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Smash Review: Being True

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It's a challenge to direct a musical, whether it's a Broadway show or a small not-for-profit production. While creativity is necessary, it's just as much a management role.

In "The Bells and Whistles," Tom's lack of management experience threatened his ability to successfully direct Bombshell. He learned that being the director required more than just his creative vision, but the ability to make difficult decisions, manage his cast and be a leader.

In contrast, Derek was having difficulties of his own. He's always been confident and a strong, definitive leader as a director, but in his new production he needed to be open to others' ideas, especially those of his writer, Jimmy.

Sam Returns

Tom's a naturally friendly and likable guy. He's wants those around him to be happy, but as a boss that doesn't work. Throughout rehearsals, it became obvious that Tom had never managed people before. Derek may have been a jerk to his cast, but he had a strong vision and stuck to it which is why he was so highly regarded as a director. Tom's decision to openly take feedback made him a pushover, because he didn't have the strength to tell people "no."

Sam's return put Tom's flaw front and center. I'm probably just as disappointed as Sam was on the show that he isn't joining Bombshell. I didn't realize how much I missed his character until he returned. Sam and Ivy are adorable together. And, Tom could use Sam back in his life. Though, that doesn't look like it's going to happen now.

As a new director, Tom went on a power trip and his enthusiasm got the better of him when it came to Sam. The song was good and Sam's an amazing singer, but Tom let his personal needs overshadow what was best for the show. In the end, Tom had to break Sam's heart and his spirit. I don't see that romance happening any time soon.

Julia should have talked to Tom before it got as far as it did, but at least she intervened. The idea to have Tom talk to Derek was brilliant. The conversation between the two directors on the steps was one of my favorite moments of Smash season 2. They needed each other in a way that no one else could help. Derek was able to tell Tom that respect was more important than being liked. And, Tom was able to remind Derek of his younger self. Tom had it right when he told Derek that Jimmy was not the enemy.

During that short conversation, Derek and Tom were able to look at their situations from a fresh perspective and knew what they needed to do. Tom had to take control back of his production, while oddly Derek had to do the exact opposite.  Of course, they are still the same people, so we'll see how long they last before they fall back into old habits.

Jimmy's performance with Karen on the nearly bare stage with dancers instead of props was brilliantly executed. It was a relief to see that Derek finally got what the vision for the show should be. The conflicts between Derek and Jimmy are not going to go away, but two of the biggest were resolved. The new staging fits the show and Ana earned the role of the Diva with her impromptu performance at the bar.

It's more likely that the two will butt heads over Karen than about the show at this point. Derek's shown that he's not a good boyfriend and Jimmy has his issues, but Karen brings out the best personally and creatively in both of them. Derek tends to sleep with all of his leading ladies, but he hasn't made a move on Karen. Is that because she's the first woman he truly loves? Karen hasn't shown any romantic interest in him though.

Instead, she's had a crush on Jimmy since she first heard him sing. Despite his poor treatment of her at times, she still liked him. It's as if they are drawn together by an unknown force. Ana put herself out there and got the role of the Diva and Karen revealed her feelings to Jimmy. It was such a wonderfully awkward moment between the two. When she opened the door, it had to be him.

Now that Karen and Jimmy have revealed their feelings for each other it's going to get complicated. Derek won't be happy when he finds out, plus it's never easy to date a co-worker. And as co-stars of the show it will be even more difficult. In that moment when the door opened all they cared about was each other. Young, passionate love.

How do you think Derek will react when he finds out about Jimmy and Karen? Will the show go on? Did you enjoy the stoop chat between Derek and Tom? Who will have the more difficult directing job going forward? Tom or Derek?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (39 Votes)

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

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Ivy and Karen were absolutely fabulous when they sang "That's Life" if the series continues with this type of talent it will be on TV and have many viewers for a long time

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I have enjoyed Smash so much last season and this season despite whatever other haters say. I loved Bells and Whistles. Sam's jazzy number was a delight, but Jimmy's "obstacles" were a Smash! It's so modern and fresh and relevant and easy to understand. The first musical with contemporary dance numbers that moved me so much was Notre Dame de Paris. But that was at least ten years ago. So a guess putting contemporary dance number in a musical is not exactly a new idea, but I Loved it! I will enjoy the show for as much as I can.

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DC, I agree with every comment you've posted. Watching Hit List. Karen & Derek. In addition to your comments in response to DeAnn, I'd like to add, Derek was attracted to Karen at the beginning of the show when he propositioned her first, before Ivy. Over time, Derek and Karen's relationship has changed. They understand, respect and like each other. Derek is a hard man but he eventually listens. He's fair about it. He protects the people he cares about as he had done for Karen in Season 1 with her ex-what's-his-name. Jimmy is just too immature. He has a lot of growing up to do. He doesn't seem the type to be there for Karen. Closer in age, more handsome as reasons that Jimmy is better than Derek? Flimsy reasons.

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I don't know how anyone can like Jimmy! He is awful. He is mean and rude and he needs to get over himself. I don't like him and Karen together.

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DeAnn, I am thinking you are quite young or else you have not been watching the whole series. After her initial audition which he apologized for, Derek has shown himself to be very respectful of Karen; she turns to him quite frequently and doesn't see him at all as a player when it comes to their relationship. There is an 11-year age difference between the two actors (which obviously wouldn't bother the actor Kat at all because her husband is 19 years older than she is) which is hardly extreme. And Jimmy, although sexy in a "boy band" kind of way, has already shown that drinking and drugging is more important to him than Karen. His "rebel without a cause" act is wearing very thin. He has not once been considerate of HER feelings or goals. If you think a great relationship will be gained by having everything all about Jimmy, all the time, theirs will be a match made in heaven.

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Loving smash season 2, but I am soooo not on board with Jimmy and Karen. I'm sure not many people are with me on this, but I am dying for her and Derek to get a chance together..

Deann

DC, I don't think that Derek, who is a player and sleeps with practically every leading lady he comes across, would have any idea how to "treasure" Karen, especially with the shabby way he treated Ivy. He's not even good looking, and his hair is always sticking up like he stuck his finger in a light sockett...and he wears crappy clothing and looks like he just woke up after a bender, all hung over. He's also much older than Karen, and I can't imagine her having a decent relationship with him at all. Whereas Jimmy is young, handsome and sexy, and I think he will be able to have a good, if volatile, relationship with Karen because he is obviously in love with her. He's got talent and a great voice and he and Karen together are going to be unstoppable! I also was glad that Sam had a chance to do his Ben Vereen imitation (Nat King Cole was never a dancer) and that Tom grew a pair!

Tvgarth

Of course the chat was not only surprising but advantageous to them both. I suppose that's the way it happens on Broadway to an extent, but I firmly believe most actors, and directors included are far more professional than they are "divas" in their jobs because in NYC there's someone for every position literally knocking on the door willing and READY to take over...so let's not get too carried away with these shenanigans. Karen and Jimmy...finally but there's going to be a price to be paid for this "coming together," no pun intended (I don't think)? Glad to be rid of the other period show...period, and thank goodness everything is on track for both shows. It's never easy to get anything done on Broadway, or even Off-Broadway and I'm enjoying the difference between the two and rooting for them both. "Let's put on a show" should be a compelling piece of television in this day and age, but Smash is not always hitting its marks. All the talent is there, and every now and then a truly great song shows up, but some of the staging is beyond banal. Where are all the talented choreographers? Why not give several of them a chance and let us see some really stunning work from really creative people who understand Broadway AND television. Even the sound mixing is a little lack-luster from time to time, not doing anyone any favors...but I'm a FAN and I want this show to succeed. Just seems to me that they aren't really taking advantage of all the BROADWAY TALENT that's out there, just as Hollywood does when it produces a musical. Wasn't that long ago that Tommy Tune, one of the most brilliant director/choreographers ever, opted out of directing the movie of "Best Little Wh***house in Texas," for just those kind of "Hollywood" reasons...err, I mean casting. Well, you get the point. IF this show is to succeed, it needs talent in all departments and they only have to look just outside their stage door to find it. I hope they find 'em fast cuz they're needed. Smash has potential and it could be SO much better...for real.

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really enjoyed Smash last night and apparently others did too as the numbers jumped up! (a little bit anyway)
agree 100% with DC!
and I too, would pay to see Hit List in a movie or on Broadway! or Bombshell if Karen were Marilyn! And what about a future TV show hi-lighting Katharine & Jack Davenport? As someone suggested on FB- they could do a scripted show based on dancing!

Smash Season 2 Episode 7 Quotes

The show doesn't need opening up. It needs to be true to what it is.

Jimmy

No, no. I'm pretty sure his connection to you is special.

Jimmy