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

 
 

After rehearsal Karen makes to head out for dinner when Derek stops her, insisting on more rehearsal time. She starts to text Dev but Derek barks at her so she stops. This of course leaves Dev high and dry at dinner. Some hours later she arrives at the restaurant, dinner long over and Dev’s promotion probably over with it. Even the near-infinitely compassionate Dev isn’t having it. He asks why she couldn’t take one minute to call or text and Karen’s excuse is “I got confused.” Wow. I’m on Team Dev here.

Now Derek is rehearsing Ivy and it’s daytime and I have no idea what day it is or where we are in relation to the Friday deadline. Blah blah blah, lines lines lines, long story short, they screw. Surprise.

We’re outside the rehearsal room and, again, no sense of time. Ivy and Karen are there and Dennis and Tom rush past Karen to jibber jabber with Ivy but Julia peels off and does the decent thing, talking with Karen for a few moments before they all go in.

The dance call is first, with “Twentieth Century Fox Mambo” as the number. Derek off-handedly mentions that “the song was so good we just went ahead and staged the whole thing.” You know, as you do for an audition. Although I have to admit, the bucket attached to the mop handle as a stand-in for a hair dryer was pretty cute.

Karen’s up. It’s an up-tempo number that takes Norma Jeane through her transformation into Marilyn. It kind of reminds me of “Gimme Love” from the musical adaptation of Kiss of the Spider Woman. I like it but I think last week’s baseball number was stronger. About halfway through the song shifts to semi-fantasy mode, with the room bathed in pink light and everyone but Karen in period costume. Karen disappears from view and reappears for the first time in full Monroe drag. Karen’s push-up bra gives it the old college try but she needs to snatch the hip pads off the nearest drag queen if she wants Marilyn’s hourglass figure.

Back in Eileen’s office the usual suspects debate the choice again some more. It’s more intense than a judges’ conference on Chopped. Hilariously Ellis is eavesdropping again, this time with the full support of Eileen’s cute assistant. I wonder if he has a new tea drawer?

Backstage at Heaven on Earth Ivy is losing her mind waiting to hear. Tom stops by, saying he wanted to tell her the news in person. Such an obvious set-up, of course she got it.

Back at Eileen’s office Derek and Eileen reassure each other that Ivy was the right choice but will keep an eye on Karen. As if they aren’t going to lock her into an understudy contract. Then Derek has a confession. Jerry tried to lure him away with My Fair Lady (which he got out of escrow how exactly? Whatever.) but Derek turned him down for Marilyn.

Julia is alone at the adoption group. She reads her letter to her daughter’s birth mother.

It’s very moving and had I not exhausted my tear ducts already on Leo’s speech I might have welled again. As she finishes, Frank enters. “I thought I couldn’t make it, but then I decided I couldn’t miss it.”

I’m gritting my teeth at the blatant manipulation and moving the adoption storyline even further down my list of “Things About Smash I Care About”. This is the guy who last week was practically screaming at Julia about her supposed lack of commitment to adopting, and in the space of what I think is a week goes from “I want this baby” to “I don’t want this baby” to “Of course I want this baby even though I have shown no one anything to explain why I have changed my mind yet again.”

Ivy, Tom, Dennis and the chorine go out to a club celebrate. The emcee announces that Ivy’s won the role and calls her up on stage. Over a montage of moments from tonight’s episode and what might be outtakes, Ivy performs the Carrie Underwood song “Crazy Dreams”.

This was a strong sophomore effort for the series. Not as strong in my opinion as the pilot but given my admitted obsession with the pilot there’s probably no way it could be. I honestly thought that the selection process was going to drag on for at least several episodes and I am very pleased that it didn’t. I could not decide between Ivy and Karen so I would have been happy with either character landing the lead. How about you? Did Tom and Julia and Derek and Eileen make the right choice within the fiction, casting Ivy? Did the real creators make the right story decision from a real-world perspective?

 

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