Smash Season 1 Episode 9 Review

 “Hell On Earth”

As life has returned to ‘normal’ for the moment, Julia’s science teacher husband opens the show by rooting around for those adoption papers. Again? I thought he’d gone back to education because he couldn’t be bothered to wait two years for baby shipping? No matter, for what he discovers is way worse than a little pile of red tape. Normally when someone’s having an affair, hiding the evidence is just a matter of deleting text messages and clearing internet history. But Julia’s from the theatre. Naturally she didn’t just send saucy texts, she wrote love songs about her mystery man, and left them strewn all over the house for her poor innocent husband to decode (read). Jilted hubby confronts her, then hunts down Michael outside his dance class. Michael acts the tough guy in front of his school pals, lets slip that ‘dude, this affair’s been going on for years!’ and promptly gets a smack in the mouth from the science teacher who, at this point, is one seedy revelation away from the opening episode of Breaking Bad.

Meanwhile Ivy’s taken her place back in the chorus of Heaven on Earth, Tom & Julia’s previous hit show, which looks like a cross between Beauty School Dropout from Grease, and the Pharaoh bit in Joseph. With Freddie Star in the lead. As you can imagine Ivy’s not best pleased by this turn of events, having had a taste of stardom, albeit only in a rather shambolic workshop. She’s been pretty anxious lately, she fesses to gay best friend Sam, but everything’s ok since she’s started taking all the pills! Somewhat inevitably, Ivy ends up smashed off her face live on stage, delivers her lines in her Marilyn voice, and falls flat on her face. It’s brilliant. Why do things like that never happen when I go to the theatre?

Tom hasn’t had a decent storyline in, well, ever, so this is his week. Apparently he’s still seeing that really dull lawyer guy who he only sort of likes. Yep, I thought he dumped him after the workshop too. Tom discovers dull lawyer is a republican, so likes him even less, in the same silly way Bridget Jones was appalled to discover that Mark Darcy was a Tory (duh!). Tom goes to dull lawyer’s dull work do, but it’s really dull because there aren’t any Jonas brothers in attendance, or impromptu performances of unfinished musicals, and no one tries to sell him any art. Tom’s bored out of his mind, and soon ditches the party on a mission to save Ivy’s downward spiral into the Valley of the Dolls. This leads to him bumping into his other love interest, Ivy’s BFF Sam, and the pair of them sitting in a diner until 5am, talking about whatever it is people talk about until 5am when they’re in the first flushes of love. Saying ‘wow, it’s 5am!’ a lot, most probably.

After Ivy stumbles off the stage and into the street, still wearing her angel costume and under the influence of a dangerous cocktail of prescription drugs, sensible Karen is there to buy her vodka and wander the streets with her, talking about the relative merits of sleeping with / not sleeping with the director. Despite Ivy calling her a ‘Mid-western moon face’ (insult of the series!) earlier in the day, she and Karen get on quite well after a couple of swigs of vodka. Well enough to bust out a Rhianna number in the middle of Times Square anyway, which I personally only do with my very closest mates. It’s a shame really as they make quite a good, bitchy double act. But they’re destined never to have a proper friendship, thanks to the fact they were pitted against each other for the part of Marilyn, and that they both live in crazy theatre world where, whenever anything vaguely sentimental happens, they have to ruin the moment by spontaneously breaking into song.

Evil Ellis continues unabated and, after trying to blackmail Eileen into giving him a co-producer credit, he gets less of a comeuppance and more of a very mild telling off. He’s not fun in a ‘love to hate him’ kind of way. He’s just really very annoying. Eileen throwing reasonably priced Martini in his face is not going to cut it now (if anything, that’s a compliment!). I’m starting to wish him actual serious harm. I want Dorothy’s house to fall on him. Or someone to eat his hamster. The episode finishes with Julia having yet another clandestine meeting with Michael Swift, for no other reason than to show them having a conversation featuring the word ‘Bombshell’, which later becomes the long-awaited title of the musical. Despite taking a backseat this week, I am quite confident that this episode was not directed by the (fictional character) Derek Wills.