Smash Episode 5 Season 1 Review

Good news, Smash fans: The music’s back! After a couple of lacklustre weeks of nothing but Karen and her screechy pals to pass for a singing piece, this week we’re treated to a full on musical number, complete with sets, costumes and acting. Yep, it even has lines. This is rich, since it’s becoming more and more obvious Julia has written none of the Marilyn script, and is going to ruin the whole musical with her personal problems. Still, it’s nice to dare to dream that we’ll ever reach opening night.

In other exciting developments, Derek is finally turning into the nasty director we all knew he was. He disses Ivy’s performance, in front of the entire cast, before calling out Karen to show her up further. ‘Karen, show her how to do it. The vibrato on the note. Stand up and sing Happy Birthday like Marilyn. I’ve seen you do it.’ (In my apartment, at 10pm, wearing nothing but my shirt.) Later, Ivy gets drunk and turns up at his apartment, banging on the door and warbling about respect. He’s very non-committal, doesn’t even apologise, and still manages to sleep with her. He’s such a director. Derek’s trying to destroy Ivy. Or, at the very least, turn her into a mess of Marilyn Monroe proportions, all in the name of art. After which he’ll probably ditch her and cast Karen in the lead. It’s brilliant.

Remember in the first episode when Julia and her husband were going to adopt a baby, but then they found out it’d take a few years so they couldn’t be arsed? Their stroppy teenage son, Leo, who has silly hair and talks like he’s doing a bad audition for The Sopranos, surfaced then to go ‘OMG Mum & Dad, you PROMISED me a baby sister. You’re so mean!’ until they changed their mind. Well this episode he’s back. Fun. Now he’s been caught smoking pot in the park, which is really a non-story, in order show us Tom’s hot new boyfriend in all his hot lawyering glory, and for Tom to realise how much he fancies Neal, despite him being a boring non-theatre type. Anyway, the only important thing to note from this segment is that Julia is unavailable to rescue her son from prison because she’s busy trying not to cheat on her husband with Joe DiMaggio. But more on that later.

There’s also a ridiculous storyline about Dev battling for the position of Mayor’s Office Press Secretary, despite not knowing who he’s competing against. (Which suggests he would not be an ideal candidate for Press Secretary, whose primary function is that of collecting information.) Seemingly the only way for him to find out is for Karen to dance around their apartment singing a solo number in her underwear, before putting on a revealing dress and drunkenly flirting with some random people at a party. One of whom happens to identify himself as the competition. That was easy! She should work for the Mayor’s Office. Elsewhere, Eileen still has no money, and her husband’s even gone so far as to steal her assistant. She can’t work her computer without him, but luckily creepy doorway lurker Ellis is on hand to hack the machine for her. And steal all her files, no doubt. (Why can no one see how evil he is? When will he get his comeuppance?) Sadly, no drinks are thrown in the making of this scene.

Anyway, back to the cheating. Julia & Tom discuss his Joe DiMaggio character notes over coffee, pie and squirty scream in a grotty diner. So far, so illicit. Later, Tom wangles his way to dinner with Julia and her fresh from prison son, knowing full that her husband is away at Science teacher camp. So very illicit. Tom charms them both over dinner, before attempting to win Julia’s heart out on her doorstep, with a series of cheesy lines and puppy dog eyes. She, sensibly, rebuffs him. So what does he do? Launches into song, of course! One verse and half a chorus later, they’re snogging on the pavement. The camera pan and big reveal that Julia’s son is watching, in shock, from his bedroom window isn’t entirely necessary. Tom was singing in the street, in the middle of the night, for crying out loud. He probably woke up half the neighbourhood.