Television: Smash, "The Fringe"

Tom wins. (Which makes me wonder whether the writers of Smash really just needed to keep most of what had already been written.) And is Jerry speaking for viewers when he says, "There are a lot of songs . . ." And then demands cuts. (?)

And a re-worked Rent Hit List is on its way to the Winter Fringe Festival. With Karen in a key role. But when Jerry finds out, he demands Karen back out of Hit List because Bombshell should be her big introduction to the world. Given an ultimatum—do you want to do Fringe or do you want to open on Broadway?—Karen ditches Hit List to predictable results (i.e., a tantrum from Jimmy).

Meanwhile, Peter works to drive a wedge between Tom and Julia by using the Bad Dialogue Generator to tell her that Bombshell no longer needs her and that Tom has already left her. Then Peter invites Julia to London.

Apparently Tom must prove his love for Julia (as a collaborator) by convincing Jerry to keep one of Julia's favorite songs. He does this by giving Karen new direction and motivation, which sets Derek's back up since, you know, he's the director. When everyone loves the new direction . . . And really, when the problems with theatre-by-committee come to the fore . . . Derek quits the show.

Oh, and Ivy's show is tanking. Until Ivy makes the workshop audience laugh. Which makes Terry insist her number be cut. But at least he's honest about his reasons: he wants to be the funniest on the stage. But Ivy's brutal honesty works for her; when she tells Terry how awful the show is, and how awful he is in it, he gives her the song back.

In a completely unnecessary, time-filling scene, Karen, wearing a dress that looks like some curtains I had when I was five, goes back to the Fringe Festival to confront Jimmy and tell him not to take his temper out on everyone else.

Derek goes to check out Hit List on its last night, and surprise! Karen is in the show! DerekVision (TM) returns! (Really, all of Smash should be in DerekVision (TM).)

[Nobody on a plane is that nice, Windows. No one gives a little kid their tablet. I don't give my own kids my tablet. And I'd feel weird if some stranger gave my kid his.]

So of course Derek ends up agreeing to direct Hit List. Jimmy will star, but Karen opts out because she's signed to Bombshell.

And Eileen, tipped off by hearsay from Karen, discovers proof of Jerry's perfidy. Then she and Julia put Tom up as director for Bombshell.

The real shame in Smash is how terribly predictable the story lines are. All my snarking aside, it's a fun show, one I look forward to each week. But I wish they'd do something really surprising. As things stand it's easy to see Karen going for Hit List and Ivy stepping back into Bombshell (since Tom is her big champion, so if he's going to direct the show . . .) The supposedly make-or-break decisions of these characters always seem predestined. There's not yet been a point at which I've really wondered what someone will do; my biggest question is usually when they'll get around to it. So I think Smash would benefit from some real turnover.

Ah, well, it really is all predetermined now. The second season wrapped filming not too long ago, and it probably won't see a third. Enjoy it while you can, friends.

No comments: