Smash Season 1 Episode 3 Review

Marilyn’s been cast. But that’s just the start. Now the production enters the workshop stage, which takes weeks and doesn’t pay well, and is still years away from the finished show. Seriously, they should have considered making a show about something quicker. Like a full Presidential term.

Marilyn reject Karen goes to a bar for a ‘why you didn’t get the part’ feedback session with director Derek. No sooner has she ordered her club soda than Dev crashes, thumbs in waistcoat, all ‘Oi! Oi! Saveloy!’ Karen is suitably horrified by her boyfriend’s stalker / British behaviour. He dismisses it with ‘you said you were having drinks with the great director, I wanted to meet him!’ before engaging Derek in some of the worst South London banter ever performed by two respected UK actors. Apparently that’s what Brits do. (When they’re written by Americans.)

Meanwhile, Marilyn winner Ivy is perpetuating the dual theatre myths that actresses sleep their way to the top and directors are sleazy. ‘Do you think he gave me the part because I slept with him?’ she flutters to her pal. ‘I can’t imagine that it hurt’, says the not at all bitter chorus line mate. Ivy is trying to be cool, despite the fact she & Derek only have sex in her dressing room or her pokey flat, and that he never takes her to the type of restaurant Anjelica Huston chucks drinks around in.

Now Marilyn is safely installed on stage (and in bed with the director) it’s time to cast Joe DiMaggio. For that baseball number they won’t stop harping on about. Everyone wants this guy Michael Swift, who is currently killing in some Bruno Mars rock opera. Because that would totally happen. Julia isn’t keen. Which immediately suggests she has some kind of history with him. Five minutes later she says ‘People have sex all the time, it’s hardly considered unethical’, verifying the nature of said history.

Karen, shamed into leaving the state by her overzealous boyfriend, goes home to her unidentified Midwest hometown to attend a baby shower. Only this isn’t your average baby shower. It’s a baby shower in a karaoke bar, girlfriend. These hicks are crazy! Her BFFs think they’re the Sex and the City girls. They’re actually far worse. They shout things like ‘It’s awesome your boyfriend wants to support you. He sounds awesome. Feminism is overrated!’ before getting sick of important life discussions and moving onto the ‘Waaaaaah! Karaokeeee!’ stage of the evening. Karen totally doesn’t want to sing and you can’t make her and, oh look, there she is on stage, rolling her eyes and pretending she isn’t loving every second.

Elsewhere, in what is now becoming a theme, Anjelica Huston throws a Manhattan in her ex-husband’s face. Twice! The context isn’t really important. Just know that she does it with effortless class every time.

Michael Swift, holding an offer for the part of the male lead, is sold hard as a family man.  He loves his family so much. He’s not sure he wants to do the part, since it would mean putting his toddler into full-time day care. His wife attempts to guilt him into taking it, ‘I think that Arty would love to see his dad play Joe DiMaggio’. (Arty is three years old. He doesn’t know who Joe DiMaggio is.) Michael’s such a good dad he almost certainly cheated on his wife with Julia.

In peripheral character news, Ellis, Tom’s annoying assistant, decides it’s time he got compensated for coming up with the idea of Marilyn the Musical. (He didn’t. He read a coffee table book about her while sitting in the home of a theatrical composer. He invented that about as much as I invented The Apprentice, by once going to a job interview). He steals Julia’s notebook, discovers some unrevealed secret, gives her attitude, and eavesdrops her conversations long enough to discover the details of her ill-fated Joe DiMaggio shaped affair. Anyone else think he’s going to use that information to further his career? Last week I said Dev was trouble. Turns out that was just in the Cockney Rhyming slang sense. Ellis is properly shifty. Let’s keep an eye on him, instead.