Television: Smash, "Opening Night"

Bombshell opens to mostly good reviews—except from the New York Times, whose critique is less than stellar. This may or may not be related to the fact that Eileen treated the Arts Editor (Richard) pretty badly. She dated him and tried to wrap him around her finger, and when he had the temerity to be honest in a write-up wherein he touted Hit List as much or more than Bombshell, Eileen threw a childish I-didn't-get-what-I-want fit. This extends to opening night, where she gives Richard the cold shoulder and more or less severs their relationship. I'm sure the intent is to show Eileen as a strong, career-minded woman, but it's impossible to like her when she's so clearly in the wrong for expecting Richard to put her above his integrity. I understand she feels it wouldn't have cost him anything to say more about Bombshell, but it's the fact she thinks she deserves a say in the matter at all that is grating.

Meanwhile, Tom is on a directing high and begins shooting down all Julia's ideas for what their next project should be. Then he goes to dinner with a producer friend and gets a verbal offer to direct City of Angels. At the same time, Julia fondly remembers her and Tom's first meeting, which included a long lovefest over The Great Gatsby. Upon discovering the rights are lapsed, she sets the lawyers to the task of snapping them up and tells Tom she knows exactly what their next project should be. (It's The Great Gatsby, in case you didn't follow all that.) But Tom tells Julia he's more into directing. Or really, an awkwardly inserted Rosie O'Donnell lets Julia know that Tom will be doing City of Angels next, and when Julia confronts him about it, he tells her he's more into directing. For now. And that she shouldn't wait for him.

And Anna has "the talk" with Karen about Jimmy's string of lies, using Jimmy's brother Adam as Exhibit A. Adam = that drug dealer guy from earlier episodes, now auditioning to be Anna's boyfriend. Karen uses her impeccable timing (actresses need that, you know) to corner Jimmy on Bombshell's opening night and demand an explanation. We get the routine list of excuses: abusive father, life on the streets, Adam leading him astray into dealing and using drugs. Karen is sympathetic, of course, and wants to believe Jimmy truly has changed. But when he gets into a fist fight with Adam at the after party, Karen walks away. And duets with Ivy. And lets it drop that she and Derek have never "hooked up," though Derek had asked her out a couple weeks before. Ivy can apparently do relationship math since she rapidly calculates that Karen's "no" to Derek directly correlates to his turning back up in her bed. So she brushes Derek off, telling him, "I think I'm good for tonight. I'll let you know if I need you again."

During the after party, the reviews begin streaming in, and Tom learns the Times is less than enthusiastic about his direction. Fearing this means he won't get a formal offer to direct City of Angels, Tom tells Julia he'll do Gatsby. But she knows he's only using her as a Plan B and turns him down. Later, Scott tells Julia she should do Gatsby on her own. And at the same time, Scott and Derek begin to plot Hit List's move to Broadway, setting it in direct competition with Bombshell. I wonder if this was meant to be the setup for a third season, should Smash have gotten so far. Alas, we'll never know. But truthfully, there isn't much tension left in the show anyway. Aside from the Tom/Julia split, which really was kind of sad, the rest of the story lines just sort of floated along in predictable little bobs. Watching Smash is now like watching the bulbs of a Broadway theatre sign wink out one by one; you're just waiting for it to go dark.

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