The SMASH Reality Index (S2, EP1)

SMASH

By NineDaves and Linda Buchwald

“We know we’ve kept you waiting / We know we’ve made you mad / But this time that we’ve spent not hate-watching SMASH was the best time we ever had.”

Okay okay okay. So maybe it wasn’t the best time we ever had. Because as much as we love to shit on SMASH, we really missed it for all it’s ridiculousness. And we missed writing these goddamn recaps. So here we are, back in front of the television with our extensive Broadway knowledge in tow, ready to rip season two apart for all its “totally true” moments and “oh hell no” actions.

And boy, is there a lot here to pick apart. No matter how many changes the creators promised this year (new cast members, new composers, new plotlines, etc), we were still given plenty of eye-rolling moments in the two-hour premiere. None of them more ridiculous than the bizarre insistence of marketing Jennifer Hudson as a full-time cast member when she’s ONLY DOING A THREE-EPISODE GUEST STINT! AHHHHH!

But let’s not get too worked up just yet. After all, the show was waaay better than it’s been. Plus, we have to praise SMASH’s new showrunner Josh Safran for bringing his Gossip Girl-past to the new season. Did you notice how everyone got together at a party and all of a sudden SHIT WENT DOWN? It’s like Jenny Humphrey was there the entire time.

So sit back with us and let us be your stars through this week’s SMASH REALITY INDEX:

Totally True

  • SMASH opens with a close up of Karen Cartwright’s face, as if to remind us that she’s the star and we have to love her and blah blah blah we get it!
  • Montage of other characters doing things while one character sings. Classic SMASH. We’re glad they didn’t get rid of everything in the new season.
  • OH HEY ANN HARADA.  PLUS 15!
  • OH HEY KRYSTA RODRIGUEZ! WE HATED THE ADDAMS FAMILY BUT WE’RE GLAD TO SEE YOU HERE! PLUS 20!
  • Dev’s note is as lame as he is. Plus 5.

SMASH

  • Ivy doesn’t throw out ALL her pills. Because even a recovering addict knows you want to keep a stash for later.
  • “Cut,Print…Moving On” is pretty damn literal, huh? Then again, it comes from Tom and Julia, who also gave us such literal gems as “Let Me Be Your Star,” “Never Give All The Heart,” and “Don’t Forget Me.” They’re nothing if not consistent!
  • Karen is a bitch now. That’s totally true because fame – even in the slightest form – would do that to any girl trying to be a star in 2013. Generation-Y AM I NOT FAMOUS.
  • The speech from the creative team to the actors felt really realistic. “It is my intention to pick up everyone’s contract but we may not do that.” That’s something many a theater actor has heard <cough cough Chester Gregory cough cough Shrek the Musical cough cough>
  • RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU SCREAMED A LITTLE WHEN YOU SAW JOE ICONIS’S NAME IN THE CREDITS!
  • Bobby is still gossiping and talking shit. Do you think this is what Wesley Taylor was like when he dated Matt Doyle?
  • Ivy Lynn’s “I’m pissed off” face is the same as Ivy Lynn’s “I’m sorry” face.
  • “I hope you’re ready,” Eileen says to Karen. “It all starts now.” We rolled our eyes at this cliché statement until we remembered that Eileen Rand only talks in clichés. And that she’d probably throw a drink in our face if she caught us talkin’ shit about her. Plus 20 either way.
  • Michael Swift wants to be let out of his contract and no one objects. Plus 15 because Will Chase is doing better things in Edwin Drood right now than he ever did on SMASH.
  • Julia doesn’t read the reviews. Of course she doesn’t. Even though that’s totally true, we’re going to minus 15 because STFU JULIA.
  • “I don’t need some critic getting in my head,” Julia barks. “I sat in the audience for three weeks. I know there are things that need to be done. I want this to be the best it can be.” We imagine that a lot of creatives think and talk like this, which only makes us critics more frustrated.
  • Also, is the fact that Julia didn’t work on the book at all last season and now is getting a ton of shit for it a subtle dig at Theresa Rebeck? We think so and plus 1,000.
  • SHOUTOUT TO JORDAN ROTH!
  • Derek wants to know what to plan for because “he has a lot of projects.”  Oooookay suuure you do.
  • “Call me when you have a reason to,” Derek screams as he leaves the room. This may be our new favorite way of saying goodbye.
  • Anna’s old roommate is on a Disney cruise. Plus 10 because Jennifer Hudson started on a Disney cruise. And minus 10 for us knowing that.
  • “You’re an amazing singer and even a better actress,” Sam tells Ivy. We don’t know about that, but that’s what gay best friends are for.
  • AHHH JENNIFER HUDSON! SHE LOOKS SO DAMN PRETTY! We know that she’s only here for three episodes and SMASH keeps advertising her like she’s a full-time cast member but fuck it WE’RE SO EXCITED TO SEE YOU GURL!
  • AHHH AND SHERYL LEE RALPH! AS JENNIFER HUSON’S MOTHER. SO MANY DREAMGIRLS REFERENCES GOING THROUGH OUR MINDS WE CAN’T SEE STRAIGHT!
  • This show Beautiful looks like Baby It’s You meets Memphis but we’d still see it because we love Jennifer Hudson.
  • Also, we get that Veronica Moore won a Tony for this Beautiful show, but Sheryl Lee Ralph won Featured Actress in a Musical for it too, right? Right.
  • Veronica Moore laments about doing The Wiz next. “Another good girl role for Broadway’s sweetheart.” Derek quickly responds, “As long as you keep winning those Tonys!” We imagine this is what a conversation between Audra McDonald and everyone is like all the time.
  • Karen quotes Veronica Moore’s Tony speech to her. Because duh. (Plus 100 because we probably would have done the same thing.)
  • Tom and Julia spend their evenings standing outside the Shubert in the rain, staring at the Heaven on Earth marquee. Plus 200.
  • Eileen is eating at Butter.
  • Jerry says that Eileen can’t invest in Bombshell because she doesn’t have the money. Last we checked, that doesn’t stop people these days. <cough cough Rebecca cough cough>
  • Eileen tells Jerry, “Get out of here before I throw another drink in your face.” Plus 100.
  • OH HEEEY JORDAN ROTH AND YOUR PERFECT PORCELAIN SKIN!
  • It makes perfect sense for Jordan Roth to be investing in Bombshell. He often supports shows he loves that are not likely to turn a prophet.
  • Jerry has a blackberry.
  • ANN HARADA HAD LINES Y’ALL! PLUS 100!
  • Karen gets pissed off that Ivy exists. “It’s about you!” Ugh.
  • OH HEEEEEEEEEY MICHAEL RIEDEL!
  • “Not only did I see it, I saw it with Rebecca Duvall!” says Michael Riedel, on the Bombshell out-of-own tryout. With the biggest grin on his face too, as if he’s talking about The Addams Family Chicago-days.
  • AHHHHHHHH JEREMY JORDAN. “BANG BANG WE’RE DEAD”
  • We’ve met Michael Riedel in person and he’s just that creepy.
  • Sam was offered the part of The General in The Book of Mormon tour. Because the only other show touring with a lead African-American actor is The Lion King and ABC owns that shit.
  • Tom quotes his part of the Bombshell review verbatim. “The scores a marvel full of charm and pizzazz with pastiche numbers and unparalleled emotion in its introspective moments.” LOL ‘cause no the score is not and also of course Tom knows that shit by heart.
  • Rebecca Duvall claims she left Bombshell because Derek sexually harassed her. This seems exactly like some shit Uma Thurman would pull.
  • “Rebecca Duvall would sleep with a follow spot operator if it meant more light on her,” says Bobby. Good one, gurl.
  • All the cocktails are named after Marilyn Monroe movies. Have you been to a bar at a Broadway show? This shit goes down all the time.
  • “Shows are like families,” says Julia. “Everyone knows everything.” Plus 100 because we didn’t have any secrets in our high school drama productions.
  • Ahhh the “Let Me Be Your Star” underscoring. How we missed you!
  • Another song performance while a montage of characters doing stupid things goes on in the background! Drink!
  • Plus 50 for the Michael Riedel “Can I quote you on that?” line.
  • Ivy tells Karen that she can’t hate her as much as Ivy hates herself. This is dramatic and totally something Ivy would say and DUH.
  • Frank thinks he can do whatever he wants because he cheated and she owes him as much. Men are the worst.
  • Drink if you forgot the cliffhanger that Ivy took all those pills and almost killed herself last season.
  • “Everything I’ve done has turned out so wrong,” says Julia. Oh Debbie… The Starter Wife wasn’t that bad.
  • Julia tells Tom she read the reviews opening night but pretended this whole time like she didn’t. We know for a fact this is true because many a SMASH star has claimed to not read blog posts while then quoting our recaps. <cough cough Christian Borle cough cough Megan Hilty cough cough>
  • Bombshell is under investigation because of where Eileen got the funds. Sooo Rebecca.
  • Tom claims that no one would want him if he was single again. UM HI OVER HERE!
  • Tom and Julia decide to move in together. Will & Grace 2.0!
  • Another song performance, another montage! Drink!
  • LOL THIS REVIEW:

SMASH

  • Derek tells Karen to find something to amuse herself with an AHHH ENTER JEREMY JORDAN!!!
  • OH HEY ANDY MIENTUS!
  • Kyle collects Playbills of failed musicals. Who is he, Robbie Rozelle? Plus 20.
  • YOU GUYS WE MAY HAVE A CRUSH ON ANDY MIENTUS’S CHARACTER MORE THAN WE DO ON JEREMY JORDAN’S!
  • OH JUST KIDDING JEREMY JORDAN IS SINGING! GAME OVER.

Oh Hell No!

  • There would have been more going on at a closing night for a show that’s supposedly going to Broadway. Speeches, dressing room cleanout, etc.
  • There would have also been people at the stage door saying goodbye. Friends, family, and a few lame fans (see: us).
  • Karen takes a car home from the show in Boston. She may have replaced Rebecca Duvall in Bombshell, but that doesn’t mean she gets her contracted car.
  • Karen picks up her suitcase as if it’s made of air. CLEARLY THAT IS EMPTY. FILL YOUR PROPS SMASH.
  • Also, minus 5 because we both travel a lot and that is NOT how you carry a suitcase up a flight of stairs.
  • And minus 5 more because you wouldn’t have one small suitcase for that a long a stay in Boston.
  • Karen has a new roommate (played by Krysta Rodriguez) and the first thing the girl does when Karen comes home from a long out-of-town tryout is hand her a letter from Dev. Surely bitch would have started by handing her the electric bill or something or at least giving her a tour of the place.
  • Plus, you go through all that trouble to make a “Welcome to Your New Home” sign and you don’t have cupcakes? Minus 10.
  • Also Minus 10 for Krysta Rodriguez’s outfit. She looked like she was back in the on-stage seating pit at Spring Awakening again!
  • Also, you only have three boxes, Karen? I know you’re from Iowa, but surely you’d accumulated more stuff that that.
  • Karen throws out her letter from Dev. She would saved it and put it in a scrapbook.
  • Dev’s handwriting is so faggy.
  • Ivy would have flushed the pills, not thrown them away in the trash. Flushing is way more dramatic.
  • No one stands that close to one another at an elevator and then pretends that they don’t notice one another. OH HELL NO!
  • Eileen tells the cast not to expect raises if the show moves to Broadway. Actually Eileen, rates on Broadway are always always always higher than on any development contract (the Lab contract, the workshop agreement, staged reading contracts, etc) and more expensive than any other theater where they’d develop it (a regional non-profit, off-Broadway, lower-budget touring contract, etc). So really, the cast should expect raises if the show moves to Broadway.
  • Bobby claims that Karen is part of the creative team of Bombshell now. That makes no sense whatsoever. We doubt that Tom and Julia will be asking her for creative input anytime soon.
  • When prompted to pick backup singers, Karen immediately says “Jessica and Beth, of course?” Um… we know who Jessica is but who the fuck is Beth?
  • Eileen calls The St. James Theatre “The Best Theatre Broadway Has to Offer.” We call it “The Theatre Where Shows Go to Die.”
  • Julia and Tom love the St. James too! “Oklahoma, The King and I, The Producers,” they gush. “Big hits! Long runs!” That’s great and all, but can we remind you about Bring It On: The Musical, Leap of Faith, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Hair (the touring production), American Idiot, Finian’s Rainbow, and Desire Under the Elms? And that’s just in the past 4 years!
  • “When Karen Cartwright employs you to let her be your star, you have no problem answering it with a resounding ‘Yes’,” reads one of the reviews. MINUS ALL THE POINTS.
  • Ivy and Sam are sitting in those Time Square chairs again. No one does that! And yes, we’re calling them out again because we know Christian Borle loves when we do that.
  • “What is a star anyway?” Ivy asks. “Do they even still exist?” Um… yes. And they’re taking all your Broadway roles gurl.
  • What kind of a name for a show is Beautiful? Minus 100.
  • Next Fall is playing at the Helen Hayes. Is it 2010?
  • And if SMASH exists in a world without Rock of Ages then we don’t want to live in that world at all.
  • Veronica Moore wears a silk robe in her dressing room. Minus 50 for being a total fucking cliché.
  • Have you ever seen a Broadway dressing room? They don’t look anything like Veronica Moore’s. Especially at the St. James (we’ve both been backstage… fucking Jon Gallagher, Jr. after American Idiot). Where’s the cinderblock? Minus 20.
  • Veronica tells Karen to “Protect the work.” Well now that she’s part of the creative team, I guess she can do that. Minus 10.
  • Veronica Moore walks out of the stage door to a sea of photographers. Believe us, that doesn’t happen for Broadway stars, no matter how many Tonys they’ve won. Audra MacDonald fucking hangs outside the Richard Rodgers and people are all like, “Get out my way I’m trying to walk past you, you nobody.”  AND BITCH HAS 5 TONYS. Unless you’re Ricky Martin or Danielle Radcliffe, chances are you’ll exit the stage door to a sea of stans and confused tourists. Minus 80.
  • And furthermore, no actor just walks out the stage door without having to a) sign out or b) get a sharpie from the stage door dude.
  • Come on Jerry. You know better than to drink a martini with Eileen Rand.
  • “Time to move forward with the plan,” Jerry BBMs somebody. What is this, Revenge?
  • Julia acts as if the Michael Swift thing was so long ago and that’s she’s learned so much. Bitch, it was three weeks ago.
  • Julia says she’s rooting for Ivy, yet at the same time basically says that Karen will decide whether Ivy stays or goes. Um… AREN’T YOU THE BOOK WRITER AND LYRICIST? YOU MEAN TO TELL US KAREN FUCKING CARTWRIGHT HAS MORE POWER THAN YOU HERE?
  • WE DIDN’T GET TO SEE IVY SING “SMASH.” MINUS EVERYTHING!
  • Tom tells Sam to take the part of The General in The Book of Mormon tour because he’d be “front and center” there, whereas he only has “like 10 lines” in Bombshell. Um… The General is not front and center and probably only has like 10 lines.
  • The Bombshell reviews praise Julia’s lyrics but not her book. Because unless your Harvey Fierstein or Douglas Carter Beane, the book is always the problem.
  • Veronica Moore leaves a party to call the producers of The Wiz immediately and tell them Derek Wills is not a womanizer. Yeah that’s ridiculous.
  • Linda finally talks and she totally fucks things up between Julia and Frank. DAMN YOU ANN HARADA. YOU FINALLY GET MORE LINES THIS EPISODE THAN ALL LAST SEASON AND YOU TOTALL RUIN THINGS UP FOR US. WE COULD HAVE HAD BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES ALL SEASON!!! AHHHH!
  • Also, now we will never get to hear the cast sing “That Frank” from Merrily We Roll Along about him. How great would that have been?
  • Katherine McPhee and Jennifer Hudson singing “On Broadway?” What is this – an American Idol finale?
  • Karen Cartwright refers to herself as Derek’s muse. Minus 200.
  • Is it just us or did that whole scene where Ivy walked in on Derek and Karen about to kiss feel very Serena/Dan/Nate circa GG Season 1?
  • Ivy would never have been fired at the Bombshell party. They would have legally done that behind closed doors.
  • Tom loses his shit on Julia at the party. This may make sense for the action in the story, but BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES WOULD NEVER DO THAT. HE’S TOO KIND AND WONDERFUL.
  • Karen refers to herself as Derek’s muse AGAIN. Minus another 200.
  • Tom thinks a perk of Julia moving in is getting to see Leo more. OH GOD PLEASE NO.
  • Ivy Lynn sings “Don’t Dream It’s Over” at her audition for an ensemble member in some undeterminable Broadway show. An 80s classic? For an audition song? No.
  • Ivy Lynn leaves her audition and The St. James Theatre now has Bring it On artwork up. Beautiful closed quickly!
  • That Bombshell artwork still sucks.
  • Jeremy Jordan sounds great singing this “Broadway Here I Come” song but if it’s for a song he and Andy Mientus wrote for their musical, then we have to really question what lame musical they’re writing. We don’t want to see another fucking show about someone else trying to be a fucking star. WE HAVE BOMBSHELL.
  • Also, musical theater songwriters usually don’t have amazing voices like that. You may have seen Jason Robert Brown on tour, but believe me – Norbert Leo Butz’s version of those Last Five Years songs are waaaaaay better.
  • Karen calls Derek and holds the phone up to hear Jeremy sing and apparently that’s enough to get Derek all excited for “something new.” We love Jeremy Jordan and all, but have you tried to hear someone sing through a phone? It’s not cute.

So what’d you think of the premiere? Did we miss anything?

For more SMASH goodness, follow NineDaves and Linda on Twitter.

NineDaves About NineDaves

NineDaves is a part-time blogger, full-time tweeter, and all-around television-addict who spends way too much time thinking about what his Real Housewives’ opening quote will be. He’s so obsessed with TV, he’s basically like that kid from Willy Wonka. Only gayer.

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