Smash Review: Poisonous Ivy

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The Smash workshop got underway this week, with Ivy in the lead and Karen part of the ensemble... for now.

Yes, Ivy earned the role of Marilyn, but that didn't stop her from continuing in her role as Queen Bitch. I can't decide whether to simply be annoyed or to feel sorry for her. She "won" the starring role, but she's as insecure as ever.

Then, there's Karen. She was rejected for the biggest opportunity of her life so far, but she showed up to be a member of the ensemble as confident as ever. If anything, she was overly confident.

Karen in Iowa

Either way, Ivy felt threatened by Karen's talent; the battle between them continues. Initially, it looked like Ivy won this round by getting Karen sidelined in the workshop, but in the end, I'm not sure. Karen's a fighter who wallowed in self-pity for a few minutes, but then came out firing in her confrontation with Jessica.

Karen is talented, but more importantly she is sincere. She wants to succeed, but the right way. She wouldn't sleep with the director or put someone else down to get ahead. Her positive attitude won over Jessica and earned her friends in the ensemble.

I absolutely adored when Karen, Jessica, Bobby, and Sue took over Karen's apartment to fit her for her ensemble role. They adopted Karen into their posse, from the clothes, to getting her into their dancing classes, to most importantly coaching her on toning down her performance.

Did they succeed? I'm not sure. The bar scene where they were dancing to "Rumour Has It" and Karen broke out singing either just means she still wants to be a star and/or that she hasn't accepted her position in the ensemble. I can't wait to see what happens when Karen walks back into the workshop room!

Ivy's insecurities may get the best of her. Not only as Marilyn, but in her relationship with Derek. At the workshop, both Tom and Derek took Ivy's side when it came to Karen, but how long will that last? At some point, they are going to want the best of the best in the ensemble, which clearly includes Karen.

If Ivy isn't confident in her ability to be Marilyn, there is no way she will succeed in the role. She may have gotten the part for now, but there is plenty of opportunity for her to be replaced. Her conversation with Derek at the party was very telling when he told her if she wanted to be safe to go back to the chorus. Unfortunately, that will most likely come up again.

No one will ever know if Ivy would have gotten the role if she didn't sleep with Derek, but that relationship has fed into her insecurities. Add in that Derek demonstrated that he will flirt with other women and it complicates things even more.

Outside of the personal issues happening on the musical, Eileen continued to deal with finding funding for the project. Her husband has blocked her every move, even if not intentionally. I loved the idea that she would sell the painting from her marriage to move forward in her life. But it never is that simple, is it?

Her business proposal to Lyle West came across a little creepy to me. I'm not sure why, it was a financial transaction, nothing sexual at all. Perhaps, it was because we saw her desperation in the move. He definitely got the better end of the deal because he will either end up with an exquisite painting at a bargain price or huge profits from a hit musical. A win-win situation if there ever was one. Lyle may be young, but he isn't a fool.

Nick Jonas on Smash

"The Cost of Art" music was much improved over last Monday. While I'm sure I've heard the Jonas Brothers at some point, I wasn't familiar with Nick Jonas's voice. His rendition of "Haven't Met You Yet" was a pleasant surprise. I enjoy the way songs are authentically placed throughout each Smash episode.

While I enjoyed that solo, the group performance at the party of "I Never Met a Wolf That Didn't Like to Howl" from the musical was pure fun to watch. Ivy was Marilyn there and full of the confidence that she needs to hold on to. Even Julia and Ellis got along for those few moments.

While the A-listers were at Derek's party, Karen and the ensemble were having a blast of their own at the bar dancing and singing a little Adele. Those two performances were an intriguing contrast.

We are now four episodes in, are you Team Ivy? Or Team Karen? Did you change your allegiance this week?


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (102 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Am I the only one who feels for Ivy - the poor girl works so hard is so amazingly talented - yes she slept with the sleezeball director but she is so more real than mamby pamby Karen. Please Please please bring IVY back as Marilyn she had the vulnerability and the pazaazzz that Marilyn has - not to mention the body and the voice ! Down with Karen and the idiot director bring IVY back!!!


Loved your first show Emotional Healing Process: What is the Journey? I think we all have areas where we are stuck and found it very interesting about the rpreessed cell memories that keep us repeating a pattern over and over again. I think we could all use some help knocking our blocks off . Looking forward to your next show!


I just rewatched the rumor has it scene, and yes Karen did sing, but her dancing was identical to everyone's, I think because her voice is better they decided to let her sing


Ivy IS Marilyn!Karen us great but she doesn't sound or look the part! Team Ivy and Karen should get another show because she's amazing as well..I hope Ivycan get over her insecurities but she was right about Karen..when you;re in the chorus you have to sound like the chorus..Mercedes in glee has a better voice than Lea Michele but she can sing in the background without overpowering her..that's how it's done!


Ivy's talent cannot be denied, that's for sure. She does fit the part and she has the talent to prove that she deserves to be the star. But this week, we really saw how even if it might root from her insecurities, she can be a total diva and that isn't very attractive. At this point, I think we'll really start to look at how Karen fairs in the rest of the workshops duration. It really seems like she's the one willing to change herself and her ways to be a better actress and to do what's best for the production. For now, she still isn't ready to be Marilyn but somewhere down the road, I think we'll be seeing her as the show's star. Really good episode and I liked how it really highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of both Ivy and Karen. I'm on Team Karen!


Smash is a train smash!!! Lol, I can't help but laugh at all those comments that said it's so much better than glee, and after a few weeks, its ratings are even lower than glee's :)

Sarah silva

I laughed out loud when Derek had his hands all over the woman at the party, and if Ivy believes his story then she is clueless.
I knew that Derek would get tired of Ivy and it looks like that happens next week when he asks Karen to sing one of the songs to show how it is done. I think Derek will realize his first instinct with Karen as the lead was right and thinking with another part of his body was not the way to go!

Sarah silva

Team Karen all the way. I though Ivy was a mean girl from the start and she just proved it trying to get Karen kicked out of the ensemble. I think Ivy knows that she only got the part because she slept with Derek.
I also really enjoyed when when Jessica, Bobby, and Sue took over Karen's apartment to fit her for her ensemble role. They adopted Karen into their posse, from the clothes, to getting her into their dancing classes, to most importantly coaching her on toning down her performance. I like that Karen stood up for herself to Jessica outside the workshop as they were all not being nice to her. As this is a musical shows I did not think any thing of Karen breaking out into song for Rumor Has It. Every episode they have to have each of them sing a song. Same thing can be said for the musical number and the bday party. There is now way that Lyle would have known the that was just to add entertainment as well.


I'm team neutral for now. Both have their +'s and -'s. But did you catch the photographer at the bar? He was checking Karen out. I think she may get some free press which will influence the casting team and help her get the lead. Who knows if she'll stay there. I'm just glad that there's finally something to watch on Mondays "The Voice" and "Smash".


I am team Karen because I think that in the end Ivy will be in the ensemble and Karen will be Star.

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Smash Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

Eileen: If that were a real Degas, what would you pay for it?
Julia: That? ... It is a real Degas.
Eileen: Yeah.

Sam: Ivy's doing the nasty with the Dark Lord, huh?
Dennis: That's what I said.
Karen: Who's the Dark Lord?
Sam: Sauron himself, Derek.

Smash Season 1 Episode 4 Music

  Song Artist
Smash cast havent met you yet Haven't Met You Yet Smash Cast iTunes
Smash cast i never met a wolf who didnt love to howl I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn't Love to Howl Smash Cast iTunes
Song Rumour Has It Smash Cast