Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The SMASH Reality Index Season 2 Episode 2

"It's time to retire the scarves."
Back by popular demand, Dave (@NineDaves) 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. Follow the 'caps here or on Dave's site.

They called the second episode of SMASH’s 2-hour premiere “The Fallout.” We’re guessing that’s more of a commentary towards the reception SMASH received in its first season than it is an explanation of the action we saw throughout the episode.

Sure, there was some fallout going on for Bombshell’s cast and creatives. Eileen Rand (Angelica Huston) is doing her best to keep the show alive despite having no money. Julia (Debra Messing) can’t get out of bed because her marriage is over. Derek Wills (Jack Davenport) is being chased by the paparazzi due to his impending sex scandal. And our two heroines, Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) and Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) finally have something in common: they can’t get any work.

But SMASH doesn’t want you to focus on the boring ploys of the season 1 characters anymore. No, it’s all about Jeremy Jordan’s bad boy composer, Jimmy. At least that’s what it feels like whenever Jeremy Jordan appears on screen. Suddenly the birds chirp brighter. Suddenly the air seems warmer. If SMASH wants us to know anything about a fallout, it’s that at the end of it is a beautiful redemption story with a crooked smile who mumbles all the time named Jeremy Jordan. Get onboard.

Hey, at least that’s one “Totally True” thing we can support this time around. Here’s a few other things – and some of those ridiculous “Oh Hell No” moments – from episode 2.  

Totally True
• Karen Cartwright finally introduces herself to Jeremy Jordan’s character, Jimmy. Because she probably just assumed he knew who she was.
• Karen Cartwright has stupid braids in her hair.
• “Girls usually call to yell at me,” Jimmy says. Obviously because you’re the hot bad boy we always wanted.
• “There’s nothing to hear. I don’t write anything,” says Jimmy. THAT’S RIGHT CAUSE JOE ICONIS DOES!
• Jimmy hits on Karen Cartwright. We all have our weak moments, we guess.
• When Karen leaves, Jimmy is like, “see ya!” as if she didn’t matter at all. BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T!
• When asked if that was Karen Cartwright, Jimmy responds “No idea,” despite the fact that she just introduced herself to him. JIMMY IS TOO FLY TO REMEMBER GIRLS NAMES.
• Kyle calls Jimmy “complicated” and we die because we know he’s really talking about Jeremy Jordan. 
• Plus 4 for the Mamma Mia! marquee because they finally showed a show currently playing in the theater it’s currently playing at!
• Derek calls Bombshell a circus which is a really nice way of describing SMASH’s first season.
• “Let’s talk about you juggling every Marilyn in the show,” Tom says to Derek. Gurl knows how to throw some shaaaade.
• Derek Wills is reading American Theatre Magazine.
• You are Ivy Lynn. You don’t stay down for long.
• Annaleigh Ashford returns as Lisa McMann. Remember when we saw her audition for Marilyn in the pilot? Well now she’s out of “the biz” and selling stationary and her life is “sooo much better” (that was not a Legally Blonde reference, we swear). Plus 50 for SMASH calling back on its history and plus another 50 because actors who get out of “the biz” always act like assholes. 
• Amy’s Bread! Plus 20!
• Derek loses The Wiz because we’re guessing he needs to be freed up for Hit List.
• Plus 20 because that “Will New Marilyn Musical Sleep With the Fishes?” headline and cartoon in the fake newspaper was pretty great.
• Eileen tells Tom to tell Julia it’s cocktail attire. THAT MEANS NO SCARVES, JULIA.
• Julia doesn’t want to go to the American Theatre Wing Gala. “Not tonight,” she tells Tom. “Maybe tomorrow.” Plus 15 because Julia would think that they could just reschedule the entire Gala for her.
• Plus 100 for Julia meeting Leo off-screen so we don’t have to see him.
• Jimmy is such a bad ass, he doesn’t even write down his songs.
• Karen Cartwright went on a Clearasil audition.  Plus 10 because Katharine McPhee did that ridiculous Skin ID endorsement.
• Evita marquee at the Marquis! We’ll allow it since it only closed a few weeks ago.
• Plus 10 for Karen Cartwright not breaking out in “Cheers (Drink To That)” while standing in Times Square.
• Derek Wills directed a production of Sweet Charity. Plus 100 because no matter how much of a bad boy personality he’s supposed to be, he still directs cheesy musicals (see: The Wiz, Bombshell).
• Derek tells Daisy that she’s a pretty good dancer and only an okay actress. Apparently that’s not good enough for his Sweet Charity revival but we’re pretty sure that could get her a lead in Chicago. 
• Daisy teaches Pilates. Plus 10.
• Julia gives Ivy a pep talk, and then gives her Marshmallow Fluff to make her feel better. Hey, at least it’s not pills!
• “If they said half the stuff about a show of mine that they said about yours, I would be on suicide watch,” Harvey Fierstein tells Tom. Um… are we pretending that Fiddler revival didn’t happen, Harvey?
• Harvey Fierstein pinches Tom’s stomach because we would too if we got that close to Christian Borle.
• “Dude, I don’t know, my shift’s over,” Jimmy tells Derek when Derek tries to talk to him. They’re really driving home this bad boy thing, huh?
• Mary Testa, Jackie Hoffman, and Cheyenne Jackson were all talking to one another about Bombshell. We’re so glad to hear the cast of Xanadu are still in touch! Though… was Kerry Butler not around? SOMEONE CALL KERRY BUTLER!
• Karen Cartwright is uptight and doesn’t realize when guys are hitting on her because she’s from Iowa and she’s lame.
• Spotted: a poster for Uncle Vanya. We’re not sure if it’s real, but there were 20 productions of it last year, so chances are high.
• Plus 100 for that old woman who told Tom and Julia that “the new gal’s not that good” in Heaven on Earth.  Because we know what it’s like to love a show and then see a subpar replacement (see our shout out to Annaleigh Ashford in Hair below).
• Ana says Jimmy is “worth getting on the G train for.” PLUS EVERYTHING.
• Karen Cartwright can’t flirt because she’s from Iowa and she’s lame.
• The ATW President tells Eileen she’s sorry for her financial troubles… with a smile on her face. Plus 5.
• Karen Cartwright talks to Jimmy about The Strokes because she thinks that’s what hipsters from Brooklyn like to talk about. Because she’s from Iowa and lame.
• Also, Plus 10 for Jimmy’s “I liked The Strokes… when I was 15” response.
• Karen Cartwright finishes her song and no one at the party claps because hipsters from Greenpoint doing like things. Plus 100.
• Even though we hate Karen Cartwright, we gotta give it up for “Caught in the Storm” because Pasek and Paul wrote it and it’s goddamn beautiful.
• Plus 100 because Jeremy Jordan’s Jack Kelly accent is totally coming out in this Jimmy character and we missed it so.
• Jimmy thinks that Kyle, his bookwriter, just sits there and watches him write the songs. Plus 5 because that’s what it seems like Kyle does. And, quite frankly, what Julia does.
• While Karen is nowhere to be found, Ivy is ready at the drop of a hat to sing at the Gala. “I’m just happy people want to hear me sing,” she says. Yes Ivy. We do. We really really do.
• Julia announces Bombshell is coming to Broadway “this season.” As we know, people make announcements like this all the time before having the funding. Rebecca
cough cough>
• In case anyone was wondering if Ivy Lynn should play Marilyn, she gets up there and completely knocks it out of the park. Neigh – the universe. BRAVO GURL. WE FUCKING LOVE YOU.
• Jimmy tells Kyle that Karen bugs him. “She’s so full of herself.” WE AGREE JIMMY.
• Tom tells Julia, “It’s time to retire the scarves.” Plus 100.
• Karen is back to being a bitch towards Ivy. Because god forbid SMASH lets its characters evolve. 

Oh Hell No!
• Jimmy tells Karen, “If you stopped clenching your jaw like that you could actually be cute.” It’s going to take a lot more than that, buddy.
• Karen doesn’t want to hang out with Jimmy. Gurl, what are you thinking?
• Why does everyone insist Karen Cartwright is a big deal? Bombshell isn’t even on Broadway yet!
• Every Broadway big wig is invited to the American Theatre Wing Gala, but most of them don’t go.
• Karen is singing at the American Theatre Wing Gala? What, was Veronica Moore busy? Minus 10.
• Ivy says she can’t even get a callback for an eHarmony commercial. We doubt that., maybe. But eHarmony?
• Lisa says she and Ivy and Sam were in a Shakespeare Festival in the Adirondacks. Ivy Lynn doing Shakespeare? Yeah. No.
• We know Jerry’s supposed to be petty and slimy and childish, but this gloating is going a little too far. 
• Eileen calls Derek and Tom at the same time despite them being on two different phones. We’re pretty sure there’s no way to do that.
• In the wake of his sex scandal, paparazzi are outside Derek’s home. Reporters, maybe. But this seems a little ridiculous. 
• Karen Cartwright rolls her eyes when invited to Kyle and Jimmy’s house. BECAUSE SHE’S THE WORST.
• Julia groans when she hears Ivy is at the door. Oh please Julia – it’s not like it’s Karen!
• Minus 5 because Ivy still has that damn brown leather jacket that doesn’t fit her boobs.
• Minus 200 for not having Harvey Fierstein talk to Jimmy. We wanted a Newsies reunion!
• We’re going to ignore the fact that Tom just made up that he and Julia are giving a speech at the American Theatre Wing Gala they weren’t even invited to until this morning because even he’s not that stupid, right?
• Derek gets punched and wakes up in a musical number. We thought they weren’t going to do these ridiculous dream sequences in season 2? MINUS EVERYTHING AGAIN.
• Bobby refers to Jimmy as “Jonathan Larson-good.” It’s 2013 and that’s your reference for a good musical theater writer?
• Minus 10 for this whole Tom/Julia fight because we all know they’re going to get back together.
• Karen Cartwright’s first apartment was in Fort Greene. Minus 20 because clearly it would have been Carroll Gardens.
• Derek tells Ivy Lynn, “You were my Marilyn.” Um… wasn’t Karen his Marilyn? HE CAST HER.
• None of these people at Jimmy’s party would stop and listen to Karen Cartwright singing. No matter how good the song. 
• Again, we thought SMASH wasn’t going to have their characters stand up and randomly break out into song in inappropriate locations. We feel betrayed, Josh Safran. You might as well go back to the bowling alley. Or Karen’s hometown karaoke bar.   
• Minus 10 because that’s clearly not Greenpoint.
• Whenever Jerry and Eileen are together, we stop paying attention.
• Julia is wearing a scarf again. Ugh.
• Karen tells Ivy she couldn’t make the Gala because she was on the subway. Or at a party in Greenpoint. Whatever’s less embarrassing Karen.
• Minus 5 for sad puppy-face Megan Hilty.

So what’d you think of episode 2? Hot for Jordan like we are? 


Sarah Packard said...

I'd forgotten how much I missed these recaps!! :)

Anonymous said...

Your crush on Jeremy Jordan aside, the second season is just as boring and ridiculous as the first season was and little the characters do make any sense. It's a soap opera that people who have no idea about how a musical is created or produced have tried to infuse with musical numbers that don't relate to any show because, despite all the talk about Bombshell, there is no show simply because it doesn't have and never has had a book, GURL!

The one thing you fail to mention is that before anyone writes one song for a new musical, there must be a book for songs to grow out of. Not the other way around. Sticking songs into a story doesn't make it a musical. And it holds up the action if the songs don't add an emotional lift to the story. Otherwise, they become stage weights.

Marilyn Monroe was a bad idea to base a musical on. But so is every other star performer. There have been two flops based on Marilyn already. And hasn't this season proven that Chaplin and Aimee Semple McPherson's lives were poor bases for creating a musical? If memory serves, so were musicals based on the lives of Al Jolsyn and Josephine Baker.

Lastly, Katherine McPhee CAN'T ACT her way out of a paper bag. She also knows nothing about singing in a musical -- it's not about hitting notes and showing off your voice, it's about putting across a song. Feh! They can hype and hail her character as an up and coming star but she has as much hope of becoming a star on Broadway as the Rock of Gilbralter has of breaking into a tap dance.

Smash is a fiasco that only people who have never seen a Broadway musical could love.

Linda said...

Thanks, Sarah!

Anonymous, thanks for commenting. Musicals are written with the book working around the songs. Isn't that what jukebox musicals are all about it? I'm not saying this is the best way to write a musical, but it does happen. I don't like Katherine McPhee either, but I do still enjoy watching the show even though I've seen many Broadway musicals. Judging from the ratings, I'm probably in the minority.