Last night's episode of Smash moved forward with plans for the Marilyn Monroe musical with director's pet Ivy at the helm. Every leading lady needs a leading man (or three) yet the search for the perfect Joe DiMaggio rested on way too many borrowed Sex and the City moments, heavy foreshadowing and not nearly enough performances for our liking. Today, Samantha "Without a Z" Martin, Popdust's resident social media guru, joins our attempts to make sense of it all. Read on for our thoughts.
Emily: Despite our feelings last week, Karen has somehow resisted the urge to sabotage Ivy, Showgirls-style—a stronger woman than you or I. For now, she'll settle for a $200/week spot in the chorus of this long-gestating Marilyn musical (now just a "workshop"). I'm sorry, ensemble. You've been on a few stages before, Sam. Does the former really have a negative connotation?
Samantha: We should ask a Broadway ensemble member and a sanitation engineer. It would be great if we could poll someone who is both, and who has to "miss a lot of shifts." But it should be noted that Ivy's ensemble role in Heaven on Earth has not prevented her from getting dressing room sex.
Emily: The bigger plot this week was the search for one of Marilyn's men, Joe DiMaggio. The inner circle's first choice was the reputable star Michael Swift, currently a lead in that hip, downtown "Bruno Mars musical" at La Mama, which is also the first sort of descriptor that sounds like a rejected Michael Patrick King line.
Samantha: Huge plug for Bruno post-Grammy performance, but La Mama would never do a Bruno Mars musical. Also, this is essentially Rent, and from what I could gauge, the Marilyn musical is Damn Yankees.
Emily: But with sparkly uniforms! At least Swift has chops and a pretty respectable pedigree. When they initially proposed getting "Michael Swift" for the role, I thought it was some sort of insider jab at those Taylor Swift-Les Mis movie rumors. (Sorry, Tay.)
Samantha: Hey, now!
Emily: Julia was questioning including the three leading men in Marilyn's life—DiMaggio, Arthur Miller and JFK—entirely, but most shows need a romantic element, and Smash sure as hell does. Enter yet another adoption-killing revelation: Julia and Swifty had an affair five years ago!
Samantha: Yes, after some Grey's Anatomy-style elevator tension the truth comes out: Julia is turned on by talent and pink hand-holding.
Emily: Is it bad to say I'm surprised?
Samantha: I'm not. Michael's wife has way too much of a DiMaggio fetish/obsession. It's understandable he'd look for someone who doesn't make him wear baseball pants every time they fool around.
Emily: As a result, rehearsals for the "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" number between Joe and Marilyn finds Julia in stewing in her own guilt.
Samantha: Which is why she should take advantage of having a gay BFF (Tom) who thinks everything you do has no consequence, and just run with things, instead of being unreasonable following those elevator blue balls.
Emily: The staging, however, mimics Karen rather snoozy trip back home to Iowa, in which she basically grew up in a slightly larger version of the production's set. Pass the freshly brewed iced tea! White picket fences do exist.
Samantha: This song is a boring "Somewhere That's Green," but this song has a key change.
Emily: "We'll make our own little league baseball team" is a line and analogy I could do without. ICK.
Samantha: This song reminds me of the movie of the same title except the main couple doesn't try to kill people and doesn't lack chemistry.
Emily: Finally, a time to be thankful for Brad, Angie and their United Nations fleet of children.
Samantha: I want to see Ivy and Karen's relationship develop more than any of this other hoo-ha.
Emily: Meeeee too!
Samantha: Where were they this episode? Bring on the All About Eve-type stuff, although Ivy isn't established enough to be a "role model" for Karen so it'll be a straight competition. Even better! I can't wait for the backstage sabotage.
Emily: But we keep waiting.
Samantha: Surely the production is losing money with all this nonsense.
Emily: I like how they promoted the show as the veteran vs. the newbie—or at least that's how I interpreted those commercials, when I wasn't looking up what "The Monday after the Super Bowl" meant—but then old Broadway curmudgeons like to remind Eileen that the production lacks any real "stars." Guess 10 years in the ensemble doesn't mean much.
Samantha: Oh no, Eileen is getting a drink as we type—gentlemen grab your napkins. Oh, and there's the joke.
Emily: You think these restaurants would serve her Manhattans in a sippy cup by now.
Samantha: I feel like this divorce story line needs to play out fast, because it's redundant and self-indulgent. These scenes are very campy and riding on the fact that Anjelica Huston is so commanding.
Emily: I actually thought she'd be more of a presence.
Samantha: I agree! It seems sacrilegious to say so, but they're giving her NOTHING to work with. "I bought those earrings for myself" is her most dramatic line thus far. Nothing on this show matches any word she said in 50/50. I just feel bad that she's basically an angry old hag with no layers. And Jessie J's haircut.
Emily: So predictions? No couple is safe (the sequel to Safe House, coming to theaters in 2013).
Samantha: I think the Heaven on Earth actor should get together with Tom's assistant, Ellis. HOW IS HE NOT GAY????!?
Emily: Biggest shock of the night. But maybe that pantsless lass is just a roommate?
Samantha: Who likes to play spy/secret agent.
Samantha: Even though she's accepted her part and is taking time off to go to a baby shower—sure, sure—Karen should not be tiring out her voice with karaoke.
Emily: "No guys, I never do this. I can't, I can't—OK, here's the full choreography."
Samantha: Considering her dad was at karaoke, thank goodness she didn't sing "Wait (The Whisper Song)" like she was planning to.
Emily: Dads love that song! The lack of shoes, however...
Samantha: Karen's boyfriend would never approve. His posture is too good.
Emily: Perfect posture, a fat bank account, a tendency to come to her aid...geeze, can't he just let her breathe?
Samantha: What's next, he cooks her favorite meal? GAG.
Emily: Ugh, men. So reliable.
Samantha: I'm kind of fascinated by Karen and Dev, though. She hates her perfect boyfriend and he loves the most boring woman in the world.
Emily: Single ladies take note: if he doesn't like you it's actually a compliment. You're interesting! I'm still surprised that people auditioning for shows would have that much direct communication with directors, composers and producers. I mean we know Ivy is getting extra attention, but...
Samantha: Ha! No I don't think that Bernadette and Sondheim ever pillow talked. [Editor's note: That would make for a great fictional series.] Which also makes me think: What are Derek's motives? Like, he clearly hates life and hates directing but when he's directing, he can get away with inviting girls over to his house after one audition to seduce him in a white collared shirt!
Emily: We've said before that it seems working in the theater is the only arena that will get him laid; he can easily have at all the aspiring performers working out their daddy issues on stage. But with that accent it also seems like he could just haunt the Red Lobster in Times Square and pick up insecure Midwesterners that way. Less of a headache and a cheaper Kleenex bill.
Is Michael the right fit for the Marilyn crew? Are you feeling Smash thus far? the Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.