Catching up with the characters of SMASH!
Sorry for the hiatus in Smash reviews, but even during a busy few weeks, I was not ignoring the progress of our favorite new musical: Bombshell!
So, let’s catch up with what our characters have been up to so we’ll be ready for the final 3 episodes.
Our favorite Iowan’s star is on the rise! Karen’s filmed a commercial, turned down meeting with a major record producer, and beat out Ivy to become Uma Thurman’s understudy. Her new found success (and expanding wardrobe of leather jackets) is causing drama in her love life though: Dev is confiding in his work colleague instead of her, and gets into a fist-fight with Derrick outside their apartment. Karen’s also getting caught up in the glamorous lifestyle of a star: Bowie! And there is a lesbian rumor circulating about her and Uma! Karen really seems to be lucking into all this success, and the writers/McPhee haven’t done enough to show how she deserves it. She’s been at the game long enough to have dropped some of her naivete, and needs to start taking a stand/responsibility for her own future.
Ivy on the other hand is being eclipsed by Karen’s prosperity. The writers have done a lot in the last few episodes to show just how much Ivy cares, works, and loves what she does (not to mention finally made us see how the whole Derrick/Ivy thing actually does make sense). She’s also emerged a sympathetic friend, and good time gal. In other words: I’m Team Ivy. When Ivy self-medicates with pills and booze then face-plants down the stairs of Heaven on Earth (we get it: the fallen angel), she and Karen spend a night drinking, hanging out at bodegas, and singing along with the Times Square crazies. I actually loved that scene. It was a totally realistic bonding moment, but all the more real when Ivy reminded Karen that they still aren’t friends. Ivy proved it when she had Ellis do her bidding so she could nab the “Secondhand Baby Grand” solo. Wait, I get it…she is the second hand baby grand! Symbolism!
While I’m still never certain whether her name is Eileen or Elaine, what is clear is that she has her groove back. She’s moving toward some hot and heavy action with the Irish/Spanish/Welsh bartender, and making it rain for her new show, keeping all the whiny theater personalities in check, and showing Ellis his place. Brava!
Well, now we know exactly how far Ellis will go to climb his way up to…well, a producer credit, I guess? When Ellis gingerly removed his messenger bag in Uma’s penthouse, I thought he just wanted to snoop the NY real estate, but no, what we got was the insinuation that Ellis hooked up with Uma’s smarmy, pallid assistant. Just…no. Later, Ellis blows it by not understanding how call waiting works. One step forward, two steps back, amirite? We all know Ellis is playing a dangerous game: you can get a lot of splinters in your ass by riding the fence like that, Ellis.
Julia is also seeing the ramifications of her extra-curricular dalliances. Her marriage has imploded, and son Leo is failing school, then runs away. Debra Messing has done a really good job of playing out this situation. The scene when she accosts her son’s friend while wearing huge sunglasses and then says, “I’m famous!” was great, and gets to the heart of her divided self: she thinks of herself as famous, even in her home life, and she needed the humbling of the affair to understand what is important. She also continues to wear an enviable array of flowy autumn-toned outfits that make her hair look fab. Kudos.
Tom has thankfully moved on from the boring lawyer he was seeing, and color me shocked that I actually really like him with the dancer. They definitely have a chemistry that the lawyer did not. Except, um, Knicksfan doesn’t want to put out? I think it had something to do with God too? Ummm, OK.
Ugh, you continue to be the worst. He is the most poorly written character in the show, and none of his choices make sense. Also, chill out Mr. Judgy-pants. Dev’s presence in the show is often unclear to me, but all was revealed in the last episode, where we discover that he is an excellent excuse for an over-the-top Bollywood number. So, when Uma’s character does an Indian accent and fails to understand Southeast Asia’s diverse cultures/
cuisines, then says “I love Bollywood,” we are supposed to roll our eyes and think, “Oh, you racist.” But then, when we are treated to the Bollywood spectacle immediately after, I guess we’re supposed to just…go along with it? Let’s just say the whole scene was in poor taste and forget it ever happened, shall we?
So will Ivy or Karen be able to elbow Uma out of the Marilyn role? No one wants Uma around, and even she doesn’t want to be there, but what will the final straw be that puts her out? Some kind of kale smoothie accident, perhaps? Will Julia and her hubs reconcile? Did Tom and Knicksfan finally do it, or was that just some heavy petting? Will some dark secret be revealed about Eileen’s man? Will Derrick pull all his hair out keeping his show together? Will Dev grow a pair and dump Karen or come to terms with her choices? Who will Ellis screw/screw over next? Stay tuned. You know I will.
In conclusion, I have missed too many episodes to give out a truly well-considered cheeseball, but given the eminent disintegration of their relationship, it is only fitting that this $7.00 martini-soaked palak paneer flambe cheese ball (no peanuts) goes out to Karen and Dev. Y’all are heating things up, and it is only a matter of time before your relationship goes down in flames!