Welcome back to Smash, the little show that wanted to but hasn’t yet. Keep on chugging, little show, and maybe you’ll make it to the top of that hill one of these days.
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….
The show begins with “Previously On,” which shows that not only do they realize that they’ve given us a ludicrous amount of plots to keep track of, but they are also aware that the audience kept dozing off during the pilot. Very considerate of them.
Katren is singing a jazzy, lounge-singer version of Blondie’s “Call Me” in front of a red curtain to an admiring audience that includes Brit Boy, the Nots, Ellis the Hot Assistant, Eileenica, and Derek.
Call me! On the line, anytime you have insomnia, call me!
Psych! We are in Katren’s imagination again. She is daydreaming at work, wishing that somebody would call her to let her know if she got the role of Marilyn or not. Question: How can Katren be so boring when her imagination is like a David Lynch movie?
While Katren is neglecting her customers, Not-Will is strongly arguing for Ivy to be cast as Marilyn. Derek retorts that Katren feels like Marilyn. “How do you know what she feels like?” Not-Will snaps. Not-Grace tells him not to go there, but we all know that it’s a valid question. Not-Will argues that Ivy has more experience, and Derek counters that Katren’s freshness and innocence are “very Marilyn.” Not-Grace and Eileenica are Team Katren as well, but Not-Will keeps pushing for Ivy. Derek shocks everyone, including himself, by suddenly telling Not-Will, “You’re right.” Even though Katren does have many qualities that would make her excellent in the role, Derek agrees that casting someone with absolutely no experience would be a bad call. He says that they need more information. Ellis the Hot Assistant is listening to this entire exchange on the other side of the office door.
Ivy is walking down the street with two friends, expositing about the second callback. She’s willing to jump through a few hoops in order to play Marilyn. Ivy tells her friends that they want to see scene work from both her and Katren, but they need to see Katren dance. Ivy’s already proven herself in that department, at Derek’s director audition.
Some impressive looking government building… city hall, maybe? Brit Boy is giving a mini-press conference, telling the reporters that the budget will be out soon. He dismisses them by saying that he has a lunch date with a young lady who is considerably more attractive than they are. He joins Katren in the hallway and she tells him that she has to do another callback. Katren is nervous because she has to dance this time, and the choreographer is Derek. “You never said much about what happened that night,” Brit Boy says, referring to Katren’s 10pm “coaching session” at Derek’s loft. Katren lies that nothing happened.
Mr. and Mrs. Not-Grace are meeting with the social worker who is handling their adoption, going over paperwork. They have satisfactorily proven who they are, where they live, how long they’ve been married, and how much money they make. The social worker tells them that it is going to be about two years from this point before they actually get to bring a baby home. Mr. & Mrs. NG are gobsmacked — they started this whole thing ten months ago. Maybe they should have researched what the international adoption process actually involves before diving in headfirst.
Katren arrives for a dance rehearsal late, much to Derek’s annoyance. One of the male dancers working in this number with her is Ivy’s male friend from the earlier scene. He watches her with a raised-eyebrow bitch face.
After the commercial, male dancer friend tells Ivy what he was able to glean from Katren during the rehearsal. Ivy is intrigued at the prospect of having a spy on her competition.
Not-Will is arranging index cards on a bulletin board, trying to determine the structure for Marilyn, while Not-Grace mopes on the sofa about how long the adoption is going to take. After whining for a bit, Not-Grace decides to start helping work on the musical that she is supposedly so gung ho about. She suggests that they take a more laissez faire approach to linear story line, and open the show with “Let Me Be Your Star.” She imagines Marilyn, still as Norma Jeane, standing on a dark stage under a spotlight. Other girls become illuminated and say cutting things, one by one, and then the music begins. The song is performed alternating between Ivy and Katren as Marilyn. Katren is so, so boring. Team Ivy!
Not-Grace’s imagining of “Let Me Be Your Star” is interrupted by Ellis the Hot Assistant, who asks which girl will be playing Marilyn. Not-Grace is not happy with this question, and tells Ellis that she needs to be alone in this “space” with Tom as they work on the structure of the musical. Ellis understands, he’s just so excited to see his idea coming to life. Not-Grace chuckles condescendingly, and tells him that “something said in passing is not the same thing as an idea.”
GTFO or so help me!
Ellis wisely says that he’s going to go pick up the dry cleaning, but lurks outside the door to hear Not-Grace mock him some more.
Derek is working with Katren and the dance troupe on the callback routine, and Katren’s dancing is not up to snuff. “Again!” he keeps snapping. Derek opens the door of the rehearsal room and finds Ivy sitting in a chair reading a Marilyn Monroe biography. He apologizes for taking so long, and asks her how the book is. Ivy has been reading every book she can get her hands on about Marilyn, and has watched every movie that Marilyn was ever in. Girlfriend takes her character research seriously. Derek brings Ivy into the rehearsal space and introduces her to Katren. They make some awkward small talk, and Derek shuts the door in Katren’s face as she leaves.
Brit Boy and Katren get lunch at a hot dog stand, and Katren complains about how much of a psychopath Derek is. Maybe you’re just a crap dancer, Katren, did you consider that possibility? Oh, she’s not complaining about how much he’s making her rehearse, she’s complaining about the mind games that he’s playing with her, specifically bringing Ivy Lynn in to meet her. “He’s a creep!” Katren says. Brit Boy tells her to get used to it, because men in positions of power tend to gravitate towards creepiness. “I don’t want to get used to it!” Katren says. Brit Boy tells her that if she refuses to get used to it, she is creating her own suffering. “I am not creating my own suffering!” she argues. Because she is three. Brit Boy mocks Katren’s British accent and then tells her that they have been invited to dinner with one of the Deputy Mayors. This dinner could be very important to Brit Boy’s career, so I’m sure that it will go off without a hitch.
In the dressing room of Heaven on Earth, Ivy is practicing talking like Marilyn. “Thank you ever so,” she repeats over and over, trying to perfect Marilyn’s idiosyncratic lip movements.
If Marilyn doesn’t work out, I’m sure she can get cast as a hooker on SVU.
Back at Not-Grace’s brownstone, Mr. Not-Grace is making dinner while Not-Grace deals with adoption stuff. They are supposed to write a short letter to the birth mother of their future child to help begin the emotional bonding process. Mr. Not-Grace has been thinking about this whole adoption thing, and has realized that if they do get a baby as soon as two years from now, he will be sixty-five when she graduates from high school. He wants to stop moving forward with the adoption.
Leo comes into the kitchen as this is being said, and he is not happy. This whole family dynamic is very reminiscent of Breaking Bad to me. Walt Jr. Leo goes outside, and Not-Grace follows to talk to him. The poor kid is very emotionally attached to the idea of this probably-not-even-conceived yet prospective adopted baby sister. His parents have been promising him a brother or sister for years, and he’s been waiting and waiting, and honestly, he’ll be in college by the time this supposed sibling arrives, so he has already completely missed out on the older brother experience.
In the Heaven on Earth dressing room, Not-Will is chatting with Ivy as the cast leaves for the night. He tells her to let him know if Derek gets out of line, and Ivy calls Not-Will her own Johnny Hyde. She explains that Johnny Hyde was Marilyn Monroe’s very protective first agent, and gushes a bit before Not-Will tells her that he knows all that, he just likes hearing her talk about Marilyn. Not-Will starts to leave, but turns back to let Ivy know that if it had been up to him, he would have just given her the role of Marilyn. “I know,” Ivy smiles sadly.
Eileenica is walking through a restaurant when Soon-To-Be-Ex-Husband Jerry calls her name. He is dining with a much younger blonde. Eileenica stalks to the table where Derek is waiting for her and asks him how the pre-callback rehearsals are going. Derek tells her that Ivy is terrific, but that she’s a perfectionist and she’s trying too hard. “Marilyn never tried,” he sighs. On the other hand, Katren is excellent but green. Derek is hopeful that Scarlet Johannsen will become available, but Eileenica tells him that they’re casting the role on Friday, period. Derek is called away from the table by another diner, and Jerry slides into his seat. Eileenica tells him to get out of her booth. That’s what she said! Jerry tries to dig for information on Marilyn, but Eileenica won’t give anything up, and as he gets up to leave he tells her that she’s making a fool out of herself. And we have our first drink thrown in Jerry’s face!
Thrown Drink Count = 1
Having left the restaurant, Derek and Eileenica are discussing the long-term plan for the show. Rather than follow the usual Broadway show formula of workshopping a new show for a few years, working out the kinks in a lengthy road tour, and then opening on Broadway, Eileenica wants to fast track the show. Cast Marilyn, workshop it for a couple of months, take it on the road, and open on Broadway ASAP.
Katren is practicing her dance routine as Brit Boy reminds her about their important dinner that evening. Her rehearsal is scheduled to go until seven, and then she plans to meet him at the restaurant. She will absolutely, positively be there for this crucial dinner with the Deputy Mayor. There is no way that this is going to go wrong. I feel confident, don’t you?
Brownstone bedroom. Not-Grace is working on her letter to the birth mother when her husband comes in. He informs her that he wants to go back to work. Not-Grace looks shocked, and he tells her that there’s always a market for good science teachers, and he misses it. “You miss the periodic table?” she asks. Ha! This is Breaking Bad, and Mr. Not-Grace wants to go find his very own Jesse Pinkman.
Then again, who doesn’t want their very own Jesse Pinkman?
Not-Grace asks what this means for the adoption, and Mr. Not-Grace says that he can’t wait anymore. Not-Grace has her writing, but all he has is the waiting. And whose fault is that, Mr. Not-Grace? This adoption was clearly not very well thought out or researched. Not-Grace seems quite saddened by this turn of events, which is interesting because in the last episode it looked like her husband was the driving force behind the adoption.
Katren’s rehearsal is over, and she texts Brit Boy that she is on her way. As she is leaving, Derek calls her back to do some scene work. She takes her phone out to text Brit Boy again, but Derek says that it won’t take long, so she puts the phone back in her bag. Meanwhile, at the restaurant, the Deputy Mayor attempts to make conversation with Brit Boy, who is distracted by wondering where Katren is. So much for the great impression he was hoping to make.
A male actor is reading the Dimaggio scene with Katren, and Katren interrupts the reading to ask Derek if he needs her to be doing more Marilyn. “It’s hard to say what it needs, cos right now you’re not doing anything.” Zing! Derek tells her that she doesn’t need to “do” Marilyn, she needs to “be” Marilyn, frightened by the impact that her career is having on her relationship. They start the scene over as Katren’s phone buzzes fruitlessly in her bag.
When Katren finally makes it to the restaurant, Brit Boy is sitting alone at the table. She apologizes that rehearsal went late, but he is furious that she couldn’t even take a minute to call or text and let him know that she wasn’t on her way after all. He starts to storm out, and I could tell you more about what happens here except I think that I have a concussion from the Anvil of Obvious Plot Correlations that the writers keep dropping on my head.
In a sunshine-filled studio, Ivy is working on a scene with Derek, which quickly leads to sex in an apartment that looks far too nice to be Ivy’s.
Katren and Ivy are sitting in a hallway waiting to go in for their second callback, and Katren is overlooked by Ivy’s male dancer friend and Not-Will, who both rush up to Ivy and gush over her. Not-Grace sits beside Katren and thanks her for coming in again. Derek and Eileenica arrive, and they get ready to start the dance number.
The song, “20th Century Fox Mambo” is about the transformation required to move from being a hopeful to a star, and there is tons of dancing and singing. To be honest it’s pretty catchy, yet Katren still manages to make it dull.
And if you mute it, the music for Thriller fits the dancing.
The Nots, Derek, and Eileenica are making the final casting decision. Katren’s dancing was good and Eileenica thinks that she is a star. Not-Will, of course, pushes for Ivy. Derek thought Ivy’s reading was pitch-perfect, adding, “There’s a loneliness, a wound there… heart-breaking, really.” Yay, Ivy is flawed and interesting. Give us more Ivy!!! Katren, however, is an innocent, which is also great for Marilyn. Ellis the Hot Assistant, once again listening at the door, tells Eileenica’s assistant that they haven’t made a decision yet.
Katren, for once actually working while at work, tells another waitress that there’s been no word yet and she’s about to crawl out of her skin. In the Heaven on Earth dressing room, Ivy is insisting to her friends that she doesn’t want to talk about it, when Not-Will turns up. “I wanted to come tell you in person,” he begins, and it’s just like on American Idol when they divide the singers into different rooms and then go play mind games with them before telling them if they’ve made it through or not. Ivy assumes that he’s trying to let her down easily, and says that she has to get out of there, but he stops her with, “You got it.” Wootles! Team Ivy FTW! Ivy is laughing and crying, and doesn’t know what to do with herself.
In Eileenica’s office, Derek asks if she feels good about their choice. She does, but she says that they need to keep an eye on Katren. Derek nods thoughtfully, before telling Eileenica that he needs to talk to her about something. Jerry is going ahead with the production of My Fair Lady and wants Derek back as director. “You know, I spent three years of my life on that production,” Derek reminds her, “So, I basically went ahead and told him… to shove it.” Awww. For a sleazy sexual manipulator, he’s a pretty sweet guy.
Meanwhile, Not-Grace is at an adoption support group meeting, alone in room full of couples. The social worker asks her to read her letter to the birth mother, and it is moving while at the same time providing concrete evidence that Not-Grace’s head is firmly ensconced in her own ass. As she reads the letter, the camera moves around her and we see her husband listening in the doorway. When she finishes, he places a chair beside her. “I thought I couldn’t make it,” he says, “but I decided I couldn’t miss it.”
Celebrating in a small night club with Not-Will and her friends, Ivy is congratulated on her new role by the emcee and invited up on stage to sing. Ivy sings Carrie Underwood’s “Crazy Dreams” and we see clips of all of our main characters as the song plays us into the credits.
I suppose next week we’ll find out what plot contrivance they’re using in order to keep Katren a main character. I’m guessing that she will be cast as Ivy’s understudy, but it would be an interesting twist to cast Katren as Norma Jeane and Ivy as Marilyn Monroe. Silly me, using the word interesting!
I’m sorry that it took me so long to get the full recap out — the Bintlets are taking turns passing a nasty cold around, so I’ve been a bit pre-occupied. Thank you for your patience and, as always, thank you for reading!
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