Smash Review: Troubles Abound

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This week's Smash was supposed to be about "The Parents," but Ana was the highlight of both The Hit List and the show. Wow. Karen better start worrying about her position and role in the musical.

The Hit List had its first public showing at a fundraiser for the the theater. Karen had a blah performance that was followed up by Ana singing a gorgeous song with full production. I call a foul on the writing here because Karen was set up to look boring compared to Ana's performance. If Karen and Jimmy would have sung any of the show's duets, there wouldn't have been such a differential between the performances.

There was no competition, though. Karen sang a decent song, in a modest outfit, with no stage production. Ana had an elaborate costume, dancers with eye-catching choreography, and she was floating across the air on fabric. When Richard ends up writing about the production - and you know he will - he will highlight Ana's performance and not even mention Karen. At least, he has an out for not reviewing the lead since he missed her act.

Ivy & Leigh

The damage has already been done and compounded when Scott asked Julia to look over the show to make the Diva role into a second lead. Perhaps Karen will be happy to share the spotlight with her friend. Though, neither Derek nor Jimmy are going to be thrilled that Scott went behind their backs for another opinion on the show.

That will be only one of the problems that The Hit List will be facing. Karen's father set into motion an entirely different problem by first accusing Derek of having an inappropriate relationship with his daughter and then outing her's with Jimmy. Derek has treated Karen with respect unlike his previous lead actresses, but that doesn't mean it will stay that way. He crossed the line by ordering Jimmy to stay away, while he kept Karen at an arm's length.

Now that Karen and Jimmy have become romantically involved, Derek won't be able to hide his feelings any more. He has fallen in love with Karen. While she has at times seemed drawn to him, she doesn't feel the same way. Will Derek be able to remain professional? Or, will he risk the show and his working relationship with Jimmy over Karen? In some ways, I'd love to see Derek pour his heart out to Karen, since that's a part of him that he's kept locked up tight. The problem is that if he does it, there's no going back. Plus, it won't end the way he wants.

The turmoil at The Hit List is mostly under the surface right now and ready to explode. On Bombshell, it erupted with both positive and negative results. For the show, it was brilliant, but for the personal relationships it crashed. The decision to hire Ivy's mother, Leigh, was problematic from the beginning and that's what made it a great story. The show needed the publicity, but at what cost?

Ivy proved that she's a professional and the better person. Her mother never should have accepted the role without consulting with Ivy first. Sure, Ivy didn't answer her phone calls, but Leigh could have made a bigger effort. Plus, Tom should have gone over to Ivy's house and talked to her personally. They were friends, right? Well, not any more!

Tom choose the show over what was in his friend, Ivy's best interest. Then, he contrived a fight between the mother and daughter to get a better performance out of them. He made the wrong decision both times. In the end, Ivy and Leigh gave an amazing and heartfelt performance as Marilyn and her mother, which even made Julia cry. The publicity better end up being extraordinary to make it all worth it.

In addition to the contrived Karen/Ana performances issue, I didn't care for the re-emergence of Jimmy's past. It provides depth to his character, but not in any necessary manner. He already has enough character flaws that being a possible thief and then drug user is superfluous. I'd rather the conflicts stick to the musicals and the relationships there. Though, I expect that Jimmy's thug friend isn't going away and that's unfortunate.

Odds and Ends

  • Loved Ivy's unenthusiastic "Yay" when she learned her mother was joining the show.
  • Karen's father referring to Derek as "A boy that climbs out windows." was hilarious.
  • Derek was unexpectedly understanding about Jimmy nearly stealing from the coat room. His offer to give Jimmy the money wasn't surprising. Underneath Derek's facade, he's a caring guy.
  • I'm digging Julia and Scott's relationship. They could be good together.
  • Eileen and Richard's relationship was odd at the beginning, but they have common interests and get along well. Though, I suspect that their jobs will end up interfering with any potential romance. 
  • Oh Jimmy! Why did he take the drugs? He better have thrown them away immediately! The last thing the show or Karen needs is a drugged out writer and lead.


Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (51 Votes)

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


I still can't stand Jimmy...


I think it's becoming more obvious that Jimmy's personal story is The Hit List. I'm surprised no one mentioned how the drug dealer alluded that Jimmy Collins wasn't his real name. What else is he running from?


I agree Diana. As a fellow educator, I'm all for spelling and grammar but the way Kokuanani approached the error was impolite. One of the basic rules to teaching is that no student (regardless of age) deserves to be shamed. We can correct and support an understanding of an error without degrading somebody.


Kokuanani-- I hope you don't treat your "students" the way you treated the reviewer. No one likes to be publicly criticized. Lighten up. This is a TV review site not the New York Times.


This episode really upset the apple cart with all the relationships, and now I am worried that Karen is going to get her heart broken or get some kind of STD or HIV from her new boyfriend who is a drug user and kind of a creep (though he's a talented creep, and he has MAJOR chemistry with Karen). Still, I think if he had a relationship with OLD, washed out Derek, that would be a huge mistake, too. He's got enough gray hair to be her father, and he always looks like he just got out of bed with messy hair and didn't bother to shower. He's also not handsome AT ALL, and his accent and attitude scream "cheap and jaded." ICK. I can't imagine why anyone would sleep with him if it weren't to further her career. I loved Anna's song and I am thrilled that Julia seems to be flirting again. I don't like that Tom has sold out, though. I love this show, and will be really sad to see it go!


The plot's a mess cuz show's been on the bubble this season--now 3 indicators it won't be renewed--moving it to Sat. night--the death night, Katharine McPhee cut her hair short, and Debra Messing is shooting a comedy pilot for CBS.


SMASH "finally" returned last night with a great hour of music and production values worthy of Broadway. The story line deepened as well and there's much to consider between all of the talented characters and intrigue abounds. Karen definitely received the short end of the stick last night, but I think she's secure in who she is and someone who is genuinely happy for Anna. Ultimately, there should be a place for BOTH of them which would only make the show stronger. Of course there is a long way to go before that happens. I don't know about anyone else, but I am still haunted by Leigh's delivery of the "moon song," and the interplay between Mom and Daughter both literally and figuratively (very interesting concept even if it is driving Ivy NUTS. Nevertheless, Ivy was particularly mesmerizing in that scene as she stood motionless on stage fully embracing Marilyn's pain. So, hats off to Smash for an outstanding episode and we really need things like this on television! In the wake of so many cuts to the "arts" in our school systems, it's more important than ever that we have music and dance on prime time, not just as part of an awards show, but as the heart and soul of a "drama" on Network Television. I pray, sing and dance that Smash will see a season 4 and that it continues on the path of excellence set in last night's episode. I'll be watching on Saturday because I know that all of the ingredients are there- they just need to be used correctly and with the same aplomb and passion we see...and love, on Broadway. Bravo NBC!

Sarah silva

With 8 episodes to go before the season/series finale, I am wondering how it will all play out. I have read that there will be satisfactory endings. So we will see. The one I can bet right now is Julia gets together with Scott.
I feel bad for Karen, as soon as Ana sang I knew that Karen's lead role will be in jeopardy. However I would like to hope that Jimmy will not allow that to happen, but we will have to see.
I really want to know more about Jimmy, you have to know there is a juicy story when he changes his last name.
I felt bad for Ivy, I was not expecting her to tell Tom they are no longer friends, however I can see her point.
At this moment I do not see Karen or Ivy's roles in their respective musicals turning out that well.


Also: "If Karen and Jimmy would have SANG any of the show's duets" should be "would have SUNG." We're talking 8th grade grammar here. Any of my students would not make these mistakes. Please, a little class.


Re the headline/summary on the front page: should be "between HER and Ivy," not "she and Ivy." [Object of preposition: takes objective case (her)]

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