Be Careful What You Wish For...
Smash Season 1 Episode 8 recap
Because the only thing more ridiculous than Smash's idea of what you care about in the theatre world is what they think you care about OUTSIDE the theatre world. Who the hell greenlit an episode in which nobody does any work at all, except De, oh, and of course Ryan Tedder of One Republic?
I have to say that as much as I wanted to yell at this episode like the ones before, starting with "Oh my God, you're Ryan Tedder, of One Republic!", I have a couple of points of praise to make. For all the people who say they don't f*ck with their faces, Debra Messing appears to actually not be doing so. I like how much she's aging. It looks right. Also, when I was a counsellor at a theatre camp as a teen, we had the campers do a routine one session to "Dance To The Music" and it was exactly as fun as all the rampant theatre kids jumping around in the bowling alley.
And... that's about where my praise ends.
Who - WHO thinks that Ellis is a character that exists in the world? He gossips to anyone who will listen, and nobody says "Hey, maybe I won't consider the source of this is a snivelling 23 year old who has fed me a story every day?" He carries stories back and forth and has no moral compunction about it whatsoever? He thinks artists are losers? He has suddenly decided this while in bed with his girlfriend when we all know that he's not smart enough to be Machiavellian enough to make this person like him? What kind of a horrible judge of character is Eileen that she allows a squirmy little slug like that to work for her, learn from her? What kind of messaging is this? Slime rises? Be a dick if you can find a vulnerable older woman to take it?
Remember how Karen's friend is too busy eating his fries to enunciate his lines? This is not a character trait. This is just sloppiness. Why couldn't they get another take? Remember how she expects people in the showbiz world to “keep secrets”? This is what makes me nuts about this show. Rumours and gossip are the whole way that anyone gets anything done in this business. You hear about something, you drop a word into someone's ear, you ask for a hint or some help and that is the way the world goes round. Do not tell me again, when you email to yell at me, that she's a small-town girl who doesn't know any better about the industry but is trying. She is NOT trying. She is pouting, and they're not the same thing.
And then she sings a song that, as everyone on the internet is probably simultaneously saying, sounds like a cheap track that Britney's producers rejected that was ultimately sold to someone marketed as “the next Pink”, but with more exploitation.
Of course there was also the egregious overacting by...one Grace Gummer. I wish it wasn't true, but that was... “not TV acting” is the kindest way I can put it, I think. "Mahatma Katie". That isn't a joke. It isn't a character. “Saintly” is not a personality. Making Eileen change her mind after her insanely irritating daughter rants at her makes Eileen a weak, silly straw-woman who doesn't have a mind of her own. Why would you do that to one of your main characters? To show me the convincingness of a daughter we'll probably never see again? Oh, but who's so saintly she decorated her mother's apartment from out of her trust fund? Is this relatable to anyone? Who thinks "you know, I can really identify with being bailed out of "poverty" (what's the rent? $7500 a month?) by my 23 year old daughter who's only trait is her goodness"?
Did the writers realize that Derek was the most relatable character on the show, who actually wanted everyone to get work done and actually has some valid points about why the show’s not working - so they turned around and made him a blatant homophobe? Spitting the word “gay” in contempt twice in five minutes so that I'd somehow take Tom's side? It didn't work; now I just hate them both. Making the scene between them even more egregious was them yelling about how this “nonsense” between them has to stop. The show is on at 10 PM. These people need to get a four-letter word out now and again.
And the only person who seems to have some sort of shame and regret about the whole thing is Ivy, or Megan Hilty if you prefer. Both of whom have that guilty look on their face as they sing the opening lines from the musical that almost was, mournful-reprise-style. I didn't know Hilty before this but I will join the choruses saying she deserves better.
The blame doesn't lie entirely with the show. I've been doing it wrong. I shouldn't be letting myself into a situation like this alone. So before next week, I'll figure out some sort of game we can play together while we watch this. That is if there's anyone still out there. We're going to make it fun if it kills us.
Final note - I'm not dealing with the court date “storyline”, and you cannot make me. You're welcome.
Attached - Megan Hilty and Bernadette Peters at the GLAAD Media Awards on Friday.