Smash: Episode 4 Director’s Notes

This week brought us back to the roots of the series: the competition between Karen and Ivy for center stage and the subsequent devolution of their moral compasses. This is the sweet spot for the series too, and it really was fun to see Ivy go diva on Karen, and for Karen to finally grow a backbone and bitch out the other ensemble member who’d been calling her “Iowa.”

  • Karen’s new-found personality led the ensemble members (Bobby and the other 2) to stage an “intervention” which I guess is theater-speak for the inevitable makeover scene, interrupting Dev’s conference call/nightly airing out of his chest hair. Seriously, does Dev ever button his shirt?
  • I always enjoy a makeover scene and this one was made all the more enjoyable by Bobby’s incorrigible hair, and wide-mouthed energetic dancing. I could have done without the Adele soundtrack. Sure, I love her, but how did they not realize that she is way overexposed and it’s time to move on? So, for those of us keeping track of the public places in which Karen and Co. have sung, we have karaoke, lounge, and now hipster bar with incongruous rooftop stage.
  • The biggest musical number was put together on the fly to woo young Nick Jonas to invest in Eileen’s Marilyn dreams. I don’t really know much about the Jonases, but I thought Nick was kind of perfect in this role (though no one sings Buble but Buble!). As ridiculous as it seemed that they would put together such a performance on the fly, it is also kind of how I imagine theater people actually do party, so I dug it. It also helped advance the plot, since we got to see the spark between Julia/Dennis Duffy is really based in their love of theataaah!
  • Derrick and Ivy: please stop. Ivy, you are delusional thinking that he genuinely wants to date you, and Derrick, she already has the part, let’s move on to some other PYT. I do however like that Derrick gave Ivy some straight talk, basically saying, you wanted to be the star, now act like one. So both Karen and Ivy had to learn what their new roles entail and come to terms with it. Good writing.
  • Presented without commentary: Eileen: “You told me once you were an art history major. If that were a real Degas, how much would that be worth?” Julia: “It is a real Degas!”
  • Some final tidbits: loved the Julia/assistant snark at the party; Tom, just because the lawyer is good-looking and compliments you, doesn’t mean he isn’t boring as hell; are we to assume that the “Andrew” Dev was talking to on the phone was Andrew Cuomo?; I like the reality of Ivy still being broke and having to wear second-hand Posens to parties.
  • And finally, Come on, Eileen! You are a fierce bitch, and I hope this is the only time we will see you crying in someone else’s bedroom at a party and begging money off Nick Jonas. Because of this moment of weakness, reflecting on the wreckage of your once Degas-filled marriage, you have been awarded the cheeseball of the week! So, eat your feelings in the form of an aged camembert and herbs de Provence cheeseball, soaked in tears and Manhattans, and then dusted with a sprinkling of former dreams and black truffle shavings.

5 thoughts on “Smash: Episode 4 Director’s Notes

  1. fdfaumders says:

    Ivy is pretty awful, but I think there’s more to be learned. I sense that Ivy’s struggle to be a star comes from a place of real struggle, unlike Karen, whose parents don’t get why she is in NYC, but support her anyway. No, I want to hear some sad, rough stuff in Ivy’s past. That would make me feel for her, and help make her diva attitude/ vulnerability more three dimensional. TBH I don’t really like Karen or Ivy that much: we need to know more about both of them beyond their desire to be stars.

    • Jerch says:

      Agreed. Though there are plenty of secondary and tertiary characters to go around — some of them quite enjoyable — for this show to have lasting appeal we need to connect with the main characters. That might seem obvious, but I think that’s part of what happened to Glee. Did anyone ever care about Rachel or Finn? Quinn came back around, but she had to go all the way out and back before that happened. It would be nice if Ivy and Karen can be grounded in something resembling an approachable/entertaining backstory.

  2. funnynurse says:

    Ivy is the worst. But I loved how catty and diva she became almost instantly. All those years in the “ensemble” are over, bitches, now Ivy is going to be FIERCE!
    Does anyone else see that the new hottie black dancer boy is going to be all up inside Kathrine McPhee after a few episodes?
    I absolutely hated that dancing Adele scene. FIRST- no one who is a good singer should be allowed to sing in karaoke. SECOND- what group on people just stands on stage and dances to the 3:45 minutes of Adele? And then just casually sings part of it?
    Side note, did you know that Katherine McPhee suffered from severe eating disorders while she was growing up. I mean, I don’t care, but I wanted to mention it.

    • Jerch says:

      Since you mentioned something like an eating disorder, I’m gonna go ahead and say it: the actor who plays Tom is an ugly man. From his eyes to his hair to his lips. Nothing but ugly.

  3. Jerch says:

    I kind of loved this episode. There’s a fit and finish to this series. Maybe it’s because flailing NBC needs a hit? I don’t care. It’s here, and it’s good, and I will watch it. Though I agree the end is out of character for her, I like Eileen’s money-grubbing story arc. It feels real, and she’s a likable character. Actually, I enjoy most of them, with the exception of probably Tom and Ivy. Does anyone like Ivy? Is she the defacto villain, or are we going to learn more about her?

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