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An SOS to NBC: Save Our Smash

Posted: 04/23/2013 12:12 pm

Fade in on a fan
With a hunger for Smash
And a love for Broadway one must remember
The past bad episodes fade away
Because as of this day
Smash is so beyond great
Renew before it's too late!

Saturday's episode of Smash, titled "Opening Night," showcased the premiere of Bombshell. Our beloved Marilyn musical has finally opened on Broadway and it's a glorious accomplishment for all parties involved -- cast, writers, producers and us remaining faithful viewers. Through the lens of the latest episode, presented below are five triumphant moments that make me sing for season three (please!). At the very least so that Katharine McPhee can play the part far more suited to her than Marilyn ever was: Daisy Buchanan in Julia (Debra Messing)'s upcoming stage adaptation of The Great Gatsby. And if you cancel -- God forbid -- bring the superb original songs to the Great White Way and actually produce Bombshell.

1. Cameos Galore

The actual songwriters of all of the original music on Smash, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray), guest star as themselves at the premiere of Bombshell, prompting Eileen (Anjelica Huston) to double kiss them each as viewers cry "META!"

Additionally, Rosie O'Donnell is in the audience, because why not? She spills the beans to Debra Messing that Tom is in talks to direct a revival of City of Angels, which crushes Julia, because she and Tom (Christian Borle) just acquired rights for a musical adaptation of The Great Gatsby. And they bonded over Fitzgerald when they first met. And maybe Leo DiCaprio will reprise his titular role from the upcoming film that Smash ignored for legal reasons and make his Broadway debut!

But wait -- there's another Leo in town, and this one is not Jack from Titanic. No, Julia's idea for Gatsby came from her son, Leo (Emory Cohen), who we all thought had been exiled from primetime television. Since season one, he's grown a few inches taller and got a haircut, and he still can't act. Begone, Leo.

Last but not least, the one and only Bernadette Peters is back, playing Ivy's mother Leigh Conroy playing Marilyn's mother, and she's there to give Ivy (Megan Hilty) a classic non-pep talk, reminding her she has come so far, so "go show them" -- eschewing any complimenting of her panicking daughter whose soul has been crushed by message boards calling her a chorus girl for life.

2. Ivy Lynn Steals the Show

Luckily, Bernadette's Mama Roseing does not get in the way of Ivy positively killing it and commanding the stage as Marilyn on the opening night that has finally come to fruition. Megan Hilty is luminous and, while we have to fast-forward through almost all the magnificent tunes, she knocks closing anthem "Don't Forget Me" out of the park.

She might as well have been singing directly to the Emmy voters, because Meg has been a consistent triple threat, even when this show was prone to hate-watchers. Any hate-watcher over the last few episodes should be crestfallen -- because Smash has finally found its stride as an at-times-intentionally-comedic ode to the magic of musical theatre. Take that.

3. A Dueling Duet

And in a crowd-pleasing turn of events, Karen (Katharine McPhee) and Ivy's awkward bathroom run-in turns into a heart-to-heart about their mutual jealousy, and Kat McPhee puts aside her "Why did I quit this show" whininess to duet with Megan Hilty in a fabulous cover of Sinatra's "That's Life," accompanied by Marc Shaiman! Megan's voice is on a different level, but this rare duet actually highlighted them both as forces to be reckoned with. Yes, it's a spontaneous performance at the Bombshell after-party, perfectly memorized and harmonized, but at one point, Ivy changes the lyrics to "Eileen Rand" on the fly, so all is forgiven.

In the bathroom, Ivy jokingly makes Karen promise not to do Broadway this season, but assures her that her time will come soon. Sooner than you think, Marilyn! Derek and Scott want to fast-track Karen's show Hit List to Broadway, fulfilling the prophecy of a season finale at the Tony Awards: Bombshell vs. Hit List. Tom vs. Derek. And of course, Ivy vs. Karen. Who wants Team Bombshell shirts? It's the new Aniston/Jolie.

4. Ladies, Leave Your Men at Home

Breakup city! Ivy and Derek (Jack Davenport) have been sleeping around (ugh), but homegirl is slick enough to reject his proposal of public dating and brush him off when he requests a post-premiere booty call, since she's figured out she was his backup after Karen went for Jimmy the Awful (Jeremy Jordan). Ever the sleazebag, Derek runs into that dancer who is suing him for sexual harassment and takes her home. You're a star, Ivy. You go girl!

A hesitant "you go girl" to Karen Cartwright, who is off-again with Jimmy. We'll see if it lasts (doubtful), but if you've actually cut ties, feminist snaps for you. Jimmy's "sordid past" is now exposed -- that creepy guy now dating Ana (Krysta Rodriguez) is his brother Adam (David Call), who got him hooked on drugs after his father abused him and ruined his life before Kyle the Angel (Andy Mientus) said "Today 4 U, Tomorrow 4 Me" and saved him. Collective eye-roll to this cliché sob story. If you started afresh and aren't a bad guy anymore, why are you always a moody jerk? When you were happy at the beginning of this episode, did we like you any more? No. Karen calls it quits when he punches Adam against her pleas. Go brood in Brooklyn and get off my Smash, Jimmy the Awful.

And Eileen is so done with Times journalist Richard Francis (Jamey Sheridan), against the wishes of PR queen Agnes, played by original Rent Mimi, Daphne Rubin-Vega. Guess Kyle really is the aforementioned Angel.

The only one who didn't just come to say "Goodbye, Love" is Julia, who sucked face with Scott (Jesse L. Martin, original Tom Collins, okay that's enough) in the back of a limo after he said she could write a play of Gatsby without Tom's songs, if he does Angels or just dumps her, because they're like totally growing apart. Also Tom went home with Kyle, who was subtly confirmed as gay (kudos for the casual factor in his primetime "coming out"), but is still the creepiest bed partner Tom could ever have (save Ellis, who did just that in a dream sequence last week). Gross Tom Levitt sex life.

5. "We're Gonna Sweet the Tonys. Get Ready, Agnes, We've Got a Campaign to Launch"

So says the incomparable Eileen Rand to Daphne Rubin-Vega. Ben Brantley of the New York Times gave Bombshell a rave like everyone else -- except he called Tom's direction "overblown" and diagnosed a disconnect between the formerly flawless twosome of Houston & Levitt. "It's not true!" Julia and Tom cry. But it totally is -- they've been having drama, and the wedge between Julia and Tom is growing with his newfound love of directing. Agnes is wary of a big ad campaign in the face of this Brantley criticism, but as Julia says, he only loves you if you're in the pages of Us Weekly (for real though, BB loves celebs on Broadway).

So, with her fierce can-do attitude, Eileen commands Agnes to double the funding and then bellows the above quote. It was a magical enough moment to cancel out the fact that Agnes told her to tell critic Richard she wasn't wearing underwear earlier in the episode (just no).

When Anjelica Huston nonchalantly poured a bucket of ice onto Jimmy and Adam during their battle of fisticuffs, they must have been cold. But it couldn't compare to the chills this I got when Eileen proclaimed a Bombshell Tony triumph to be.

Standing Ovation.

 
 
 

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