Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 4

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.

In episode 4 of SMASH, the writers really want us to focus on “The Cost of Art.” After all, that’s the name of the episode. Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) is still looking for investors, it’s the first week of rehearsals and Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) still isn’t sure whether sleeping with Derek earned her the part, and Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee) just wants to fit in.

But while everybody seemed to battle their own inner demons, we were just focused on Nick Jonas. Seriously guys, did you see him playing the piano and singing “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet”? Swoon.

Maybe that’s why this was our favorite episode so far. It also helps that we’re loving how Marilyn the Musical is shaping up, particularly the musical numbers (that “I Never Met A Wolf Who Didn’t Love To Howl” number was solid). Still, there was a lot to pick apart. So without further ado, let’s tackle the reality index:

Totally True
• We like to think Broadway “chorus” members aren’t that nasty to their fellow performers, but they probably are.
• Julia and Michael’s awkward banter is totally plausible. Have you ever had to work with an ex before? Holy uncomfortable Batman.
• Tom greets Michael with a big hug and a smile, as if everything is totally okay and he knows nothing at all about Michael’s torrid affair with Julia. That’s what gay best friends are for.
• It’s not even noon and Eileen Rand is fighting about money.
• Ivy Lynn walks into rehearsal wearing a scarf. Because Broadway actresses always wear scarves.
• Derek tells us “the book is totally in flux.” Of course it is. Because as far as we can see, there isn’t a book!
• “The road to Broadway is exceedingly long.” This is true. We’re still waiting for Yank!. Although if your show is called Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and you’ve cast three Tony Award winners and a bunch of other Broadway superstars, things seem to move a little bit faster.
• “Nobody’s anybody until we start rehearsing.” This egotistical, over-the-top bullshit is exactly something Derek would shout at a first rehearsal. We’re surprised he hasn’t said, “There’s a 100 other performers out there who would DIE to be in this room right now…”
• We love love LOVE that they’re singing “Twentieth Century Mambo” again. Because when you put on a Broadway show, you don’t just perform the numbers once. We hope SMASH keeps repeating songs like this.
• See Glee? Real professionals rehearse their performance numbers.
• Ivy Lynn throws Karen Cartwright a whole bunch of shade at the first rehearsal.
• A How to Succeed… poster is hanging in Eileen Rand’s office. As if Nick Jonas being in this episode wasn’t advertisement enough. We see how that contract negotiation went.
• Bonus points for that How to Succeed… poster being of Daniel Radcliffe.
• Eileen has a real Degas hanging in her office.
• Eileen casually mentions said Degas.
• We find it totally realistic that Eileen is drinking at her office. She’s like a female Don Draper.
• We find it even more realistic that Julia would be impressed that she’s drinking at the office. Sure beats that Chinese baby adoption happening at home, huh?
• One of the ensemble members gets pissed when he’s referred to as a member of the chorus. Nice callback to episode 3!
• Derek Wills would totally still be championing the fact that he “discovered” Lyle West. Even if that’s completely false.
• Sam and the rest of the ensemble refer to Derek as “The Dark Lord. Sauron himself.” As we learned last week, “The theater is high school.”
• While we don’t believe that Julia would be the book writer (see below), we’re happy that we FINALLY have identified one.
• Karen Cartwright asks her fellow ensemble member, “Are the numbers still there in the theater?” Not only is this something that would totally happen, but it’s also something some of us (aka Dave) wondered too.
• Bobby and Karen Cartwright get cut from the U.S.O. number and Bobby immediately blames Karen.
• Dave freaks out because that scene between Karen and her boyfriend, and that scene between Julia and Tom were filmed by his office and he saw it all and OMG.
• In episode 2, Dev lost his shit when Karen Cartwright couldn’t make dinner. Now, he won’t get off the phone for five minutes. And she doesn’t mind. BECAUSE SHE’S A NORMAL HUMAN BEING WHO UNDERSTANDS THAT PEOPLE WORK.
• “So it’s like high school? You try and look like everyone else?” “Exactly!” Plus 100.
How to Succeed… commercial starring Nick Jonas. Linda faints and Plus 1,000,000,000
• “I didn’t even pull half a diva.” Because Ivy Lynn knows what pulling a full diva is like.
• “And trust me – they never would have cut her just to make me feel better.” We totally agree, Ivy Lynn. See below!
• Ivy Lynn’s Zac Posen dress is second hand. “I think it’s only be worn once. And the zipper still works and everything.” Because even though she’s Marilyn, she’s still a chorus girl in her bank account.
• Nick Jonas singing Michael Bublé. Plus 100!
• Ivy Lynn has the same love-struck expression on her face as Linda does when Nick Jonas sings. #love
• “Would you like to see the bedrooms?” YES NICK JONAS, YES.
• Tom’s date mentions that he checked Tom out online first. Bonus points for being a star fucker.
• The waitress tells Eileen that she’s “an actress and a dancer.” To which Eileen replies, “Not now, sweetheart.” Best moment in the show yet?
• Ellis introduces his girlfriend as his “friend.” Because you know he’s trying to play that gay angle with Tom.
• Nick Jonas has learned how to smile and look at people when he’s acting. That’s an improvement from Jonas, Jonas L.A., Camp Rock, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, and Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary.
• We like to think that Broadway actors are always performing in their apartments, throwing impromptu dance parties and singing songs.
• Little Lyle automatically starts negotiating with Eileen, which we love.
• We find it believable that Julia would have joined in that “I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn’t Love to Howl” number just as we find it believable that Marc Shaiman sang “Good Morning Baltimore” a few times with Marissa Jaret Winokur.
• The waitress is now a part of the big performance number. SHE SAID SHE WAS A DANCER.
• You know in her mind, that waitress was like, “Finally! My big break!”
• We love Nick Jonas’ face when he thinks he’s going to get some. Must be all those years of wearing a purity ring.
• Dev is in charge of the press office, so he’s always on the phone. We know people who work for the press office. This is sadly true.
• Jessica calls Karen Cartwright “Iowa.” Plus 50.
• We buy that Ivy Lynn would be totally jealous of Derek’s flirting. We also buy that she would put her self esteem aside to fuck him while a party is going on in his apartment.
• “Then go back to the chorus. There’s nothing safe about being a star.” Derek Wills, you badass motherfucker.

Oh Hell No!
• Debra Messing went a little bit too much Grace in that bit with Will. We mean, Tom.
• There’s no way Ivy would have gotten entrance applause for walking into a first reading. This isn’t Private Lives.
• Not sure we believe Ivy was in Chicago 10 years ago. She would have been a little young to be a merry murderess. Plus, her boobs are too big for that show.
• No one eats in Times Square.
• Especially not on those outside tables.
• Karen Cartwright shouldn’t be so surprised that Derek and Ivy slept together. Didn’t Derek try to do that to her in the first episode? Did we imagine that?
• Apparently Julia is the book writer? Wouldn’t there have been more discussion about that early on?
• As much as Ivy Lynn hates Karen Cartwright, it seems strange that the entire production team would cut Karen from numbers that quickly.
• And we doubt that Karen would throw a temper tantrum and storm out of the room when she was cut from a number. Don’t you have to be there even when you’re not rehearsing? Don’t you WANT to be there?
• Jessica wouldn’t have gone from being Karen Cartwright’s enemy to being Karen Cartwright’s bestie that quickly.
• How did struggling actress and part-time waitress Karen Cartwright afford all these clothes?
• And damn you, SMASH, for not giving us a full makeover montage set to “I Feel Pretty.” What, did Sondheim not give you the rights?
• No mention of Michael Urie in the new How to Succeed… commercial. Minus 50.
• Sam is talking about baseball and reading a Sports Illustrated.
• Karen Cartwright’s apartment is too nice for a struggling actress and a guy who works for the Mayor’s office.
• Everyone at that party is just standing around watching him perform. You know there’d at least be someone in the corner, tweeting.
• Ivy Lynn compliments Derek’s place, but mentions nothing about the gas leak. Surely she would have brought that up.
• Guys that pretty aren’t single. They also don’t go on blind dates. Set up by their mothers.
• Lyle would never be hiding all alone in that apartment. No matter how much he felt like he had to be “on.” Some tramp would be all up in that business.
• The entire creative team and lead actors of Marilyn the Musical show up to the party at the exact same time.
• A party like this seems like an inappropriate time to debut a whole new number from a new musical. This isn’t Merrily We Roll Along. #GoodThingGoing #GussieForever
• No matter how talented those musicians are, we find it highly unlikely that they would pick up that entire song so well.
• We also doubt that Ivy Lynn would be off book that fast.
• Is Christian Borle auditioning for Million Dollar Quartet? Minus 10.
• Tom’s blind date is sitting right in the front of the room during that performance. He would have standing towards the back.
• Lyle knows the words!
• Ellis would not have been allowed to join in that number. Julia would have pushed him out so fast…
• Derek would not be hitting on another girl, right when a number from the show he was directing was being performed for an investor.
• Damn you Eileen Rand. You prevented us from a Nick Jonas sex scene, and we will forever hate you for that.
• Tom wouldn’t be just playing the piano while his blind date aimlessly wandered the apartment of a party he wasn’t really invited to in the first place.
• “Let’s show them what the chorus looks like.” Um, don’t you mean the ENSEMBLE! God Bobby – shouldn’t you have corrected her?
• In NYC, there aren’t just bars where you can get up on stage and perform a dance number without at least having to fight off a drag queen or a bachelorette party first.
• Also, if ever a performance like that DID spontaneously happen at a bar in NYC, the patrons of said bar wouldn’t just stop what they were doing to watch. Or applaud!
• Last week, Karen couldn’t pick up any dance numbers. Now, she’s miraculously picked up this complicated dance routine and is performing it at a bar.
• Karen Cartwright starts singing and is apparently fully mic’ed.
• Ivy Lynn and Derek wouldn’t go upstairs to fuck with all those people still in his apartment.
• No Brian D’Arcy James in this episode. We cry 100 tears.

Broadway Guest Stars
Obviously, our favorite How to Succeed… replacement Nick Jonas is all over this episode. We also spotted Avenue Q’s Christmas Eve Ann Harada as the stage manager. Leap of Faith’s Leslie Odom Jr. played Ivy’s bestie from her Chicago days. Passing Strange’s Eisa Davis showed up again as Eileen Rand’s lawyer. And Karen Cartwright has two new fairy godmothers in Rock of Ages’s Wesley Taylor and Savannah Wise.

What do you guys think? Did we miss anything?


Gil said...

"Bonus points for that How to Succeed… poster being of Daniel Radcliffe"

I thought that too! And then I realized that if they had a picture of Nick Jonas, it would probably crack the believability of that world.

"Although if your show is called Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and you’ve cast three Tony Award winners and a bunch of other Broadway superstars, things seem to move a little bit faster."

But, often end up with unfinished results. Which is why I think when "Marilyn" becomes a hit in the last few episodes of the season, you're going to have to Reality-Index that.

Esther said...

I thought singers always wore scarves to protect their throats. Is that true or did I just make it up?

Linda said...

Gil, in the world of Smash, there can be no Nick Jonas, which makes me wonder who is currently starring in How To Succeed...

Yes, Esther, that is true, and they always wear them, which is why we thought that was very believable.

Gil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gil said...

Is it possible that a different Jonas Brother is in H2$ in the world of Smash?

Or in the world of Smash, is Nick Jonas played by Cheyenne Jackson?

doug marino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
doug marino said...

"Ellis introduces his girlfriend as his “friend.” Because you know he’s trying to play that gay angle with Tom. "

And did you see the look on HER face when he did this? OMG.