SMASH – Discussion Post (UPDATE: Recap Added)

Okay guys, MJ is crazy enough to put me in charge of SMASH recaps. A few warnings: I am by no means an experienced “recapper.” People usually disagree with my opinions, but that’s what makes these fun…right?! So please bear with me, as the recaps will be more like dissecting the episodes. I’m also gonna do my best to keep them as short as possible.

Anyway, I have a weekly commitment Monday nights, but I have the show set on my DVR. So expect the recap to go up either late tonight or early tomorrow. In the meantime, discuss the show in the comments below.

Thanks guys!

(Update: Recap Below)

Smash Recap
Episode 10 (Understudy)

Okay, here we go. The way I’m going to do this is watch the episode and stop every once in a while to discuss and recap. It’s sorta like live blogging (not) haha. Anyway, I’ve got a delicious bag of Baked Lays to rip into. Let’s get started!*play*

Ooo…Dev’s hot lady friend with the hand grabbing. She wants her some Dev! Are we really supposed to care though? Can’t we find out where Uma Thurman is? Sorry, Rebecca Duvall. Anyway, I just don’t see Dev cheating! Right guys?!

Sometimes Julia is randomly affectionate towards Karen, as if she actually cares about her success in anyway. If it was genuine, so be it. But that’s not very believable if we barely see it.

Oh wow… Derek laughed! (Gasp!) It was when he saw the scribbles Ivy had drawn all over Rebecca’s magazine covers. Maybe he really likes Ivy…

Hmm… They’re really gonna push this whole “Tom and Sam” thing, huh. For some reason, Sam is tagging along with Tom and John while they’re on a date. Tom’s completely oblivious to John’s presence and is flirting big time with Sam. Who are you rooting for? I don’t see John lasting too much longer…

Ugh, I hate to be this person…but what everyone says is true: the kid playing Julia’s son cannot act. I feel bad if he ever reads this stuff online about his performance. But hey, he signed on for the gig, right?

Ivy’s suddenly dreaming of stealing back to lead role in Bombshell from not only the A-list celebrity Rebecca, but the newly-appointed understudy Karen as well. She really does get the short end of the stick every time, doesn’t she? That being said–these random pop-song covers are lamo IMO. Just shorten how many songs are featured on the show and stick with the original songs for Bombshell, new stuff from Tom and Julia, or other Broadway covers. I don’t know–I just wish it wasn’t so cheesy when they sing the more current songs.

Wow–Derek is losing his shit on Karen during rehearsals. Calm down man! If I was Karen, I would totally stand up to him. And a little later on, Dev and Karen continue the rockiness in their relationship and fight over the night Derek made a pass at Karen. I thought she already told Dev about this? Wasn’t it all cleared up? Hm, I’m probably wrong.

So now Derek and Ivy are just chit chatting like they love each other, and Ivy doesn’t even mind she was basically fired. Actually, she’s telling Derek to go easy on Karen, because that worked on Marilyn in real life. I don’t get it…

It’s time for the only “all-male” number in the show. The boys are in rehearsals, and Tom is standing in for the lead part! I’m excited for this. Tom’s entertaining. Gosh, these parts of the show are really the best part. SMASH writers: this is where the magic is made! haha. Sorry for the cheesy expression. I’m not really a huge fan of musicals or a fair judge of them in anyway, but I can tell when a song is good. When they do the Bombshell material–it’s good.

Ivy still has something up her sleeve. She’s being way too nice to Karen. Giving her advice and telling her to really enjoy this, as it’s her “one week to be Marilyn.”

Meanwhile, Tom and Julia go see some old show they wrote awhile ago, and Julia has a really weird reaction over something Tom says in front of the crowd. It brings up feelings of her husband, Frank. If you remember, Julia CHEATED on him, so he–rightfully–left her. Tom and Julia share a touching moment on the hood of a fancy red car. I think I liked that scene, but I could be wrong. Speaking of…I think i’ve been thoroughly entertained so far.

Tom and John get into it over Sam. I agree with everything John says, and I think inside, Tom knows it’s true as well. He’s got himself a good ol’ fashion crush on Sam.

Julia makes a desperate call to Frank, begging him to please talk to her.

For once, Eileen scolds Ellis for snooping around in stuff that is in no way his business. FINALLY. It’s cause she has the hots for the bartender, and she doesn’t want Ellis poking his nose in his business.

Okay, things really just took a weird turn. Karen was rehearsing as Marilyn and Derek suddenly envisions her as full on Marilyn, performing a monologue from the show. It’s a little outta nowhere and somewhat odd. That being said, I think I finally had a “whoa” moment with Katharine McPhee. I don’t know if I’m wrong or not, but I was very impressed with that little “Marilyn moment” she had. She played the role totally different than Ivy did, and I think it was still likable and believable.

Ooooh boy, Derek comes to visit Karen. He finally stops acting like a jackass and tells Karen she’s doing a good job in rehearsals. He must’ve seen what I saw. Hehe. After this, he somewhat apologizes for “sexually harassing” her. (Seriously?) Derek passes Dev on his way out and a fight escalates. Looks like Dev is finally falling apart. He went from the perfect boyfriend, to the jobless, jealous, angry boyfriend. Hey, everyone goes through tough times, and say what you want, but I like Dev as a character. I hope him and Karen can work this out.

Haven’t really discussed this side plot of Eileen finding this rich, “rock-star” investor. Meh… I just don’t care. Sorry. Haha.

Now Karen is singing “Never Give All the Heart,” one of the songs from Bombshell. I might add she’s doing an incredible job. The song plays over a montage of sad clips of all the characters–except for Eileen, who ended up nabbing the $7 million she needed and her boyfriend from the bar. You go Eileen! Haha.

Now, Rebecca finally arrives and completely steals the moment from Karen, who had everyone in the room mesmerized with her voice–including Derek. Ivy was crushed too, as she was peeking in on Karen’s performance. I think this is a great thing for SMASH though. Finally, I saw certain parts of the show tonight where it’s a believable storyline that Karen could outperform Ivy as Marilyn. You guys agree? Let me know.

Hope the format of this recap wasn’t too weird. Let me know in comments, and please follow me on Twitter if you want. Haha. I’m a loser, but you can still follow me.

Next week we’ll get to rip apart Uma Thurman! And you thought Kill Bill was brutal! :)


  • kirk charles

    cant wait for this episode! looking forward to your recap as well

  • kirk charles

    cant wait for this episode! looking forward to your recap as well

  • Anonymous

    So please “bare” with me – that should be interesting – lol

  • Nick

    Oops… Haha not a good sign already! I can write, I promise!

  • Tuki

    Can´t wait for this episode! Looks so good!
    Thanks for recapping. We are looking forward to it. LOVE SMASH.

  • Anonymous

    I am also looking forward to meeting you Nick.  I left Rickey’s after many years over the person who recaps Smash.  I promise to be gentle.

  • David I-Chen Lin

    No matter what thanks for doing this. It is a great show and I’m sure you’re a great recapper

  • Anonymous

    It gave me a chuckle – thanks. 

  • fan

    The episode was kind of a let down for me. But Tom’s number was super fun, karen becoming marilyn was incredibly chilling, and katharine’s version of “Never Give All the Heart” was flawless. LISTEN to it again HERE!

  • Vital

     I really loved that rendition that she gave.  Probably my favorite part of the episode, since I agree it wasn’t the best episode so far.  Thanks for the link to the full version of that!

  • Anonymous

    Any actress who doesn’t know to pencil in her blocking and asks “what downstage” and stops a run when the director barks at her is just tooooooooo green to be on B’way!

    Ivy is taking her unemployment well. Hee Hee!

  • Tuki

    OK tonight wash´the best episode but…. There were several great moments.
    ! Kat singing “Never Give all the Heart” was so beautiful. Amazing, got chills,IMO she did better than Ivy´s version.

    And someone named Derek looks very smitten with Karen. I love those two together! When he went to Karen´s place to apologize oh man…Sweet. She was pleasantly surprised with his apology. Those looks they gave each other at the end oh my… And when Uma arrived it seemed to me that he was actually concerned for Karen.Those two will have a slow burn but I am so looking forward to itDev is a jerk by the way. Asking Karen to give up her dreams for him? Really?

  • kirk charles

    Karen as Marilyn was amazing. Great acting!

  • Nancy Kivlen

    LOVED Katharine McPhee as Karen tonight and her song and voice were just beautiful.

  • Anonymous

    Any actress who doesn’t know to pencil in her blocking and asks “what downstage” and stops a run when the director barks at her is just tooooooooo green to be on B’way!

    Forget about Broadway.  How did she make it through her high school productions?

  • Li Wright

    I’m still waiting for the interesting stuff to start being interesting, I hope Uma Thurman’s character gives the show a lift….but isn’t she a little “old” for Marilyn?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Nick. You did a great job. You got all the important stuff in there and skipped over the rich rock star investor mess…which I thought was thrown in the show carelessly anyhow! 

  • Tess

    Other than Kat I actually have gotten into the show….just can’t get into her.  Some people are multi-dimensional, Kat is, for me, just a card board cut-out.  Feed her lines and she spits them back without ever changing anything up…boring.  Heck, Uma ruled the scene in 2 seconds…now that is a star.

  • Westlife 2007

    It’s a good episode. I don’t understand why people keep saying that something’s bad then next week, they still tune in & complain again.

    The musical numbers are nice & Katherine is getting better as an actress with each episode. 

    Karen & Dev should sail through this & remain as a couple because I don’t want Karen & Derek become romantically involved in whatever situation.

    I kinda hope Dennis & John would be together. Sam & Tom can be a couple all they want, I just don’t care for them anyway.

  • Anonymous
    I think this is a great thing for SMASH though. Finally, I saw certain parts of the show tonight where it’s a believable storyline that Karen could outperform Ivy as Marilyn. You guys agree? Let me know.

    I would have to see more than that little clip to be convinced that Kat McPhee could pull off Marilyn. I did think her moment was very good, but the lisp she used was more of a mimicry of Marilyn than a substained characterization. Plus the moment was set up as Derek seeing her as great, so there was a little manipulation going on there for the viewers. I would like to see more, but since McPhee’s general apporiach to the role has emoted an air of

  • Anonymous

    I think this is a great thing for SMASH though. Finally, I saw certain parts of the show tonight where it’s a believable storyline that Karen could outperform Ivy as Marilyn. You guys agree? Let me know.

    I would have to see more of Kat McPhee as Marilyn to really decide how well she can play Marilyn. That brief moment was pretty good, but with the lisp it was more a chariacture of Marilyn than a characterization. I was impressed in the moment, but I am skeptical because McPhee’s overall performance in the show is pretty blase. (Case in point, watch her body language when she is singing the final song. Her voice is engaged, but her body would rather be at home on the sofa) Perhaps she has had some acting lessons and she is learning to emote the “It” factor that any portrayal of Marilyn would have to have to be successful. She will just need to carry that into her portrayal of Karen as well.

    If she can do it she would have a lot of media critics eating crow. She has been cited as one of the weakest links in a lot of the articles. Good on her if she can prove them wrong.

    But meanwhile, I am still on Team Ivy for Marilyn! Megan Hilty has proven she can do the job.

  • Anonymous

    Loved the recap.  I missed the show, except for the last few minutes and the recap worked well for me!  I like Kat McPhee; I think her character works for this show as counterpoint.

  • Tinawina

    I enjoyed last night. It was an engaging episode.

    I was glad they showed more of Karen as Marilyn last night. For me it felt vindicating, since I’ve never been sold on Ivy as Marilyn for the reasons portrayed. Ivy is all breathiness and sex and big Broadway, which is fine you are playing Marilyn as she is in her movies. But Monroe the person was needy and complicated and could be a demon, but somehow retained this sense of innocence that made lots of men want to take care of her. Karen is better at that part. It should be Karen’s role, but she’s too green right now.

    As for McPhee as Karen, for me its more about the writing than the portrayal. Karen is never given anything to do but be nice and wide eyed while everyone else gets the best lines. LOL. She was most interesting when she was bitchy last week. They need to toughen the character up some and play to the steeliness that McPhee gives off. They also need to play up her ambition. McPhee’s a bit of a natural ice princess on screen, so it could work.

    I’m glad Ton’s lawyer boyfriend is gone because he was boring as hell. But I still don’t see any chemistry with Tom and Sam. The producer is going to regret not checking out hot bartender’s background, of course. That is so obvious. And Ellis needs to disappear.

  • Nick Peterson

    I guess I should mention I can’t give Megan Hilty enough praise for her performance as Ivy, and Ivy as Marilyn. Confession: Katharine Mcphee is one of my favorite Idols. I know she just doesn’t sit well with a lot of people though, but I just really connected with her when she was on the show. That being said–I too, have been a little disappointed with her performance on the show. She has been a little one-dimensional. It’s like pulling teeth to get her to really emote, and that drives me nuts sometimes, because I think she really could be doing such a good job.

    What I’m saying is I probably did overpraise Kat a little in my recap, because I was so excited to see a glimmer of improvement in last nights episode. Heck, I think last night’s episode overall was a huge redemeption thing for Kat. So…Yeah, just my thoughts after sleeping on it.

    Although I totally get the people who are team Ivy, for some reason, I think I’ll always be team Karen. At this point, she’s REALLY does look like the underdog compared to Ivy and Rebecca. So maybe we’ll see Kat pull out all the stops in the next few weeks and prove everyone wrong. *crosses fingers*

  • Anonymous

    Great episode! I finally caught up with last week’s one as well. The show is moving along fast and getting more interesting. I wonder if there is going to be problems with the shady investor. Aileen just seems too desperate and its never good to be desperate. Can’t say I feel sorry for Julie. Okay, a little bit. I love love Tom. His performance was fantastic! I liked his bf better than the chorus boy. The chorus boy seems too young for him and they are like brothers. I don’t feel the chemistry. Megan and Kat was fantastic. At this point, I think they both make a great Marilyn. Can’t wait till next week to see if Uma does it better. Great recap Nick!

  • Anonymous

    Other than the fact that the writers keep making Karen repeat what she has just been told when she is confused or otherwise not understanding, I don’t think it is their fault that McPhee is coming across as so mousey. There is no spark in her eyes, no engagement in her face and her arms just kind of hang from her slouching shoulders. There is no evidence in her body language that she is acting or that “Karen” is even there.

    Hilty, on the other hand, lets “Ivy” and “Marily” inhabit her. KAnd does such a good job that some here hate her for her bitchiness) . We can read in Hilty’s eyes what “Ivy” is thinking. We know with her gestures what “Ivy’s” intent is. She just is much, much more interesting to watch.

    Perhaps, for some strange reason McPhee has been directed to act disengaged, but to me it is off putting. I think that is one of the reason’s her Marilyn took us by surprise last night. She had to pay attention to her voice, posture and gestures. Or perhaps she, like Laurence Oliver and Peter Sellers before her, needs a wig or prosthetic in order to create a character.

  • Tinawina

    I’m not saying McPhee is the most emotive actress LOL, but I am saying she’s not given a character that meshess with what she naturally gives off. This sort of naive innocent good girl thing could work better with an actress that gives off girl next door sweetness without even trying, like say early Meg Ryan or Amy Adams. Amy Adams could curse like a sailor and strangle a puppy and you’d still get the sense she was a sweetheart underneath it all. McPhee isn’t like that at all. What she is, is super self-aware, poised and ambitious… but Karen has none of those qualities. So she’s tasked with making us believe she is guileless and angelic but she’s not an experienced enough actress to know how to do that convincingly while working against herself. What I am saying is they have to write the character around the actress they have. Some more of McPhee needs to be written into Karen IMO.

    I love Hilty’s Ivy, but I’m not impressed with Hilty’s Marylin. She sings great but as a fragile drama queen vulnerable Marilyn and supposed to vavavavoom  Broadway star? Not so much. But like I said before, I suspect she’s been told to play it that way.

  • Anonymous

    What I am saying is they have to write the character around the actress they have.

    Very good point, Tinawina.  Kat did a scene in the pilot that made me sit up and take notice.  It was when Derek was trying to seduce and she went into the bathroom.  You could see her panicking about the situation, considering the proposition of sleeping with Derek, and then coming up with a solution — and she did that all without any dialogue.  At that point, I found Karen an interesting character.

    Unfortunately, most of her stuff since then has been dumb.  And you’re right, I don’t think that’s Kat’s fault.  It’s the writers working a really clichéd, unbelievable character to death.  

    But this show is definitely getting better.  The only thing I didn’t like last night was the way NBC promo’ed  it (which isn’t the show’s fault).  All week they blasted us with the arrival of Uma Thurman, and then about fifteen minutes into the show I realized she wouldn’t get there until the final 30 seconds.  Grr!  Plus, they spoiled the reveal, which was obviously supposed to be a big surprise by the way they filmed Thurman from the back until the very last second.  Bad NBC!

  • Anonymous

    So she’s tasked with making us believe she is guileless and angelic but she’s not an experienced enough actress to know how to do that convincingly while working against herself.

    Exactly my point. She isn’t as good as an actress as the others (save ‘Julia’s son) and it shows. But she would go along way if she paid attention to her body language. It isn’t that she is playing mousy, she is playing uninvolved, bored even.
    It is simply in the acting. Wide-eyed and innocent is not that hard to pull off. She is making Karen seem asleep at the wheel, and that has nothing to do with the writing she is given.

    If she is as poised as you say she is BYW, she really needs to stop slouching! But that is my personal pet peeve

    And I watched House Bunny the other night just to see her in action in a role besides this one ( never watched AI while she was on there) . She pretty much approached her character in the same down and out manner. But I think she was trying to play dumb.

  • Anonymous

    Here is a mash-up of both Megan Hilty’s and Kat McPhee’s version of “Never Give All the Heart” . It doesn’t sound great together but it highlights the differences.

    I love that the song is based on the Yeats poem. And for that matter, that “Don’t Say Yes, Until I Stop Talking” (Tom’s big number) is actually the title of Darryl Zanuck’s autobiography.

  • it’s me

    Never Give All the Heart <—- this was AMAZING!  nuff said

  • J

    I liked Karen so much better last episode when she showed she actually had a spine. But she still hasn’t convinced me that she should get the part. Like someone else has said, Kat just doesn’t have the chops to fully act as Karen acting as Marilyn. 

    I also don’t think we can really compare Megan’s and Kat’s versions of “Never Give All the Heart.” Megan’s version is with her Marilyn voice, so naturally, it’s going to sound more “affected” and not quite as poignant as Kat’s version. 

  • Deborah Weiss

    Please break up Karen and Dev once and for all. he`s a terrible, deadweight character with a boring side plot and absolutely ZERO chemsitry with his girlfriend. I switch channels eevry time they start making out cause it`s a chore to sit through. Plus the actor is attrocious. he can`t emote anger to save his life. Cut him off and focus on what matters.