Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 3

I'm very excited to team up with NineDaves (follow him on Twitter @NineDaves) to bring you the SMASH Reality Index. Here's a little explanation from Dave about how this came about:

One of my favorite things to ever exist on the Internet has to be NYMag.com’s “Reality Index” Gossip Girl recaps, in which Jessica Pressler and Chris Rovzar sifted through each episode of Gossip Girl and pointed out the things that are totally plausible and totally ridiculous in the real world. They’re seriously amazing, and even though Chris Rovzar has moved on to crazy amazing things, Jessica Pressler has continued on and created one of the most constantly funny recaps out there (Seriously. Check the archives. They’re fantastic).

When SMASH premiered on NBC two weeks ago, I found myself wondering why NYMag.com wasn’t doing “Reality Index” recaps of SMASH. After all, the show is completely ripe for the format. And they had extended the column to do “Reality Index” recaps of Bored to Death, so they were obviously fine with expanding the franchise. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. Fellow theater blogger/tweeter/enthusiast Linda Buchwald was also wondering where the column was. And as we discussed why this wasn’t happening, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make something great happen.

So here we are, doing our own take on the ‘Reality Index’ column. We’re doing some things different here. For one, we’re not really rewarding points (though some things are just so exciting, we don’t know what to do but throw bonus points on them). You also won’t see us adding up points, or picking a true/false winner. Mainly because we’re bad at math. But we will have a few exciting additions – including a roundup of Broadway actors floating around in guest-starring roles. Because between Law & Order: SVU, The Good Wife, and A Gifted Man, we love that we can still see Broadway actors without leaving our couches.

Oh, and the same column will be posted both here and on Dave’s site. So we’ve got you doubly covered!

Anyway, enough description! Here’s the first column. They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Hopefully they (and you) will love it.

Totally True
• Derek has sex on his back. This makes sense as he's completely egotistical and probably totally lazy.
• After sex with Ivy, Derek moves immediately into talking about his work. I (Dave) have slept with a few theater people before. Trust me: this always happens. 
• “It could take five years for Marilyn to get to the stage." Finally real talk about how long it takes to make a Broadway show. 
• Bruno Mars songs are being used in a rock opera. It's like Rent meets American Idiot. With scaffolding. And Twyla Tharp choreography. We’re actually shocked this isn't real.
• Karen Cartwright's co-worker tells Karen, "Don't call it the chorus, call it the ensemble. But if you ask me, that's like calling garbage men sanitation workers." This is exactly something that non-theater people would say.
• Will Chase is playing trains with a 2-year-old kid. This is how we always imagine him in our minds. 
• Ellis is drinking beer on a rooftop in Brooklyn. Yeah, that makes sense. 
• Julia is talking about what Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio want. Every show needs an I Want song.
• After Ellis' friends convinced him he has some claim on this idea, he steals Julia's notebook so that he can most likely blackmail her in the future. While I'd like to think that anyone with a brain wouldn't do something so stupid, as to not completely destroy any chance he/she would have for working in this industry in the future, this does seem like something Ellis would do. After all, he's a social-climbing narcissist. A perfect product of the Facebook generation. See what you've done, internet!?!
• We appreciate that SMASH recognized that Karen Cartwright's father shaved his face between the pilot and this episode. 
• "We'll see you at Vintage." PLUS 15
• "The theater is high school." PLUS 100
• Eileen and Jerry would certainly be having this public of a fight in front of everyone at a popular restaurant. Have you ever been to Sardi's? You overhear that shit all the time. 
• "It's show business. In shows people sleep together. It happens." Yes Julia, that is true. Don’t believe us? Google “Christian Borle Sutton Foster Laura Bell Bundy.”
• Ivy Lynn did a year in Wicked. Most likely as a swing and Glinda's understudy. Bonus points because Megan Hilty actually did a year in Wicked.
• Karen Cartwright goes to a baby shower in the basement of a bar. Where everyone (including the pregnant girl) is holding a bottle of beer. Welcome to Iowa! 
• Karen Cartwright sings "Redneck Women" at said bar in Iowa. Which apparently also has karaoke. 
• The rest of Karen Cartwright's friends join her on stage during "Redneck Women." Baby showers are the new bachelorette parties. 
• Ivy Lynn wants to know why she and Derek never go to his place. You smell that girls? That's desperation.  
• Derek's story about not having gas in his apartment seems like a lie, but if we were sleeping with him, we'd want to believe it too.
• Julia had an affair with Michael because "He was SO good in our show. And you know what a huge turn-on that is." We find this completely plausible because we get show crushes every week. Raúl Esparza, Cheyenne Jackson, Colin Donnell, Gavin Creel, Will Swenson, Jeremy Jordan, Steve Kazee, Norbet Leo Butz, Michael Esper... 
• Ellis is listening at the door ALL THE TIME. It's like he's in Downton Abbey or something.
• Karen Cartwright accepts money from her dad! 
• "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" is perfect. Forget everything wrong with this show. This song rocks!

Oh Hell No!
• Eileen Rand buys a pair of knock-off earrings that were inspired by the ones Marilyn wore in The Seven Year Itch. There's no way she'd buy costume jewelry. 
• Dev would have never showed up at the bar to meet Derek. He specifically wouldn't have called Derek "the great director," even if he were just fucking with him. 
• This week’s episode shows us Bonnie & Clyde and Private Lives marquees. Oh, and a very prominently placed posted for Catch Me If You Can. Last week, we saw marquees for On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. The week before that, Wonderland. When will we see a marquee for a show that’s actually running on Broadway?
• Eileen threw a drink in her ex husband's face. We find it hard to believe she would have wasted a fine beverage like that. 
• A Bruno Mars show at LaMama? Please. This show, which looks like Rent redux, is total New World Stages fare.
• Is Derek reading a Playbill after the Bruno Mars show? They don't have Playbills at La Mama.
• Any unemployed actor would jump at the chance to be in a workshop of a huge musical. And any friend/co-worker  would support their friend to go into a huge show. The fact that Karen Cartwright is debating this - and even listening to her co-worker at all - is just ridiculous.  
• Karen Cartwright is an unemployed actor with a shitty waitressing job. There's no way she'd go all the way home to Iowa for a baby shower. 
• Tom and Julia wouldn't be writing all this music without consulting a book writer by now. Put down the index cards!
• Eileen says, "I'm so tired of revivals. Aren't you?" No Eileen. Never. And we’re pretty sure the 500 productions of Gypsy we’ve seen say producers aren’t either.
• "The people who are writing it are the top New York composers." We know Memphis doesn't exist in the world of SMASH, but does Stephen Sondheim not exist either?
• It costs $200,000 to put up a workshop? We don't know much about the business of theater, but we’re guessing that's a little high. 
• The fact that Eileen's soon-to-be-ex-husband is not involved wouldn't be a deal-breaker for getting investors. The fact that her show doesn't have a book writer probably would though...
• Ellis, while drinking beer on the rooftop of an apartment in Brooklyn, turned down the offer to take a drag off his friend's cigarette. Go to Williamsburg right now and see if that happens.  
• Ellis has sex with a girl. This may be the most unbelievable thing so far. Minus 1,000,000,000.
• It's ridiculous that Michael is even toying with the idea of not accepting this Joe DiMaggio role. And his wife certainly wouldn't be so nice about it. "GET A FUCKING JOB" sounds more like it.   
• Come on Dennis. You wouldn't throw Ivy under the bus like that by spilling the fact that she was sleeping with Derek. At least, not until you made it to the second date with Tom. 
• And are we supposed to really believe that Tom hasn't fucked a chorus boy here and there? Again, minus 1,000,000,000.
• This bar is way too pretty to be a bar in Iowa.  
• Giant stuffed animals are actually really expensive. All we've heard about this episode is how Karen Cartwright has no money and won't accept any from her perfect boyfriend, so how did she afford it?
• Also, if there were karaoke happening at this bar, there would at least be a screen that shows the fucking lyrics. 
• And this is the second week in a row with country music in our musical theater show. Is this secretly Pure Country – The Musical?
• Brian D'Arcy James was in two seconds of this episode. Let's never let this happen again.

Broadway Guest Stars
Nadia Quinn, Rebecca Naomi Jones, and Jenni Barber play Karen's Ohio friends. Though it killed us that they kept referring to her as "Broadway Baby." Producer Manny Azenberg met with Eileen Rand. Michelle Federer showed up as Michael’s wife. Oh, and Condola Rashad is Ellis’ girlfriend. Plus, did you see Karine Plantadit in that Bruno Mars musical? RIDICULOUS.

What do you guys think? Did we miss anything?


Allison said...

Hey! Loved this round up but yes, with directors fees, choreographer fees, writers fees, cast stipends, orchestra fees... Yes, a reading can cost up to $200k

Carlos Alvarado said...

Loved this! Can we also talk about how the son Leo was the same kid from the pilot last night, but not the same kid as the second episode?

Chris said...

Karen's from Iowa, and that's where the baby shower was, not Ohio.

Linda said...

Allison: Good to know. As we said, we don't really know much about the business side of things.

Carlos: I didn't notice that. Good catch!

Chris: Embarrassed by this mistake. Yes, Karen is from Iowa. We fixed that.

Thanks all!

DG said...

Nothing about Will Chase having terrible luck picking shows?

Gil said...

"When will we see a marquee for a show that’s actually running on Broadway?"

I give them props for not just taping outside Phantom and Mamma Mia. Maybe it's just a matter of none of the theaters near the Shubert having shows with staying power? Aside from the Majestic, the Booth is the only other Theatre near the Shubert that seems to have the same thing playing now as October.

Linda said...

DG: That he does. Marilyn may be in trouble.

Gil: Agreed and I do appreciate that they film on location, but it is kind of funny how every week they film in front of a different closed show. It makes it very easy to tell when each episode was filmed.

doug said...

This is hysterical! I love the whole list! keep it up - especially the broadway guest stars... I knew i recognized Ellis' "girl-friend" especially because i thought the exact same thing you wrote about him as i was watching it! ---> "Ellis has sex with a girl. This may be the most unbelievable thing so far." ;-)

PA said...

• When will we see a marquee for a show that’s actually running on Broadway?

When they stop filming in NYC and film in an LA backlot. And we really don't want that now do we?

Kathleen said...

Hooray! Brilliant idea, and spot-on. I love it!