Monday, May 27, 2013

The SMASH Reality Index: Season 2 Episode 17

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.

Well, here we are. After two seasons, and countless hours spent away from the theater and in front of our televisions, we’ve come to the end of SMASH. For all our complaining (and we know there was lot), we truly wrote each and every one of these Indexes from a place of love. Sure, we yelled at our TVs from time to time. Threw things, once or twice. And there may have been a few “DAMN YOU SMASH” tweets that you could probably look up. But ultimately, we never really hate-watched the show, even when it was its worst (we’re looking at you, Rebecca Duvall). For us, SMASH was a chance to see a show devoted to the New York theater scene - the scene we immerse ourselves in every day - on national television. It was a chance to see theater actors who we adored on our screens week after week. To hear amazing new original musical theater compositions from talented theater composers for free. For that, we’ll always be grateful to SMASH.

But what we loved most about SMASH was the way it connected us to the greater theater community out there. On a typical Monday night (or Tuesday or Saturday or eventually, Sunday), our Twitter feeds became alive with commentary. Everyone from the 14-year-old drama club ensemble member in bumblefuck USA to the Tony-winning Broadway superstars had something to say about SMASH - which says just how much we all care about theater out there (and bad television).

Meanwhile, the response we got from all of you on our SMASH Reality Index added an entire layer to this insanity we were never expecting. So many of you reached out to us in support and praise (and sometimes lengthy debates). Actors in the show told us they were religious readers (Hi Ann Harada, Christian Borle, and Megan Hilty!). Creatives threw us support in ways we still can’t explain (Theresa Rebeck, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and judging from the line that some commenters think Hit List is overrated, maybe even Josh Safran himself!). New York Magazine’s - the inspiration for our pieces in the first place - picked us up (please, guys, don’t ever delete this URL). There was an overwhelming amount of love thrown our way, and we couldn’t be more thankful for everything.

So thanks again for sticking with us and SMASH. We’re really going to miss writing these (as nice as it will be to not have to plan our lives around a television show). And we hope you’ve enjoyed reading them too.

Without further ado, let’s get to SMASH’s final episode, “The Tonys.” And if you like what we have to say about the fake Tonys, we’ll probably have plenty to say on Twitter about the real Tonys on June 9. Join us, won’t you?

Totally True
• As ridiculous as this “Under Pressure” opening is, at least we got to hear a second of Jack Davenport singing before the series ended.
• One upside to having the fake Tonys at the Marquis Theater: the acoustics have to be better than Radio City!
•  Tom says that he loves Pasek and Paul, who were nominated in SMASH’s fake Tonys for their Last Good Year score. We want to hear that. In real life, they were nominated for their score of A Christmas Story, which is really good.
• Pasek and Paul wrote songs for Hit List, so they exist as dual songwriters in the SMASH world, which kind of makes our heads hurt. But since Shaiman and Wittman do too, we’ll allow it.
• Tom refers to Patrick Dillon as his future husband. Plus 100 because that’s how we refer to Christian Borle.
• Leigh Conroy is watching Bernadette Peters’s Tony win for Annie Get Your Gun as if it were her own and everything is amazing.
• Can we talk more about Leigh watching this Bernadette Tony win? First of all, it play on Ivy’s TV, meaning Leigh has it on tape. Unless Ivy has Apple TV or something and is streaming from her iPhone. But it looks too high quality for that! Second of all, Leigh’s actually watching it, pointing out how gracious she was! And then Ivy reminds her that Leigh forgot to thank her. Which Leigh did! Because it was Bernadette! Ahhh! This is amazing! Even if it also gets into that confusing realm of the line between the fake and real on SMASH.
• “If you can tear up a little, they love it!” Leigh tells Ivy, on what makes a good Tony acceptance speech. Plus 50 because we agree.
• Ivy is convinced she’s not going to win anything. “I’m nominated twice, that always splits the vote.” Plus 10 because that’s what any award predictor would tell Ivy too.
• Leigh thinks they won’t vote for Ivy in Featured Actress in a Musical because Leigh’s nominated there, and Ivy will instead go on to win Lead Actress. We agree!
• Ivy’s having a hard time fitting into her dress, now that she’s pregnant. “Have you been stress eating again?” Leigh asks her. “Now’s not time to get fat, my dear!” Plus 500.
• Ivy still has those pictures of Marilyn by her mirror. Plus 20.
• Ivy’s thinking about taking some time off after her contract ends with Bombshell. Leigh, disagrees. “The day after I won my first [Tony], my career just skyrocketed. I had so many offers, I didn’t know what to do! You have to dive in. It’s all about momentum. You lose that - you may never get it again.” We hate to sound like a broken record here, but Leigh’s right again.
• The New York Daily News did a piece about Daisy Parker called “Daisy Parker speaks about how she went from victim to vixen.” Looks like Bombshell isn’t the only one with a good PR department!
• The whole Hit List cast hates working with Daisy Parker now. It’s because she has red hair, right?
• Bombshell is performing “Let’s Be Bad” at the fake Tonys. Good choice, but “Let Me Be Your Star” would have been a better one.
• Jimmy still hasn’t picked up his tickets to The Tonys! HURRY JIMMY! YOU ONLY HAVE UNTIL 3!
• “You guys outnumber her,” Ivy tells Karen, about Daisy. “If you don’t want to perform with her, you shouldn’t have to.” Does that really work? ‘Cause if so, the cast of A Little Night Music should have fought for “A Weekend in the Country” instead of that Catherine Zeta-Jones “Send in the Clowns” mess!
• Jerry tells Daisy she’s going to do “Reach for Me” on the Tonys instead, since no one will perform with her. Guess that didn’t work, Karen! Great advice, Ivy!
• Julia gives Jimmy a big pep-talk about not sabotaging himself and continuing on with his work and dammit, it’s kind of sweet.
• “Well you don’t look good,” Ivy says to Derek, as he lies in a pile of his own filth. Plus 20!
• Ivy asks Derek if he’ll be at the Tonys, and his response is perfect. “Oh yeah for sure. Spending the evening in a room full of sanctimonious pricks who have it in for me. Yeah, I’ll be there.”
• Ivy tells Derek she loves him even though he’s treated her bad and she’s treated him bad and we guess that’s what love is like sometimes.
• Julia meets with Frank (plus 100 every time Brian d’Arcy James is on the screen!) and admits that she loved Michael Swift and couldn’t let him go for much of her marriage. “And it wasn’t because I didn’t love you,” she tells him. “I just didn’t love you the right way.” Ultimately, she says she won’t refute anything Frank wants to do regarding the settlement and Frank grabs her arm and says “Thank you” and cries a bit and so we do.
• Karen is nervous about how things are going with Jimmy. “You are a Tony nominee,” Ana assures her. “No matter what happens, no one can take that from you. Google Karen Cartwright and that’s what is going to come up from now until the end of time.” Actually, we hope it’ll be our recaps.
• We have to agree with Ana that Karen looks beautiful (see, we can be nice to her).
• Jimmy shows up after all! And he looks dapper in a tux!
• Ana only needs to 15 minutes to get ready for the fake Tonys, because she’s a hipster.
• The fake Tony art is actually pretty not bad! Plus 10!
• Moments before their category is up, Leigh asks whether Ivy has practiced her “losing” face. Plus 10.
• Plus 20 for Tony presenter Lillias White.
• Daisy Parker wins Featured Actress for Hit List and everyone groans when they clap. Plus 5.
• Anika Noni Rose didn’t win a fake Tony, but she send out a tweet of thanks, so there’s that!
• Plus 20 for Tony presenter Ron Rifkin.
• Kyle Bishop wins the Tony for Best Book, which everyone saw coming. Not that he deserved it, but anyone who died that young and was nominated for a Tony would win. 
• In his acceptance speech for Kyle’s award, Jimmy thanks the theater industry for “giving him something to love his whole life.” And dammit, that’s how we feel about theater too. Plus 500. 
• Plus 100 to David Lindsay-Abaire for this tweet. He didn’t technically lose to “that Newsies kid,” Jeremy Jordan, but it’s still a great tweet.

• David Lindsay-Abaire is on fire. Here’s another SMASH-related tweet he sent:
• Julia admits that she did want to win for Best Book, even though she said she didn’t. Plus 10! 
• In addition to Pasek and Paul, Jimmy Collins, and Tom and Julia, it turns out that Shaiman and Wittman were also nominated for Best Score - though we can’t hear for what show! Plus 50 because that’s a sweet little nod to the two guys who wrote so many of the original songs on the show!
• Bombshell wins a fake Tony for best score!!! It’s like Shaiman and Wittman are winning a Tony for their work on SMASH, which they deserve. Plus everything. 
• Tom and Julia were so consumed with chatting, they didn’t realize they’d won a fake Tony for Best Score. LOL!
• Side note: Linda watched the finale at her parent’s house in California and she legit cheered when Bombshell won best score, causing her whole family to explain to her that these awards aren’t real. Dave also cheered, but his dog didn’t ask questions. 
• Thanks for keeping your speech short and sweet, Tom and Julia! 2013 Tony nominees, take note.
• Plus another 20 for director choreographer Kathleen Marshall presenting the Tony for choreography. • Derek wins a Best Choreography Tony for Hit List. Eh, we can’t argue against that.
• Derek thanks Tony voters for judging the work and not the man. LOL. Plus 10.
• Derek dedicates his Tony to Ivy. Take that Karen. Who’s his muse, now?
• Lead by Derek, the Hit List cast revolts and instead of letting Daisy do her solo, they perform “Broadway Here I Come” like a scene from Stomp. It actually sounds amazing. Bravo.
• This “Broadway Here I Come” version is pretty. But it’s very Pitch Perfect “Cups,” don’t you think
• Patrick Dillon asks Tom and Julia to write the music for a movie musical he’s working on. Awww! Jobs! We’re gonna work again!
• Tom runs and asks Patrick out and kisses him and even though Patrick isn’t gay, AHHHHHHHHHH! PLUS 50!
• Plus 20 for Marin Mazzie presenting the award for Lead Actress in a Musical. But where’s her handsome husband, Jason Danieley?
• Ivy Lynn wins! All is right with the world! We forgive you everything, SMASH. Plus 1,000.
• Ivy thanks the audience for coming to see her and we love her even more.
• Actually, Ivy’s speech was pretty damn-near perfect. It reminded us that for everything SMASH got wrong, it was always a love letter to the theater. We would have totally rewound and watched that shit over and over again if it happened on the actual Tony Awards. Here, why don’t we just transcribe it for you, okay?
Wow. Okay, I honestly didn’t think I would win. Tom, Julia, Eileen - thank you so much for the     chance of a lifetime. I’d like to thank my mother, Leigh Conroy. The magnificent Leigh Conroy. For giving me the greatest gift. And that is a life in the theater. I can only hope that one day I can give that gift to my children. For me there is nothing more magical than that moment, right when the lights go down, and the crowd is waiting in silence with anticipation of the show to begin. It’s a moment full of hope and full of possibilities. So I’d like to thank the audience for coming and for believing, like I do, that there’s nothing more important and special as live theater. Thank you so much! 
• Always the class act, Audra McDonad tweets her support to Ivy. Plus 10. 
• Former Tony host Rosie O’Donnell presents the award for Best Musical. Plus 50 because she’s always been Broadway’s biggest fan. 
• Bombshell wins the Tony over Hit List!!! Best episode of SMASH ever! 
• Eileen invites Derek to accept the award with them, which was oddly touching.
• OH HEY REAL TONY NOMINEE WILL CHASE. Nice to see you again for two seconds. 
• Julia ends up with Michael Swift! True love, just like Debra Messing and Will Chase. 
• It’s time for the ANN HARADA LINE OF THE WEEK. “You didn’t see me in the ‘Big Finish’ montage, but I was sitting on my couch at home, eating ice cream, and laughing at the fact that I didn’t have to sit through that nonsense in person.” CONGRATULATIONS ANN! 
• As much as we hate this “Big Finish” song, we have to give props for Shaiman and Wittman including this gem of a line: “Just give them a big finish, and they’ll forget what happened before.” Not going to work on us, but we know that was your wish all along, SMASH. And for that, you get standing ovations.

Oh Hell No! 
• Ivy, Karen, Jimmy, Ana, Tom, Julia, Eileen, Derek and Sam sing a cover of “Under Pressure” that, to borrow a phrase from some good friends of ours, is totally craptacular. The whole gang meets at the Marquis Theater, home of the fake Tony Awards, where they eventually stand in a line together repeating “Under Pressure” over and over again. It’s all very Rent (the movie). The only thing missing is the ghost of Kyle Bishop. And Tracie Thoms.
• We’d say Freddie Mercury was rolling in his grave at this, but we’re pretty sure he did that already when they made We Will Rock You.
• This is the second episode in a row starting with a pop/rock song and we expected more from the final two episodes.
• Also, if ever there were a number where Ann Harada would sing, it would be “Under Pressure.” That’s Linda the Stage Manager’s entire life! Minus 50,000!
• Meanwhile, let’s get back to the the fact that the fake Tonys are at the Marquis. Talk about a logistical nightmare! Minus 200 because that would never happen.
• Turns out that whole sequence was a dream Tom was having. That’s no excuse.
• Julie wakes up Tom in his apartment. Didn’t she move out? How does she still have a key. This isn’t Will & Grace, Debra!
• Only 12 hours ‘til the Tonys and Tom and Julia have finished writing “the Tony number.” WTF is that?
• Frank thinks that Julia was in love with Michael Swift from the moment she met him, and the only person who doesn’t seem to agree with that is Julia because she’s delusional.
• Ivy and Leigh are getting ready for the Tonys in Ivy’s small ass apartment. Surely Leigh’s would be bigger, no?
• Also, Ivy and Leigh look fabulous. But they’re dressed a little early, aren’t they? Doesn’t Ivy have to head over to the Marquis for run-through?
• Karen brings Derek supplies because he’s a shut-in drunk now and no one cares. Karen and Ivy run into one another at the lobby of the rehearsal studio. IS THERE NO OTHER REHEARSAL STUDIO IN NEW YORK?
• Also, what is Ivy doing at the rehearsal studio? Wasn’t she just all dressed up for the fake Tonys? Minus 10.
• Hit List was supposed to be performing “Voice in a Dream” at the fake Tonys, but Jimmy didn’t want to sing so they’re changing it up to “I’m Not Sorry.” This is super last-minute, isn’t it? They should be at the Marquis doing run-through by now!
• Jimmy’s packed up his apartment, and his landlord says it “looks good” and asks where to send the deposit back to. Um... what? A NYC landlord is giving a deposit back? To Jimmy Collins, no less? This might be the most unrealistic thing they’ve shown yet! Minus 10!
• This is the last episode of SMASH. Stop wasting our time with Nick. No one cares.
• Tom tells Julia that he had hooked up with Kyle a few times, and she totally didn’t know. Congratulations on being the last person on earth to find out about that, Julia. Like, Jimmy totally told everyone at the bar that night! Which basically led to Kyle getting killed. Kind of surprising that no one told you!
• Jimmy tells Tom that Kyle really liked him. Tom is flattered, but we still remember the fact that Kyle had a boyfriend. Minus 10.
• Derek says even the food delivery guys won’t look at him. Like they’d know who he is or care that he offered an actress a part if she slept with him.
• Jimmy gives Ana Kyle’s ticket to the fake Tonys. Why would Kyle have a ticket to the fake Tony’s? He’s dead! And if anyone would have that ticket, it would be his parents, wouldn’t it? WHERE’S CAROLEE CARMELLO?
• We see shows of marquees for Follies and Evita. Man, it’s a busy night at the Marquis! Minus 50.
• Among the other closed show marquees SMASH shows us? Porgy and Bess, Bonnie & Clyde, and How To Succeed when John Larroquette was still in it. You couldn’t show some actual running-showing on Broadway that could use the box-office boost? Minus 50.
• Ana looks amazing for only having 15 minutes to get ready. Minus 10.
• Ivy changed her dress. She’s now wearing a blue dress and even though it’s pretty, the black one was better. Minus 5.
• Why is Jimmy’s speech for Kyle all about Karen? Minus 500.
• These awards are happening so fast! Shouldn’t there be a commercial break by now? Or a musical performance? Some speech from the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League representatives, at least? Where’s Neil Patrick Harris with a bit?
• Now that we mention NPH, who is the host of this damn thing anyway?
• When Derek’s name is called during the nomination announcements, people audibly boo. Come on, the Tony audience wouldn’t be that rude. Especially when 10 seconds later, he wins the goddamn award.
• Also, what was with Kathleen Marshall just announcing that Bombshell performance like that. There should have been a description!
• The television audience is going to be really confused when the announcer says Daisy Parker will be singing “Reach for Me” and they get Karen, Jimmy, and the rest of the cast (including Ana!) singing “Broadway Here I Come.” Especially because no one seems to be mic’d!
• Then again, there’s only like, one handheld camera in the audience, so it’s not like audiences at home are really seeing this anyway. And again, that’s now how introductions for show numbers are done on the Tonys! Minus 10.
• Jimmy and Karen end “Broadway Here I Come” with a kiss. Barf.
• Oh please, like Audra McDonald and Sutton Foster would both miss the Tonys. Surely at least one of them would have been willing to cameo. How great would it have been to see Audra and Will Swenson at the fake Tonys? DAMN YOU SMASH FOR TAKING THAT AWAY FROM US!
• As happy as we are for Ivy, Audra rarely loses a Tony.
• Eileen, it’s the middle of the goddamn Tonys. Now is not the time to go and have a heart to heart with Karen Cartwright in the fucking lobby.
• Wait, it’s Best Musical already? WHO WON BEST DIRECTOR? MINUS 500!
• Jerry Rand went to the fake Tonys with Susan Blackwell? We love her, but that makes no sense. Minus everything!
• Jimmy reveals to Karen that he was with a girl when she overdosed (but apparently didn’t die) and then he ran away and had to change his name. This is so Gossip Girl. Ugh, Josh Safran.
• Jimmy is now going to jail for 6-18 months for possession of a controlled substance. BYEEEEEE GURL!
• At the Bombshell afterparty, Tom and Julia are given a remote to see their number that they missed. We assume it’s going to be “Let’s Be Bad,” but apparently it’s this number that they vaguely mentioned writing earlier. And it’s a duet between Karen and Ivy? That’s not “Let Me Be Your Star?” Minus 100.
• Where is the Bombshell music? WE WANT THE BOMBSHELL MUSIC!
• Why would Karen and Ivy perform a duet at the Tonys? We could understand if this was a number for all the Tony Best Actress nominees (that would actually be brilliant). But then where’s Audra? Sutton?
• And why does it say SMASH in big letters behind them? Is this supposed to be some sort of meta ending? It sucks.
• The lyrics to the song say they are going to give us a big finish and leave us wanting more, but this song doesn’t do that at all.
• Then, during the song, we see a montage of all the couples - Derek holding Ivy’s stomach, Jimmy and Karen kissing as Jimmy goes off to jail, Eileen and Nick, Julia and Michael - and we’re really disappointed that this is how they chose to end.
• How come all the ladies end up in happy relationships with total creeps and poor Tom is left alone? Is it because he wants to date us? WE’RE AVAILABLE, TOM!

What’d you think of SMASH’s “big finish?” Did you hate the last five minutes as much as we did? Did you love the Tony results? Let us know in the comments... for the last time!

The SMASH Reality Index: Season 2 Episode 16

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.

For a true theater fanatic, there aren’t many more exciting places to be than the theater district at awards season. The excitement around going to a crowded house in the days leading up to those nominations; hearing other fans share their predictions at intermission; seeing Broadway stars make the rounds on the morning talk shows - it’s all very intense. And for what it’s worth, “The Nominations” - the second to last episode of SMASH ever - was pretty damn near accurate in its portrayal of Tony season. Down to the fangirl chatter at stage doors and gossipy pieces in the tabloids (RIP Michael Musto and The Village Voice).

That being said, there was something missing from the nominations this time around: surprise. IRL, there’s always a good snub or two. But in SMASH-land? Everyone got nominations! Heck, even Sam picked up an Outer Critics Circle Award for his role in Hit List that’s never really been defined. Woohoo!

We won’t spend too much time breaking that apart now. After all, that’s what the Index is for. So let’s see how things played out in the first part of the two-part series finale:

Totally True
• The “previously on” part of this episode is basically a recap of the season. Already getting us in the mindset to say goodbye to SMASH. (A retrospective with interviews would have been even better. We can dream can’t we!)
• Ivy Lynn wakes up signing. She’s a real-life Tracy Turnblad! Plus 10.
• Bombshell got 10 Outer Critics Circle nominations and Hit List got 11. This year, Chaplin got 8 and Matilda got 5, so the OCC does crazy shit like this all the time.
• “The Outer Critics Circle are a bunch of sadists,” says Tom. “They don’t tell you they’ve won, you have to keep refreshing their website to find out.” Plus 50.
• Tom, Eileen, and Agnes attend a production of The Gathering Storm. “There’s Tony voters in there,” says Agnes. “They need to see we support the competition.” Plus 20.
• Tom is checking his phone during The Gathering Storm to see if he’s won an Outer Critics Circle Award and it pisses off everyone around him. “Are you kidding me?” gripes Luke MacFarlane’s character. “Haven’t you ever been to a theater before?” Plus 100 because this is the type of theater etiquette SMASH should be promoting, not that nonsense over at Hit List.
• Luke MacFarlane is playing some character named Patrick Dillon. Because guys with full names that sound like two first names is like, so goddamn hot.
• Tom wins his Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Director! Guess they must have really loved that new staging of “Dig Deep,” huh?
• Karen also wins an Outer Critics Circle Award over Ivy Lynn, which we can believe because the OCC Awards make even less sense than most other theater awards. Bobby and Jessica think Ivy’s relapsed. “She black-swanned once before,” Bobby tells Sam. “And that was only Boston. This is Broadway!” Plus 60 for Bobby’s last bitchy line.

• Apparently Tom tied with Derek for his OCC Award for Best Director. Sure, why not! This is all fake anyway - why not make everyone win!
• Apparently, Bombshell only picked up two OCC Awards: Tom for Director and Julia for Book. The rest went to Hit List. Again, it’s just the OCCs, which often plays out differently than the Tonys.
• Patrick Dillon is signing autographs on The Gathering Storm Playbills, outside the theater, despite not being in the show. Plus 10 because we see celebrities do that all the time (even though it’s totally annoying).
• “I love his movies,” Tom says, of Patrick Dillon. “His Long Day’s Journey Into Night last season, not so much.” “Well he won a Tony for it,” Agnes responds. Plus 85 because Hollywood stars win Tonys for mediocre turns on Broadway all the time (see: Scarlett Johansson, and probably Tom Hanks).
• “Only winners get to go to the Outer Critics Circle luncheon,” Jerry tells Derek, Jimmy, and Karen. “But since we practically swept the awards, we have a whole table.” Plus 15 for accuracy!
• Jerry shows the Karen and Jimmy mockups of posters with Tony Award nominations.
• Jerry says that they don’t expect Kyle to get a fake Tony nomination for Best Book. “Our show is basically sung-through,” he says. “So were Rent and Passing Strange,” Karen barks back. “And they won.” Dammit we hate when she’s right.
• Ana is suing Derek because he promised the Diva role to Daisy Parker. Man, the meetings she must have had at Equity...
• “Maybe some things are more important than a career,” Karen tells Derek. “Like self-respect.” Let that be a warning to any theater actor during pilot season, please.
• Ivy hasn’t told Derek yet about the baby, and isn’t sure she’s keeping it. LET IT BE YOUR STAR, IVY.
• “In some circles, they don’t consider that a gift at all,” Tom says of the bottle of wine he sent Patrick Dillon. Plus 10.
• Oh hey Michael Musto. Sorry you just lost your job at The Village Voice, but all these actors on SMASH lost their jobs too!
• Like any good Michael Musto interview, this one with Jimmy Collins is totally gossipy and shit, we love it.
• A fangirl at the Bombshell stagedoor tells Ivy Lynn that Hit List shouldn’t have won any awards and that Bombshell is so much better. “Karen should not have beaten you,” she gripes. Plus 100 because we’ve seen those fangirls. Heck, we’ve been those fangirls.
• Also, plus 100 because Ivy is positive to the first fangirl, saying that “Hit List is a wonderful show and Karen’s wonderful in it.” Ivy Lynn tells another fangirl that the only reason Hit List made it to Broadway was because Kyle Bishop died. PLUS 500!
• Plus 1,000 for that creepy dude who filmed Ivy at the stage door and then ran off. He was so ridiculous!!
• “If You Want Me,” which Ana sings at her audition, is such a beautiful song! Go see Once if you haven’t already!
• Ivy is still not sure if she’s keeping the baby, and still not sure if she’s telling Derek, but now she told Sam, so there’s that?
• Ivy’s created an online backlash against Hit List. Except it was probably there way before her. “If it isn’t my two favorite PR disasters,” Agnes says to Tom and Ivy. “What are you going to do today? Burn down Table 46?” Plus 100 because IF ONLY.
• Eileen and Jerry trade quips. “Eileen, I thought you’d be wearing black today!” “No Jerry, I’m saving it for your funeral.” Plus 10.
• “Thank you for waiting patiently while I fixed something that was nearly broken,” Julia says in her OCC Awards speech. She’s talking about SMASH, right?
• Tom lets Derek give his acceptance speech first. “You first, I’ll finish. That seems familiar.” Plus 10.
• Tom thanks Derek Wills in his Outer Critics Circle Awards speech. Because he’s classy like that!
• He also makes a lame joke that doesn’t get a huge laugh--”You and I go together like Lena Dunham and a bra.” Thank you speeches are so hard to get right.
• Ivy tries to apologize to Jimmy halfway through the Outer Critics Circle Awards luncheon, which leads to a giant pile up fight between Ivy, Jimmy, Julia, Tom, Derek, Karen, and eventually, Eileen. Aww the whole gang’s back together!
• Halfway through Karen’s number, Jimmy looks around, as if he’s distracted and bored. We guess he’s just surveying the crowd, but LOL.
• “My life has to be about more than this show,” says Eileen. “WE AGREE!” says every SMASH recapper out there, who’ve given up their evenings for the past two seasons.
• “You know what they say about Tony voting,” Patrick Dillon tells Tom. “First you vote for yourself. Then you vote against your enemies. And then you vote for your heart.” Man, for a big Hollywood movie star who’s a first-time Tony voter, he sure knows a lot!
• Jimmy waits for Karen’s autograph and we guess that’s kinda sweet.
• Also, Karen doesn’t recognize Jimmy at first when he’s at the stage door in a hoodie because she’s signing autographs without looking at people’s faces. It didn’t take her long to learn how to rush through a stage door line.
• Julia comes to the Hit List stage door and apologizes to Jimmy (for doing nothing wrong) and he apologizes back and OMG GET ON WITH IT.
• “Artists shouldn’t feel ashamed about helping each other. It shouldn’t always be a competition,” says Julia, and she has a point. In real life, we love seeing Broadway artists support each other.
• Ivy sums up Derek’s entire arc this season on SMASH: “You’ve never done the right thing, Derek. And you never will.” Plus 10, even though we still want to make out with him.
• Julia arrives at Tom’s to watch the Tony nominations with him and Ivy. “I brought scones,” she says. “And scotch in case things go badly.” Plus 10.
• Leigh Conroy and Ivy Lynn pick up Featured Actress fake Tony nominations! And they said the category right and everything! Plus 10!
• Ann Harada wasn’t in this episode, but it’s time for our favorite feature, THE ANN HARADA LINE OF THE WEEK. “I was even snubbed in the fake Tonys for a nomination for featured actress in Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella!” CONGRATULATIONS ANN!
• Derek gets two nominations for Best Choreography - for both Hit List and Bombshell. But he’s up against Casey Nicholaw for The Gathering Storm and Susan Stroman for Imitation of Life. Nicholaw gets it, right?
• Kyle Bishop gets the Tony nomination for Best Book of a musical, becoming the youngest person ever nominated for a fake Tony for Best Book of a Musical! CONGRATULATIONS KYLE!
• Kyle’s competition, meanwhile, is Julia for Bombshell, Harvey Fierstein for The Gathering Storm, and David Lindsay-Abaire for The Last Good Year. Tough category.
• Man, the few seconds we heard of The Gathering Storm while Tom was checking his phone didn’t do much for us, but directed by Susan Stroman with a book by Harvey Fierstein? TWO TICKETS PLEASE!
• Tom and Derek both pick up nominations for Directing, going up against Rob Ashford and Diane Paulus (Oliver). A Diane Paulus Oliver? Do Fagin’s boys come into the audience and pick the pockets of audience members? This we also need to see.
• Derek is apparently the second person in fake Tony history to be nominated for three awards in the same year. The first one was Bob Fosse! (Okay that one was real). Also, let’s not forget about Kenneth Posner and his three lighting design nominations in the same category this year (in the real Tonys)!
• Bombshell and Hit List are obviously nominated for best score, and so is Jeanine Tesori for Imitation of Life. It’s about time she had a new score. Why are none of these shows real? We want to see all of them.
• Christine Ebersole forgets to mention Ivy’s Lead Actress fake Tony nomination, and has to go back. DAMN YOU CHRISTINE EBERSOLE! NO WONDER THEY LEFT YOU OFF THE POSTER FOR THAT WEDDING MOVIE!
• Ivy obviously gets the nomination. Because god forbid SMASH spare us from an Ivy vs. Karen fight ‘til the end.
• All in all, Bombshell picks up 12 nominations, and Hit List, 13. “That doesn’t mean anything, that’s just one more than us,” Agnes tells Eileen. Does she do PR for the folks at Matilda too? ‘Cause we bet they were saying that about Kinky Boots this season!
• Patrick Dillon sends Tom a bottle of Petite Syrah with a hand-written congratulations note on his own stationary. What a homo!
•  BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES IS BACK! PLUS 300! Brian d’Arcy James threatens to take Julia for all she’s worth and we’ve never been more attracted to him. 
• OH HEY MICHAEL RIEDEL! You’ve had more lines on this show than most of the recurring characters.

Oh Hell No! 
• Christ almighty, SMASH. It’s the final fucking episode, and you’re still trying to shoehorn in these ridiculous pop songs. Stop it!
• And no one looks that gorgeous and done up when they wake up. Not even Ivy Lynn.
• Ivy Lynn has been in eight Broadway shows. And the only show poster she has hanging in her room is Heaven on Earth? The show she was fired from after her pill addiction? No. Minus 10. Oh, and of course this number is going to be a montage. Minus another 10.
• Ana is looking at audition notices on some bullshit Tumblr. Get on, girl!
• Agnes tells Eileen Bombshell has received 10 Outer Critics Circle nominations by revealing a full-page Bombshell ad in the newspaper, touting said nominations. We’ve seen shows make fast turnarounds from nominations to print ads before. But presuming this is new news to Eileen as of the same morning, it’s pretty ridiculous to think Agnes would get that in the paper that fast.
• Tom would know better than to check his phone during a show, but the OCC wouldn’t be announcing the winners while everyone is in shows. Also, the Outer Critics Circle nominations are before the Tony nominations, but the winners aren’t announced until after Tony nominations.
• Ivy Lynn is in full Marilyn gear, lying on the floor of a bathroom stall, presumably after throwing up. But wait - she’s just been called to get out there for a curtain call! So either she missed “Don’t Forget Me” entirely, or that was the longest curtain call ever.
• When Ivy goes out for her curtain call, Bobby and Jessica are still backstage. Wouldn’t they go out first? Or does Bombshell not do company bows? Minus 50.
• Daisy exits the Hit List stage door making a growling noise, as if to scare fans. BECAUSE SHE’S THE VILLAIN. GET IT GUYS?!?
• Apparently Sam won an Outer Critics Circle Award too. For what? Hist List? That’s ridiculous, even for the OCCs. He’s barely even in it!
• Patrick Dillon would not be on the Tony nominating committee. Especially if we’re to believe that he’s a big movie star who won a Tony last season for doing a Eugene O’Neill play. Minus 10.
• Agnes says the term “glass closet” was invented for Patrick Dillon. Apparently in SMASH, Tom Cruise and John Travolta don’t exist either! Minus 50.
• Jerry has a new assistant. Poor Nikki Blonsky. Replaced by a nobody!
• Agnes is worried Patrick Dillon might hold a grudge, because Tom annoyed him with his cell phone during The Gathering Storm. We get that publicists are always trying to put out fires, but this is ridiculous.
• Karen is upset that Daisy’s photo on the Tony mockup posters is the same size as hers. Ugh. Karen’s really the worst, isn’t she? Minus 10.
• Actually, Derek is the worst and tells Karen to tell Ana to drop the lawsuit because it’ll ruin his career.
• Julia says that divorce proceedings with Frank aren’t going well. Brian d’Arcy James wouldn’t do that! IT MUST BE YOUR FAULT, JULIA! BDJ IS PERFECT!
• Tom sends Patrick Dillon a gift to apologize for the phone incident, not realizing that you can’t send gifts to the members of the nominating committee. “He can use that to sanction you, or worse still, disqualify you from the awards,” Eileen reminds him. We now present this next part in our best Jack from Titanic voice. “YOU’RE SO STUPID, TOM! YOU’RE SO STUUUPIDDD.”
• Also, Tom, have you learned nothing from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
• “I’ve worked my ass off,” Karen tells Daisy. No matter how often you say that, Karen, it’s not going to be true.
• Karen and Daisy get into a pissing match over how they got their roles in Hit List and whether it was ethical and no one wins because no one cares.
• Michael Musto is interviewing Jimmy Collins. Not for The Village Voice, obviously. Whomp whomp.
• Michael Musto tells Jimmy and Karen, “off the record,” that “someone should tell Julia to stop speaking about Kyle so much. It’s giving the wrong impression.” Oh please - nothing’s ever “off the record” with Michael Musto. Minus 10.
• Jimmy flies off the handle, thinking that Julia is trying to sabotage Kyle’s chance at a Tony. Seriously, does Jimmy have any emotion besides 0 and 60?
• Tom tries to get the bottle of wine back from Patrick Dillon and they meet in the lobby and hijinks ensue and this is the dumbest shit we’ve ever seen.
• Sam comes to see how Ivy is feeling, but then walks the stage door line with her. While we love seeing when theater actors come to support their friends, it’s super annoying when they walk the line with them, taking away from fan interaction time. Minus 10.
• “Did you hear what Karen and Jimmy said about you in the Voice?” another fangirl asks Ivy at the stage door, revealing that they claimed Ivy’s performance was an imitation and that Bombshell wasn’t original. While we’re all for gossiping with performers at the stage door, that sort of shit goes a little too far. Minus 15.
• Also, as much as we loved that guy who filmed Ivy, we think he would have stayed around for an autograph.
• Ana sounds good in her audition, but she would be TERRIBLE as Girl in Once. No disrespect meant to Krysta Rodriguez, but that part is not a good fit.
• Derek recommended Ana for the Once audition to pay her off. Surprise! Ana can’t get an audition on her own! Minus 10.
• Also, that should have been Jim Carnahan casting Once.
• Remember how Sam was super religious during season one? Did that all just disappear when he was on The Book of Mormon tour? Because we’re sure he’d have some pro-life jargon to throw Ivy’s way when she tells him she might get an abortion, wouldn’t he?
• The Outer Critics Circle Awards luncheon wouldn’t be at Table 46. It would be at Sardi’s. It’s always at Sardi’s.
• Jimmy wants Julia to tell everyone that she didn’t help Kyle with Hit List at all. That’s so Jimmy.
• Since when is Eileen the most/only professional person on the Bombshell team?
• Derek calls Hit List “the greatest triumph of my professional career.” Grumble.
• Jimmy’s sick and he’s losing his voice and he’s concerned because it’s the last show the Tony nominating committee will see, but he’s still smoking. HE’S SO BADASS. Minus 50.
• Jimmy doesn’t want to miss his last performance before the Tony nominations come out, even though he’s sick. But don’t worry - he doesn’t! Karen gives him a ticket to see the show instead. That’ll make him feel better (but not healthy).
• Jimmy wouldn’t need an actual ticket to sit in on his own show.
• Ana decides to rescind the letter with her lawyer and go out on the Once tour. What motivated that decision, we’ll never know because Ana never says. Minus 50.
• We still doubt that Ivy Lynn would have gotten that Featured Actress nomination for Liaisons. If The Performers wasn’t eligible, Liaisons shouldn’t be eligible.
• Let’s flashback to the nomination boards that Agnes had made... Victoria Clark, Katie Finneran, Patina Miller, and Chita Rivera were snubbed, in favor of Anika Noni Rose (Imitation of Life) and Daisy Parker (Hit List). Hmmm. 
• Jimmy is pissed Daisy Parker was nominated for The Diva instead of Ana. Um... ANA ISN’T IN THE SHOW ANYMORE! SHE’S NOT ELIGIBLE! 
• Minus 50 because they cut off the rest of the fake Tony best score nominees. Explain to us how Diane Paulus directed Pippin AND this new Oliver revival in the same season? Or was Pippin somehow cancelled because it received zero fake Tony nominations? Minus 100.
• Karen’s nominated for Lead Actress in a Musical. Meh. Going back to Agnes’s nomination boards, let’s check her record on Lead Actress in a Musical... pretty accurate, except that Jen Damiano got snubbed. Oh, and Sutton Foster, who is equally miscast, apparently replaced Laura Osnes in Oliver. Now THAT’S some drama we wish we saw on SMASH.
• Did Jimmy not get a nomination for Lead Actor in a Musical? Was he supposed to? Does anyone care? Not really, but why don’t we get to know who is nominated for the fake actor categories? Who are the male actors in The Gathering Storm and Imitation of Life? We need to know!
• And what about Sam? He won that Outer Critics Circle Award. Did he get a fake Tony nomination? Or are we done with his character?
• Eileen goes to see Nick in jail but he was released three weeks ago. Shortest jail time ever!
• Jimmy apologizes for pushing Karen away after Kyle died, explaining that he’s always been afraid to let someone else get close to him. Blah blah blah.
• When watching Hit List the night before, Jimmy finally realized the show stands on its own and can live on without him. FORESHADOWING?
• Derek quotes Veronica Moore in his interview with Michael Riedel. That’s fine and everything Derek, but when’s her Bravo concert airing? We need to set our DVRs!
• Derek commits career suicide by admitting to Michael Riedel that he promised Daisy Parker the role of the Diva if she slept with him. Are we supposed to find that noble? He basically screwed over himself, Daisy, and the entire cast of Hit List, who will inevitably feel the sting of Derek’s decision come fake Tony time. Minus 100.
• Derek could have at least done one of those pre-Tony tell-alls in the New York Times. Have some class.
• And while we’re at it, how come Michael Riedel gets all the scoops! Come on Broadway stars! Call us up sometime and give us a big break. We deserve it way more!

What’d you think of the first half of the finale, folks? Satisfied with those nominations? Rooting for Tom and Patrick Dillon?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Hit List Doesn't Exist, But Murder Ballad Is The Next Best Thing

In the move from Manhattan Theatre Club's Studio at Stage II to the Union Square Theatre, Murder Ballad has a larger performance space, lost Karen Olivo, and gained Caissie Levy, but the show remains pretty much the same--a sexy sung-through musical with great performers that make it worth seeing, even if the story is weak. I enjoyed the show more this time around, probably because I was with friends and had a drink.

Rebecca Naomi Jones is the narrator who tells us at the beginning that there will be a murder, though you don't know who will die and who will kill (it's not too hard to figure out if you're paying attention). She tells us about Sara (Levy) and Tom (Will Swenson), who are hot and in love. As evident from the ads, Levy and Swenson have intense chemistry, also seen on Broadway in Hair. But passion isn't enough to keep Sara and Tom together and they breakup. She marries Michael (the ever-reliable John Ellison Conlee), but later reconnects with Tom, and you get the idea.

The score by Juliana Nash (Julia Jordan co-wrote the lyrics) has a generic rock musical feel, which is aided by the powerhouse vocalists (especially Jones) who make it sound much better than it probably is. I did appreciate the mention of The Beatles song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," which is where I got the idea for my blog name. I couldn't help but think of the fictional Hit List in Smash, which also features a murder--touted as daring and edgy, but it's really just a musical theater version of edgy, which is to say, not really at all. The one truly inspired moment is the final one, which I don't want to spoil here.

Scenic designer Mark Wendland has transformed the space into a cabaret with a working bar and a pool table. Trip Cullman's direction uses the space well to create an immersive theater experience. If you are sitting at a table, you might have some actors dancing on it. Kudos to Jessica Pabst for creating costumes that fit the actors so well. If the morality tale doesn't influence you to lead a better life, you will surely at least be motivated to hit the gym.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The SMASH Reality Index: Season 2 Episode 15

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.

First thing’s first. As you probably know by now, word came in late Friday night that NBC has indeed cancelled SMASH. This isn’t a surprise to anyone, but it’s still sad. Mostly because we will never fulfill our dream of playing ourselves on an episode.

The show’s death actually ties in with the theme death on SMASH lately. You have Kyle’s death, obviously. Then, Julia and Tom’s partnership died. Then, our hearts died when we found out in this Buzzfeed article that Jesse L. Martin and Daphne Rubin-Vega signed off on the idea of using Jonathan Larson’s story as an inspiration for Kyle’s story. Because the thing is, they weren’t just inspired by him, they took his life story. And they should know better! But that said, it’s hard to stay mad at SMASH, especially so close to the end, and when they have cameos by Lindsay Mendez and Lin-Manuel Miranda in one episode.

OK guys. We have three episodes left (including this one), and we’re going to make them count. Let’s do this thing!

Totally True
• Oh hey Hit List is at the Barrymore!
• The signs outside the theater say previews for Hit List start April 13. Just in time for the Tony cutoff!
• Ana doesn't plan on missing performances. No one plans to miss performances, right Karen Olivo?
• "Good lord. I hope that thing's insured," says Tom after Lindsay sings. Plus another 50.
• "I think I'll be the only one at Houston/Levitt night who hasn't won a Tony," says Lindsay. (Not yet, but you'll get there, girl!). "Except Houston and Levitt," answers Tom. (You too, Tom! But not for directing!)
• Eileen tells Lindsay Mendez that “Houston/Levitt” night isn’t about the Tonys. “It’s about old friends getting together for a wonderful celebration,” she says. Then she quickly admits to it being about the Tonys. Plus 10.
• "With the Tonys, it's not just about a great performance, it's about a great story," Eileen says. Plus 200. Why do you think actors do all those revealing interviews right before Tony time?
• Eileen then adds, "And your story is that your incredible partnership is overdue." The Tonys also like to award people who have been in the industry a long time who have never won.
• Of course Lindsay Mendez is going to be at Houston/Levitt night. Every time we go to a composer night at Joe's Pub, she's there.
• Ivy and Karen run into one another walking home from their respective shows, and promise one another they’re going to be adults about whatever happens during awards season. Plus 50 because we’re hoping this means SMASH won’t go there either.
• Derek, Julia, and Jimmy sit at Table 46, trying to figure out what’s not working with Hit List. “The energy has slowed down a bit,” says Julia. They debate whether it’s the new set or whether it’s Ana’s onstage stumbles. Ultimately, Derek mentions it could be the book. And judging by what we read of the plot this week, we’re going to have to agree.
• “Oh look. There’s Mom with her new family,” Tom says to Eileen, upon seeing Julia with Derek and Jimmy. Plus 5.
• Eileen suggests Tom and Julia sing a song together at their tribute concert, to show that their relationship is still going strong for Tony voters. “I don’t sing,” protests Julia, before agreeing to “only one song, so it’s got to be something light.” “You can sing the alphabet for all I care,” responds Eileen. “Just so as long as you’re smiling and singing together.” Plus 20 because we’d pay to see Christian Borle sing the alphabet.
• Eileen grumbles that Julia has to leave their conversation to go spend time with “the competition,” and Julia gives a response that’s pretty damn near perfect. “Eileen, a kid died before he was able to finish his work,” she says. “I know and understand the business of theater, but I’ve got to help see this show through, I’m sorry.” We may hate the way SMASH used Kyle’s death as a device to move story forward, but dammit if we don’t appreciate Julia’s honestly in this moment.
• Agnes has been talking to folks at the Tony nominating committee, and she thinks the score is a lock for a nomination. Obviously! Too bad the actual Tony nominating committee couldn’t give Bombshell’s score a nod this year. It was by far our favorite new score on Broadway!
• She also says that if Tom gets nominated, it will be a surprise. We could have told you that. Tom mentions that his concert with Julia will be at The Oak Room. Plus 10 because that place is great.
• Agnes got a heads up on a blind item running in the Village Voice, and it’s pretty damaging to Ivy. “It mentions a certain Broadway blonde’s behavior off-stage,” Agnes explains. “He mentions pills.. an incident at a previous show... he knows about you sleeping your way to the top.. and a particularly nasty comment about you and your former co-star’s fiance.” Ivy objects throughout, except to the last point: “OK, that was pretty bad...” Plus 100.
• Agnes decides to put Ivy in ‘Image Rehab.’ “On-stage you’re Marilyn,” she tells Ivy. “Everywhere else you’re Norma Jean.” Dammit we want to go to ‘Image Rehab!’ Plus 10.
• Jimmy has been reading feedback from Hit List online, and claims the fans are saying the show isn’t as good on Broadway as it was Off-Broadway. Plus 100 because they’d say that about anything.
• Julia thinks the problem Hit List is having translating to the Broadway stage has everything to do with context. “Off Broadway, the theaters are small,” she tells Derek and Jimmy. “There’s no division between the audience and the stage. But on Broadway, the stage is above the audience. They’re far away. Maybe we need to erase that separation - make the house part of the show.” While we do agree that a certain intimacy is lost moving a show from a small to a big theater, plenty of shows have found ways to recreate that in really simple ways (see: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). Other shows didn’t change much (see: Once), finding that they could still create an intimate show in a big arena. Either way, this seems to be a real challenge any show transferring has to address. And for that, we salute you, SMASH.
• Derek loved Mendes's Cabaret. Of course he did.
• “Too many changes, people think you’re scared of something.” Derek tells Julia and Jimmy. Damn that’s good advice!
• “They’re giving you a break,” Karen tells Ana, reassuring her that Derek’s not replacing her. “You know who else had a break?” Ana says, “Erin Dilly in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Sutton Foster went on for her. Guess who’s still on a break...” Plus 100.
• We feel bad for giving plus points for that Erin Dilly dig. She was really good in A Christmas Story The Musical! It’s nominated for Best Musical at the Tonys this year. She’s doing great!
• Karen reminds Derek that The Diva character wouldn’t have existed in the first place if it weren’t for Ana. “She got The New York Times to notice the show,” she says. Plus 50 because we think this whole plotline to replace Ana is ridiculous.
• "I've got the bookwriter's parents sitting in the audience every night, counting on me to carry on their dead son's legacy. I've got a composer who is hellbent on making a living memorial to his friend, which means he will not change a bloody word. And almost everyone here is making their Broadway debut except me," Derek says. We should take away points for so blatantly copying Rent’s story again, but since it actually happened, we can’t deny it’s realistic.
• Derek is struggling to figure out how to fix the show because everyone keeps mentioning Kyle’s death. “Every decision I make I question ‘would Kyle have wanted it?’” he tells Karen. “And then I have to remind myself that some of Kyle’s ideas were young and I am formed. And then I have to ask, ‘is it good for his memory or is it good for the show?’ Because believe me it is not the same thing.” Plus 50 because we’re glad someone isn’t falling for the sympathy card.
• Oh hey Michael Musto apparently wrote that blind item about Ivy Lynn in the Village Voice. We guess they finally found another real journalist besides Michael Riedel! Plus 10.
• “Everybody guessed it was me,” Ivy says of her blind item. Sorry Ivy, but this one didn’t seem that tough to guess.
• Ivy walks in late because she had an interview with Playbill. Plus 50.
• The new Bombshell stage manager finally has a name. It’s Kathy! Yay!
• Someone leaked to the press that Tom and Julia are splitting up and people are freaking out. Bloggers gone wild! Plus 10. Ana finds out that Daisy is one of the dancers who dropped the lawsuit against Derek, and thinks she must be blackmailing Derek to get into Hit List.
• “That’s the thing about Jonathan Groff - he curses like a sailer.” says Lin-Manuel Miranda! Plus 500,000 because Lin-Manuel Miranda said on Twitter that he improved that line and we’re so glad they kept it in.  
• Lin-Manuel and Tom trade blows about Bombshell and Bring It On and we love it so fucking much.
• Also, Lin tells Tom he’s going to tweet something Tom said about Julia and we know that that’s true because he LOVES Twitter and damn we wish he would just follow us already!
• At Tom and Julia’s concert, Julia is nowhere to be found, and Tom keeps lying to people about her whereabouts. “I told Laura Benanti she’s in the bathroom, I told Norbert she’s in a Taxi, and I told Alice Ripley she’s backstage.” Plus 300 - 100 for each!
• “I have a room full of Tony voters who feel like they’re at a funeral,” Eileen says. Are they at the Houston/Levitt concert or at Wonderland?
• “This reminds me of last year,” Tom tells Julia. “Me working my ass for both of us and you, somewhere else, distracted.” Plus 100 because that’s a read!
• Julia doesn’t understand why this concert is such a big deal to Tom, and he lets her have it. “The big deal is I was looking forward to one last song with my best friend and partner of 11 years. One song that shows that even if we never worked together again, that time meant something.” Awww Tom!
• Ivy is in her dressing room, rehearsing her song. Plus 10! “You’re not a Norma Jean. You’re a Marilyn,” says Eileen, as “Let Me Be Your Star” underscores. Is this a leftover scene from season 1? Either way, that’s our new mantra!
• “Grin and Bear It” is Shaiman and Wittman and Megan Hilty and SMASH at their best. Now that SMASH is over, why don’t they just write a musical for her? We’d say why don’t they just bring Bombshell to Broadway, but we know that’ll never happen.
• Derek gave Daisy her part in Hit List because he promised her an understudy role if she slept with him and she did. She also filmed it. “All of it, including my offer,” Derek says. “If that gets out, I’m done.” Damn, we hate to say it because it makes aspiring Broadway actresses look like total shitheads, but GO DAISY. SMAAAAART GIRL.
• Karen tells Derek his behavior with Daisy is disgusting and dammit we agree with her.
• Derek and Karen yell at one another and sum up their characters perfectly.
• Karen and Daisy perform “I’m Not Sorry” in Hit List and it’s pretty not bad. Andrew McMahon wrote it. He also wrote “I Heard Your Voice in a Dream” and “Reach For Me.” We’re kinda into it!
• Though we don’t love “The Right Regrets,” it somehow feels more poignant knowing SMASH is ending. Seeing the montage of scenes of Julia and Tom from the series reminds us that for all our complaining, we’ll miss this show. We won’t even dock points for a montage. What can we say, we’re feeling generous.
• A producer wants Tom to consider running his review Off Broadway. New World Stages, right?
• Eileen says that 6 people are switching their vote to Bombshell now that Tom and Julia aren’t together anymore. Apparently she’s the one who leaked the news of their split to the press, making this a farewell concert. Hmph. We’d call Eileen out for this, but she’s got that cocktail in her hand, and we know better.
• The Hit List stage door looks great. Plus 50 for authenticity!
• Jimmy is walking in Times Square and OMG THERE’S A NEWSIES POSTER BEHIND JEREMY JORDAN. Do you think he’s regretting his decision to leave that show for SMASH?
• Not going to lie - we wish we lived in a world where Bombshell and Hit List billboards were in Times Square.
• Julia tells Jimmy she doesn't feel comfortable writing anything for Hit List because she had only agreed to help Derek transfer it to Broadway. “This was only supposed to be temporary. I have a show too and I owe it to them to be here.” Plus 20 because Julia is finally doing the right thing.
• “Thank you for the song,” Tom says to Julia, “Thank you for all the songs.” Maybe it’s the way Christian Borle delivers it, but awwwwwwwwwww.
• Ana approaches Ivy, asking her if Derek fired her after the workshop of Bombshell because she stopped sleeping with him. Ooh way to cause trouble, Ana!
• We know we said we didn’t want Ivy and Karen to go after one another anymore, but Ivy telling Karen off for telling Ana that she slept her way to the top was pretty great: “You play this naive just-off the-bus routine to get exactly what you want. But deep down, you’re just as calculating as the next person... You know, I’m actually glad that Hit List made it to Broadway. Because the only thing better than getting the Tony will be beating you to get it... See you on the Red Carpet.” Plus 100.
• “Really, three times in a row?” Ivy screams into the phone, after it rings three times in a row. Plus 20.
• The previews for the 2-hour season finale show Cheyenne Jackson and Christine Ebersole announcing the fake Tony Award nominations! OMG WE CAN’T WAIT!
• We will forever find a place for our favorite feature - THE ANN HARADA LINE OF THE WEEK. “Have you picked up the Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella Original Broadway Cast Recording yet? What are you waiting for? It’s available for digital download!” CONGRATULATIONS ANN!

Oh Hell No! 
• Minus 1,000 to NBC for cutting off the beginning of the episode due to golf. Golf?! Haven't you treated SMASH badly enough already? At least there's Hulu.
• If you did watch on Hulu, you’d have seen Karen singing “Pretender” (written by Lucie Silvas and Michael Busbee) which is kind of meh. We can see why Julia and Derek think something isn’t working on Broadway.
• OK, so Jimmy sang that one song last week, but they had already hired Sam to replace him. What happened? Is Jimmy back in the show? Was Kyle’s death enough to get him his part back? Minus 100.
• Houston and Levitt haven’t won a Tony yet? But we thought Heaven on Earth was a big fat hit? Minus only 10 because we don’t know who they were up against that year.
• We understand that Eileen is obsessed with getting Bombshell that Best Musical Tony. But she’s doing a lot of work before the nominations are even out! At this point, Bombshell is guaranteed the nomination. Shouldn’t she cool down on these special events until post-nominations? When all this work might actually be able to transfer into Tony votes?
• Ivy and Karen run into one another in the middle of Times Square as they’re both on the way to Table 46. Which... is a few blocks in the opposite direction they’re walking. Minus 20.
• Also, there are other restaurants besides Table 46. Would Jimmy want to spend so much time at his former place of employment?
• A waiter at Table 46 sees Jimmy drinking with Derek and Julia and tells him “we’ve got tables to bus if you’re feeling nostalgic.” Minus 10 because Jimmy was a bartender at Table 46, not a busboy.
• Derek tells Jimmy that Hit List is sold out until next January. WHAT THE WHAT? It’s April. Even The Book of Mormon wasn’t sold out for nine months in advance. Minus 50 because... just... no.
• Jimmy says that he wants Hit List to win a Tony “for Kyle.” We should probably feel sentimental about this. But considering Jimmy was a total dick to Kyle for the entire season, it’s hard to really feel like he’s genuine here.
• Agnes says some people say that if Tom is nominated for a Tony, it’ll be a surprise, and Tom is SUPER pissed about it. Like, Tom - how can you be shocked by this news? You didn’t get the best reviews for your directing. And PS the whole show was staged and choreographed by Derek before you even got involved. You don’t really deserve it.
• Eileen says that Derek’s direction of Veronica Moore’s concert “reignited his career.” Um... it did? After the concert, Derek went back into directing Bombshell. Until he quit to do Hit List - which he really only got because he knew Scott (after all - he had nothing to do with the Fringe production). So from where we sit, we can’t really see how “Roni’s concert” did anything to help Derek’s career. Minus 50.
• Tom mentions that Veronica Moore’s concert was televised on Bravo. Has that happened yet? Did we miss it? We’re not sure why Eileen thinks that Tom and Julia’s concert will help score Tom a Tony nomination for directing Bombshell, but yeah, okay - we’ll go down this ridiculous plot point path.
• Agnes delivers the scoop about Ivy’s bad press waaaay too calmly. We hate to criticize Agnes, because she’s pretty flawless. But damn girl - freak out a bit! This is some seriously damaging shit!
• We swear on all things good and holy, if this “blind item” is from Ellis, we’re going to throw our computers at our televisions.
• Derek thinks Ana is exhausted and making too many mistakes. He tells Marissa to give Ana the night off, and put Daisy, Ana’s understudy, in. “It’s taken care of,” he whispers to Daisy as he walks out of Table 46. Minus 30 because this Daisy plotline is already annoying.
• Karen and Jimmy aren’t dating anymore, because Jimmy is too focused on the show. Minus 10 because we know this shit isn’t going to last.
• Sorry Julia, but the problem Hit List has doesn’t seen to be a separation between the audience and the work. It seems to be the work itself!
• “This is what Kyle was good at,” Jimmy tells Julia. Those big ideas!” Really? We don't want to speak ill of the dead, but he seemed pretty bad at it from where we sit.
• Derek says that casting Daisy in the role of The Diva will be an interesting experiment. “The Diva is older than Amanda after all.” Yeah, but like, on Broadway, you don’t see age that clearly. And if you did, then Kerry Butler pretty much wouldn’t have a career, since she’s 41 and always cast playing 16 year-olds. And the whole cast of Newsies would really be in trouble.
• Whoa whoa. Derek says that Kyle’s parents have been in the audience every night. Carolee Carmello is there and we haven’t seen her again? Minus 100.
• Derek tells Daisy she’s done a good job, despite the fact that he was talking to Karen the whole time and didn’t see what she did at all. Minus 10.
• Ivy Lynn is doing Ford Fusion commercials? When’s the last time a Broadway star became a national spokesperson on the strength of their second Broadway starring role? Selling cars, no less. How ‘bout never!
• Tom has decided to transform his Houston/Levitt concert into a something more memorable. As he tells the cast: “we’re going to change what could have been just another boring cavalcade of Broadway stars singing forgotten numbers from obscure musicals into a review with a story and movement. We’ll transform the Oak Room into a down-on-it’s-luck Vegas strip club in the 50s.” Is Tom friends with Jerry Mitchell? Because this sounds like a Broadway Bares event. Minus 50 because even though we know we’ll love it, the idea is not necessarily new and not necessary. We just want to hear some talented people sing some good songs.
• “Commenting on fame was like Kyle’s big thing,” Jimmy tells Julia. Um... isn’t it Hit List’s big thing? And your big thing too? Like, that’s what you’ve said the show’s been about since the beginning. Why are you acting like this is new news?
• “Kyle had an idea for an updated take on newsreel footage,” Julia tells Jimmy, “blown out across the proscenium, just in your face. Gossip sites, tabloids, Twitter, YouTube, a multimedia assault.” Don’t do it, Jimmy! Newsreel footage didn’t work for the Annie revival.
• Apparently at Fringe, Kyle wanted to take the ticket holder’s phone numbers and send them texts during the show. “Live updates during the show?” Julia gasps, in full support. “Audience participation in a 21st Century way!” Call us old fashioned, but we see when people check their phones during the show, and it’s hella distracting. Minus 100.
• Whoa SMASH is sponsored in part by the Ford Fusion! We didn’t see that coming! (Minus 50). That Jonathan Groff line was priceless, but we doubt that clean-cut boy curses like a sailor.
• Also, Bring it On was intended to be a limited run, Tom, so that dig about it closing so fast doesn’t quite work. But props for trying.
• Tom says he hates Lin-Manuel Miranda? Minus 10. But according to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Twitter feed, Christian Borle improvised that, which we appreciate.
• As much as we love Norbert Leo Butz shout outs, we can’t get past the fact that he was on SMASH last season playing an actor starring in Heaven on Earth. So that means he can’t exist as Norbert Leo Butz.
• Julia has no idea that their tribute concert is a review now, or that news broke that she and Tom broke up. Because Julia is the worst.
• After Julia tells Tom she’s leaving for the concert, she then tells Derek she’ll stay 5 more minutes. Choosing the legacy of a dead kid you knew for 2 months over the friendship you had with someone for 11 years. Smart move, Julia! Minus 60.
• “Taking a risk is good. That’s what previews are for,” Julia says as they are trying to implement a tech change into Hit List. We love a show that takes a risk, but maybe not an hour before a paying audience is coming. And we find it hard to believe they could implement this change that quickly.
• Ivy is nervous about doing a striptease number for Tom’s concert. Um... you’re naked in Bombshell, Ivy. We think you’ll be okay.
• Derek says he’s hoping Jerry hates Daisy in the part and then he can be let off the hook. Try keeping it your pants, Derek. Maybe that’ll help!
• Why does Derek think he can only sleep with woman if he gives them a role? He’s so fucking sexy. Of everything on SMASH, this might make the least sense.
• Wait, so what part is Sam playing in Hit List now? And why isn’t he pissed about it?
• Oh shit. That dialogue between Sam’s character and whomever else that was? How terrible. It was all exposition! Did Julia write that? Did Kyle? That’s your problem right there, Derek.
• We’ve seen a fair share of our VMA performances, and this doesn’t look anything like something we’d see on the big show.
• This texting thing is awful. Why does everyone in their audience have their phones on? How do they have everyone’s numbers? Turn off your phones! You’re in the theater! Minus 100.
• Julia interrupts Tom’s show, and the two sing an original Houston/Levitt song, “The Right Regrets.” Turns out Julia was right! She can’t sing! Minus 50.
• If “Grin and Bear It” is Shaiman and Wittman at their best, “The Right Regrets” is Shaiman and Wittman at their worst.
• Is “The Right Regrets” supposed to be in Bombshell? Because it’s on the “cast recording” they released a few months ago. And it’s from an Arthur Miller quote. But shit, it’s terrible. It has to be a cut song, right?
• Jerry loved Daisy in the role of The Diva so he basically fires Ana. “Derek, this is my job!” Ana yells. “Yeah well it’s my career,” Derek responds, explaining that he can’t take the risk of Daisy’s tape going live. Minus 500 because Derek is making this sounds like Ana did something wrong and man we want to like him but he’s the worst right now.
• Karen tells Jimmy that Kyle would be really proud and that she’s proud too. You know what we’re going to say here, right? Do we even have to say it anymore?
• Ivy says that David Cromer wants to do a workshop with her. We love Ivy. We love David Cromer. But we can’t really imagine a project that would suit both of them.
• Karen says Ana is her best friend. We think she meant only friend.
• Ivy’s pregnant! Probably with Derek’s baby! Minus 500! Remember when they tried to make Julia pregnant at the end of season 1 and forgot about it?

So what did you guys think? Are you happy Ivy and Karen are at one another’s throats again? Did you see that pregnancy coming? And do you want to see Derek’s demise as much as we do right now?