“Smash” Series Premiere: “Let Me Be Your Star!”


Later that evening Julia arrives home to be greeted by husband Frank (Brian D’arcy James) and son Leo (Emory Cohen). First “Karen” and now “Leo”? Have we stumbled into a lost episode of Will & Grace? Frank tells her that the adoption agency called to schedule a social worker visit.

Julia mentions Ellis’ big idea and asks her son what comes to mind when she says “Marilyn.”He first replies “Baltimore” but changes his answer to “Manson.” She corrects him to “Monroe” who he’s never heard of. Frank challenges Julia about trying to come up with ideas for new shows since she and Tom are supposed to be taking a break while they go through the adoption. She prevaricates that she’s only talking in the abstract but still asks him how such a musical could be done. He tosses out the idea of doing numbers related to her films and a big Group Theatre number. “You could do a baseball number.” Julia’s eye twitches as she relates that Tom said the same thing. She’s in, whether she realizes it yet or not.

As she and Dev market, Karen ends a phone call with her mother. Her parents are visiting next weekend and she’s stressed that they’ll try to talk her into moving back home to Iowa, the state to which every TV writer turns to establish “small town girl in the big city.”

Frank and Julia are in bed and Julia wakes Frank up laughing at Marilyn in Some Like It Hot. I know it’s blasphemy but I never cared for her in that part. The performance that most perfectly captures Monroe’s persona is Elsie Marina in The Prince and the Showgirl. Plus I cannot stand Tony Curtis doing his Cary Grant impression. Frank tells her not to stay up all night.

While she’s doing that, Tom checks out a performance of his and Julia’s current hit show, Heaven on Earth, from the wings. Besides learning that they have no flair for titles, we also find out that Ivy is a friend and in the chorus and that Tom has had a dalliance with one of the very cute chorus boys, Dennis (Phillip Spaeth), and forgotten his name.

In the dressing room, a random chorine asks Ivy if she got the part she auditioned for and Ivy responds by ripping a wig like Eve Harrington after an incomplete forward pass. Tom pops in and upon learning of her failed audition offers her the proverbial shoulder to cry on.

Some indeterminate time later Frank comes downstairs with some paperwork while Julia chats on the phone with Tom. Frank realizes she’s talking about cutting a demo, which Julia admits is for a song for Marilyn: The Musical. He questions her commitment to adoption, noting that when she’s in production she disappears for days at a time in rehearsals and this won’t go over with the agency. She counters with a story about how in Marilyn’s last interview she begged not to be made into a joke and how she was all full of fire and music and how no one can write her like she can. None of which addresses even remotely Frank’s concerns about her adoption commitment.

Leo wanders in and Julia wonders why he isn’t at Jazz Band. Frank shouts that he’s home for the social worker’s visit which Julia has obviously forgotten. The doorbell rings as she brushes off his concerns again and lets the social worker in. Turns out the social worker is a big fan. So much for the home study.

The next day Julia arrives late to the demo session and is for some reason not thrilled to see Ellis there. After determining how much belt to give it Ivy sings the number, which I’m assuming is called “Never Give All the Heart.” Ellis records the session on his phone and the video soon appears on “YouLenz.” He emailed the video to his mother and his mother uploaded it. He is so fired.

Karen’s parents (real-life marrieds Dylan and Becky Ann Baker) are in town so the two couples go out to dinner. After a token inquiry about Dev’s City Hall job the parents start in on Karen. She gamely holds her own for a few rounds but Dad’s reality check seems to shut her down, so Dev steps in to praise her courage and call her a star. Mom mouths “marry him” at Karen and girl, if you don’t I will.

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