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Smash Cram Session: Episodes 9, 10

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Maybe it was because of that Bed Debacle in episode 8 but I took a week away from Smash and then Smash Crammed last night. Watching back-to-back episodes is an interesting experience, to say the least. You pick up on a lot of nuances. The ins and the outs. The what-have-yous.

Here are this (and last) week’s Smash Notes.

EPISODE 9 “Hell on Earth”

Julia -n- Frank: Frank put down the chemistry textbooks and realized, through some sheet music he found on Julia’s side of the bed, that she had an affair! Bravo, Frank!

When confronted, Julia initially said, “Nothing is going on!” but what she should have said was, “Remember that night I got out of bed to go for a walk at 10 p.m. in my pajamas and you said, ‘Have a nice time,’ and I didn’t come back until 4 a.m.? Yeah, that was an affair happening.”

I mean, the guy is stupid, right?

I think it was a play to our sympathies that, when he found the incriminating show tune, he was looking for the adoption paperwork. Ah, the adoption. I don’t know about you but I think they should definitely go through with it.

Duel, Lack Of: Frank goes and confronts Michael about the affair. It ends with Frank punching Michael. Yawn. I wanted Frank to challenge him to a duel with broadswords. The guy brought Frank’s honor as a husband, father and preoccupied chemistry professor into question. Also, they missed an opportunity to have Michael sing a song about dueling and anguishing over the logistics of the impending duel while dancing alone in a studio with rain pouring down outside.

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Smash Notes: “The Workshop” Episode 7

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Last night Smash tried to turn up the heat, promising that things were coming to a head, but instead the episode was tepid at best.

Here are this week’s Smash Notes:

The Arc of the Scarf: The plot line for scarves did come to a head last night when Julia used one as a snot rag to blow into when she was overcome with guilt and despair over her affair with Michael. Apparently, it was easy to sleep with him until she saw his wife and child and then, all at once, she realized she was a Bad Person and felt the need to run outside and cry into a silk scarf. Then she had to go home.

When was the last time Julia put in a full day of work instead of taking off somewhere with her satchel? She’s constantly running to the studio, running home, running out for pie, running out for a midnight walk…

Through all of this, Faithful But Clueless Hubby has been studying chemistry. I’m starting to wonder if it’s a chemistry textbook with a copy of Hustler tucked inside.

Meanwhile, in a show of scarf support, Tom showed up to the workshop performance with one around his neck. Purple, ‘natch, because he’s a gay man who is supposedly secure in his gayness. Which leads me to…

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Smash Notes: Let’s Be Bad, Episode 5

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We’re headed through the Looking Glass, guys.

Wardrobe, Julia, Again: This week Julia’s scarves and the heavy, ethnic necklaces both disappeared and we got the babydoll dresses [also known on the Internet as the “kinderwhore” look] with opaque tights. Could you, NBC, perhaps pay for a stylist?

However, I’d like to offer up a theory on Julia’s fashion habits:

Continue reading Smash Notes: Let’s Be Bad, Episode 5

Smash Notes: Episode 1

Much like a whiny, demanding studio executive who has never actually created a minute of television myself, I offer up my “notes” on the new NBC show Smash.

SCARVES: What is with Debra Messing’s character, Julia, and scarves? There was not a scene in which she did not have something wooly wrapped around her neck. Is this symbolic of something about her character? There was even a scene in which she wore men’s pajamas, a cardigan sweater and a wooly scarf. In her bedroom. Do they not have heat on the set? WHAT GIVES??

I suspect that they aren’t sure how to make this character someone women can relate to so they went overboard with the natural fibers. I mean… See, she lives in New York and her job is “lyricist.” And she loves it so much that she’d kind of shunting aside this whole adoption thing, which could potentially be really boring for a couple of years… you know, taking care of a baby when you really want to be writing euphemistic songs about baseball.

APPLE PRODUCTS: OK, we get it. Apple is the only cool kind of computer anyone anywhere ever can ever, ever use. Even the waitress-trying-to-be-a-star has a freakin’ MacBook Pro. For all that Photoshop work she does on the side. Or whenever she comes home from a long day of try-outs and slinging sweet potato hash and gets the burning desire to edit a video.

Let’s try for some more realism here.

Which leads to me to my final note:

SEX: Turn up the sex volume to 11 in key scenes. It needs to go way beyond the lukewarm pap served last night.  The seduction scene between the director, Derek Wills, and rising star Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee)? I didn’t even understand what he was asking her when she came to his apartment enormous loft the size of IKEA for some “coaching.” Did he want her to act like Maryiln? Give him a blow job? The right answer was both, probably a bit more the latter,  but this was not immediately understood.

After his request, she, upset, excused herself and went to the bathroom. There, she mussed up her hair, grabbed a conveniently-placed, oversized white men’s oxford shirt that covered her ass (which is horse crap because every self-respecting New York man right now is wearing slim-cut EVERYTHING and would not have a shirt that could also double as a tent hanging in his bathroom) and went back out.

She lamely sang the tired, breathy Happy Birthday Mr. President to him while crawling on his lap.

Then she leaves in a fit of forthrightness and disgust. For him, I guess, not for the fact that she put on the oversized shirt and crawled on his lap.

They can do better than this. No, NBC is not Showtime (where the show was originally set up and which would have allowed the episodes to be longer and, presumably, sexier) but that just means they have to be more creative. Let’s not hit on every last trope in the playbook, shall we?

But all is not lost. No, there is potential here. Especially if they corrupt Karen (well-played by McPhee) and don’t allow her to remain the wide-eyed ingenue past the second or third episode. I can practically hear the drums beating in the background on this one.

And the best parts are, thankfully, the singing parts. The ending scene to last night’s episode, which shows the two rivals, Karen and Ivy, getting ready for call-backs for the part of Marilyn was done to the song “Let Me Be Your Star” and it was great. It captured that competitive, the-claws-are-out feeling we need to feel in order to invest in this story.

I’m not buying my Smash t-shirt quite yet, but I’ll be back for episode 2.