Monday, March 12, 2012

Live-Blogging 'Smash's' "Chemistry"...



- I'm sorry, but Derek (Jack Davenport) in a frilly bedspread may be the best thing I'll see this week. I'm sure it's a nice show of solidarity for Ivy (Megan Hilty) that he went home with her for once, but he just doesn't fit. I imagine his "waking up in the wrong bed," let alone the wrong side of it, was a major catalyst behind his screaming at Julia (Debra Messing), but whatever the reasoning, his words were so familiar. The black hole where the plot should be-- how many shows about which do I say that (although nicer) in my own reviews!? Thankfully not this one. Not yet. And hopefully not ever.

- I will say that Julia never should have broken, even momentarily, in front of Derek. Making an excuse that her "home life" was complicated is exactly what created a glass ceiling in the first place. Thankfully she has Tom (Christian Borle) to always get her back, but she shouldn't need him to. Nothing in the first five episodes indicated she would need him to. But she's all moony over a boy so...

- No, Ellis (Jaime Cepero); Eileen (Anjelica Huston) does not need to know about all the behind-the-scenes drama. Running to "mommy" like the middle child just desperate for any attention you so clearly are better come back to bite you fast. Snitches get stitches. Or at least that's what I heard on another NBC series...

- Even if the moments where Ivy (Katharine McPhee) bonds with the rest of the ensemble are brief, I'm glad to see they are consistent. It's a big part of the theater: the sense of family that forms from being in the trenches together. They may still get a bit of a kick out of her simple ways, but they are accepting her as one of them, and that's going to go a long way.

- Watching an amazing singer perform badly is not nearly as fun as watching a great actor read stage directions like dialogue. Just felt I needed to share that. I don't know how Megan Hilty did that, but I can't imagine it was easy. Or pleasant.

- Is it just me or is the show trying to make Karen seem like a mini Julia? Their hair was so similar in the rehearsal scene, and I'm pretty sure they were wearing a version of the same sweater...

- Uh, Ivy is "hyper sensitive to drugs?" That's super similar to the actual Marilyn, isn't it? I hope they don't go so on the nose that they give her some kind of pill problem. I didn't think Prednisone came in pill form, but apparently science and medicine have become so evolved. It's certainly easier for this industry to just prescribe a way. And of course, Marilyn had so many people around her just wanting her to be "on" at all costs, so why shouldn't Ivy? Watching Derek so tactlessly tell her she'd be replaced as soon as tomorrow if she couldn't get better was tough. It's not like she could just pull herself together; her body literally had to heal. And after so much bad behavior from her character, it was like a shock to the system to sympathize with her so strongly, so immediately. Yet, I couldn't help but wish she had more of a backbone. It's hard to completely identify with her when we still haven't been given her back story, so we don't really know why she's as insecure as she is. My main guess at this point is that years in an ensemble stripped some of her confidence. You can't completely believe you're amazing if actions of others keep saying otherwise.

- No, you're not. Julia, I don't think you're glad Frank (Brian d'Arcy James) is home at all. It would be so much easier if he wasn't in the picture at all.

- Is Ellis seriously just going to be a walking narrator for events we've already seen? At least when he was being conniving and terrible he had his own unique purpose in the story. Now he's completely useless, and he's literally dragging down the show for me. I didn't have anything I could point to that I thought lagged in earlier episodes; I may not have liked his character, but he was written fine. Not tonight.

- A friend recently called Michael's (Will Chase) advances toward Julia "predatory." Considering she would look at him with such longing, I never felt that way. But tonight, watching him pounce on her in the rehearsal studio, I considered the other side of things. The last we saw of his home life, he was happy and supported; his wife didn't really give any indication of being emotionally distant or constantly working late and leaving him alone with the baby or any of the typical neglectful behavior. I still love him-- and for her-- but I'm going to need to see more than a forty-five second scene soon because I do see my friend's point. Julia is obviously more conflicted than he is at this point, but he doesn't seem to notice, let alone take her hesitations into consideration, and if that doesn't change, it's going to be a problem for me. Their scenes are so SHORT. I know it's probably just indicative of the fact that Julia tries to keep moving around him so she doesn't get cornered, but I need more to adequately explore my feelings! And really, I think she needs that, too. It's the mature, responsible thing to do; running away never solved anything.

- Hilty's solo tonight, as brief as it was, was how I love her voice the most. I wish NBC had released it as a single. However, I almost wish what cut her song short would have been the hallucination of Karen in the Marilyn get-up. Seeing her in that tight blond wig was unnerving enough to stop a person in mid-decibal, and it could have spoken to the distraction in her mind past the way the pills were messing with her. I'm sorry, but my mother was on Prednisone for years, and I heard of a lot of side effects, but hallucinations where never one of them.

- Oh wow, Tom, your new boyfriend is not ready for you. No wonder the sex is bad; he's barely comfortable with who he is.

- Why is Prednisone the trendy drug of Smash? It's not even a muscle relaxer! I would think, if anything, the dancers would be popping Vicodin or whatever. Pain pills, loosey-goosey pills, whatever. If anything, I kind of thought these new ensemble players would drag Karen to the dark side. She's not used to running her body so ragged. But this show really isn't that dark, and Karen, especially, is supposed to be the shining light of innocence and raw talent and untapped potential, so that might be a "drama for drama's sake" scenario from which the show couldn't come back.

- Watching Karen try to sing a traditional Jewish song made me giggle.O.L. It just did.

- Oh Julia, you're falling apart. Michael can call you at home; he's in your workspace; your husband won't find it weird. It's your panic face that he'll find weird! But what is significantly weirder is that Michael feels he can't tell his wife about you. That's a bad sign, and maybe you should shut him down now. You're too good to be anyone's dirty little secret. And who knows what he told his wife the last time you two hooked up? Some couples have the "past loves" talk an some don't. If he was so guilty about his clearly unresolved feelings for you that he confessed to her, she's going to have her claws out around you now, when really she should have her attention pointed to him instead.

- I think "Shake It Out" was the most comfortable I've ever seen McPhee perform on this show. There's something to be said for just letting go and having fun with a song. Again, I wish NBC had released it as a single.

- Okay, you win, Michael. You may be a bit needy, and you may be a bit selfish, but I get it again. You can't help it. The intensity behind your eyes is just the need-- not want, but actual need. You're intense and passionate, and yes, that would be scary if she didn't return the sentiment. It's scary for anyone who's not as sure of things as a guy like Michael is. He's an artist, so he's all about living in the moment and doing whatever makes him happy and feels good, and that lends itself well to explaining such desire, but-- oh, bye bye shirt. And coherent thought...

- "No one has to know" is such a great line to deliver by a giant open window. Only in New York City.

- Yikes, if he's being compared to Tommy Mottola, you do NOT want to call him, Karen!

- I like that we finally got to hear the full "History is Made at Night." When we heard little snippets in rehearsal, I kept waiting for the full track in the episode-- or on iTunes later-- but it's very true to life that the song would be worked with a bit more before the cast could perform it, even if just for us, the flies on the studio wall.

- Angry Ivy finally found balls! I mean, I'm sure it's from the steroids, and I'm not one to condone drug use of any kind, but I'm hoping the residual effects on her attitude stick around. Before she was bitchy to Karen without merit. Now she's just turning it towards those who deserve the scathing words. Somehow such harshness actually warmed her to me and made her feel like a real, relatable woman. She found her fire and put it to good use. Derek's pretty to look at, but if things are going wrong in the workshop, he's the director, and he needs to go down with the ship.


1 comment:

Free_Derek said...

As usual I agree on most things... One thing to clarify, the first time Julia and Michael had their relationship Michael was neither married nor engaged. That was clarified when he told Julia he got married and had a kid and she replied "I heard!" on their first encounter. Also Julia told him "we're both married NOW" before the scene that made ME lose all coherent thought, too ;) So his wife doesn't know because she had nothing to do with it and wasn't in the picture. The one who's been keeping the whole thing a secret is Julia with Frank. Michael had nobody but himself to take into account the first time around.

And yes, this is how Michael is:
"- Okay, you win, Michael. You may be a bit needy, and you may be a bit selfish, but I get it again. You can't help it. The intensity behind your eyes is just the need-- not want, but actual need. You're intense and passionate, and yes, that would be scary if she didn't return the sentiment. It's scary for anyone who's not as sure of things as a guy like Michael is. He's an artist, so he's all about living in the moment and doing whatever makes him happy and feels good, and that lends itself well to explaining such desire, but-- oh, bye bye shirt. And coherent thought..."

I don't think it's merely desire, I think he's desperately in love with her. And always has been. Wife was sloppy seconds, because clearly back when they had a relationship and Julia was the only one who had a husband and son, SHE must have been the one who called it quits. Or anyway she was the one who couldn't commit, given he had no such problems.

I never, ever saw him as "predatory". Julia is in major denial and she's been living a LIE for five years, hiding her affair to her husband and most of all to her heart. It's easier to be in denial than to face real feelings for someone who isn't your husband and have the backbone to call things with their name.

I'm officially SUPER annoyed with Tom who is completely DENSE when it comes to people and who is constantly judging others. you aren't better Tom. And enabling Ivy's attitude is not helping her, it's making matters worse. Derek is the only one who thinks about the workshop first and foremost, without letting feelings get in the way. Time for the others to do the same.