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Smash Review: Crashing

by at . Comments

With the status of the musical in the air, people moved on this week on Smash. Not to a pretty place for most participants, either, but rather to "Hell on Earth."

Ivy Lynn in Action

Ivy and Karen
Now relegated to the chorus, they were in search of other work. Ivy returned to the background in Tom's musical, Heaven on Earth, while struggling with being an almost-Broadway star. The competition between the two hasn't ended, though, as Karen landed a national commercial, while Ivy was late to the audition.

Ivy's use of steroids escalated to her use of a multitude of drugs. That, combined with her depression, led her to an acting out and, ultimately, a face plant on stage during a performance. Her reaction to losing the role of Marilyn may not have been healthy, but it was authentic. Very few people have the opportunity to achieve a dream like becoming a professional athlete, a movie star or headlining a Broadway show. The disappointment of coming so close and then having it taken away for a reason entirely out of your own control must be almost unbearable. Ivy has the talent, but she can't make herself famous.

Without the musical, the interaction between Ivy and Karen at the audition, the switching of the sunglasses and especially Karen being backstage to see Ivy's fall were a bit too contrived. There is no way that Karen, an outsider, would have been allowed backstage during a live show.

But all was forgiven. Why? Those convenient meetings ended up being worth it to see Karen and Ivy sing the duet of Rihanna's "Cheers" in Time Square. They put aside their differences and celebrated their love of song. The drinks, of course, didn't hurt. And even Ivy's angel outfit didn't even seem that out of place.

Of course, Ivy made it clear that they are not all of a sudden best friends, but the wall was cracked, if not shattered. Now that they will both be in the chorus, it would be nice to see them actually tolerate each other, even better if they return to the practice room friendly with each other.

Julia
Why, oh why, Julia, would you leave a song about your lover on your nightstand? Did she want to be found out? I haven't been a fan of the affair storyline because I had a difficult time understanding why Julia would hook up with Michael. She was introduced as career-driven, but dedicated to her family. This arc was poorly constructed and carried out.

Despite all that, when Frank confronted Julia, I felt for her. Frank has never been a compelling character, but for the first time, we saw emotion from him. His pain was almost lost in that initial confrontation due to Debra Messing's amazing performance, though. She sold Julia's pain.

In the end, Frank decided to leave despite both Julia and Leo begging him to stay. That surprised me. He is a family man through and through, though that could go both ways. Julia's betrayal could be too much for him to handle or his family could be too much for him to lose. For their family, I hope he returns, but her betrayal may be too much to forgive.

My favorite moment of the episode was at the end when Julia and Tom come up with the new name of the musical: Bombshell. Julia is clearly in pain and "Let Me Be Your Star" was quietly playing in the background. It's moments like that which make up for some of the show's misses.

Eileen
In order for the musical to continue, she needed to find a star to play Marilyn. But she also had to deal with Derek. He didn't want to continue with the show until Tom and Julia fixed and finished it.

You have to give Eileen credit for playing hardball. She was left behind by her husband, but she will do whatever she has to in order to make this musical happen and be a huge success. Her "innocent" dinner with another director, Doug Hughes, had the intended result. She got Derek back on board with the musical.

Now, she just has to find her star. Ellis has shown no boundaries to get ahead and now that he is working for Eileen that hasn't changed. He pulled strings to get Rebecca Duvall (Uma Thurman) interested in the role. He's confidence is going to get him in trouble.

Did you cheer or at least smile a bit when Eileen put him in his place? Co-Producer Ellis? Not going to happen. For the first time all season, I enjoyed watching Ellis as he answered that phone. Is this the beginning of the end of Ellis?

Odds and Ends

  • Tom and John were such a cute couple, even if John is a Republican. Everyone has to have some flaw, right? Unfortunately, it's beginning to look like Sam may be replacing him as Tom's boyfriend.
  • Now that Ivy knows that Derek first tried to sleep with Karen, will she end her relationship with him? Ever since her blow up at rehearsal, they have seemed pretty solid. But if she is going to be in the chorus now, would it be better for her to not be sleeping with the director? Tough call here. They are both good and bad together.
  • One of the more discussed topics about Ellis has been his sexuality. From the pilot, there has been disbelief that he was straight. We have seen him many times in bed with his girlfriend, but those who doubted his heterosexuality have been proven right. Ellis not only will sleep with someone to get what he wants, he will sleep with with a man.

I missed the workshop and seeing everyone working together on the musical during this episode. Going forward, I hope the episodes get back to the musical, instead of focusing so much on the character's personal lives.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (86 Votes)

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

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Ugh, I love this show, but Ivy gets on my last nerve! She and Karen won't be friends. Shouldn't be friends. Tom should dump the Republican. For real. I never understood why Julia was messing around with Michael in the first place. So what, he wants you, big deal, that is what masturbation is for.

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PART 2 (Hate character limit, TVFanatic!)...
Watch THE VOICE if you want to see singers being coached on technique. Watch SMASH to see how the personal informs and inspires creative output. The only nitpick I had w/this episode is that Ivy is so immature for a performer who should be more seasoned. The character has theatre roots. Her mom cautioned her on all the pitfalls and didn't even want her to get into the business. So, her whining about a newcomer who gets a juice commercial comes across as a big pity party. How did someone this weak and sensitive survive on Broadway all these years? Don't you have to be stronger and more resilient? Geez, Louise, everyone knew it was a WORKSHOP. The chorus knew the chances of it becoming a real musical are low. The behavior just doesn't ring true to the character - a veteran member of the chorus, with a Broadway legacy, who knows the score and has more experience.

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Very good episode. I really enjoyed what was basically a straight dramatic episode with one featured song. Karen in her green commercial frog suit was hilarious. And, watching Ellis' ambition take shape into action was thought-provoking. You can't put a label on him, as in "hetero" or "homo." "Power hungry maniac who will sleep w/anyone to get ahead" is the most accurate. When SMASH was described as having an "All About Eve" plot, I never thought the "Eve" part would be given to a guy who wants to produce. But, I like it! Even more, I like that Eileen knows exactly who Ellis is and how she can use HIS ambition to further HER goals. Would it be too much for this reviewer to quit with the nonsense criticism that SMASH should drop the "personal storylines and concentrate on the musical." They are one and the same! This show would have been cancelled fast if all we saw were prop crew building sets, meetings with bankers, and rehearsals. Watch THE VOICE if you want to see singers being coached on technique. Watch SMASH to see how the personal informs and inspires creative output.

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I love this episode. Best one since the pilot. I want to see the orange juice commercial. Silly Julia, no one has an affair by accident and I really felt for Frank when he confronted her, and I cheered when Frank landed a punch on Michael. Speaking of punches, Karen should have punched Ivy when she started her "woe is me" self pity, mama was mean to me behavior. In fact I was mentally egging Karen to whack the bitch. If it was me, I would have done it.

Sarah silva

I really enjoyed this episode.
Once again Ivy was queen beyotch! She puts so much time and effort into hating and dissing Karen that if she would have applied that much time and energy into her career I think she would have been a star on Broadway a long time ago, however she is super insecure and I do not think she could ever handle the lead in any musical. That other girl ( I should know her name by now) has a bigger part in Heaven on Earth than Ivy does so I wonder why she never tried out for Marilyn.
I like Tom and John, however I see Sam and Tom becoming a couple.
As for Ellis, we all know he is not straight but putting up a front for some reason. He has no problem sleeping with a guy to get what he wants. I also liked that after doing so Eileen did not agree to make him co producer, she can put him in his place and he has no witty comeback for her!!
I am so happy that Karen told Ivy that Derek wanted to sleep with her first, Ivy needed a wake up call! However Ivy seemed more upset about the Orange Juice commercial than she did about that revelation! I do not feel sorry for Ivy.
I liked seeing them have fun together and sing Cheers, for 3 mins I liked Ivy but that was it.
I am not surprised that Frank left. I do not think that is the last we will see of Michael, I think he will leave his wife and go after Julia.

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i'm with stbob.. i was very confused that Frank figured out the "love song" was about an affair.. I though that he must have known about the previous affair...and then when Michael made the reference to it being over "a long time ago" he seemed sooo shocked. I think Frank would've stayed if he had only known about the recent betrayel. But finding out that Julia had an affair before and with the same man, just was tooo much for him. I don't blame him for leaving. Leo's heartfelt plea broke me though...I thought the episode was all around good. Julia's affair to me wasn't a poor story arc.. people have affairs for a number of reasons... all we know is it happened before, she fell in love with him, maybe her and Frank at that point were going through a tough time... we don't know.. we can only imagine

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It seemed completely out of character to me to see Karen and Ivy signing it up and acting all chummy - just came out of no where....still really like this show though!

Terrie

Con't HATE THE CHARACTER CUT OFF This episode was one of the best of the season (other than Ton and John and politics)...........

Terrie

Who DIDN'T see that coming between Julia and Frank????? I'm not sure I buy him finding a song she wrote leading him to believe or think she'd had an affair. But, she owned up to it and thus the fallout began. LOVED LOVED LOVED Eileen putting Ellis in his place. That was the best part of the whole show last night. Ellis is going to be his own downfall and I, for one, can't wait for that to happen. I still can't stand IVY. And NO, I definitely don't think her and Karen will ever be friends. I do see Ivy and Derrick getting in yet another argument since Ivy knows now that he went for Karen first. I don't think politics has a place in this show. I don't care about Tom being gay OR his gay REPUBLICAN boyfriend. It adds nothing to the story in my opinion. I was thinking last night, Katharine McPhee can sing, don't get me wrong. But is she just coming across as just bland? Maybe she's supposed to because of her character...........I don't know. This episode was one of the better ones of the season(other than Tom and John and the politics)...........

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Why would Frank be so sure that Julia had had an affair on the basis of a love song she wrote when she writes songs, including love songs, for a living? Very contrived.

Smash Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

I feel like a frog.

Karen

It was something. It was total betrayal of me and Leo and 18 years of marriage. It was betrayal of everything.

Frank

Smash Season 1 Episode 9 Music

  Song Artist
Smash cast cheers Cheers Smash Cast iTunes
Song The Higher You Get, the Farther You Fall Smash Cast