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+.


I personally think that Ivy has a voice that fits a musical much more than Karen. Karen's voice is beautiful but has a more pop-ish quality to it, I find. And when I look at Ivy, I can't help but see a bit of Marilyn in her, something I just don't see when I look at Karen. Plus, during the 'Rumour has it' dancing scene, I thought that the other back up dancers were much better than Karen. So overall, I just think that Ivy is more fitting for this musical than Karen. (Also, I can imagine that it would be quite annoying to have someone blasting in your ear all the time while you're trying to sing a number.)


Beg to differ. Nick Jonas is now appearing on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Trying, and did the Anniversary performance of Les Ms. from London.


I usually don 't watch tv much but have been pulled into this show although i view it as nothing more than soap opera really. I do love the idea of it being about a Broadway show and how it progresses from an idea to stage. At first I liked Karen but I have since changed my mind about the Ivy character. Yes, she is insecure but so is Karen. I have feeling Karen will end up sleeping with Derek too. You can almost see where the story line is headed. I didn't think Ivy was particularly bitchy to Karen and like someone else mentioned, I think Karen is a bit self absorbed and even contradictory. I like both actresses and think they play their roles very well.


This puts me out of step with the rest of the viewers again. To me the one time I watched this overacted mess was one time to many. A waste of Ms Houstons talent.


Best episode yet as we have become familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each character. I have never thought Karen was strong enough to be believable but I loved her speech to Jessica, defending herself and the subsequent change in the attitude of the other dancers toward her. I found the scenes with Nick Jonas rather icky. But if Eileen gets backing from him, I guess he was necessary for the story. I also like the way Ivy is gradually unraveling. Yes, she has talent, but without self-confidence, talent isn't enough.


Team Karen all the way.........
Ivy only got that part because she slept(and still is sleeping) with Derek........and she knows that now and is questioning it in her mind....... I think that painting deal will come back to bite Eileen in the butt. And Nick Jonas was no more singing in that scene than I was............ It's really picked up the pace now and I hope it stays that way.....


Eileen made a deal using a painting she was told legally belonged to Jerry. That is going to come back to bite her. Since she is financing the show using funds she used by using Jerry's picture, eventually Jerry will find out and claim the show is his. I think that painting is going to end up costing Eileen more than she realises. It's a ghost in the closet just waiting to come back and haunt her.


i think it's safe to say that i am hooked, i liked this episode
and yes Ivy was mean to Karen
and yes, Karen is a bit self-centered (it's how their characters were written)
I hope Karen will have some friends, she can't be alone in all this.


Omg! I hate Karen, she is so self-entitled, "she [Ivy] shouldn't be allowed to do this and you should all be helping me". How can her constant manipulation and I'm from Iowa bull last? I mean her boyfriend is obviously having problems and she just doesn't care. Then she has the nerve to insinuate Ivy only got the job for sleeping with the director. Nothing about her undeniable talent and years of experience!!


Huge improvement over last week. The songs were good and the cast looks more settled in their roles. The party was lame though. You can't throw such a small party for someone who is supposedly a big 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