Smash Review: Ivy Croaks

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When Smash was first announced, I was excited to see a new and original idea. Network television has no shortage of cop, lawyer, or doctor shows, so Smash was something fresh and intriguing. NBC's heavy promotion of the show created a nice buzz as well.

Smash promised to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a Broadway show with both original and cover songs each week. Would it be a success like The West Wing's look at the White House? Or lackluster like Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip's backstage look at a SNL-like show?

Karen on Stage

Even though tonight's "Chemistry" was the sixth episode, it is too soon to tell. The show is the strongest when it focuses on the musical and the work relationships. It hits some rough patches when it gets into the personal lives of the characters, especially Julia's life.

The evolution of Marilyn: The Musical has been a treat to watch. From the moment the idea for the production was introduced through the workshop, Julia and Tom seemed to be breezing through the writing process. Could it be that easy to write a musical? They cranked out song after song.

Julia's writer's block regarding “History is Made at Night” provided realism to their creative process. With only a few days remaining in the workshop everything needed to be finished. Her personal life interfered with her ability to get the job done. It's easy to sympathize with a mother who is having issues with her child at home, especially with her husband out of town.

Unfortunately, I've had a difficult time feeling anything but disdain for Julia lately. When we first met her, I loved her passion for both her family and for her career. Unfortunately, that was an illusion. Now, all I see is a woman who cheats on her husband. A man who gave up his job to stay at home, so she could achieve her Broadway dreams, no less. A man who stood by her when she broke her promise to take time off work. And a man that she so desperately wanted to adopt a baby with... right?

Other than the Julia-Michael soap opera storyline, the other characters are beginning to be fully developed. The biggest turnaround for me is Tom. Initially, he was very high strung and his interactions with Ellis were too much, but now he is coming across as more grounded. He has worked well with Julia, tolerated Derek and he isn't as over-the-top with Ivy any more.

Ivy has continued to be insecure and a bit of a diva, but was less bitchy than before. Her comment that she should have had Karen fired the first day came across more as an acceptance of the situation rather than as hatred of Karen.

Of course, that changed after Ivy found out Karen was considered as a replacement when her voice went out. The pressure finally got to Ivy and she decided to take steroids to fix her voice, even though there were side effects. I'm not sure whether she should be commended for making that decision or not. What would you have done?

The steroids exacerbated her insecurities both as Marilyn and in her relationship with Derek. After the song in her room and "seeing" Karen in the mirror, I wasn't sure about the direction of the performance enhancement story, but Ivy's outburst in the studio made it all worthwhile. That was a long time coming and - drug induced or not - it should help Ivy move on.

Her reaction may not have been professional, but given the circumstances, it was understandable. It probably won't hurt her either given Derek's immunity to her outburst. Tom's laughter was an indication he didn't have an issue with it either.

The workshop is coming to a close. Next week, we will have the first performance of Marilyn: The Musical. What changes will the investors want made in order to get on board? Will they like Ivy as Marilyn? Will they enjoy the story and songs? How about Derek's choreography?

What about the relationships? Will Julia and Michael's affair interfere will the musical? How about Derek and Ivy? Will Tom find out that Ellis has been spying for Eileen? So many possibilities!


Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (86 Votes)

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


The only thing that can redeem Julia now is if, in the heat of their sensual moment, she kicks Michael in the balls. Oh, how I hate is annoying smirks and persistence.


the only truly emotive believable marilyn character in smash is ivy....she is REAL....the other dark haired a cold fish with a controlled voice with no feeling....i hate watching her...but IVY lights up the scene.... what a mistake in casting....uuurggg..


the only truly emotive believable marilyn character in smash is ivy....she is REAL....the other dark haired a cold fish with a controlled voice with no feeling....i hate watching her...but IVY lights up the scene.... what a mistake in casting....uuurggg..


I was a big fan of SMASH, until the Julia - Michael "thing". It is ruining the show!
I love the music, auditions, dynamics of the performers! Please, don't ruin it with trash!


is it just me or does every single song in this musical sound exactly the same?


I wish this show will focus less on Julia and Michael. It's a story that has been done million times on TV. Focus more on the rivalry between Karen and Ivy. Julia just seems blah to me. What a messed up woman.


After three episodes I stopped watching. Because Castle wasn't on this week, I gave Smash another shot. Smash didn't deserve it. The affair between Julia and Michael maybe common, but Julia speaks out of both sides of her mouth. She warns Leo not to do anything to jeopardize the adoption, and what she does will close the door on it. Also - what happened to Debra Messing? She was fabulous in Will and Grace. Her acting in Smash is not believable and almost makes me laugh. I've always loved Angelica Houston and still love her.


Don't agree at all with the review. Okay the relationship between Julia and Michael is wrong in so many levels but it's not just an affair they are in love, they are like two soulmates who can't be apart and PLEASE this show is not a comedy it's a drama, affairs happens all the time on the show it's really not a surprise. And YES I'm rooting for them I'm a really bad bad person but I'm not shame at all and I really can't wait to see how their relationship will evolve


the Julia/Michael storyarch is just one of the worst written archs i have seen on TV in a long time. Smash should really focus more on the actual musical prodution than the soap stuff.


the smirking going on the day after [julia and michae] and she is worried about adopting. where are the writers?? i cant stand this part of the show now. like the rest. the writing is TERRIBLE

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Smash Season 1 Episode 6 Music

  Song Artist
Song Shake It Out Smash Cast
Song On Lexington & 52nd Street Smash Cast