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+.


Good review and I agree with virtually everything said. I usually try to avoid the "B" word when describing someone like Ivy because I think it's kind of sexist (my two daughters really get on to me when I use the term). But really, is there any better way to describe Ivy? She is a piece of work and I hope Derrek and everyone else in the show finds out about that little stunt she pulled with the fake text message to Karen. As for Karen and Dev, I'm afraid that relationship is doomed. He will never be able to live with the fact that Karen's career, at least for now, is far more important to her than he is. And as her star continues to grow brighter and his fades, there is also some jealousy involved. Too bad. When she was going nowhere and he appeared to be the one on the way up, he was very supportive of her. I don't see Karen reciprocating that much now with things in reverse. So I guess we are going to see yet another relationship chewed up by show biz. It seems Rebecca was right.


That was a fun episode! Karma IS biting Ellis in the butt because he's the one who brought Rebecca, the Movie Stah, into the production. Now, he's assigned "smoothie" duty! HA! Serves him right! Also enjoyed the chorus' response to Derek storming out & confronting Rebecca. Did anyone else notice how statuesque Uma Thurman is? She's eye-to-eye w/Derek without wearing heels. I don't watch movies from India because my plate is backlogged w/enough U.S. titles. But, the Bollywood number was a hoot! Kat McPhee was so much sexier in that one number than she's been in any Marilyn-themed routine for the entire series. Good for her for rising to the challenge of Indian dance moves. The background scenes w/the other character had me LOL. My opinion on Dev hasn't changed though - if he can't be supportive of Karen & her dreams (which he knew about before), cut him loose! She doesn't need an insecure guy dragging her down.


@Virg It was announced weeks ago that SMASH will be back for a second season.....change the channel if you don't like it.........


Still do not like Ivy, she doesn't deserve to play Marilyn. I hope Derrick finds out the truth. Do not like Ellis.......scum of the earth. I'm surprised the reviewer didn't touch on Leo. Leo is a spoiled brat......."Oh poor pitiful me, My parents are going through something that has nothing to do with me and I don't know what do to other than make it about me" This arc is adding NOTHING to the story other than how it affects Julia. For those of you knocking on Eileen dating.........just because someone is in their 60's doesn't mean they can't date............ Previews showed Julia saying if Michael Swift is brought back in that she's out............hmmmmmmmmmmmm I do hope karma kicks Ellis and Ivy's ass and real soon..........


Someone please tell me this mess has not been renewed.

Sarah silva

This was a really good episode!
Ivy is such a mean and bad person there is nothing nice about her, well she is nice to Sam as she dose not feel threatened by him and she and Derek are fine at the moment but otherwise she is just nasty to everyone and the only way she can get a song is to steal it from Karen! Her and Ellis would make the perfect couple!
I am glad that Leo was okay but sorry, that friend of Leo's mother should have said that Leo was staying with them, being and adult she should NOT have lied about his whereabouts, especially as Julia and Frank were so worried and had the police involved as they thought he was "missing".
So Dev and Karen are fine now after last weeks huge fight?!?! Next week we see him cheating on Karen with RJ and then proposing to Karen! WOW!
I personally really like the Bollywood number, while it was kind of forced and out of place in a way, I really really liked it!
I love Thorsten Kaye! Normally he is 13 years older than me and normally I do not fine men that age attractive but he is!
I am looking forward to next week!


Just when you start to like Ivy, Bam! I still like her, but in a feel sorry for her kind of way. I love her voice, and I think she would still make the better Marilyn, with Karen as her understudy. I don't think Karen is ready for a lead yet, even though her voice is amazing too. I hope they get rid of Rebecca soon.


okay i am sorry this will sound awful but this is TV, it's the art of the visual perception. Eileen looks too old to be having any romantic relationship on screen. i mean they can tell us that she is dating so and so but i just hope there will be no real kisses that we can see. it's like watch your mother make out. everybody knows that it happens but no kid really wants to see it u know. Plus, no offense, but he looks like he is way younger than she is, she looks like she is in her late sixties and he looks like he is in his early fifties tops.


i had to pause it to say how much i liked this episode so far, Karen singing Snow Patrol's song "Run" was amazing and even this is an understatement, i don't know why so many people hate Katherine, the Bollywood skit was also amazing, this show deserves its audience and even more, i never thought as much as i do today that this show deserved to be renewed and hopefully return with an even bigger audience

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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?