Smash Notes: “Chemistry,” Episode 6

Title for NBC show "Smash."

Hmm… I can’t decide. Should I begin this week’s Smash recap with Ivy’s Pred Shakes or Karen’s Bar Mitzvah triumph?

Oh, who am I kidding? Let’s talk about Julia’s scarves.

Scarves, Symbol of Conflict: Did you notice that as soon as hubby came back from wherever he was – a conference? – the scarves came back out? Yep, hubby was back and that neck was swaddled tighter than a newborn. But it didn’t take.

In this episode, Julia gives in to temptation and meets Michael at the rehearsal space for a quickie. What’s more interesting than this turn of events, however, is the fact that she got there in a nightgown and fleece pants, no bra or underwear, after getting out of bed and telling her husband she was “going for a walk.”

He’s so into reading his chemistry textbook that he absent-mindedly bids her adieu.

Next thing we know, she’s showing up at the practice space in Manhattan. So… she walked there? How long did that take? I’m not a master of New York City geography, but I was under the impression that Julia and her fam live in Brooklyn (brownstone, backyard big enough for patio furniture, grill) or thereabouts. So, she walked in her jammie top to Manhattan? Took the subway? Either way, it takes some time and some doing. Add in the time for the hook-up and walking back home and that’s about, what, 4 or 5 hours?

Husband doesn’t notice that she’s gone, in her PJs, for that long?

Wow, that guy deserves to get cheated on.

Julia is all mixed signals. One minute she’s covered in flour (notice purposeful smudge on her forehead, confirming my suspicions that mentally she’s about 13 – how does an adult woman get flour all over her face while mixing up pancakes?), the next she’s clutching her husband telling him never to go away again, then she’s coming back from a break at work only to get upset, take her expensive satchel and leave and, finally, she’s walking the Trail of Tears into Manhattan to have sex on a couch in the studio.

The same couch, I might point out, that the two leads – Michael and Ivy -  stand on the next day to rehearse their song, when Ivy slips and falls. Slips and falls on the sex couch, perhaps in some…? Well, I’ll let you put it together, but let’s just say OSHA would not approve of such work place hazards.

As Julia’s writing partner, Tom, would say, “Can we dial this down?”

Adoption, Infant: How’s that coming along, Julia?

Prednisone, Shakes & Hallucinations: Ivy’s voice is shot so she has to go on the steroid prednisone. We all know what bad shit that is and it’s exactly one day before she’s riding the dragon. She has shakes, headaches, hallucinations… And, apparently, the drug makes her capable of random teleportation from one side of her bed to other, as we saw during her solo when she would be on one side of the bed and in the next quick cut she’d be on the other side! How did she do that?

She sees Karen in the mirror, costumed as Marilyn, and freaks out, calling over Gay Dancer Friend and Tom, who rush to her side to have an Attentive Gay-Off. Who can be more concerned and loving?

I’m no Dickens, but I’d say that Ivy just saw the Ghost of Broadway Future.

Hava Nagila, Lyrics, Hebrew: Karen is so multi-dimensional. How many other girls from Iowa, not Jewish and with no Jewish background, can sing the lyrics to “Hava Nagila” in Hebrew at a moment’s notice? I know, right? Soooo talented.

And she blew those 13-year-olds away with that cover of the Florence + The Machine song, too. She took the roof off the place. I’m not so sure about the minidress, that surely gave the 13-year-old boys next to the stage a private show and I’m not down with the winking but… other that that, she nailed it.

Basically, what I’ve determined is that Katharine McPhee gets one solo cover song per episode and it’s the writers’ problem to figure out how to shoehorn this in. So we’ve had:

  • Karen sings karaoke in Iowa bar
  • Karen and dancer friends sing and dance on stage in Manhattan bar
  • Karen sings to herself in the mirror in her apartment (and takes off her t-shirt)
  • Karen sings at a Bar Mitzvah

There should be a spin-off children’s show called Karen Sings Everywhere and it’s just Katharine/Karen singing in strange locales, like the grocery store, the library, a steamboat, at a landfill. With or without puppets, I’m not sure.

O.G.: In my favorite scene of the episode, Tom walks down the street eating ice cream with the guy he’s too lazy to actually date (thus the Walking-And-Ice-Cream-Date, a favorite of college girls too nice to tell a guy to buzz off), when he asks the guy if he really just came out to his mom last year, as was the rumor at the previous night’s cocktail party.

“Look,” the guy says, “I came out to my mom last year. And when I was eight. And when I was 14… And when I was 22…”

Tom’s face visually relaxes with relief. “Oh,” his expression says. “Thank God, you’re O.G.!” Not Old Gangsta, everyone, but Old Gay. No one wants to date someone who’s N.G., or New Gay. It’s the same concept as New Money vs. Old Money. Old always wins out.

2 thoughts on “Smash Notes: “Chemistry,” Episode 6

  1. The Julia adoption storyline is secretly going someplace… I suspect in an upcoming episode she will not need the adoption, if you get what I mean.

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