SMASH – Recap & Review – Broadway Here I Come, The Fallout

photo: nbc

photo: nbc

Broadway Here I Come, The Fallout

Original Air Date: Feb 5, 2013

Lauren A – Senior Reviewer

SMASH is back, but the two-part season opener is more of a bomb than a Bombshell. The show has wrapped up its trial run, with Karen in the lead, and everyone is headed back to NYC to as the future of Bombshell is decided. While some bright new faces (and musical numbers) light up the two hour premiere, we quickly find ourselves back in the same rut, asking the same questions, wearing the same ol’ scarves.

Karen and Ivy are not on speaking terms, and seeing Karen play mean is actually pretty nice. Derek is still infatuated with his “muse”, and the two heat things up in a friendly way. It’s Derek who introduces Karen to Veronica “Ronnie” Moore (Jennifer Hudson), a Broadway girl with super-star power. But it’s Karen who finds Derek’s next big thing – boy wonder Jimmy, a waiter/bar-keep with an amazing song-writing prowess. So, what has the rest of the SMASH gang been up to? Read on to find out…

The reviews for Bombshell are in, and Julia doesn’t want to hear them. While everyone is singing Tom’s praises on the show’s songs, the book is not a best-seller and Julia is to blame. She tries turning a blind eye and keeping things upbeat, but she later admits to Tom that she’s read all the reviews and knows Bombshell still has a long way to go. Her personal life isn’t looking much more promising. Michael Swift wants to leave the show rather than renew his contract (we hear, even though we don’t see him), and Frank has taken up a relationship with someone new. All of Julia’s domestic drama comes to a head at an industry event, where a good chunk of the Broadway big shots get a front row seat for her blow up with Frank (and where Ronnie and Karen thankfully distract us with a great rendition of “On Broadway”). Julia plants herself on Tom’s couch, until he (in an effort to save face in front of Harvey Fierstein) tells a little white lie that gets Julia to another event thinking she’s a presenter. Although she’s thoroughly embarrassed, she realizes just how much she loves the show and how much she wants to keep trying to make it a success. While I admire Julia’s resolve, she is just not a compelling character for me. She is all whine and pity-parties, which is even more highlighted by Tom’s awesomeness.

It’s that awesomeness Sam will miss when he’s invited to tour with Book of Mormon, and although Tom is sad to send him off, he realizes it’s for the best. Sam sticks around long enough to give Ivy a few pep talks, especially when she considers throwing in the towel on the whole theatre thing in general. Ivy is still green with envy. Even though she’s moved past the pill-popping, self destructive phase, she’s still bitter about Karen’s time in the spotlight. She even tries to worm her way back in with Derek before realizing he really only has eyes for Karen. I hope these two are able to be friends, the way they are in part 2 of the premiere, without Ivy ruining it all yet again.

Karen is on top of the world. She’s a familiar name and face on the theatre scene after her successful turn as Marilyn, and Derek is introducing and promoting her every way he can. She’s moved in with her back-up cast friends and is all set to live a more bohemian, single life now that Dev is out of the picture. Karen’s newfound confidence is refreshing, and she is pretty much able to pull it off and still seem somewhat humble. Karen finds herself a local bar while waiting for Derek to finish an interview, and she meets Jimmy. She goes back later (although I’m still not 100% sure what drove her there) and chats him up. When she leaves her cell phone – which was SO OBVIOUS – she returns to overhear Jimmy singing a song he wrote (musical number “Broadway Here I Come”). This is the highlight of the premiere. Not only is this kid’s voice amazing, the lyrics are fresh and the tune is very different from all of the Marilyn-based scenes and pop covers we’ve heard on the show before. Karen wants Derek to hear Jimmy’s stuff, but Jimmy isn’t interested. It’s his friend Kyle who ultimately gives Karen the music and invites her to a party. When Jimmy blows up at Karen, Kyle tries to mend the fences and convinces the wunderkind to give it a shot. Even Derek is impressed.

It’s good that he has a project to get excited about, because Derek is up against nothing but trouble. An interview with Rebecca Duvall has been released in which she accuses Derek of sexual harassment during her time with Bombshell. Not only that, but the interview opens the floodgates for actresses and dancers who’ve auditioned for Derek over the years to join in the witch hunt. Derek is charmingly aloof to how his simply asking a girl on a date translates to sexual harassment. And I’m wondering why any of these girls would be complaining.

It’s really the least of the worries Bombshell has coming. Eileen’s bar-keep boyfriend (hm, I’m seeing a theme here) who invested in her show turns out to possibly not be on the up-and-up. The show’s assets are frozen, and Bombshell is at a standstill once again. Seriously, will this show EVER get up off the ground? Of course, Jerry is only too happy to offer his assistance, which (per usual) ends up with Eileen getting stiffed somehow. This time, though, Jerry appears to be in cahoots with someone else… Will dreaded Ellis make a return? He’s the only one I can imagine who would be willing to team up against Eileen.

As usual, though, I’m going to give Eileen credit for her spunk. The two-parter ends with the Bombshell creative team (minus a drunk Derek and Jimmy-searching Karen, plus an overly eager Ivy) taking the American Theater Wing event hostage with a performance and a symbolic big middle-finger to industry folk, promising that Bombshell will be opening on Broadway this fall. The only problem is… didn’t we hear all of this last season?

I thought the premiere wasn’t anything new, which was disappointing after last season’s great finale. We do have the promise of a scarf-free Julia in our future, which is something I can sort of pretend to get excited about. Was SMASH’s return enough to blow you out of your seat? Leave your Two Cents below!

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