How do you follow an episode with the beloved Bernadette Peters? In effort to protect us from a letdown, Smash tried its best to turn up the drama through the examination of Marilyn Monroe's dark sexytimes and the digging up of the creative team's old grudges. Argue for a real "star" all you want, Eileen. A show with a Ryan Tedder-penned dance break will sell itself—as far as we at Popdust are concerned. Samantha Martin joins us to talk war metaphors, unsafe bowling practices and the cameo we've all been waiting for. Read on for our thoughts!
Emily: Hey, Sam. What do you know?
Samantha: Hey. I heard a rumor that they kill off Ellis in this episode.
Samantha: That rumor was started by me in my brain just now.
Emily: I don't know if it was his continued lurking and posing as a straight man, or the sight of Julia's husband singing along to guitar hero that disturbed me more last night.
Samantha: Julia's husband was playing guitar hero so that we maybe kind of understand why she was blatantly cheating.
Emily: In a fedora no less.
Samantha: Even though I hope my future mate is a gamer who wears a Bruno Mars fedora.
Emily: Well Bruno is the EXCEPTION not the RULE. Know your Justin Long movies.
Samantha: Maybe I just want Bruno...
Emily: Along those lines of dating tactics, Karen's main approach to protecting Dev from the clutches of that conniving, slutty New York Times reporter is unloading fresh produce from her eco-friendly grocery bag (paid for by Dev's weekly allowance, no dobut). Haven't you seen The Namesake? No matter how hard you try to make authentic Indian food, the men will always go back to the ones their mothers approve of.
Samantha: YES. I hope that Karen making curry leads to a b-story of gas ruining her debut.
Emily: Stick to your diet!
Samantha: Of pb and j...
Emily: And desperation.
Samantha: I would love for Karen to have an episode arc not involving "finding the sexy."
Emily: Or wearing off the shoulder sweaters.
Samantha: When is it safe to say, "OMG One Republic cameo?"
Emily: NOW. Ryan Tedder is playing himself, armed with the task of coaching Karen through a insta-sexy number that will save the Marilyn show entirely. Just add water!
Samantha: From Karen's cover choices and reaction to this level of "celebrity," what do we think of her taste in music?
Emily: "OMG you're Ryan Tedder!" which is how 85% of the population does NOT greet him.
Samantha: Even Ryan Tedder's mom, though I bet Tedd-o says it every morning in the mirror.
Emily: "You have a great set of pipes." The writing staff wasn't even trying to make him sound like less of a douchebag.
Samantha: Derek is depending on this creative genius to save his Marilyn musical?
Emily: Sadly they might be able to sell more tickets if this becomes "Ryan Tedder's 'Marilyn.'" Y'know, kinda like how it was "Will and Jada present Fela!"—except Tedder is a few colossal-sized steps below the Fresh Prince.
Samantha: Also, for those keeping track, this is "Touch Me" ft. the Jabbawockeez
Samantha: I like thinking that the Marlon Brando Marilyn wants to touch her is Godfather-era Brando. She's a chubby chaser. (Song cue!)
Emily: With daddy issues. In her defense, her bed is a PRISON! Being sexy is hard.
Samantha: A TECHNO prison.
Emily: Shows with strobe lights are risky. Sometimes audience members faint during the first act. (This is just a general note, totally not something taken from personal experience or anything...)
Samantha: At least Karen isn't on drugs like Ivy. I am glad that they're filling out Ivy's character. She's more than just a walking ego who only cares about the show and her work.
Emily: Yes, what kind friends she has! They make her schlep to Brooklyn Bowl only to terribly embarrass her with a spontaneous number.
Samantha: Everybody's got to eat.
Emily: We can't all be Karen.
Samantha: Shimmying down the lanes? Flinging balls with no regard for other patrons? There are about a million security violations.
Emily: What do you bowl, 150/200?
Samantha: Neither, but I've met the owner of Brooklyn Bowl. There's no way he'd stand for this. And this must not have been a Thursday. Questlove would clearly step in.
Emily: One thing that I was waiting for last night was the Big Reveal about Tom and Derek's past. They really hate each other, don't they?
Samantha: Partners who back-stabbed and bitched about one another. Next!
Emily: 11 years ago...
Samantha: Julia slept with her husband, and yet Michael Swift's wife is totally cool with playing at the same park.
Emily: WHY DID NO ONE THROW A DRINK THIS EPISODE? Is there a Huston-only clause in the Smash contracts?
Samantha: Probably because things took a turn for the REAL when they mentioned Derek's gay dad.
Emily: Hear that, Ellis?
Samantha: This was almost too personal and intense and random... I felt like I shouldn't have been watching!
Emily: Ryan's still plugged into the keyboard: "You guys want me to write a song to this?"
Samantha: Also, at this point, the whole show/cast/creative is such a hot mess that no one would ever invest.
Emily: A drug-addicted non-celebrity as your leading lady, a perpetual diva/conjunctivitis sufferer writing the book, an annoying Daughter of a Producer babbling about integrity...
Samantha: Mamie Gummer is really great at those meta mini-Meryl moments. "I grew up in show business!"
Emily: "It's this kind of crap that made me flee to Micronesia!"
Samantha: Is that where the short-lived Off The Map took place? (If so MAJOR meta mini-Meryl moment.)
Emily: Let's hope. Zach Gilford could still be there.
Samantha: Tell him to stay, I'm packing my things...
Emily: But what are the chances that revamping this whole thing with a real star will draw interest from investors?
Samantha: Well, this is what an actual producer might say right now: "Wait what?! Ryan Tedder just wrote a techno sex song for the Marilyn musical?! And they're debuting it in some warehouse in BK with some sexless no name?!"
Emily: Get Ben Brantley on the scene, stat.
Samantha: Derek wants to go darker, because his soul is pitch black. He also wants to hire a celebrity for the lead because he only sleeps with ladies who have low self-esteem.
Emily: Aw, Tom is going miss Ivy's hallucinations. Julia is too draining with all of her real problems.
Samantha: But what are Derek's intentions when he stops by Ivy's place? Once again, he and Tom are on different pages when it comes to the whole "feelings" thing.
Emily: He pulled the all too common "So can we still sleep together even though I fired you?" bit. Careful, partner. Ivy's got her independent woman hoops!
Samantha: That's true. It's scientifically proven that men are intimidated by a woman in hoopz. Now should she break the forth wall and sing "Miss Independent" or "Independent Woman Part II..."
Emily: Well, now they can have a real relationship that doesn't get played out in a professional setting.
Samantha: Breathe easy, HR.
Emily: For a second I thought NBC was going to celebrate this momentous achievement with "Fuck You," and a cameo from Cee Lo.
Samantha: Surprisingly, they're not that shameless.
Emily: Although that would be interesting wordplay.
Would you buy tickets to a darker, sexier Marilyn musical? Is the feud between Derek and Tom over, or just growing stronger? Let us know what you think about Smash in the comments below