“Smash” 102: “You Got It. You’re Marilyn!”

 
 

Julia’s distracted by thoughts of adoption, noting it takes longer to adopt a baby than it took to write West Side Story. She also bemoans the fact that musical writers don’t have to pass a background check before writing a musical and declares that there are a lot of people who should be stopped from writing them. And I agree, and I’m totally going there, and I’m saying Andrew Lloyd Webber should be stopped from writing musicals.

Julia suggests writing a song for DiMaggio, Arthur Miller and JFK about what they look for in a woman. Tom tries to get her to focus on structure but Julia is thinking non-linear. She suggests putting “Let Me Be Your Star” as the opening number, envisioning Norma Jeane on a darkened stage with the shadowy figures of women behind her. This segues into a reprise of “Star” at a slower tempo, with first Karen and then Ivy on stage singing.

It’s an intriguing notion but I hate, hate, hate the idea of having a bunch of women standing around basically cat-calling at Norma Jeane. The down-tempo version of the song works, though. I think perhaps just the first verse, or even just the first two lines, to open and then keep the full song as the Act 1 curtain.

Back in reality, Ellis asks, “But which girl plays Marilyn?” Has he not been at the callback and snooped on the meetings? Cute as hell, but not bright, that one. Julia finds him exasperating, and her exasperation only increases when Ellis enthuses about how wonderful it his to see his idea growing. I warned you, Tom! Julia tries to talk Ellis down from the “it was my idea” ledge, shooting urgent eye signals at Tom the whole time. Ellis seemingly gets it and heads out for the dry cleaning, but stops to eavesdrop some more and hears Julia being kind of a bitch.

A lot of the press around Smash has invoked Margo Channing and Eve Harrington relationship in discussing Ivy and Karen (and I made about seven bitingly clever All About Eve references in my first recap; first one who can list them all in this week’s comments wins a prize!) but this exchange is leading me to wonder if it might not be Ellis who finds himself in the Eve Harrington role, worming his way in between Tom and Julia. After all, someone buzzed Julia in last week while Tom was still in bed.

Karen is not having an easy time picking up the dance routine and Derek is getting annoyed.

As he has Josh demonstrate it again he takes a break, finding Ivy in the hall reading a Monroe biography. They flirt a bit about her research and then he apologizes for making her go through so much. She says she’s fine with it, like she’d give another answer. Derek brings Ivy inside and introduces her to Karen. Ivy does a few moments of City Mouse-Country Mouse intimidation before Derek ushers Karen out. She turns to ask a question but Derek slams the door in her face. Denied!

Dev commiserates with Karen over some street meat and cheers her right up. I want a Dev! He tells her they’re invited to dinner with a deputy mayor and that he’s in line for a promotion.

In the dressing room for Heaven on Earth, Ivy creeps out a fellow chorine with her Marilyn impression. It’s not important.

At the Houston home, Julia advises Frank that their adoption group begins meeting on Friday and that they have to write a letter to the birth mother of their prospective child. Frank has cold feet. In two years he’ll be 47 which would make him 65 when she graduates high school. Frank’s changes his mind and son Leo, who’s overheard, gets very upset and bolts for the balcony. Julia moves to comfort him and Leo reminds her that they’ve been telling him for years that his sister is waiting for them in China. “What is gonna happen to her if we don’t go get her?”

I tell you, I was not interested in this adoption storyline at all but that kid really sold the scene. I teared up a bit. I did.

Eileen meets Derek at a restaurant but is first waylaid by husband Jerry with a blonde for a minute. Extricating herself, she and Derek chew over the Ivy vs. Karen question until a random homosexual calls Derek away to discuss a “vampire musical” in the background. Jerry swoops in, orders Manhattans and grills her about Marilyn: The Musical. The questioning turns into haranguing and the haranguing turns into Eileen throwing her Manhattan square into Jerry’s face.

The next day Eileen’s lining up dancers for the Marilyn workshop but Derek is worried that everything’s moving too fast. Eileen breezily assures him that “fast is good” but there’s a definite undercurrent of “I’m dancing as fast as I can” going on. She tells him to get her a Marilyn by Friday.

Karen’s working on some steps at her apartment and Dev reminds her about dinner with the deputy mayor that evening. “Don’t worry, I know it’s important, I’ll be there.” She won’t be there.

Julia’s scrawling on a legal pad and Frank enters their bedroom to tell her he wants to go back to work. “There’s always a market for good science teachers.” Not in this economy there isn’t. He tells her that he has nothing but the waiting and with Leo gone most of the time he needs something. Seriously? You want to adopt a child because your days are open and you have nothing to do? Get a dog! And far be it for me to suggest that you look at adopting an older child who’s already in the country. And of course Julia’s working on her letter behind Frank’s back. Great communication skills that couple has.

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