Smash Review: Touch Me

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Fans received some great news this week: Smash has been renewed for season two. Even better news for others? Julia and Michael's affair is over!

Overall, I like Smash, but it feels like two shows crunched into one hour. The musical side is enjoyable to watch, but it loses on the personal side of the story. Pick any character involved in the musical and their professional life is enjoyable to watch play out, even Ellis most of the time... but their personal lives are a disaster. And not the kind that's enjoyable to watch.

Derek and Karen

Eileen and her horrible husband are annoying. Though the introduction of Eileen's daughter was a highlight. She gave Eileen a much needed reality check, but I'm glad she just dropped by and isn't sticking around.

Julia's family life is an utter mess: from the adoption, to her son's arrest and her affair. I'd rather see her work on the musical and never see her home life again. Brian d'Arcy James, who plays Julia's husband, is a Tony-nominated Broadway actor. I'd heard that at some point he would be singing and I was looking forward to that. But to a video game? For five seconds? Disappointing!

What is the point of Dev's work troubles? It doesn't really fit into the story and is a poor way to include him outside of his relationship with Karen. While it's important to see that Karen is in a loving relationship, we don't need to see him at work. And I especially don't need to see him hook up with R.J.

Ellis is a despicable person and only out for himself. Is it necessary to show him in bed with his girlfriend chatting about his intentions to get that across? No, his actions make it plenty clear. If he listened to her at all and used her as a moral compass, her character would make more sense. Instead he has dismissed her suggestions.

On the positive side, the Derek and Ivy relationship has developed in a surprisingly positive manner. There have been some bad moments along the way, but after a few days apart they are in a good place. With Ivy out of the lead role that could give them a better shot at lasting.

Despite all my complaining above, I love the production aspects. In "The Coup," Derek and Eileen decided the musical might benefit from a tone change and commissioned a new song and production to test. Neither of them handled the situation correctly, but they had a sound basis for their plan.

The workshop showed that Marilyn: The Musical was very traditional. The music, dancing and staging were safe and didn't push any boundaries. That's not necessarily bad, but could it be better?

Karen's performance of "Touch Me" (written by OneRepublic frontman, Ryan Tedder) was not traditional in any sense. The lyrics, music, staging and costume pushed the boundaries from traditional Broadway show to music video level. Was it over the top? Definitely! Was it exciting? Oh yeah! "Touch Me" is a catchy tune.

Does it fit Marilyn: The Musical? Not at all. It was clear that neither Tom nor Julia were happy at all with the performance or the implication of what Derek and Eileen did. But, in the end, I'd love to see Tom and Julia take inspiration from the song and performance and liven up the musical by stepping out of the box and doing something new.

The best part of Derek and Eileen's covert action was the confrontation between Tom and Derek. We finally found out why Tom doesn't like Derek. Now that their issues and feelings have been released, will that clear the air between them? They used to be friends; I'd love to see them really work together. They are so different, but sometimes that's when brilliance is created.

With the workshop over, the musical must go on. While I wasn't a fan of Ivy when she went all diva, she has grown on me over the last two episodes. She went through the high of getting the lead role of Marilyn and now the low of losing the part. That moment when Tom broke the news to Ivy was heartbreaking to watch. At least she understood the decision. If the part had gone to Karen instead of a soon-to-be-cast star, that conversation would have gone an entirely different way.

I'm thrilled that Smash has been renewed for another season, I just hope that either it focuses more on the professional side of the musical or they improve the writing regarding the characters' personal lives.

Did you love "Touch Me" or was it too much? Would you like to see some changes in the musical or did you like the traditional look and sound at the workshop? It looks like Uma Thurman will be taking a stab at playing Marilyn. Will she be better then Ivy?


Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (90 Votes)

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


There's a reason Karen and Dev's relationship feels off. They are building up to some sort of problem in their relationship. That's way for the first several episodes it looked all honky dory. Dev seemed too perfect--because he does public diplomacy for a living, he knows all the right words to say. Now they've introduced another woman in a field actually related to his own with a similar background. They seem to be dropping hints more and more that things are not well here. On top of that, Derek's particular attention to Karen seems to have he slowly thawing towards him...we already know Dev feels threatened by Derek. What happens when she becomes more buddy buddy with Derek? Though any scene Derek is in, I have to question his motivations, with the exception of most his scenes with Eileen, whom he clearly respects and seems genuine with her. It's hard to take him and Ivy seriously.


I want Derek and Karen to end up together, Karen has no chemistry with boyfriend. Feels like they forcing it thru by having them end up making love in most of their sequence. urgh!


Shan has no idea. This is a great show, albeit with some loose plot notes. The show is entertaining and fun to watch. Don't take it so seriously...your life doesn't depend on it. It's ENTERTAINMENT....and pretty damned good at that.




Where do I even begin? I saw that this episode was rated a 4.4 out of 5. If I had to rate this, it barely would have scored a 1. So, let me back up may statement with WHY's: (1) Dev. His storyline is utterly useless and boring and completely unattached from the show. I for one don't care whether he succeeds or fails. I'm assuming there might be some budding love affair with one of his co-workers: if this happens, then I'll just stop watching Smash. He doesn't need to be elevated. I felt like he had more importance than Karen in this episode which doesn't make sense. (2) Dev & Karens relationship. Is it just me or in this episode, did things look a little forced? They lack chemistry and it was evident in this episode. It was very difficult to care for their relationship. (3) Ellis. *Snores loudly* Either come out of the closet or get written off the show. He's a pathetic "villain". And the scene with his girlfriend? No comment. I feel sorry for her. (4) Ivy. Oh, my poor Ivy. She was severely underused in this episode and I somehow didn't like her sort of being a "bitch" to Karen. Like, maybe its just me but this seems like its not part of her character. Idk. I'll somehow get over it. (5) Julia. She was definitely the comedic relief of the episode but it just didn't hold up well. It was like watching a fish out of water. (6) The Musical Side. Yes, it was fun but I just wasn't over the moon. I haven't been over the moon about the music of the show since "Let Me Be Your Star". Let's face it: last night was too much like Glee and that isn't good at all. So there's my review lol Now, have fun with it!


Not a bad show and next's week episode is a must see, as far as I'm concerned. I would have been realy irritated at the lack of reality if Julia and Michaels's affair (#2 no less) had come and gone without some serious consequences for either of them. Michael losing his job was not enough. Besides, he said he was going to quit anyway for the good of his relationship with his family (a little late for that). From the previews, it appears Frank finds out that Julia has just cheated on him (hopefully discovers it was not the first time) and leaves her. Why he's leaving I don't understand. He should throw her out. And he also confronts his "friend," Michael on the street and decks him (Yes!). Now if Michael's wife could also learn what a scum bag her husband is, that would be perfect. As most people know, affairs rarely end well. They are gut wrenching experiences that usually cause great pain to a lot of innocent people. So in advance, thanks Smash for bringing a little taste of the real world to your viewers.


I hated everything about this ep! I hate Elis and I'm so mad at Derek and Morticia Addams for doing that terrible show behind Tom, Julia and Ivy's back!! I nearly cried when he broke the news to her.. and I can't beleive she fell for Derek's bull****!! I hope Uma sucks and they bring Ivy back! I also felt so bad for Fran, he's so sweet!! The only good thing about this ep was Meryl Streep's daughter! I adore her and her good taste in furniture on the show!


Part II (cut off below - who else HATES the character limit?)
....His instinct to survive, while not pretty, is definitely necessary in show business and could only be revealed to a confidante he trusts completely. I like these moments because they're true and real. I wouldn't be watching SMASH if all we saw were stage productions and rehearsal scenes with Tom & Julia bent over a piano.


Respectfully disagree about the characters personal lives. Every character says and does things in their private lives that cannot be revealed professionally. Last week, we saw the background behind Ivy's insecurity & frustration when her formidable mom came to visit. Their fights and talks were amazing. Karen has to have her "game" face on whenever she talks to anyone in the theatre. But, with her boyfriend, you can see how completely overwhelmed she is in trying to navigate all the politics between people she hardly knows. Eileen's daughter showed a great side to her when we realize that such a decent, intelligent young lady had to come from somewhere. And, finally, Ellis' talk w/his girlfriend serves a great purpose in this episode when revealing just how pure, cutthroat ambition is born. "Artists are treated like crap." His instinct to survive, while not pretty, is definitely necessary in show business and could only be revealed to a confidante he trusts completely. I like these moments because they're true and real. I wouldn't be watching SMASH if all we saw were stage productions and rehearsal scenes with Tom & Julia bent over a piano.


Is it really necessary for Julia to wear sunglasses inside so we know she's upset? That bugs the crap out of me. I loved Tom's kiss! It's reality, especially in the theatre. I enjoyed the episode, but I'm really over Ivy. Having done theatre for many years, I don't do DIVA any more. & more & more directors I know & work with will find out how an actor's temperament is prior to hiring them. A happy dressing room makes things so much easier.

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Smash Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

Derek: Don't be afraid of the sex.
Karen: I'm not

Michael: But, I'm fired. If I weren't fired, I'd quit. They are everything to me and I've been stupid.
Julia: Me too.