When we last left our “Smash” crew last summer, the Marilyn Monroe-inspired musical Bombshell was making its Pre-Broadway run in Boston. Rebecca Duvall (Uma Thurman) realized her acting talents were confined to the silver screen, creating a vacuum that sucks in our to Marilyn wannabes — Ivy (Megan Hilty) and Karen (Katherine McPhee). Karen ultimately gets the call to don the blonde wig even though her experience is lacking and Ivy’s already well versed in the part. Ivy shags Karen’s fiancee, Dev, before Karen got the part and before she put on the ring, and the revelation comes to light on the afternoon of Karen’s first performance as Marilyn. All in all, the show went off without a hitch yet we see Ivy backstage poised to chug a bottle of pills to silence those nasty voices in her head.
Thanks to the joys of Hulu, the first hour of the Smash season 2 premiere is ready to be explored a full two weeks early. Lucky us. The first order of business for “Smash” is to pick up the pieces of the mess they left us from last season. Ivy is still alive thankfully. Evidently, that conscious of hers finally kicked in and convinced her that losing one part isn’t worth severing ties with your life. Karen is as mad as you’d expect her to be, basically shunning Ivy like an untouchable.
The cast and crew of Bombshell have wrapped up their Boston run and march triumphantly back to New York. The ticket sales were healthy, the reviews were mostly positive and everyone involved knows they’ve got a meteor on the rise in Karen Cartwright. Karen’s boyfriend, Dev, is thankfully pushed out of the picture as she bunks up with one of the ensemble cast as her new roommate. You can tell that the wound is still fresh, but the novelty of fame is proving a nice distraction for Karen.
Derek (Jack Davenport) takes his new star out on the town for the evening, and they happen to stop in on a production entitled Beautiful. From under the spotlight comes the booming voice of none other than Jennifer Hudson. “Smash” is just collecting the “American Idol” alums. Don’t be surprised if Constantine Maroulis and Taylor Hicks pop up here at some point.
Hudson plays multi-Tony award winner Veronica Moore. She doles out advice to our budding Broadway star, Karen. This isn’t just a brief cameo appearance by Weight Watchers’ newest spokeswoman. Veronica shows up later to duet with Karen at the press announcement party for Bombshell. If the closing snapshot profiling the season is any indication, we’ll be getting a lot of Jennifer before its said and done.
Ivy may have decided to give life another try, but her days in Bombshell are numbered at best. Karen’s discomfort seizes over her whenever Ivy is in sight range, and Derek has given Karen free reign to lower the boom on our blonde haired vixen whenever she desires. How many lives can this cat have?
Tom and Julia come into focus. Julia has sworn off reading the reviews as is her nature, but Derek doesn’t want her to bathe in the silent bliss of ignorance. The theatre snobs have universally trashed her book, and aren’t finding her lyrics much better. Tom tries to hint to Julia that all facets of the production still need work, but she only half hears him. Our leading man yo-yo Michael Swift (Will Chase) is once again kicked to the curb much to Julia’s delight I’m sure.
Tom is dealing with his own mini-crisis. His dancer boyfriend, Sam (Leslie Odom Jr.), has been offered a part in the touring company of Book of Mormon. It is a complete no-brainer, but Sam is ready to take a pass since it will take him away from Tom. Is Tom ready to let him go? Tom’s life gets further mucked up as he spies Julia’s husband, Frank, putting a lady into a cab in quite a familiar way. Given the quicksand foundation of Julia’s relationship since the affair, he’s torn as to whether he should bring it up to her.
Eileen (Anjelica Houston) has locked down the St. James Theatre to serve as Bombshell’s Broadway home. She stages a press announcement party to share the great news with the world. Great news is in short supply though as sexual harassment allegations are levied against Derek for his treatment of Rebecca before she exited the production. If that weren’t enough, Eileen’s estranged husband has done a bit of digging into Bombshell’s funding and discovers things are less than kosher. He releases the salacious details to the press, and the entire production is instantly frozen as the authorities investigate.
Derek did finally fire Ivy at Karen’s request prior to the bombshell announcement. Ivy cornered Karen and said she was right to ditch her. She admitted her suicidal tendencies and finally voiced an apology that was sincere and heartfelt. Karen tried to reverse history, asking Eileen to let Ivy back in, but the words weren’t out of her mouth before the whole production had officially crumbled around them.
Julia may have dodged a massive rewrite, but her marriage doesn’t. Tom, of course, spills the beans about Frank’s potential indiscretion, and Julia’s questioning lights him up like a roman candle. He probably did deserve a freebie after the crap you drug him through Julia. You’ve just got to let some things lie. So Julia is staying at Tom’s for the foreseeable future. Is anyone else getting a strong Will and Grace vibe from these two?
So the season two premiere of “Smash” brought us the highest of highs and left us with the lowest of lows. Our final shot of the evening is of Karen drowning her sorrows at a bar, having flirtatious banter with the waiter. She discovers he is writing a musical and is brimming with talent. Ladies and gentlemen, we have Karen’s new love interest.
Where will “Smash” go from here? Well thankfully tomorrow night gives us a two-hour fix so in addition to all of this fun, you’ll hopefully get a taste as to the next chapter in the lives of the “Smash” characters. If I were a betting man, I’d say we haven’t seen the last of Bombshell. Eileen is a feisty one, and the cast and creative seem to have left a piece of their soul in this production. I think it will be that itch that just won’t go away.
Author: Mark Runyon
Smash: On Broadway
Season 2, Episode 1
Original Air Date: February 5, 2013
>> Continue on to Episode Two