Smash Season 1 Episode 13 recap
....for Ellis has been deemed irrelevant.
No, really. That was what I got out of this episode. Now that Ivy is capable of doing her own snooping (and of course, she always was) can we get this irritating sycophant off the screen or have him do something interesting?
I feel like that was just one of the corrections that was sent down from on high and then just...not quite managed the way it should have been. Look, they try. They try to address the network notes. They just...fall short. And there was so much promise. Maybe this is the key to Smash: front-load all the interesting stuff and pray people are too lazy to switch the channel afterward.
Because the opening was great. I'm not the biggest Cole Porter fan but they nailed that feeling of heading out of town to do a show - it's exciting and it's always a literal rush and you're always subtly proud to be a part of that big group at the airport(or train station), getting in everyone else's way and kind of exceedingly self-important because “we're going to put on a show!” It's really wonderful.
Also true and wonderful - yes, “Tech” (we'll get there!) can be super fun, since there's not that much actual content required so if you're in the cast or creative, you're just waiting around for problems to arrive but otherwise just having a bit of a laugh. I thought these characters were enjoying this just exactly enough. Even walking into the house (venue) and the lights are suddenly all over the place and it seems like night in there constantly no matter what hour of the day it is, that stuff is all correct (and just gave me a nostalgia flashback).
So how can this show get some things so right and so rich, and then just neglect the actual human beings walking in and out of these beautiful scenarios?
I suspect it was to correct some of the problems they'd been criticized for - it's just that they decided to course-correct them all at once.
Let's see. What kind of problems could they be adjusting?
"Ellis is annoying, and nobody likes him"
Hmmm, good note. Okay, let's deal with that by giving him nothing to do but be an accessory to snooping. Good? Okay. But he can still party with the cast, right?
"Everyone likes Tom. In fact he's the only one everyone likes. More Tom"
On it. Tom can sing everything and be the only member of the writing team who actually goes on location to Boston. Cool?
"Except we're getting blowback about the gay thing so...what can we do about that?"
Oh man, gay blowback. Okay, well, let's see. We can make the improbably successful songwriter who's apparently never had a slow month - let alone year - in his career be effortless in his ingratiation to his boyfriend's family. Oh, sure, they might initially be put off because theatre isn't a stable career but once Tom shows he's clearly on their side - you know, because it's not like his boyfriend might need some support, what with his untraditional “life choices” in what is clearly a traditional household - he'll be accepted without question, which is great because these two are getting married, probably, in order to subvert the gay blowback.
"Julia doesn't seem to care about her family...or her job"
Right. Okay, point taken. Here's what we should do. Let's have her sulk at home in truly hideous plaid pyjamas (Lainey loves pyjamas but hasn’t watched this episode so she can't contradict me) for most of the episode, pouting and screaming about how she's not coming back to work if they employ the best man for the job, the one who actually knows what's going on with the show. Let her have unglued tantrum after unglued tantrum, and somehow still not get fired, because she is not the only damn lyricist in the world. Then have Frick and Frack, her wooden family, tell her that they give her permission to go to Boston, because they're the twin wizards of giving, or something, but only if they come to supervise. Does that sound feasible? Yes, right? Next problem?
"Rebecca is entirely too reasonable. She's supposed to be a kooky Hollywood actress, isn't she?"
Oh, well, that's easy. We can have her seduce the easily-seduceable director, because he can say I love you one minute and sleep with an actress the next, because he's not a real person and whoo, boy, he was getting too interesting what with actually being devoted to his work and his girlfriend and all, that was too much, so let's just have him swayed by a birthday cake and a Marilyn routine, because he's never ever around seductive women anymore.
(At this point, the writer's room assistant timidly ventures "But um, that's actually changing his character, not Rebecca.)
So what? Who cares! She's a blonde hot actress and everyone knows blonde hot actresses are crazy and they'll sleep with anyone! Next?
"It's time to ratchet up the tension in the Karen and Dev relationship"
Oh yes it IS! Let's go! Okay, he'll propose, not because he wants to, but because he somehow got into the clutches of an evil evil worth bitch. I know, happens to men all the time. Poor guy. Okay, so he totally won't understand that when he goes to propose to her in Boston that she's in TECH. I know! Who doesn't understand that you can't do anything in TECH?! Like obviously, this is going to be her entire career, and she's going to continue to want to be in show after show after show, so she'll have Tech and Tech and Tech, theoretically followed by an actual run of performances, so he really should only propose when she's out of work and pathetic. Why doesn't he know that?
So anyway, the fact that these guys have been living together and not moving to alternate cities to benefit each others' careers and all - that's not enough to make them break up over an unexpected ring, right? Like, we wouldn't expect them to have discussed this plan and know their approximate levels of commitment to each other, right? No, didn't think so either. Cool. Anything else?
"Well, the kind, wise bartender seems like kind of a cliche"
Oh no, we're already on that. We'll just make him the anti-bartender by having him choose the good of the show over loyalty to people you've worked with for years. Does that sound good? Excellent. Well, that sounds like all problems solved. It's obviously time for lunch.
Attached - Megan Hilty at the Leap Of Faith opening last week.
Michael N. Todaro/Getty