SMASH Don’t Give a Shit: “The Bells and Whistles”

Forgive me if this week’s recap is short and disconnected. I’ve been on the phone all day in negotiations for the pilot I booked before the show I am on was officially cancelled. I’m not sure why the last episode of SMASH is called, “The Bells and Whistles,” but since most of it revolved around being sexy, and bells and whistles are some of the safer props in Sondheim’s sex dungeon, I hope it has something to do with that.

Top 10 Times SMASH Didn’t Give a Shit and Other Things I Loved: “The Bells and Whistles”

1.) Julia is Going to Die: It was announced this week that Debra Messing booked a pilot for CBS and is expected to leave SMASH. Last time I checked, SMASH is moving to Saturday nights, and not quite ready for me to light a candle for it in church, next to the ones I dedicate weekly to NBC’s Bionic Woman and the new Knight Rider.

I can’t imagine Debra Messing throwing SMASH under the bus, so the only other possibility is that Julia is going to be the “one good death” this season. Debra Messing sure is lucky she’s on SMASH, because when you die on Mad Men, AMC makes you miss pilot season as to not raise suspicion. But NBC don’t give a shit! They’re like, “Yeah, Debra. That’s fine.”

2.) Mimi Márquez Becomes a PublicistIn typical SMASHion (SMASH Fashion), we got a new guest star that has an obvious connection to another guest star, but won’t ever share the frame with them. This time, Daphne Rubin-Vega kept her ass far away from Jesse L. Martin. I was stoked to see that Ms. Rubin-Vega has been working on her acting beats since her star turn as “Woman with Baby Voice” in the Sex and the City movie. All that Tennessee Williams must have paid off because she had to have a scene with Eileen, talk on the phone, and text all at the same time. Daphne better #werk! However, It was a little confusing when she said she, “hit menopause while on hold,” because we all know Ms. Rubin-Vega hit menopause somewhere around the second verse of “Out Tonight.”

3.) Tom’s Party: Tom Levitt threw a party for the Bombshell cast that was very similar to one of the post-conservatory anxiety nightmares I used to have. Singing and dancing around a piano with hats and canes? This party would have been totally cool when I was a senior in high school! We got to see Sam, Jessica, and Bobby do a cracked out version of “Good Mornin’,” complete with Toddlers and Tiaras facial expressions. I mean, Bobby was like one “oooh!” face away from doing cupcake hands. Whenever a party gets this awesome, I usually find a way to ninja out.

4.) SMASH Hates Lea Michele: A few weeks back, I suggested that Lea Michele might be on SMASH’s Shit List (a list comprised of Broadway names dropped on SMASH). This week it became clear that Lea Michele is on a completely different shit listJimmy’s shit list. I’d like to think Jimmy dated Lea Michele at one point because he seems to have a similar taste in women. Whether that be true or not, Jimmy hates Lea Michele. And SMASH hates Lea Michele more.

SMASH hates Lea Michele so much it equated her to Beetlejuice, a dead person whose sole purpose in life is to scare people away. I wish Jimmy said her name three times, like Derek suggested, and we just WENT THERE. Karen is halfway to Lydia Deetz as it is. In fact, Karen didn’t get to sing this episode and I was just waiting for her to write some pouty note that read:

i am alone. i am utterly alone.
by the time you read this i will be gone.
having jumped. having plummeted off the brooklyn bridge.

5.) That Awkward Moment When … :

  • The new staging for “Let Me Be Your Star” is to just have the ensemble stand around Marilyn and react at how good she is.
  • Bombshell ensemble member (Reed Kelly) stood between Julia and Tom to do some stretch mugging. You werk that penché!
  • PSM Linda wasn’t invited to Tom’s party. Nor was anyone over twenty-eight.
  • The Hit List plot line was interrupted just to show that Tom had gotten some.
  • Sam got a twelve hour “out” of his Book of Mormon contract.
  • Kyle finds out whatever is under his new boyfriend’s stocking hat.

6.) Bombshell is the New Spider-Man: Eileen keeps calling Bombshell the biggest musical to ever hit Broadway. She might be right. The Broadway production of Bombshell has been in rehearsals longer than Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark previewed. In the amount of time it has taken for Bombshell to make it to tech, Liaisons has rehearsed, previewed, opened, and closed, and Hit List has gone from fifteen pages of chicken scratch, to the Fringe, to rehearsing Off-Broadway.

If Bombshell is going to rival Spider-Man, it’s going to need a moment when Marilyn encounters a drag queen super villain tipping down center stage. They should cut the JFK number and just do that.

7.) Jimmy’s Obstacles: I felt like I was in some weird episode of The Twilight Zone because Jimmy started saying things that made sense. You know SMASH don’t give a shit when Jimmy Collins becomes the voice of reason. First, he slammed Derek for always adding crap to distract the audience from the plotand then ripped him a new one for basically copying Ghost. Jimmy must have started giving a shit, or reading the boards at BroadwayWorld.com.

Derek finally got a clue and listened to Jimmy. They had this awesome conversation about how “other people” get in the way of two people falling in love. Derek decided to take that concept literally when he staged the next number in .15 seconds.

We cut to Derek explaining to the cast how there are many “obstacles” getting in the way of Hit List’s two main characters. You know that scene in Wayne’s World, when Wayne opens the door to a bunch of ninjas training for a James Bond movie? This was just like that. Except, instead of ninjas, Derek opened the door to a Mia Michaels sweat shop.

8.) Tom the Lover: Tom pretty much just wanted to have sex in this episode. I wonder if he’s the same in bed as he is in the rehearsal room. If so, remind me never to date Tom Levitt. First he’d be like, “Oh, please. Do whatever you want! I’m open to suggestions! In fact, why doesn’t everyone just come over and show me what they like!” and then the second the lights went out he’d be like, “I’m sorry. I’d love to see you do it someday but it’s not working.”

9.) Scenes for Next Week: Apparently Bernadette Peters is coming back to SMASH next week. You wouldn’t know that by the “scenes for next week” featured at the end of the episode. Instead of giving us a sneak peak of whatever song Ivy’s mom decides to randomly pull out of her ass when she visits the Bombshell cast, we got to see a bunch of random clips of what looked like Jimmy stealing a watch that someone bought at Target. Werk, SMASH! Way to know your audience! If there’s one thing the musical theatre freaks left still watching this show love more than Sondheim’s muse, it’s that Jimmy plot line you haven’t touched since the last episode Kyle served a purpose.

10.) Ana is a Diva: Jesse L. Martin must not really give a shit about the Manhattan Theatre Workshop if he allowed Hit List to go into rehearsal before casting one of its starring roles. Ana decided she was pissed playing the sister and thought it was time to “put herself out there” and audition for the role of the Diva for Derek at the one place she feels most comfortable. A bar.

According to Ana, putting yourself “out there” includes chugging whiskey, singing about drinking “beer with the guys,” and nearly getting hit in the face by swinging balls. I’m not sure if Ana took any real risks here. This just sounds like a normal Thursday afternoon for her. In the end, Derek offered Ana the role and she honestly couldn’t give two shits. She was like, “That’s cool. Buy me booze.” Ana needs a spinoff.

 

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