on a bus? Especially since there are no trains from Grand Central to Boston.
• Derek tells Ivy, “I love you,” and OMFG. Way too soon buddy. You’ve got a stage 5 clinger on your hands here. Do you know what she’s going to do when she hears that? Bitch is planning. the. wedding.
• Ugh. Performances haven’t even started yet and already Karen Cartwright is acting like a diva.
• Karen Cartwright complains to Dev that his call woke her and her roommate. Then she says that it’s 9 a.m. And they have to be at rehearsal at 10. So basically, Dev did you a favor by waking you up. Stop being such a B—in room 23.
• Dev is so lame. The only thing that’s tolerable about it is that every time we see him, we think of him in that Bollywood number.
• Derek thought Tom was Linda. There’s some underlying homophobia there, but we’re too tired to really explore it.
• Wait – does that mean there’s going to be no Tony Yazbeck on the show anymore? That’s bullshit! We’d gladly trade Michael Swift, Ellis, Leo, Dev, and Karen Cartwright for more Tony Yazbeck.
• Karen wouldn’t be in the same dressing room as Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman. Trying on her wigs.
• Aww Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman is scared. And she tells Karen all her secrets. Minus 100 because there’s no way in hell she’d be that vulnerable.
• And why do we keep seeing Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman alone? First on the stage with the ghost light? Now in her dressing room? She’s a huge star. Where’s her assistant? That person would be there at all times.
• Julia is bad at making pancakes! Women with careers can’t do anything right around the house! Minus 50!  
• Sorry Julia. No matter how bad things are with your personal life, you’d be there when your show is in tech. YOU’RE THE FUCKING LYRICIST AND BOOK WRITER.
• Derek tells Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman that Ted dropped out. In front of the whole cast. And then tries to rationalize his behavior when Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman gets pissed about it. Minus 50 because that was totally unprofessional, and never would have actually happened. Ellis would have leaked it by now! 
• Derek dismisses Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman by sending her to wardrobe. Quiet woman – go look at clothes! Minus 50.
• Randomly Ivy stands in when Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman leaves. Shouldn’t that have been Karen Cartwright – her UNDERSTUDY?
• Derek’s speech to Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman was completely ridiculous. “Marilyn was afraid of being a joke. That feeling of not being authentic. Of having something to prove? Use it. Oh, and if I were you. I’d think about using your star power. Don’t throw it around. Revel in it. Enjoy it. It’s your escape from the terror.” That shit may work on Ivy Lynn, but not on Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman. Also, BARF x10.
• We’re confused: is Michael Swift supposed to be that big of a star? The last thing he was in was a show a La Mama. Why can’t the understudy just play Joe DiMaggio?
• “Do you want me to beg? This is me begging,” Derek tells Tom. Derek would never even pretend to beg.
• Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman is the worst Marilyn Monroe ever. Even Karen Cartwright would be a better Marilyn!
• BREAKING: Lisa Rinna is hawking Depends underwear. WTF!
• The “Bombshell” set is ugly. What we would have given to see some of the work Derek and crew did with set designers.
• The “Bombshell” costumers aren’t that great either.
• Julia quits because they hire Michael Swift. This is a total over-reaction and complete waste of everyone’s time. OBVIOUSLY SHE’S GOING BACK TO THE SHOW. THERE’S NO REAL CONFLICT HERE, REBECK.
• Of course Sam’s dad is not supportive of his dancing career – even though he’s clearly supporting himself. Dads are never supportive of their sons being dancers. Haven’t you seen Billy Elliot? Or Glee? Minus 10 because stereotypes are stupid.
• Sam’s family owns a huge house in Boston. And Sam’s father owns a paint shop. That’s a lot of cans of paint he must have sold to pay for that place!
• “Marilyn glowed in the light… she was luminous. Like you.” – Derek to Rebecca Duvall Uma Thurman. Minus 200.
• This whole Karen vs. Ivy sing-off is ridiculous and never would be happening this close to the first preview. Go to sleep people! Save your voices!
• In the sing off, Ellis is “Team Ivy,” “Jessica is “Team Karen,” and we’re team “make this stop.”
• Dev thinks that not sleeping with RJ was noble. And that by telling Karen Cartwright that, she’ll not only want to stay with him, but will also want to marry him. WE HATE YOU DEV. WE ALL FUCKING HATE YOU.

Okay kids - how'd we do this week?


QTangoDancer said...

Just love Smash! So enjoyed your comments, like watching this all over again with your hilarious observations. And i agree with most of them, but don't agree about Will Chase. Have fallen for him since "Grenade" performance. Love his rock to crooner voice. Sad since this is my intro to these great Broadway performers. But thrilled to see them actually working and in my living room. I probably will never get to NY to see them so thanks to SMASH.

Linda said...

That's one great thing about Smash--it's introducing a new audience to some talented broadway performers. It's not Will Chase that we don't like, it's Michael Swift. He's so sleazy!

Adam807 said...

Grand Central isn't a plus. You can't get to Boston from Grand Central.

Linda said...

We also put Grand Central in the Oh Hell No! because you can't take a train to Boston from there. But we do like when they film on location, so we put it in both.

Adam807 said...

That's what I get for commenting before finishing reading. Sorry! But no, they probably wouldn't bother with a bus for Boston.

Have you listened to the American Theatre Wing podcast with Christian Borle and Will Chase? He totally references one of your recaps (no names though, sadly).

Linda said...

Thanks so much for bringing that to my attention, Adam. Just listened to it. That totally was from one of our recaps! Amazing.