Smash Season 1 Episode 10 Review

“Understudy”

So Ivy’s out; thanks to last week’s live on stage drug fuelled meltdown. Movie star Rebecca Duvall is in – though not yet in attendance. And, while Ms Duvall is detained, Karen will step in as understudy. It’s left to Derek to break that bit of unhappy news to Ivy, something he does with his usual aplomb: ‘yeah, well she already knows half the blocking’.

Considering Dev didn’t get the much coveted Press Secretary job, he seems to have a pretty impressive office. Maybe he did get it, but didn’t realise? What with being English and not understanding the New York lingo? Instead of telling Karen about his defeat, he goes for secret drinks and flirting with his hot journo pal, who promises to get him an interview for a ‘press opening’ at the White House. The actual White House! I mean it’s probably something rubbish like delivering the newspaper to the guy who sits in the security booth at the end of the driveway, but still. He could spin it to sound epic.

After finally getting a storyline last week, this week Tom has a proper solo number. It’s like someone suddenly realised that actor Christian Borle is a Tony Award-winning actor and not, you know, just from Will & Grace. Fair play, they’ve given him a proper full-scale routine, and we get to see a new song ‘Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking’ in its entirety. Is someone actually going to make this thing into a musical when we’re done? It’s really a very good show, when you take away all the mind-numbing love triangles and Adele cover versions.

Elsewhere, Tom lets slip his true feelings for Sam, by reading the sports pages over breakfast with Dull Lawyer. Cue cheering from everyone. Bye Dull Lawyer, don’t let the door hit your dull ass on the way out. Another potential departure, from Karen’s heart if not the rest of the season, is poor old Dev. He has a very English row with Derek, and then tells Karen he doesn’t want her anywhere near him. You know, despite being the understudy for his show. Dev is uncharacteristically restrained in his ultimatum: ‘what if there was an opportunity for me outside of New York?’ and at no point shouts ‘To Washington! They’re making me President!’ But Karen’s having none of it, and decides to take her chances on Broadway without him. Bye Dev, don’t let the Mayor’s Office door hit your (sweet) ass on the way out.

If Dev Does Democracy doesn’t make it as a spin-off, the other obvious choice would be ‘Anjelica Houston and the Half-Blood Bartender’. This week’s jape involves the pair recruiting a new investor, in the form of washed up rock star Randy Cobra, who lights his fags with $50 bills, and generally sets fire to things in bars. Snooty former investors dumped and money crisis averted, Eileen finally gets to snog her bartender. Bless. Elsewhere, Tom and Julia have a lovely little storyline about celebrating their ten-year anniversary and on-going relationship as a writing duo. This merely serves as a reminder that Tom is a thoroughly decent bloke, and Julia’s personal life dramas ruin everything.

And so to the big reveal. Which actual movie star is playing the fake movie star they’ve landed to play Marilyn? They tease us throughout the episode with obscured magazine covers (defaced by Ivy, who isn’t at all bitter). But not until the closing seconds of the episode does Uma Thurman finally show. It would’ve been surprising if we weren’t watching it two and a half months behind the US. Or if tv plots weren’t available as they happen online. Nonetheless, Uma Thurman! Can she sing? Quite exciting, isn’t it?