Smash: Director’s Notes, Episode 3

The Steven Spielberg produced epic a-star-is-born redo/ multi-format tie-in promised cash cow mid-season offer-up has finally aired! Remember when it was premiering after the Super Bowl, and then NBC was like–whoa, actually this show is not really that good, so we better air The Voice instead! Yes, I do too. It’s basically Glee for the geriatric set, but who can refuse another musical-driven tv show? Certainly not I. First, a disclaimer: I am not a real Broadway buff. I make no claims to registering anything related to concepts of theater authenticity, and barely get the references to theater critics, etc. I assume those things are thrown in there to appeal to sad struggling actors and the roughly 200 upper west and east side grannies who pay attention to that crap. No, I’m here for the dance numbers, people. So, let’s get down to the business of show, why don’t we?

Director’s Notes:

  • Episode 3 picked up the pace this week! We see the seeds planted for the Ivy/Derrick affair to fizzle out, we learn of Debra Messing’s affair with Dennis Duffy, er, Michael, we watch Dev get jealous of Derrick, and finally we determine once and for all that Tom’s assistant is not gay (ha ha ha, just kidding, he’s clearly gay, sorry live-in girlfriend, who incidentally makes only the third person of color in the cast…only one per episode, apparently).
  • Let’s deconstruct all of these amorous entanglements, shall we? Side note: There are very few people in this show with any sexual chemistry at all, but I do think that the Derrick/ Karen pairing is starting to spark a little.
  • Obviously, Derrick can’t wait to be shod of Ivy. (” I have no gas!” — really, that is the best you can do? Theataah!)  I’m actually shocked to find that she gives a rat’s ass about whether or not Derrick really likes her. I guess show biz hasn’t hardened her enough yet. I have a feeling that when Derrick dumps her, and kicks her out of the musical giving Karen the part, that will do the trick.
  • The scene in which Derrick meets Karen to discuss her future in “the ensemble” (i.e., in his pants) was super awkward to watch, and therefore perfect. The Britishness back and forth was great, as were the triumvirate of black leather jackets the stars were wearing. But, poor Dev, when he kisses Karen, it was so clear they have no future. I’m getting pretty sick of his antics: You cannot reference Gone With the Wind and your sexual prowess in the same breath and have us take you seriously, Dev, sorry.
  • Tom’s assistant is starting some shit! I love it. But, can he pull it off? I mean, he’s already proven himself embarrassingly naive.
  • So “show crush” is a thing. I like it! I’m not yet sure about the Debra Messing/Dennis Duffy look-alike pairing yet, although clearly “You smell nice” was the best/worst line of the show.
  • The songs! The Mr. and Mrs. Smith thing, meh, I could take it or leave it. On the other hand, I enjoyed seeing Tom and Julia sing it together as they were writing. Funny how writing a musical looks very similar to a visit to the therapist, but, you know, with more piano!
  • Iowa. I have an irrational fear/dislike of Iowa. I went there once, and refuse to ever go back. People were weird. (Sorry, but, yeah, I guess I am prejudiced towards Iowans). I did really enjoy Karen’s cover of “Redneck Woman” with her old pals. It was cheesy, but it hit close to home for me, so I think they really got something right there. The characters that they are choosing to develop: Julia, Karen, and Eileen are really compelling. They need to give Tom and Derrick the same treatment.
  • Eileen, you minx. Two drinks in the face! And he even paid for the second one. Loves it.
  • Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…the cheeseball of the week award! The joint winners are Karen’s parents: Mr. and Mrs. Cartwright! This week saw some tough competition from newcomer Michael, but the Cartwright’s Iowa wholesomeness and love of iced tea won out. So, I present them with an All-American and Velveeta cheeseball with fresh Iowa corn, and served on white bread with the crusts cut off. Wash it down with a cold iced tea, y’all.
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6 thoughts on “Smash: Director’s Notes, Episode 3

  1. Apparently, that has been the plan all along: if the show is successful, they take the show-within-a-show to Broadway. I think chances are slim, though the idea of the musical is maybe better than the show?

  2. funnynurse says:

    I am worried about the music in this show. It is going to be really really hard for the writers to keep coming up with excuses to get the characters singing. So far we have
    – karaoke bar
    – random stage in a bar with a full band (Ivy and Karen)
    – Bruno Mars Musical of some kind

    I am expecting there to be some plain ol’ shower singing and random sing offs from the ensemble as the effort to fit in non-Broadway songs get more difficult.

    Also, are we going to be treated to a new song from the Marilyn Monroe Musical? The average musical has how many songs? 10? Actually, after looking into it, it appears that 15 -20 is the actual number. This makes me think that maybe as the end of the season “Untitled Marilyn Musical” is going to try to make it onto Broadway.

    • Jerch says:

      OMG I had not even considered the possibility of a real-life extension of the show, other than obviously a travelling show over the summer. Do you think it could really become a musical? So far I don’t necessarily dislike the Marilyn songs, but they’re also not very memorable. Clearly, the musical’s not ready yet. Will we be softened hearing the pre-debut versions of the songs? Will we even hear post-debut versions, since as you point out there should be like 15-20 total?

  3. Speaking of music, I was remiss in not mentioning the full-blown ridiculous contrivance of having Dennis Duffy currently starring in a Bruno Mars musical?! Wow. Also, next week…Nick Jonas!

  4. Jerch says:

    I love Debra Messing’s portrayal of the co-creative director. Whereas Tom appears to have musical abilities — in addition to, you know, just coming up with random creative stuff — her “working method” appears to be confined to laying on a couch clutching her temples and shouting, “think THINK!” I actually love it. Don’t you think this sounds like the most amazing NYC job? Just to lounge around and vehemently come up with plot lines and cliffhangers? Sounds great!

    The most interesting conflicts are between Debra Messing (can’t bother to learn her character’s name) and Tom’s assistant as well as Angelica Huston (ditto) and her cocktail-prone soon-to-be ex-husband. The Huston/ex-husband thing could quickly become a schitck, though, and already we’re at 2x per episode drinks in face. Another Sue Sylvester, we do not need. The Debra/assistant intermix, though, is funny and could be more. I like that she constantly demeans him and tries to fire him just as much as I like how he desperately tries to undermine her and point out the flaws in her logic. More!

    This episode is clearly when they got picked up for a full season and needed to add in extra characters. Fathers/boyfriends/liaisons.

    The 3 random gal friends/baby shower scene was realistic. I think this is absolutely what I would expect to find when a Manhattan 20’s single lady is invited to her friend’s Dallas BBQ shower.

    I do like that “Smash” is actively avoiding music first in lieu of everything else first, but I do also need a little more music. Something in the opening would be nice.

    No matter how many newborns and supposed wives, nothing will make me believe Mr. Dimaggio is anything but gay as the day is long. Did you see his eyes? His hair?

    • funnynurse says:

      Mr. Dimaggio did not even have to audition? Was there no female equivalent of an amazing Bruno Mars impersonator?
      Also, do you think Glee’s Matthew Morrison is jealous?

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