Smash Review: A Demented Fairy Tale

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So much for Ivy and Karen getting friendly ... that all came to an end in "Publicity."

Ellis has been leading Team Manipulation on Smash all season, but Ivy won the evil card when she partnered up with him against Karen.

Randall Trails Rebecca

Even if you aren't a fan of Karen's, you have to feel a tad bit bad for her. She is being played from all sides. Is there anyone in her life that she can truly count on? Not even Dev has stood by her; instead he has been judgmental and secretive.

Her new chorus pals don't seem to be around much anymore, except superficially while working. Karen is a magnet for friends that are threatened by her. Both Ivy and Rebecca befriended her in a "keep your enemy close" kind of way.

They both have reasons to fear her professionally because she is an amazing singer. Plus, there is Derek's attention to her, which further justifies their feelings. But Ivy took it to a new level when she used Ellis to purposefully sabotage Karen.

What a shame. Ivy seemed to be getting over her jealousy and selfish behavior when she returned to the show. Instead, the evil Ivy returned and proved just how fake she's been with Karen. Karma. It's going to be coming for her! It has to be, right?

Then, there is Karen's new "friend," Rebecca. That's an intriguing relationship. Karen admires Rebecca, the movie star, who has the fame that she wants to attain. But at the same time, Rebecca is in awe of Karen's talent. Will Rebecca become threatened by Karen and turn on her?

For now, Rebecca has stood up for Karen ... to a point. She tried to tell Derek about the text message, but quickly let it go when he got upset. She has shown that she will hold her ground and doesn't fear him, so why didn't she make sure he knew the truth?

After Ivy's brilliant performance of “Secondhand White Baby Grand," Rebecca realized that she may be the movie star, but she could easily be outperformed on the stage. Her suggestion that Marilyn should sing that song may well be the beginning of the end for her. I can't see them giving in to her. And I also don't think she will allow herself to be upstaged.

The war for Marilyn is far from over. There will be a coming battle between Rebecca, Ivy, and Karen. Who will come out on top? Who do you think would be the best Marilyn? There are only three more episodes until the show moves to Boston for previews and the season ends.

Who should be Marilyn?


  • Karen's performance of "Run" by Snow Patrol was impressive. One of the best non-musical songs she has sung this season.
  • Karen's daydream Bollywood performance of “A Thousand and One Nights” featuring both her and Dev was odd. I'm not a fan of fantasy performances on the show. There are plenty of opportunities to have authentic situations for singing. The addition of all the characters into fantasy didn't work with the story either. But, despite not liking how the song was incorporated into the episode, it was a fun song and well-done. Plus, it gave Raza Jaffrey the opportunity to sing. The Bollywood theme allowed for everyone to participate, which had to be a blast to film.
  • Ivy's performance of “Secondhand White Baby Grand” was mesmerizing. Though, it is getting a bit repetitive for everyone in the rehearsal room to be transfixed when either Ivy or Karen sings a solo. 

Odds and Ends

  • Runaway Leo. I'm glad he was found safe and sound. Now that Julia and Frank are speaking to each other and in a civil manner, hopefully they can figure out a way to save their family. Whether that means they stay together or separate, we will have to wait to find out.
  • Tom and the lawyer were a good fit, but Tom and Sam are adorable together. They not only fit together, but can laugh, are passionate, and have chemistry.
  • Eileen and Nick. Hmm.... Not really sure what to make of their relationship. She is on the rebound from her dysfunctional marriage, so maybe some fun is what she needs. For the long-term, they don't come across as a good fit.
  • Want a sneak peek at what's to come the rest of the season? Check out our interview with Megan Hilty.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (59 Votes)

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


What's the song playing in the club before Karen's performs Snow Patrol song? Is it Kascade?


I was really enjoying watching the parallel but polar opposite paths of Karen and Ivy, with Karen on her way up (i.e. early Marilyn?) and Ivy self-destructing. Megan is the better actor and watching her play that was involving and emotional. But since I really just like watching the singing, dancing and what goes into the making of a Broadway musical, everything else is secondary. It would be lovely if this show was more about the musical and less about the drama, a la West Wing and the White House, but maybe the creator didn't think that she could hold people's interest without soapy stuff. Bummer


i really really hate Ellis... he is like Eve Harrington... hehe.. but keep him on the show... i love to hate and just want to throw my remote control on the TV when he appears on screen.. and that's a good thing... hehe


@hdhntr - I thought we'd see Ellis put a handful of peanuts in Rebecca's smoothie in this episode. Kind of glad we didn't because, frankly, that crosses the line to attempted murder. You never know how badly someone will react to nuts; could be anything from mild rash to hospitalization. I would hope they don't play Rebecca's peanut allergy for laughs because it isn't funny when a person's windpipe closes up and they can't breathe.


run was another fantastic performance by Karen and watching her having so much fun with rebecca was great, even if bf was jealous, liked him early on but on his pitty pot, not so much. karen's statement that her folks in iowa have called three times to ask her if she is a lesbian is a hoot! so right on, great that she is on page 6 so much. rebecca wants her to be exposed to the world and get a better offer, smart! course you know ellis is going to spike her smoothie with peanuts to get ivy ahead! so easy to see that coming. ivy is a beatch but needed for when karen eventually wins out. KM is just so talented! More performances please! Less julia drama, boring! No to old people and the guys making out! will turn off too many people to this great show.


I loved this episode! First the amazing Karen singing 'Run' absolutely beautiful! Then the Bollywood number - loved it! Dev & Karen were fantastic and didn't Karen look HOT! I really like that they incorporated all the cast in the number & if you listen to the lyrics, it's funny. Will be sad when the season is over; this my favorite TV show.


This is a fabulous show, the talent is superior, Angelica Huston is the star without singing a note. The music and lyrics are wonderful, I just can't say enough about it but I do agree that the young actor who plays Leo sticks out like a sore thumb, his acting is awful, he speaks in a monotone and it's not believable that a kid in NY whose parents are in the theater would be so childish, there is nothing about him or his acting that says teenager, and it could be the writing, I don't know his prior work, but that storyline is written and acted poorly.


Leo storyline is ridiculous he was whining over the adoption, his acting s abominable and he looks 35 years old.


ALL the performances are great and for you that don't "get it", that is what will make this show PERIOD! MORE like the bollywood scene! fantastic performance and absolutely appropriate! What makes this show. Not the stupid drama, which is just in the way. of course they have to show rebecca and ivy doing what they do, Karen is of course the one who is the real star but they have to have the evil assistant manipulating everyone. but do what I do, everytime anything about karen's family or tom/sam or alice's personal scenes come on just fast forward! they are totally irrelevant to the story line and what hurts the show. writers need to cut out those as it is hurting viewership, no one wants to watch that silly stuff. has no purpose.


This episode was a complete hoot!! My favorite number was Bollywood-- it finally gave everyone on the cast a chance to have fun. I just hugged my computer and key-smashed. Like I've said in my other comments, I love the actor who plays Dev but he has no chemistry with Karen and should get another relationship. Personally, I like Karen and Derrick(sp?) together. To all of you folks who think that Eileen is too old for a relationship: to quote
Chris Colfer, "screw that, kids". I think Anjelica Huston should win an emmy for best supporting actress in a musical show. Her character is so alluring.
Nobody bats an eye when Donald Trump dates some beauty-contest bimbo, so who cares if her BF is younger. As to Ellis, every good show has to have a villian and he is that here. He stirs up all the conflict which moves the show along so he needs to stay even if I find him annoying. Lastly, Frank needs to get tough-- he has been the amiable housespouse for too long. I am thrilled that this show got renewed. Everyone just has to take it in the right spirit (which I think is fun and sarcastic) and not get too angry when your favorite characters don't do what you think they should. Until next week....

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Smash Season 1 Episode 12 Quotes

You are not an understudy. You are a star.


Derek: I think you'd make a brilliant Marilyn. I see it. You know. In my head.
Karen: Really?