Smash finally gives us a look at the dark days of Marilyn Monroe, perfectly timed with Ivy’s mounting paranoia and increasing bouts of self-doubt. Do real actors wear rehearsal outfits with that much cleavage? Are all 16-year-olds in New York City experienced with playing puff, puff, pass in the park? And would a political hopeful really make that overt of a pass at his dinner partner? (Don’t answer that one.) Returning to our smashing discussion is Popdust Media Editor John Gara, who runs the world’s only Jellice Cat rescue. Read on for our thoughts!
Emily: John! Oh how we’ve missed you.
John: Thanks. Even though I skipped a few episodes, it seems like nothing’s changed. I did really like this week’s musical number, though.
Emily: “Let’s Be Bad” was great. Between the drug-addled Marilyn voice and the sparkly red dress during Ivy’s full fantasy performance, I had my wallet out, ready to purchase a ticket to the show.
John: Is it weird that whenever I watch this, my brain automatically replaces “Marilyn” with “Lindsay Lohan?”
Emily: Well clearly everyone has their own word associations when it comes to Lindsay. For Matt Lauer, it’s Whitney Houston, etc.
John: “Let’s Be Bad” was taken straight off the set of I Know Who Killed Me.
Emily: Go on…
John: All you need to do is watch 20 minutes of that movie and you know Lohan was tanked throughout filming.
Emily: I liked this number because it connected to Ivy’s impending breakdown, and the paranoia that everyone around her doubts her talent. Meta!
John: It was really good because they’re finally showing what I like to call Fun Marilyn, also known as the boozy pill-popping one. It’s very similar to Fun Britney Spears, when she wears a pink wig and drives all night to Mexico with Adnan Ghalib.
Emily: You know your stuff.
John: It also truly shows how boring the rest of the show is. Julia and Tom and all those non-performers are so painful to watch.
Emily: But they all can sing! Maybe they should just turn this into a complete musical series, for better or for worse. Tom’s already proven he can make a near arrest the subject of a knee-slapping singalong. And really, the performers aren’t always that much better. I cringed during Karen’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.”
John: WHEN WILL SHOWS STOP MAKING US LISTEN TO WOMEN SING THAT SONG?
Emily: Didn’t they learn from Glee?
John: It was an EPIC fail when Quinn sang that.
Emily: Please make the flashbacks to dancing pregnant girls stop. I think they were wearing sunglasses?
John: Karen was sounding very Xtina last night, but McPhee couldn’t pull it off.
Emily: And was so not sexy while doing a poor woman’s version of Flashdance in the bedroom and then smugly saying she knows what she brings to the party. We do, too: A cups.
Emily: Sorry. Hold me back.
John: Karen brings non-alcoholic beer to the party. Ivy brings the promise of a nip slip and PILLS!
Emily: And slut-shaming. I hated Karen preaching about how “that’s not how [she] was raised,” which is the epitome of what someone who claims not to be judgmental condescendingly says about other people.
John: Lots of slut-shaming this episode.
Emily: Again with trying to keep the strong ladies down. Really, Theresa Rebeck?
John: I am OVER Derek! I don’t buy the bullshit he feeds to Ivy at the end about him being inside his head trying to separate emotion.
Emily: And the look in her eyes when she found him up late poring over the songs. Poor baby.
John: He’s trying to break her down and go all Svengali on her ass so she can be like Karen. TOTALLY impressionable.
Emily: Yes, I agree. I was happy Ivy went over to call him out (even if it was alcohol induced) but wanted to yell at her when she gave into his underhanded sleepover invite. Work through the martini haze and recognize what he uttered moments before: he doesn’t like you enough, he doesn’t want a relationship and is overall miserable all the damn time. Her caving in is an insult to Beyoncé and independent women everywhere.
John: Absolutely. He’s just another man in the industry trying to cause drama between two divas.
Emily: Divas (pushed to) hate divas.
John: Will it take Ivy and Karen presenting at the Tony Awards in matching brown gowns to settle the rumors of rivalry? Rumors of animosity I should say. We know there is rivalry.
Emily: Try it on me! (Too soon?) Do you think there’s ever any scenes like tonight’s rehearsal meltdown during the actual filming of Smash? I could see Hilty hating McPhee.
John: I bet most of the on set crying is done in private by Angie Huston.
Emily: “How did I get here?”
John: I think this week’s most improved is Julia’s son Leo!
Emily: Ugh, but that name. I know this show is theater-related, but isn’t that a moniker reserved solely for middle-aged characters played by Matthew Broderick?
John: Well he’s on his way to being America’s Next Top Angsty TV Teen. He needs something formidable.
Emily: Facebooking while listening to angry music. Just TRY and stop me, mom!
John: I would have preferred him being a suicidal gay teen (TOPICAL) but trying buy weed in the park isn’t too bad.
Emily: And it also led to the best burn of Julia all season: “I’m 16 and I live in New York City. Next!” Beware of raising your children in one of the five boroughs, child-bearing adults.
John: All I’m saying is if he wants to compete with Breaking Bad‘s Walt Jr. or Homeland‘s Dana Brody, he better get a face tattoo or get hooked on crystal meth.
Emily: He was a little flip-floppy when he called his mother out on making everything in their lives about the adoption. Sorry, but you were crying when you heard you might not get a little baby brother or sister just a few weeks ago. Then again, maybe he was on the pot…
John: Enough with the adoption! Nobody cares. And while you’re at it kill off the husband while he’s on his retreat.
Emily: It’s coming—a tragic car accident on PCH? Or where did Marilyn die? Tie it to that. Full circle!
John: In her home in a pile of vomit? We don’t need that per se (save it for Ivy). I hope Mr. Julia just “finds himself” in Cali and never comes back.
Emily: Speaking of never coming back, where oh where is Eileen?
John: Eileen was so the stereotypical old lady who can’t send an email over the Internets. What are they doing to her?
Emily: Help me young person!
John: I was expecting to see her whip out a jitterbug phone.
Emily: What? This banana doesn’t make phone calls!
John: And ride off on her Jazzy chair.
Emily: Love a good Jazzy moment.
John: I will say Ellis on Eileen’s computer just spells trouble. All of Eileen’s personal sexy videos will be on YouLenz by next week. Just you wait and see.
Emily: For…Tom? The bodega owner on the corner? The bartender who dutifully gives her a free drink after she throws hers on someone’s face?
John: Her gaydar is as good as her tech knowledge if she’s going after Tom.
Emily: So now that we’re clued in to Ivy’s eventual demise (drugs!) I’m thoroughly convinced this production will be the next Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
John: You don’t need high wires when you can have two dancers make Ivy’s arms move like she’s a lady puppet, my favorite part of this week’s episode.
Emily: Except instead of people dying after falling from the rafters, there will be real overdoses on stage. Julia said she wants to make this serious and dark.
John: Yes, live overdosing! Maybe there will be two Marilyns: the pill popper and the sober one with vibrato to spare.
Emily: I think producers would be all over that kind of show. Or why not get our mascot LiLo? Convince her to throw what hasn’t gone to legal bills into Marilyn: The Musical, or whatever this funny little show is to be called.
John: That might be tough. I think Lohan has dropped her Marilyn obsession for Liz Taylor.
Emily: But then generous NBC would get to give her another job. Comeback take 37498204. Side note: Do you think there will be a Whitney Houston musical one day? They’re already talking about a movie.
John: What would it be called?
Emily: “Crack is Wack.”
John: In big lights.
Emily: Or maybe it’s “And I…”
John: It would suffer from its lack of Google recognition.
Emily: Search Engine Optimization doesn’t yet understand real art.
With its larger productions and more off-stage romance, is Smash beginning to heat up? Let us know what you think in the comments below.