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+.


Okay seriously, while I enjoyed the music in the Bollywood, 'A Thousand and One Nights'??? It's bad enough that they got Arabic culture mixed up with Indian culture, but they couldn't even keep that straight what with adding in a little Garden of Eden. I mean, if you're going to be culturally insensitive, at least try and stick with one culture.


First, Ellis is supposed to be an evil manipulator. The fact that so many of you want him off the show just proves how well the actor is doing his job. Same for Ivy, though she had been rather unstable, and now seems to have gotten her malicious act together. It isn't clear why. I liked the Bollywood scene. It is an entertainment form that we don't don't do much in the States, but fit as a light musical story summary just as well as the Second Hand Baby Grand did as a serious summary. I've never been a big Uma Thurman fan, but she's terrific in this. You really get the sense of a "star" who intuitively realizes that she is way out of her element in a stage musical and is using every trick she knows to hold on. In my opinion, she is NOT stupid enough to think that she can sing that song as well as Ivy or Karen. I almost get the sense that she is foretelling her own exit from the show. A couple of other things: Debra Messing without makeup is more powerful than any lines that were written to show the hurt she feels for screwing up her marriage and family. And Katherine McPhee is incredibly talented and incredibly beautiful (and a pretty good actress, too), but not at all sexy -- not even the Bollywood costuming and dance moves can make her be that way. Casting her as a girl next door character was smart -- plays to her strengths and minimizes her weaknesses. I hope this show is recognized at Emmy time.

Anna maria

ps: wtf was the bollywood scene??

Anna maria

ugh Ivy all the way..karen is so annoying and ivy is way better! yes she was mean, but in a Blair way that you can't hate her for it..she was only taking back what was hers! She was going to sing it if not for rebecca suggesting k..god I hate Rebecca!Th oly people I hate more are Leo and Ellis..the have GOT to go!


WHY IS KAREN NOT MARILYN YET?!?! she has the best voice out of anyone on this show. She is amazing!!!! That version of run was so amazing I almost cried. So beautiful!! I hate Ivy. She is such a fake jerk. Seriously so insecure its just annoying. When are they going to make Karen an amazing star like she deserves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I loved the Bollywood number! It was my favorite part of the episode, really, because it was lush, fun and we got to see people singing and dancing who don't normally get to do that...the costumes were fabulous, the singing was grand and the choreography wonderful! I agree with the commenters who said Ivy is just an evil piece of work who doesn't deserve to be Marilyn. And I have to say that I don't think her rendition of " grand" was that great, I think Karen could have done better. And Uma Thurman is just annoying, awful and out of place among so many talented people...she's nothing but a whiner and I hope they boot her out soon,along with that weasel Ellis. I also don't see what anyone would see in Derek, he's not even handsome, and he's a jerk. I love Angelica Huston, but don't really care to see old-person sexuality on TV, thanks.


I think all the negative comments about Leo are a little harsh. Yes, he may be a little overly sensitive. But for any kid who has been through his parents divorcing, it can really be a tough time, especially when you thought your mom and dad had a strong marriage. What I don't get though is him having any anger towards his dad. Julia cheated on Frank, not once but twice. What husband with even the slightest bit of self-respect wouldn't walk away? Now it appears that Frank may try to patch things up with Julia, mostly for Leo's sake. I think it takes a lot of man to forgive that kind of betrayal. How can he possibly ever trust her again? I don't know if I could, even for my kids.


I thought this episode was awesome. I had to watch the Bollywood song 5 times before moving on. Ivys baby grand was mesmerizing. I think come Emmy time this show will get its recognition. Best show on tv.


@delphincik I know, right! I’ve always like ‘Run’ and didn’t think I’d ever hear a version BETTER than Snow Patrol’s…I was wrong. And to think, I didn’t even like this show at first. It’s easily in my top 5 favorites now. In fact, I’ve been re-watching a lot of the episodes on my lunch breaks. I just go to the streaming site Dish, my employer has called dishonline(dot)com because it keeps up to date on the latest several episodes. It’s pretty cool, completely free, and you don’t even need to be a Dish customer to watch a lot of the shows on the site, including Smash!


I find the comments about Eileen dating hilarious. What are you people going to to do when you get Eillen's age? Sit in a room filled with cats until you assume room temperature? Put a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger? Eillen has just as much right to pursue a romantic relationship as a 17-year old. And if your little immature minds can't handle that, I feel sorry for you. You have some growing up to do.

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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?