Smash – Discussion Post & Recap

Alright peeps, we’re less than a half hour away from the big two-hour season premiere of Smash. This is the official discussion post. Look for my recap to come either middle of the night or tomorrow morning.

Are we excited? I sure hope so, because we’ve only had to wait for what…a bazillion years?! Anyway, let the discussion/judging begin!

Update: Recap below
Alright ladies and gents! The time has finally come: the second season premiere of the show we all love to hate. What are your expectations? NBC has made it very clear this season is in no way like the first, desperately begging new viewers to give the show a shot. I’m not so sure their strategy will work. I’m not saying the show won’t be better, but I don’t see it becoming a “smash” anytime soon. Certain people will be attracted to a show like this, and if they stuck around through the roller coaster that was last season, they should be back for more cray cray adventures. So let’s get started, shall we? Dim the lights, it’s curtain call, people!

*Presses play*

We get started with a close up of Karen’s face. She’s all decked out as Marilyn, singing a new song called “Moving On” on Bombshell’s closing night in Boston. (God, Katharine Mcphee is gorgeous!) Throughout the performance they cut to scenes of where Karen and Ivy now stand in their lives since Bombshell’s opening night. For some reason, Ivy assumes Karen would now be over the fact that she totally banged Karen’s boyfriend and tries to share a cab with her. No way sister! Karen gives the “guuurl, you can’t seriously be trying to get in this car with me right now” look and closes the door in blondie’s face. So we’ve established these two haven’t kissed and made up yet. Then we see Ivy walk into her same little studio apartment—depressingly I might add. This chick seems pretty suicidal, and we’re only about a minute into this. Oh but wait—what’s this? She’s throwing all her prescriptions in the garbage. YAY! Say goodbye to the crazy pills, people! No more loopy, unnecessary dream sequences or drugged up stage performances. Time to see where Karen’s living. Ooo, she’s got a new, nice place and a new roommate nice enough to hang a welcome banner (really?). Nice roommate hands Karen a note from her boyfriend Dev, and she ain’t havin’ it. She crumples that shit up and throws it away without even reading a sentence. So…I guess that was Dev’s official send off? Goodbye hot Indian man with the hot accent! We’ll always remember y…okay, who am I kidding? No one will remember, but it was fun while it lasted. Anyway, the musical number—which I am loving, I might add—continues to build until Karen gives her official send off.

Now we move back into the good ol’ rehearsal space we all know and love. Derek congratulates the cast, and Eileen informs them she intends to find a Broadway theater for them within the week—although some of them may be let go, depending on creative changes to the show that have yet to be made. (Ivy, meet the target on your back.) Eileen pulls Karen to the side and invites her to perform a song at a press event she is having. Upon Karen’s acceptance, Eileen closes the scene by saying, “I hope you’re ready—it all starts now.” And we cut to the simple, yet dramatic opening I love so much.

Back in Eileen’s office, the creative team is having a meeting. Let me summarize: Michael Swift is out (Julia’s secret lover), Julia refuses to read the reviews, and Derek is still a dick as he tells Julia the only problem the critics have are with Julia’s script without actually saying it. Oh, and the critics loooove Karen.

Meanwhile, Karen and Derek attend a show starring Tony-winning performer Veronica Moore (AKA: Jennifer Hudson). She performs (or should I say slays) a gospel-infused number titled “Mama Makes Three.” Afterwards she meets Karen backstage and advises her to “always protect the work.” She says someone is always waiting to take you down. Wow—a little intense there Veronica.

We see a quick convo between besties Tom and Julia where he once again tries to hint that Julia’s writing sorta sucks. And Julia mentions that her and Frank are working on their marriage. They’re “trying.” Sorry, but we all know Frank’s character has been cut, so I don’t see things working out, Julia. *sad face*

Now Eileen meets up with evil ex husband and has a totally triumphant moment where she assures him he’ll have no part in Bombshell’s big move to Broadway and that she’s already secured one of the most well-known theaters. We think she’s victorious until she walks away and evil ex husband sends off an evil text from his evil Blackberry: “It’s time to move forward with the plan.” The evil response: “DONE!” Uh oh ladies and gents—someone cue the “dun duun duuuuun” dramatic music.

Ivy and Julia have a little girl chat at the rehearsal for the big press event. Julia gives it to Ivy straight: “If you don’t really apologize to Karen for whatever happened between the two of you, I don’t know if you’ll be moving on with the show.”

Wow, things are moving fast. We move to the scene where Karen finally bumps into her new love interest for the season, Jimmy. He’s a waiter—a waiter with an attitude. But Derek interrupts and tells Karen he got her concerned text. They discuss Ivy, and Karen reminds Derek that she was told to “protect the work.” She thinks Ivy might be affecting that. “Say the word, and I will let her go,” Derek confidently responds. And without a real response from Karen, he concludes, “Consider it done.” Uh oh Ivy. You best pull something outta your sleeve real quick or your ass will be singing for change on the streets of New York. Your agent won’t even respond to you these days.

Cue the cute scene between Tom and Sam. Just like last season, these two still have some great chemistry. Sam is even turning down a big role in The Book of Mormon to stay in the city with Tom. Awww, precious. But Sam still insists that Tom tell Julia her writing is leaving something to be desired…hold the phone! They spot Julia’s husband Frank kissing some woman as he helps her into a cab. Oh no. Looks like Karma might be the ultimate bitch here, Julia.

And now we move onto the cocktail party from hell. What was supposed to be a night of music and celebration turns into drama like no other. First of all, Frank is pissed that the whole production team knows about the marital problems between him and Julia. Then Sam is pressuring Tom to tell Julia about Frank’s secret woman. Oh, and don’t forget movie star Rebecca Duvall has released a statement saying that the real reason she left the production of Bombshell is because she was sexually harassed by the director, Derek. And to top it all off, Eileen receives a last-minute phone call basically confirming Bombshell won’t be awarded a spot in the famous Broadway theater she had been promised. Yeah…s**t is hitting the fan. Oh wait, I spoke too soon. Things are getting worse. Julia confronts Frank about his lady friend, and he officially loses it, screaming at her and making a huge scene in front of all the journalists. Not cool, Frank—not cool. Oh, and did I mention Karen and Derek totally have the hots for each other and almost have somewhat of a “moment.” After watching Karen and Veronica sing an awesome duet of “On Broadway,” Derek confesses to Karen, “I feel better. How’d you do that?” “I’m your muse, it’s what we do,” Karen so boldly explains. Then, just as a kiss is about to happen, Ivy walks in and sees. She storms out, only to have Derek chase her down and let her know that she is being fired from Bombshell. Wow Derek, talk about beating a dead horse. Ivy will rise above though, because remember: she’s starting a new life without the crazy pills and being a good person and all that crap. She gives her true heartfelt apology to Karen, and you can see Karen feels like a real beotch for getting her fired. None of this matters though, because we move to the ending scene of this disasterous party. Everyone begins confronting Eileen over different issues when she confesses someone (evil ex husband with evil texting Blackberry) has tipped off the government about the illegal funds she has been using to fund the show. As of now, Bombshell is officially under investigation, and production will be shut down.

Great party, right?! Who wants tequila shots?!

Karen and Derek now meet up to discuss the disaster that has become Bombshell, and Karen still doesn’t understand what went wrong. Derek is being rude Derek though and offering no sympathy. He wishes Karen well and is on his way.

Now we move on to two others trying to deal with the big fallout: Tom and Julia. Julia has been staying at his place since her husband went all cray cray, and now that her marriage is essentially over, Tom has the awesome suggestion that the two of them move into his place. “It will be just like a sitcom,” he says, making a great Will & Grace reference. And that’s that–they will now officially be roomies. I’m excited about this for some reason. Maybe because it takes all the ridiculousness that is Julia’s family drama completely out of the show.

For a brief scene, we watch Ivy audition for the chorus of another show. She sings a song I easily recognize, but don’t know the title or artist at the moment and am WAY to lazy to pull out the Google machine for. While she sings, we get a montage of all the characters dealing with the loss of the show in their own ways. Karen has decided to turn to the drink. She is visiting the bar with the Jimmy character we saw earlier in the episode. Maybe Karen was actually interested in this hottie bartender? He is seriously lacking people skills though, asking her to leave because they are closing. Karen does end up leaving, but returns after awhile because she forgot her phone. From here, she runs into bartender Jimmy in the back playing the piano and belting out an original song he wrote with the one of the other bartenders. (He’s not important enough yet for me to remember his name.) Anyway, Karen is infatuated with him and his voice, so she calls Derek and has him listen to Jimmy singing his song, “Broadway Here I Come.”

After a few days of Karen trying to reach Jimmy, she meets him outside of his work and tries to get through to him, but he’s a little bit of a jerkface and says they are going to make it on their own. Him and other bartender friend don’t need anyone’s help with the show they’re writing.

As stupid as Jimmy seems, he and bartender friend might be in a better position than the Bombshell peeps at this point. After all, Derek’s sexual harassment claims start racking up, and he is dropped from directing The Wiz. And word on the street is that Julia has turned into a hot mess since her fallout with Frank. Speaking of Julia–she is being stupid. Eileen has arranged for the creative team to attend this big shin dig and is trying to save the show, but Julia refuses to attend because she’s being all mopey and sad. Tom agrees to cover for her. That is until he runs into an old friend questioning him about all the issues with Bombshell. Tom immediately caves and says that both him and Julia will not only be at the event, but that they will be giving a speech. Good luck with that one Tommy boy.

Now something completely ridiculous happens. Derek is at the bar drinking his sorrows away when he decides to hit on a random woman. Random woman’s boyfriend is not down with this and pushes him to the ground, causing Derek to have somewhat of a daydream/musical breakout of all the whores he’s slept with singing to him. It’s super cheesey and awkward and unneccasary. I thought we were done with this stuff, Smash!

Meanwhile, Tom is dealing with a depressed Julia back at their place. Yet, he finally tells her that they are supposed to attend this big event because they’ve been asked to speak. This sparks some life into Julia, FINALLY. She seems ready to go. But once they arrive, Julia heads straight to the woman running the event and makes a fool of herself. She wasn’t aware Tom was lying to her, but eventually figures it out by embarrassing herself in front of this woman. Tom finally comes clean with Julia and confesses that everybody is telling him to ditch her and find a new writing partner. “I don’t want a new writing partner. I just want my old one back,” he says. It was super dramatic, and a bit of a threat from Tom.

Quick scene of Derek continuing his night of drunkenness by showing up on Ivy’s front steps asking if he really is the monster everyone is making him out to be. This leads to him eventually trying to hook up with Ivy. Thankfully, the new and improved Ivy denies this. Good girl!

Next, we head to the party Karen was invited to by bartender/songwriting partner of Jimmy. She meets up with Jimmy, and they start getting some serious flirting going on. Soon, Karen goes for what she really came to the party for by breaking out into a rendition of Jimmy’s song “Caught in the Storm.” He lets her get half way through before storming out and calling his writing partner (AKA: bartender friend) a son of a bitch. Ugh…this Jimmy is really starting to rub me the wrong way.

Then, back from commercial break, Jimmy continues to be a stubborn douche bag and tells Karen, “Stay out of this princess!” *rolls eyes* Then they lead into some huge, overdramatic, and stupid conversation that causes Karen to storm off with her friends.

Karen must of gotten pretty preoccupied with her friends from then on, because we go back to the big press event where Eileen decides they need to go out with a bang–even if they’ve been banned for the night. They want to have Karen perform a number from Bombshell, but unfortunately it goes straight to voicemail. (Grrr… this makes me angry. I don’t know why I can’t help but root for Karen over Ivy, even when I realize Ivy might be more talented.) So of course, they call on Ivy to come perform a number titled “Coming to Broadway.” And let me tell you, Ivy (AKA: Megan Hilty) knocks this outta the park. Seriously, I loved this scene. If I was in the room, a standing ovation would’ve been a must from me.

Moving on, we find out from Eileen’s conversation with evil ex that they can finally resume work on Bombshell, but unfortunately, only with evil ex’s financial help. But still…this is good news for the show, people.

Let’s cut to the scene where Julia makes “apology muffins” for Tom. She seems like she’s finally out of her funk and ready to help the show get going. Then we’re met with Tom’s amazing line: “It’s time to retire the scarves.” Wow, the producers were really listening to the critiques of season one.

We end with bartender Jimmy showing up at Karen’s apartment with “everything he’s ever recorded so far.” He’s only doing it for Kyle. (We finally have a name for friendly bartender!)

Oh wait, I was wrong. What we really end with is Ivy coming to comfort Derek after his drunken night on her doorstep. She is all happy, but is turned away by Derek, because he is rehearsing with Karen. It makes for a super awkward situation where Karen, once again, brings the b***h side out to inform Ivy she needs to get the eff outta there.

And that’s the end. Wow…I’m tired after this recap peeps. I’ve given you a straight-up recap, but I think I’ll give more of my analysis next week. Sound off in the comments!

  • steph6449

    Glad to see the show back, but Kat is not at all believable to me in the Marilyn role

  • Bentley1530

    Jennifer Hudson number was kind of a bad joke, full of black musical cliches. 

  • pmreyn2010

    IDK– I actually liked ‘Karen’ enough in the Marilyn role. I think both Megan & Katharine are very talented in their own right. I hope that Ivy has some redemption this year though… the character was just so unlikable by the end of last season. Curious to see what happens with “Bombshell” this year as well

  • Bentley1530

    I am not enjoying this.

  • steph6449

    The show was more fun and interesting to me when Karen and Ivy were just professional rivals, both talented, than when it started trying to draw character differences that were unpleasant and didn’t seem believable for Ivy, and made Karen kinda boring.

    This year, I’d like to see it go more back to how they started, though the other concern is whether bringing in Jennifer Hudson may crowd out Ivy. I’m assuming not Kat as they feature her a lot more in the promos, even though personally the Ivy character / Megan are more interesting to me.

    Ugly dress alert for Debra. 

  • Tony Westbrook

    I like it!!  As someone who lives in NYC and is trying to make it…this stuff is pretty right on track!!  Support it, don’t bash it. 

  • tucker davis

    How great for AI when Kat & Jennifer had that duet at the party?

  • ZsusK

    Wow. I’m sad. This show is a huge disappointment tonight, and I think it’s time for me to break up with it. :(

  • RidersDX

    I’m just so happy to see this show back. It’s just a nice show to watch. =)

  • dante

    Tried last year and again tonight to like this show – no luck.
    Boring!! Enjoyed a few of the songs. JHud has incredible voice IMO.
    Just not a fan of Kat even after all this time. Sad I don’t connect with the show

  • poipugirl

    I LOVE Smash!!!!!!!!!!!!  Glad there’s going to be new songs with the new bar owner/song writer!  Glad Debra’s scarves, husband are gone!  :)

    Can’t wait for more Tom, Derek and Sean Hayes!!!!

  • jpfan2

    Last season was bad but kind of camp fun. This season seems dull. Oh well, it’s a great cast maybe it’ll great better.

  • maymirabella

    I love this show. But I have to admit, I am liking Ivy so far. I think she is redeeming herself. I adore the Tom and Julia friendship and and the reference to a sitcom lol,to Will and Grace lol. I was bored by the Karen character and loving Anjelica.

  • Tinawina

    I liked it. It was a bit slow in parts but there were some really fantastic moments (Ivy’s last song was just WOW, JHud and the new guy were great), mixed in with some really WTF-unintentionally funny moments (That drunk Jack song with the Robert Palmer girls?), a few cool inside jokes… overall I enjoyed myself. I liked where it seems to be going story wise so I’m willing to keep watching.

  • B


    Here’s the full version of “Caught in the Storm” which is the song Karen sang at the party to Jimmy:

    So excited for this new musical!

  • Tuki

    I LOVED the show tonight! It went by so quickly!
    Have to say I am really liking the friendship I am watching develop between Karen & Derek.
    She was pursuing all this Jimmy thing to help Derek in the process! I LOVED that. I am so looking forward to see Karen & Derek get closer this season.

  • Li Wright

    I will see it tomorrow on hulu but my impressions of Kat McPhee are not good.  She’s just not strong enough of an actress to carry this TV show.  Her character has NOT evolved.  I will stick with SMASH  this season, I hope the writers look at Nashville to see how it should be done.

  • Jaejae1

    I enjoyed the season premiere and I am really excited for the new season. I want to see what the new musical will look like and I still love Ivy. I want to see how she comes back from this low point. Kat acting wise seems a bit better too but so many of the others are just excellent.  Still, I’ll be watching on the 2/19 to see what happens. 

  • LA944

    I started off really liking the show last year. But the writing became so predictable and uninspired as the season progressed–I became very bored with it. (Except for some musical numbers)

    I enjoyed tonight’s epi more than most from last year. For me, Megan Hilty is the star of the show. She is  just so fantastic. I think Kat McPhee has a very nice voice and a ok actress–but she’s just not in the same league as MH.

  • Kariann Hart

    If the viewer watched Season 1 as it happened or a catch up viewing, they can appreciate the goodness we saw tonight.   Jennifer has incredible voice, even better than some of her recently performed number.  What a great addition to the opening episode.

    Ivy definitely grows on you and her voice is fabulous!  Katharine is a good singer but they need to jazz her up a bit.  Yes, the Robert Palmer girls were a special treat!  I think this is going to be an interesting and sometimes fun series! 

  • Kariann Hart

    Tony Westbrook, sometimes I feel like we are privvy to some secrets that actually do occur in the Broadway/musical theater world.  Good luck in your pursuits!

  • David??[08-09????]

    FINALLY IT’S BACKKK!! Love the show and love Kat Mcphee :D Jen Hudson is a HUGE bonus, I’m gonna play this season many times I already know it

  • Willis White

    Much better than last season. The writing seems to have picked up and the season preview looked great.

    The last scene with Derek, Ivy and Karen had a lot going on. Derek was drunk the night before and really doesn’t remember what he said to Ivy. Plus, now Ivy knows that she wasn’t the first call to perform the night before, since Karen stated she was in the subway then. Drama!

    Also glad that Smash moved to Tuesdays. Better night for me.

  • David??[08-09????]

    That’s too bad cuz she’s amazing and clearly most ppl agree.

  • David??[08-09????]

    Amazingly GREAT

  • overthetop1

    I think Katherine is weak also. She’s like this beautiful mouse.

  • durbesque

    I missed why Veronica is in this story.  Or is it just a personal appearance by the Oscar-winning weight watcher?  The new musical is interesting…seems gritty like ‘Rent’.

  • Taylor

    Katherine McPhee has really grown as an actor. She is perfect for the character of Karen. The camera loves her.

    Other favorites are Derek, Tom and Ivy. I want Tom to be my BFF. lol

    Of course, Jennifer Hudson was a great addition. How awesome was it that two x-Idols were on a hit TV show singing together?!

  • curly_yenta

    McPhee puts me to sleep when she’s on screen. Such a boring actress. The whole show is a bore. Back to watching something else next week.

  • John S

    I think she is great, the camera loves her. She has the “movie star looks” IMO. She really is a gorgeous girl.

  • Peg

    I like that they decided to focus on the ins and outs of ‘Bombshell’ instead of the stupid personal life crap re: the creators of the show.  But did think the new boyfriend stuff was really cliched.  Still love the ridiculous breaking into song moments.  For the most part they work within the parameters of this show, but they still sometimes come off a little Cop Rockesque.

  • Niall

    My problem with the show this year is one of the same problems as last year: Katharine McPhee. She’s miscast as Karen and I feel nothing for a character that I’m clearly supposed to root for. And now JHud is cast as a mentor to Karen, which feels like more propping of a character while also putting someone else on the show whose talents McPhee can’t compete with.

    The writing is only marginally better. There is so much material from NYC they could mine that is reality based, and they still insist on implausible, fairy tale scenarios.

  • Pixie Baker

    Love the cast if characters this year….weakest link in the show….Katherine.  Sorry to say she sucks the wind out of the show the moment she appears….just cannot watch another season.

  • forwarddad

    Great show. But again WTF it’s not back for two weeks ? Don’t get NBC scheduling.

  • mmb

    Sigh.  At least based on the first episode they didn’t fix it.  WTF was that “addicted to love”-esque number??  Ridiculous.  As usual, Megan Hilty is the best thing about the show. The musical numbers from the “new show” are very good.  But at its core the probelm still remains — ridiculous, pat dialogue, and the fact that the show keeps beating you over the head with “Karen is amazing, root for her”, when she doesn’t seem all that amazing and you have no reason to root for her.  Kat is a gorgeous girl, she sings every song well, her dancing is good, but whether the part is just super poorly written, or she just isn’t a compelling actress, the part of Karen is a black hole and just sucks the wind out of the show.  Unless and until they fix that the show isn’t going to reach its potential

  • steph6449

    It would work better if they presented Kat as someone trying to get their start and still developing her talents, and had her angling for non-lead roles where her lack of wow quality wouldn’t be as obvious.  Or at least lead roles that aren’t in need of such charisma and impact as Marilyn on Broadway. Maybe the new musical will be a better fit.

    Possibly the show is playing a long game and they ultimately mean for the role to go to Ivy once she matures some?  If so, that’s a lot of Karen as Marilyn to watch while it unfolds. It’s uncomfortable to watch Kat in a role that seems too much for her, and in a character that she doesn’t resemble much at all. Especially when as you say, supposedly we are meant to ooh and ahh that she is beyond amazing in every possible way — according to the show and promos lol.  Kat’s not at all bad, she’s just not the right person to meet the expectations they are putting into it. Where Megan really does knock it out of the park as Marilyn, pretty much every time including last night’s show.

  • jersey

    I love this show.  It’s complete fantasy as far as I’m concerned.  You can kind of get lost in it.

    I was NOT a Kat fan during season 5 and in fact, was known to actively dislike her on this very blog (*ahem*) however, like Pickler, I have grown to appreciate how hard she works for what she wants.  I think she does a really good job in this show and while I like Ivy’s character better, I think some of that has to do with the complexity of the character, not Kat’s acting; and she does a fabulous job on her musical numbers.

    I got a special American Idol geek thrill seeing JHud sing with Kat last night.

  • mmb

    Thats a good point.  I agree with you there.  I think that the audience would be rooting for Karen a lot more if the character was written as a “in real life” newbie — they spent a little time in the debut episode showing that Karen was on the audition treadmill, getting discouraged.  But I think they lost the audience when she jumped right from the chorus into the lead role in her very first broadway job — its not unheard of, but its not the norm and it is making for bad tv.

  • Li Wright

    McPhee puts me to sleep when she’s on screen. Such a boring actress^^ Me too.  She or her character are just too nice.  Young Broadway singers that I know of are aggressive, eager, they will do whatever to get that part on Broadway….almost anything anyway.  Something about McPhee, she doesn’t have sparkle or vim; Hilty is a much better actress.
    I will don’t know why Jhud was added — except to get a wider audience, but her story is still evolving too.

  • chillj

    The New York Times ran an article on this show yesterday, where they blasted McPhee for lack of acting chops.  I have to agree, she is a little flat, but I also think it works for the  character.  I thought Jennifer Hudson was substantially worse; I don’t find her at all believable.

  • MichaelG (MikhailXO)

    Katherine McPhee needs to become part of the ensemble cast. She cannot carry this effort. She is boring as bloody hell and her acting is coma inducing. Change the series to remove the focus away from her.

  • LA944

     IA–it would have been smarter and more believable to have written the Karen character as a newbie who does have to work her way up the ladder. She is good–but not quite good enough yet to be the star.

    Hilty is not only a better singer, dancer and actress than Kat Mc–but she is electric on the screen. Kat –although quite beautiful–lacks the electricity. So, it just  makes no sense that she gets the Marilyn part over Ivy. It’s a big problem with this show. There are other problems of course–but this is a major issue for me.

    They could have done it more All About Eve. Karen is the girl who seems really sweet–but isn’t all that sweet. Make her more sneaky and calculating. I don’t mean that she is a one dimensional villain–but she isn’t just the nice girl.

    Or, they could portray her as the 2nd lead who just doesn’t get the top spot for awhile. It makes a lot more sense than having Ivy in that role-when she obviously is better.

  • Larc

    It’s not NBC scheduling that’s keeping Smash off next week.  It’s White House scheduling.  The President will give his State of the Union speech at 9 PM EST.

  • chillj

    I have seen McPhee in interviews; that seems to be how she is.  Not a lot of emotional peaks and valleys, not a high energy speaker.  No great enthusiasms, but no great angers, either.

  • Larc

    But actors usually don’t play themselves when they act.  They play characters they aren’t.  Their styles and mannerisms should reflect those characters even if they are light years away from the actor’s natural personality.  Bottom line, maybe Kat just isn’t a real actor.

  • curly_yenta

    Part of the failure of the show comes from this critique from the NY Times:

    “Also problematic was the casting of Katharine McPhee, the 2006 “American Idol” runner-up, in the central role of Karen, the unknown from Iowa who competed to play Marilyn Monroe in the biographical musical “Bombshell” and who won the part, at least temporarily, at the end of last season. Ms. McPhee can sing well enough, and she looks good in a platinum-blonde wig, but she’s a limited actress and never captured the vividness and vulnerability of Monroe — not in her musical numbers, where you’d expect it, or as the offstage Karen, where it would be a nice bonus.”       

  • Montavilla

    The last scene with Derek, Ivy and Karen had a lot going on. Derek was drunk the night before and really doesn’t remember what he said to Ivy. Plus, now Ivy knows that she wasn’t the first call to perform the night before, since Karen stated she was in the subway then. Drama!

    Good post, but I think Ivy had to know that she wasn’t the first call.  But it must be disconcerting to realize how little her friendship means to any of the power players.  How many times has she saved this show by now?  

  • girlygirltoo

    The ratings for the premiere were awful. :(

  • poipugirl

    Nick, great recap, but the paragraph describing the scene in the bar with the flashback blackout, the guy who was drunk was actually Derek, not Tom.  I don’t think Tom would be hitting on a woman!  :)

  • Montavilla

    Or, they could portray her as the 2nd lead who just doesn’t get the top spot for awhile. It makes a lot more sense than having Ivy in that role-when she obviously is better.

    It certainly makes it frustrating to watch the show, always knowing that Ivy sitting around being so much better for the role.  In every way, except in the eyes of Derek. I guess sometimes that’s just how it is.

    But I like Karen best (and Kat) when she’s the pathetic newbie of the theater world.  The moment I thought was best in the entire series to date was when Karen was in Derek’s bathroom, trying to decide whether or not she could trade sex for her big break.  That was kind of a TV-acting moment, which Katherine McPhee is actually good at.  

    She’s not as good at the bigger, stage-acting bits.  Megan Hilty is, and that’s why it’s absurd that Ivy wasn’t given the Marilyn role.  

  • Nick

    Lol. Oops…you make a valid point. Writing recaps at one in the morning might not be a good idea for me! Although, it would make for a SUPER huge twist to have Tom hitting on some woman in a bar. Ha

  • Niall

    I agree. If the writing portrayed Karen as the struggling newbie who falls short of the more dynamic Ivy, that would work. Katharine is a weaker actress but the real issue is the audience has no incentive to sympathize or root for a character who always comes out ahead. If the writing shifts to portraying Karen as someone whose success has gone to her head, and Ivy as the humbled underdog, that’s an interesting direction.

  • chillj

    I know this is the ideal, but it seems an awful lot of actors do play themselves, including the occasional one that dumbfounds me by winning an Academy Award.  When someone truly melds with who they are portraying, and create a character so wholly we forget the actor, I think we all know it.  But they are not so common.  I do not think Ms. McFee capable of anything close to that; if you don’t have peaks and valleys, how do you play peaks and valleys?  How would you know what they are like?  I think Kat is playing herself; beautiful, but not profound or emotionally complex or volatile.  

  • ptslittlecomment

    Add me to the mix that says Kat McPhee is by far the weakest link in this show! There is no excitement, no pull, no electricity when she is on the screen, certainly not as compared to the feeling, depth and talent when Megan Hilty is given a chance to shine!
    It is interesting that Derek’s obsession of Karen over the greatly more talented Ivy in this role mirrors the seeming fixation Spielberg has for McPhee over Hilty that was touched upon the in the article about SMASH Mj posted a few days ago.

    Ultimately it seems both the shows of Bombshell and SMASH itself will be doomed by this frustrating (for the rest of us) blindspot. 

  • steph6449

    The Kat character was most appealing to me as a member of the chorus hanging with her friends.  She’s gotten much less sympathetic as they’ve pushed her to the forefront, and her persona has gotten a shade smug.

    In the beginning, I guess the idea was that Karen had some special sensitivity or vulnerability as Marilyn, but it doesn’t really come through and Ivy hardly lacked that in her own way. Plus Marilyn Monroe was not that one-dimensional as a public figure.

    In a Broadway star playing Marilyn as the dominant role in a new musical, I want to see someone who seems believable and has impact in all of the facets of the character. Which is Ivy.