Cut, Print… Moving On
By: Sean Fry
Welp folks, the moment Smash fans have all been anxiously awaiting is finally here with the divine Ms. Jennifer Hudson in tow. The two hour season premiere is finally here for all of us to watch and sprint to iTunes to download the music.
Let’s jump right in. We start with closing night in Boston with yet another festive production number from Bombshell, “Cut, Print…Moving On.” It’s clear that this number is a signifier of the series’ attempt at moving forward and putting the less than stellar response to season one behind it. Also, it seems Katharine McPhee got some voice lessons to help her voice sound more apt to musical theatre repertory.
As was assumed, Ivy didn’t take that fistful of pills and she’s here to stay. Thank god. Also, one of my biggest peeves with this episode is Karen’s interaction with Ivy. I just want her to get over the whole Dev situation and move on…pun intended.
None clearer than the moment Karen selects her back-up singers for a party to announce the show’s move to Broadway.
Cut to a concerned Ivy. After all, who wouldn’t be worried that the show’s diva could have her booted at the drop of a hat? Side note: could someone please style Megan Hilty better? She’s beautiful, but a middle part is not her friend.
Cue Jennifer Hudson as Broadway fierceness Veronica Moore. All I have to say about her addition to this season is: YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! She could sing the phonebook and still give me chills. I really hope she is kept around for more than the original three-episode arc we were promised.
Let me be clear, I do not like Jerry. Eileen’s ex-husband is nothing but trouble and gives me similar feelings as the less-than-missed Ellis…That’s the last only time I will utter his hateful name. Yeah, yeah Eileen is using some dirty money to fund the show and it had to come to light (I’m looking at you, Rebecca), but I just wish we could pretend it was kosher.
Wait…I thought Brian D’Arcy James was getting the axe? Well regardless, he doesn’t last long after being accused of cheating after being seen by Tom and Sam as they banter about Bombshell reviews. This is one of those subplots that I’m happy to see go. The show’s strongest moments come from the drama around creating the show when they aren’t blurred by the soap opera-esque side stories.
Again, moving on. With the news that Jordan Roth has pulled the plug on Bombshell’s move to a Broadway theater, there’s apparently an opportunity for another song, but “On Broadway”? I like the song, but this placement is a bit awkward as I found to be true for several songs throughout the episode. Regardless, any excuse to hear Jennifer sing her face off is fine with me.
Nice to see that romantic tension between Derek and Karen is still here. However, sexual harassment claims from Rebecca DuVall are an interesting twist.
I’m in love with Tom and Julia moving in together. I love their dynamic. Also, the wink at Debra Messing’s previous stint as a gay’s-best-friend on Will & Grace. “It’ll be like old times…or a sitcom.” I giggled, but I could be one of the few that caught that reference.
Let me just say, this “Don’t Dream It’s Over” sequence is another awkward moment of the episode, but Megan Hilty is so damn talented.
I’m a fan of this bad-boy persona that this Jimmy is giving. Also…Jeremy Jordan. Yum. And that voice! The Joe Iconis penned “Broadway, Here I Come!” was really my favorite song of the night by a mile. I like where this second show concept is coming in and it’s exciting that Bombshell will face some competition for the spotlight.
Here come more accusations of sexual harassment against Derek. And…yep there’s Jerry.
Tangent: One thing that Smash has done very well in my opinion is creating the fictional world of the Great White Way that will soon (hopefully) see Bombshell alongside shows and realities of the community we know and love. References to The Book of Mormon and The American Theatre Wing are nice touches to a world of musical theatre without Bernadette Peters.
As the second hour trucks on, scandal seems to become more and more the reality for the seemingly doomed Bombshell. Now, the American Theatre Wing doesn’t even want to touch anything to do with the show.
Again, we see Ivy clawing at what’s left of her passion for show business over a shared jar of marshmallow fluff with Julia. Their relationship seems to be budding into a touching friendship that we may see through the rest of the season. Could come into play since Julia was originally on Team Karen.
Harvey Fierstein always brings a smile to my face no matter how small his role is.
What. WHAT. WHAT?! Derek’s hallucinations are at it again with a crotch-grabbing cover of the Eurhythmics’ “Would I Lie To You.” Where did this come from? Maybe I’m missing something, but this was almost laugh-worthy. I hope this is just a one-time misstep.
The biggest face-to-palm came when Julia, fresh out of her post-divorce hibernation speaks to an American Theatre wing official believing she is going to be giving a speech alongside Tom at an industry gala.
It’s clear that this Jimmy boy is turning into a love interest for Karen and I couldn’t be happier. No better way to dispose of that uptight Dev than to move on as quick as one episode.
The single most honest moment I’ve ever seen from Derek comes as he tells Ivy not to give up on her career. Well done. Arguably, Derek was the biggest monster to Ivy and yet, she still doesn’t think of him as such.
Next, in a bit of well-stated firmness, Eileen gets kicked out of the American Theatre Wing gala due to the scandal surrounding her and Bombshell.
“I’m so sorry no one in New York will get to see what you lost everything for.”
Back to the budding romance that is Karen and Jimmy. Well until Karen decides to push his hot-tempered buttons by singing the Pasek and Paul/Jimmy original “Caught in the Storm.” I like the song. Although, it sounds a bit more like Top 40 than musical theatre which may be due to Katharine McPhee’s pop vocals. Either way, Jimmy does not take kindly to his material being shared.
I do wonder why Jimmy is so angry all the time. I get the whole bad boy image, but he just seems rude at times.
Eileen is always the one with the idea to have a performance to distract everyone from unwelcome news and situations.
When Karen doesn’t answer, of course Ivy is ready to step in. The song “They Just Keep Moving The Line” is a slow starter, but once it gets going we’re once again faced with the undying question of how we’re expected to think Katharine McPhee would EVER beat out the voice of Megan Hilty. I just don’t get it. Megan Hilty is unstoppable when she opens her mouth to sing. She’s brilliant, there’s nothing else to it.
I may not like Jerry, but he’s probably one of the only hopes that Bombshell has. He’s caused the show a great deal of trouble over the past two hours of airtime, but now Eileen is bringing him on board.
The rest of the standard wrap up of the episode touched on just about every other relationship of the show thus far. Jimmy follows an address on Karen’s headshot and résumé Krysta Rodriguez’s character left on his fridge, the line is drawn once again between Ivy and Derek and Ivy is left to question her worth yet again.
Oof. My apologies for the long post, but a supersized premiere deserved a supersized reaction. I will make this simple,
Things I loved:
- New original songs from new composers
- Jeremy Jordan and Jennifer Hudson
- The scandals surrounding Bombshell, Eileen and Derek
- Letting the drama around Bombshell stand on its own
- ELLIS IS GONE! (Sorry, I know I said I wouldn’t say his name again, but I had to)
- Megan. Hilty.
What I didn’t like all that much:
- Awkward song placement
- That Eurhythmics dream sequence…I’ll get over it eventually, I hope.
- Why wasn’t Ivy cast as Marilyn again?
I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store, it’s sure to be quite a ride. See you all next week!!!