Watching last night's episode on Tivo, I realized something during the long church number. No, not that the number was unnecessary (though it was unnecessary). Smash needs to stop ending every episode with a song. I thought about past episodes and how I'd use that time to wrap up something else, to run to the kitchen for some water or to go brush my teeth before bedtime. I knew I wouldn't miss a damn thing.
There need to be cliff hangers and questions. Not: Everybody sing!
I'm not saying lose the singing. I am saying that winding down every show with a song makes it real easy to go do something else.
On the church scene. The show has one and only one African-American character appearing regularly (pretty much every episode). That's Sam. So the "Let's go to a Black church in Boston" thing seemed to me to be an attempt to make the White cast look soulful, it didn't play right and it didn't feel right.
(I do not believe in God. I've noted that here before. If you do, good for you. But I am not objecting to a church being utilized. I'm objecting to feeling as though Norman Mailer's essay "The White Negro" had been turned into a TV scene. Having used the Black church to plump out the White characters, let's hope that there's some sort of pay it forward and we may discover that New York City actually has a few African-Americans, some of whom stay around for more than a few episodes.)
Give Debra Messing the Emmy already. She deserved it yet again for last night's show. How she puts this crud over, I don't know. Julia starts off furious with Tom for not standing with her (on not rehiring Michael -- remember, she slept with Michael and it almost ended her marriage) and telling him the partnership is over. A little over half-way into the show, she and Tom are fine.
Tom remains the worst character. The actor is awful. I sometimes go through an episode thinking, "This character would be so much better with a real actor in the role." Last night, I pictured Craig Bierko in the role over and over. He really could have brought it to life.
Instead, we're stuck with a sulky drip. The actor's over forty and he can't play an adult?
Ivy and Dev did the deed. Dev lost the ring he was going to give Karen and hoped it was in Ivy's bed. She checked and, near the end of the episode, she shoots him a no from across the room while Karen's back is to Ivy.
Ivy has promised Dev they won't tell Karen.
Meanwhile Ivy wants to boo-hoo that Derek slept with Rebecca. If he did, he did it for the play. (I'm not condoning the affair, if it took place.) Why did Ivy sleep with Karen's boyfriend?
Having slept her way into the part, Ivy's sudden concern about who Derek sleeps with seems to be a stretch.
Eileen told Julia and Tom they needed a new ending. Messing's best moment all season -- and she's had some good ones -- may have been at this point when she pointed out that Marilyn Monroe kills herself, that's what happened and you can't do a musical about Marilyn and change the ending.
Nick the bartender came to see the Boston try-outs. He mainly put Ellis in his place. That scene made no sense. Ellis is supposed to be this canny operator. But he's at Eileen's table with her and Nick and he's insulting the play and then insulting Eileen ("someone has to" be a producer). That's when Nick tells Ellis to leave. But why did it come to that? Do the writers even think for a second what they're writing?
Anjelica Huston (Eileen) sang a number. I know it from a Woody Allen film, it's an old torch song. I wish I could remember the title. "September Song." I didn't remember, I cheated it and Googled it.
Huston did that very nicely.
But that only underscored the problem with these flashy numbers the show wants to go out on every episode.
Huston had really achieved something. She's not an incredible singer in terms of range or pitch. But she put that song over and did so by acting it and pouring emotions into it. It was a wonderful moment. Shortly afterward, it's completely buried by yet another big number finish.
Rebecca's finished. Some might argue Rebecca Duvall was finished the minute she got her SAG card with that name on it. But she was poisoned (peanuts), in her smoothie. Now she's leaving the musical. (My guess is Uma Thurman's character poisoned herself.)
That's too bad because Uma was really good on the show.
That really covers everyone. But to make it clear, Karen has no idea Dev slept with Ivy. She also told Dev she was too quick to dismiss him (and his proposal) last week. She complimented Ivy and tried to be there as a friend for Ivy who was so upset that Derek was supposedly sleeping with Rebecca. My favorite line of the episode? Uma asking, "Which one's Ivy?"
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):