‘Smash’ recap: Episode 11, ‘The Movie Star’

"Ooh baby – I really, really want you ... to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior."

We were at TinyRhino again Monday (it runs every month)
so here’s your late recap! We’ve heard it received the show’s lowest ratings yet, so our fingers are just twitching
with excitement to snark out this increasingly love-to-hate-it show. Hit it!

Karen
walks into the rehearsal room bearing coffee for Dennis, the one dancer
with a name. The ensemble members tease her about being dressed up for
Rebecca because she’s wearing lip gloss. She admits to being a little
excited.

Sam and Tom enter together, also chatting
enthusiastically about their new star. Tom has moved on from making fun
of Sam about sports to making fun of him for being young. Sam switches
it up to making fun of Rebecca for being old. Tom goes supergay: “Girl,
no you didn’t!” Sam replies with what Julia’s petrified facing is trying
to stammer out: “Never do that again.” Aren’t they so cute when they
flirt? No? Agreed. Why doesn’t this show know what chemistry looks like?
Julia says the guys need to go out on a real date, they protest, and
she goes ahead and reserves a table for them. You know how Julia’s always so great with relationship advice, surely this will go well …

Derek
and Rebecca and Eileen are walking in together; Rebecca is talking about
how some place in Cobble Hill made her wait 30 minutes for a table
once. Don’t they know who she’s pretending to be on “Smash”? Eileen is
like, I never wait for tables. We wonder if her bar stool is always just
open since she always sits in the same seat. Maybe Nick kicks patrons
out if she visits. That’s true love. Well, it’s better than anything
we’ve seen from Tom and his various beaus, to say the least.

Everyone’s
atwitter to get started with Rebecca as Marilyn. We see her doing “Let
Me Be Your Star,” which is admittedly our favorite number on this show
so far. Or it was, until Uma Thurman starts singing it. Because it’s
absolutely terrible. The important people who get to sit in chairs are
keeping a straight face, but the dancers on the floor are mixed between
expressions of horror and delight. Finally a bad note causes the writers
and director to outright cringe and cut her off; Derek says they need
to move to the choreography. Rebecca asks Tom and Julia how it was and
they just keep saying “great” over and over again.

The next
scene, the bigwigs are at Eileen’s office wondering what the hell
they’re going to do. Eileen says, “She’s not bad, she’s just … ” and
Tom supplies, “Bad?” Derek adds, “She’s loud.” They realize they never
actually confirmed she could sing, but they knew she sang once on
Saturday Night Live and was what Eileen calls “charismatic.” She says
they can find a constructive solution; Julia suggests group suicide.
Derek says they could consider bringing back Ivy. Everyone’s still wary
about her after she fell apart onstage in “Heaven On Earth.” He says Ivy
needs to be in the show back in case Rebecca falls through, because
Karen’s still too “green” to do it.

Walking out, Tom and Julia
sound like they’re discussing that they might need to cast Ivy as the
negative thoughts that were supposed to just be whispers throughout the
show, but now might involved fully fledged shadow-Marilyn songs. So now
they have three Marilyns: the real one (Rebecca), the shadow one (Ivy)
and the understudy (Karen). It’s not a terrible solution, except packing
the ensemble with girls who make Rebecca look worse doesn’t seem too
wise. Remember when Karen was such a good singer in the chorus that she
kept making Ivy look bad? Oh no, of course not, we’re not allowed to
remember anything from previous episodes. Well, Tom doesn’t seem too
worried, and Julia says he’s just in a good mood because he’s got a date
that night. Her phone rings; it’s Leo’s school.

At the
rehearsal, Karen’s saying she still hasn’t worked up the nerve to say
hello to Rebecca even though she’s the understudy. Ivy walks in and
Karen’s obviously stressed about it. Ivy greets everyone like she hasn’t
seen them in 25 years, hugging and kissing them and giggling her usual act. Karen asks the nearest dancer what this means for her, and the other nameless girl replies, “It can’t be good.”

SMASH!

Tom’s
being a very patient man and playing piano to walk Rebecca through
“History Is Made At Night.” Ivy’s cozying up with Karen: “Do you know
what that sound is? A thousand ticket-holders demanding their money
back.” Karen says Rebecca’s not all that bad
she’s beautiful and famous and Karen wishes she had Rebecca’s life. Ivy
says that if Karen’s not secretly hoping Rebecca implodes so that she
can take over, she’s in the wrong business. Karen’s got her “good girl
from Iowa” face ready to react.

Derek calls Karen over and says
they won’t be needing her there anymore, because they’ve got to focus
all of their time on Rebecca. Like last week (REMEMBER?) she transforms
into Marilyn as she says they might still need her, so she’ll be around.
Then she starts singing Ruby & the Romantics’ “Our Day Will Come”
in the slinky, seductive Marilyn manner. Derek is super smitten, but
we’re not buying it
Kat McPhee simply isn’t that sexy, especially not in a retro purple
dress with a peter pan collar. Her dancing blacks and character shoes
are a hotter ensemble, seriously.

Karen calls Boyfriend and he
says he’s too busy to talk, but he’s really sitting in the park doing
nothing. He’s just avoiding her questions about the press secretary job.
And that’s the whole scene!

Julia called Frank to meet her at a
restaurant to talk about the fact that Leo is failing two of his
classes. She says she knows he’s angry at her, but this needs to not be
about them. She knows it’s all her fault, and the low grades are related
to the home strife she caused. But Frank is just written to be a
two-dimensional ass, so he gets up and walks out because he’s too mad at
her to have a mature conversation about their son. He also doesn’t want
a baby from China. He just hates all kids, and can’t forgive his wife
for blatant infidelity and also probably kicks puppies. He is the bad
guy, and Julia is the good guy, and there always is one of each when
people fight, got it?

In the rehearsal room (because this show
has three sets), Rebecca says she wants to meet with Derek alone for
some notes. Ivy’s watching suspiciously. Sam says Derek was way harder
on Ivy. Ivy says it was because he knew she’d eventually get it right,
but with Rebecca what’s the point? He says, “You know who’s going to
wind up playing Marilyn don’t you?” and Ivy fires back, “Gwyneth
Paltrow.” She exists in this world, Uma Thurman does not. Guess she
won’t be making any guest appearances as someone’s aunt in a later arc.

Rebecca
says she wants longer scenes and less musical numbers. She thinks
something with a lot of music can’t be “smart.” She says there isn’t
enough dialogue to get into Marilyn’s psyche. She says the songs are
boring. We totally agree with her, but of course Tom overhears this
comment and his face says what his mouth cannot: Girl, no you
didn’t.

We see Tom and Sam walking down the street in the only
part of Manhattan that exists, Times Square. There are really no good
restaurants right in Times Square, so we’re not sure why Julia would
force them to have dinner there. Tom is whining that “more fun” is not a
constructive complaint about his music. Sam says he’s not in the mood
to get dinner anyway, so instead the boys go back to Tom’s place to get
wasted. Oh no, not on empty stomachs! Didn’t their parents teach them
better than that?

At Tom’s, they’re comparing favorite musicals. Sam’s is “Into the
Woods” and Tom’s is “The Frogs.” Guess which of those two will be in Central
Park this summer? (Hint: It’s the same one we did lights for in high
school. Granted, that’s a very selective hint.) By the way, Tom and Sam are leaning close and touching a lot and
trying to do their best impersonations of sexual tension. They’re about
as good at it as Rebecca is at singing. Then they start kissing and Sam
says wait, they’re moving too fast. Wow, he’s the one who said they
should skip dinner and just go to Tom’s place to get drunk. Maybe
someone as “old fashioned” as he claims to be should give more careful
signals. Kissing on a couch on a first date is really not “too fast”
unless you’re a virgin ingénue in a flick with corsets, fans and
fainting couches. Sam says he goes to church and thinks sex is holy. So,
what? They have to get married first or something? We don’t understand
how that angle makes any sense. Tom says he’d better not be a Republican
on top of being a Christian. We’re not sure a person can be those
things and a gay black dancer, but we’ll have to consult our “Smash
Stereotypes Handbook” later. Sam says he just wants to slow things down.
They’ve known each other for months and have been flirting for weeks,
now they’re on a date and had one kiss; sounds like anything slower
would be going backwards. Tom’s like, “What next, we have to go to a
Knicks game?” and Sam starts to leave because if there’s anything worse
than committing heresy about the church, it’s committing heresy about
the Knicks. Tom’s like, “Come on, you have to admit this is a little
weird!” (preach) and Sam brings up that Tom’s 37 and his longest
relationship has been five months. Clearly that’s because he tries to
kiss guys on the first date. Sam says his way is better. He kisses Tom
goodnight. So basically, Sam’s just a giant tease.

Nick
calls Eileen at the office “just to say hi.” She starts rooting around
Ellis’ desk and he walks in with a late-night list of Rebecca’s demands,
such as people not smoking around her and needing a blender for her
health smoothies. That’s certainly not the weirdest rider we’ve ever had
our hands on, much less heard of. Ellis also complains that he’s
being sent on errands to fetch gum for her, and Eileen says
to suck it up. He asks if Eileen needed anything from his desk, but
Eileen says no before she goes right back to digging around in it. She’s
looking for that background file Ellis compiled last week on Nick
(REMEMBER?). She finds it and mumbles something about him being a crook.
But that’s all we get to learn for now.

The next day (maybe?),
Julia and Frank are at Leo’s school. Julia wants to be honest about
their home issues, but Frank cuts over her and says everything’s fine,
Leo’s just going through a moody phase. Julia calls him a liar and then
over-shares every detail of her affair with this principal. It’s like
one of those confessions that the confessor only does so that they feel
better, so it’s actually totally selfish.

In the rehearsal room,
Rebecca is playing Marilyn in an acting class in her early years. The
music comes in and Rebecca says that just when a scene is getting good
she has to start singing. Derek says it’s not a conversation for them to
be having right now and calls for a break. Rebecca invites the entire
ensemble to the screening of her new movie, “Casual Friday 2,” at Bryant
Park Hotel. Ellis sidles up to Randall Jones, Gayifier Extraordinaire,
and asks if he wants to come to the screening with him and get dinner
afterward. Oh, this is supposed to be a real thing now? We thought it
was just a one-time quid pro quo sort of deal. Not that we know
anything, since the show totally cut off the rest of their scene and
never mentioned it again
until right now. Randall says he’s seen her movie about 200 times
already. Is that a no? Does he understand that “dinner and a movie” is
just code for sex? Ellis is no Sam, after all.

Magically, a drunk
“bad boy” type in an inverted cross and leather jacket strolls in (it
was probably easy to find, since it’s the only rehearsal room in New
York City), and begins yelling at Rebecca. Derek tries to haul him out
into the hall, and then Eileen pulls out pepper spray and threatens him
with it even though all he did, basically, was walk into a room and
raise his voice. Anyhow, ANJELICA HUSTON isn’t a mace kind of lady seems like she might carry a switchblade.

In
Eileen’s office, she’s on the phone denying allegations that there was a
ruckus in rehearsal earlier that day. It’s the New York Times, because
they want to report juicy gossip like “a break from a rehearsal for a
workshop was interrupted by some yelling.” Tom comments that Rebecca’s
personal life is as messy as her singing. Eileen says Rebecca and
Marilyn didn’t get where they were by being normal and uncomplicated.
She adds that if Rebecca wants an extra long scene, then it will be
written for her by 5 p.m. Derek smirks and Tom goes “NOT IT” and points
to Julia.

At City Hall, Karen is supposed to visit her boyfriend
but walks into the press secretary’s office instead. She’s mad she
didn’t hear about that from Dev and storms to whatever basement his desk
is actually stashed in. RJ’s sitting on his desk talking about books,
that little minx. Sidebar, we think Karen’s wearing boots we saw at
Payless last season
is that a compliment to Payless or an insult to whatever designer she’s
actually wearing that she technically shouldn’t be able to afford?
Karen and Boyfriend bicker a bit and then she invites him to the
screening that night.

Eileen is reading a Page 6 story about
Rebecca, then switches over to her second-favorite slander, which is
Nick’s criminal file. She calls him and leaves a message that she’s just
been busy and can’t be distracted from her job right now. He picks up
like, “Whoa are you breaking up with me after one kiss?” Is everyone in
this episode actually in high school? What is all of this chaste
nonsense? He talks her into meeting with him. Rebecca comes in to say
how much fun rehearsals have been. Eileen asks about her special friend,
and we totally thought she meant something about Rebecca’s menstrual
cycle, since everyone in this episode is talking like they’re in
“Grease” for some reason. (“We stayed out till 10 o’clock!”) Except the
Pink Ladies obviously got more action that Eileen or Tom can manage.
Rebecca says bad boy Collin is harmless, just annoying. She pulls out
the pages Julia wrote for her today. She says it gave her lots of ideas
for how the rest of the show can be rewritten, and that everyone should
get together that night instead of going to the screening after all.
It’s a cute idea that an A-list actress can just blow off a screening
attendance at the last minute to prioritize her next project  this is why people have contracts.

Eileen
announces that she’s decided she will reject any further
recommendations to add scenes, because she loves the musical just the
way it’s written. But still, she called the director and writers in to
have a meeting about that. Rude!

At the screening, the dancers
are gossiping about the fact that they might all lose their jobs if
there are no musical numbers anymore. Ivy comments that she finally gets
to meet Dev, if he gets there on time. Karen waits in the lobby as
everyone heads in to find their seats. Ellis is leaving work and tells
Randall he’s on his way. Ellis gets to use the most tired tropes in all
of television like overhearing things behind closed doors
so of course he gets involved in a phone mishap, thinking he takes
Sin’s call but actually keeping Randall on the line to be like, “I have
to suck up to that guy again.” (Interesting wording?) Randall’s reaction
is probably the most honest acting on this show so far, sort of pissed
and hurt and surprised and vengeful. He says, “Don’t bother coming” and
leaves. Can we see more of him, please? Karen finally sneaks into the
movie alone, because Dev’s not coming after all. In the washroom later,
Ivy and Karen bond about hating Rebecca, and then decide to skip the second half and get drunk.

Tom and Julia and Derek
and Eileen are all waiting around for Rebecca, who has yet to show up
after calling them all together. Julia’s chatting about how Sam made Tom
think about God and then called him out on his shit
stuff she’s been saying since the day she met Tom (minus the God
stuff). He says, “Please don’t make this about yourself!” As we know
from the earlier scene at the school, not to mention the affair itself,
Julia is literally incapable of that. Rebecca finally arrives. Derek
explains they don’t want to cut the musical numbers and Rebecca says she
gets it. Tom adds that he appreciates her comments, but they’re not
going to change the songs either. She says they need to stop babying her
if they’re going to work together; she says they should lower the keys
to support her voice and cut back her solos. Everyone seems shocked that
Rebecca’s self-aware at all
probably because we haven’t been given any indication of it before now.
She asks if she should hire a vocal coach and everyone overlaps their
unanimous “yes.”

Drunk at the bar at the screening, Ivy says when Rebecca goes down everything’s going to be up in the air again
so Karen shouldn’t get too comfortable. Karen reminds Ivy that she’s
seemed “unstable.” Ivy says everyone around them is, too. They do a
shot. Karen explains that Boyfriend had work problems, and Ivy asks
who’s cheering him up. Clearly Karen thinks of RJ and says, “Why do I
even talk to you? You make me feel bad.” Look, we hate Karen loads and
loads, but this is probably the most redeeming thing that’s ever come
out of her mouth. More women should have that much self-respect. Okay, we’re flattening,
folding and recycling the soapbox now. Ivy apologizes and tries to pay
for their drinks, but Karen refuses and leaves while Ivy says she needs
thicker skin.

Frank and Julia yell at Leo about his grades, and
he’s being a sullen teen about it. He’s like, Why should I get good
grades when my marriage will be ruined anyway? Yeah, it’s a bit of a
leap, but that’s his logic. Julia once again gets to be the voice of
reason in this scene, telling the men to dial it back. Leo says he will
get better grades if he can meet Rebecca Duvall, and the parents agree
that bribery is an acceptable way to deal with their son. Nice job.

Karen
gets home but Boyfriend isn’t there. We see that he’s at a swanky
lounge having drinks with RJ, that hussy! How is Leo supposed to get
into college if anyone else on this show cheats?

Eileen is at
another expensive-looking place with Nick, who put a suit jacket on for
the occasion. Or borrowed one from the coat closet in order to meet the dress code does that ever happen outside of movies?
She says she heard some bad stuff about him and her life is too
complicated to get involved in a mess. He asks is she means some sketchy
“business arrangement” he has (we don’t care enough to rewind it and
figure out what he said, exactly) or the illegal aliens he has washing
dishes at his bar. He says she’d need to hire a detective to know all
the bad things he’s done. She says she’s not looking for a way out, she
just wants less drama. He says they can just slow things down, because
he’s a disciple of the Book of Sam. They kiss.

Ellis confronts
Randall Jones at some other undisclosed time/location. Randall tells him
to shut up and says he hates users. Eileen walks up and we have to
inform you that her breasts are going in all different directions,
because it’s very distracting. Ellis says there’s a “closed set” so they
can’t go in, and Eileen says screw that. She walks right into the
middle of a rehearsal Derek’s directing. He calls a break and gets them
to take it from the top. Oh good, we might actually have a second song
this week! We see the same Actor’s Studio scene, but now it’s the number
that got cut off earlier, “Dig Deep.” We quickly segue into the trick
that critics have been clamoring for
cutting away to the real, costumed, fully staged version of the number.
This time, we have Rebecca Duvall in the lead. Everyone seems relieved
it’s not a complete train wreck. Rebecca’s delighted it went well and
says she’s got lots more great ideas to share now that they’ve got that
scene worked out! Eileen and the rest of the creative team is, of
course, thrilled.

OKAY! Another episode down, another week closer to the finale. We’re betting people, so let’s hear it
which “slow” couple will go all the way first, ANJELICA HUSTON and
Criminal Bartender or 5-Month Tom and Christian Sam? Secretly, we’re
hoping it’s Ellis and our new favorite: Randall Jones.


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