SMASH Don’t Give a Shit: “The Read-Through”

The fifth episode of SMASH is called, “The Read-Through” which might be sarcasm because I’m not entirely sure anyone reads these scripts before an episode goes into production. If they did, then what the hell would I do with my Wednesdays?

It’s March, and I’m boycotting winter by enjoying some $3 frozen margs on the patio at Blockheads with my new friend Ana, who made her triumphant return to SMASH this week… Shall we get started?

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Top 10 Times SMASH Didn’t Give a Shit and Other Things I Loved: “The Read-Through”

1.) Tom’s Concert at The Belasco: Tom and Derek stopped by The Belasco because it might be the new home of Bombshell. The Belasco is owned by the Shubert Organization, so I guess Jordan Roth of Jujamcyn has officially hopped off this 747 to Crazy Town. The Belasco is located EAST OF BROADWAY: Where All Musicals Go To Die. So… Good luck with that. Bombshell don’t give a shit!

Tom took this as an opportunity to completely queen out on stage. Tom was like, “I will not get Brian d’Arcy James-ed on this show! I’m doing a number and I’m playing all the parts!” We were treated to a fully staged dream sequence of “Public Relations” where Tom played all the reporters. However, I can only hope that in their world Derek had to stand and watch Tom play all the dancers and Marilyn, too. In the end, Tom found a way to offend Germans, the British, Paris, people from Turkey, and all of India, but as we know… Tom don’t give a shit!

2.) Cabin in the Woods: I watch Homeland, so I know what happens when a morally questionable man leads an emotionally unstable woman to a cabin in the woods (or a house in the Berkshires…whatever). This week, Julia and Peter returned from their weekend of working on Bombshell‘s book. And when I say, “working on Bombshell’s book,” I mean having sex.

SMASH really laid it on thick here and I loved it! In case you missed the subtle innuendo underlying most of Peter and Julia’s dialogue, please take the following lines and add, “That’s what she said!” to the end of them…

“We just decided to stay one more night and put it in…”

There’s the Julia Tom was talking about…”

“You did great work…”

“I know you wanted me to put it in and I didn’t…”

“And you were right not to…”

“Trust your instincts…”

“The work just flowed… It was easy.”

Later in the episode some shady guy mailing a letter in Times Square told Julia about Peter’s other sexual conquests:

“He stood behind her, alright…then he stabbed her in the back!” [that’s what she said!]

P.S. I’m twelve.

3.) Terry Falls vs Ivy Lynn: I love that SMASH put Sean Hayes on the show but wouldn’t let him anywhere near Debra Messing. I hope Megan Mullally guest stars one day, but as the lead in Hit List. Keep those Will & Grace people separate! Sean Hayes plays Terry Falls, a movie star brought in as stunt casting for Liaisons. One of the stepsisters from Brandy’s Cinderella (Glass Slippers are SOrta Back) equates Terry Falls as Valmont to Jim Carrey as King Lear. This is an unnecessary dig because anyone who has seen Mr. Carrey’s performance in Once Bitten knows he has the “chops” to play Lear.

Terry and Ivy spend most of the episode tiptoeing around the fact that their methods do not mesh. The problem here is that Ivy gives a shit. This has to stop. Ivy Lynn needs to be Alec Baldwin to Terry Falls’ Shia LaBeouf. (If you need more information regarding the Baldwin/LaBeouf Blowout of 2013, head over to where they won’t shut up about it and also write more intellectually fulfilling SMASHcaps than me. Or so I’ve been told.)

Ivy needs to own it. She’s the veteran here! She’s the Baldwin! I won’t be satisfied until Ivy calls Terry a, “little pig” on his voicemail, delays an American Airlines flight, and stoically sips scotch while looking out the window and muttering, “Good God, Karen.”

4.) Margo Lewinsky: There are so many guest stars in minor roles on SMASH, it’s no wonder my agent never got me an appointment. In this last episode, Nikki Blonsky showed up as Margo, Jerry’s assistant. I don’t know anything about Margo but I am LIVING for her. Why was she hanging out in Jerry’s office? Wouldn’t a powerful producer like Jerry have a front desk for his assistant? Everything about this scene is dripping with suspicion. Tom and Julia walk in and Margo word vomits everywhere, “Oh, hi! Jerry stepped out! I read Bombshell! Why did you change the title??? I LOVE YOU BOTH SO MUCH!!!”

Yep. Margo’s clearly boinkin’ Jerry. Why else would she know so much? Why is she privy to drafts of Bombshell that not even Tom has seen? Jerry better watch out. This girl is one french beret and a navy blue dress away from taking him down.

5.) That Awkward Moment When … : 

  • Ivy sort of dissed Spamalot to Christian Borle.
  • Half the exterior shots took place in different “locations” but we really just circled around the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.
  • In the world of SMASH, there is no winter. Bastards.
  • Jerry only wants to produce money making spectacles but has the largest poster of Spring Awakening known to man hanging outside his office.
  • The only thing really different between the workshop book that Tom loves and the Boston book that bombed, is Ivy and Karen.
  • Not a single person knows you can email a PDF of a script.
  • Karen gave me Stanislavski in the Hit List reading.
  • Kyle used the word, “Broadway” in the same way my Aunt says, “You should go do Broadway.”
  • Kyle gave up on life after one read-through.
  • Once again, Karen put Bombshell in the same category as a Pulitzer Prize winner.

6.) Bobby & Jessica Don’t Give a Shit: You know what blew my mind the most this episode? Karen has ten friends. Ten friends that agreed to travel to Greenpoint to read through some script at a loft/barn that only offers “water and beer.” Karen has balls to ask that of her friends considering she’s never even read Hit List. I’m pretty certain Jimmy hasn’t read Hit List either. Anyway, Jessica came to show off her Pebbles Flintstone printed blouse. And Bobby came for sex. 

You want some perspective on how bad the book for Hit List is? Bobby hasn’t said a word this entire series without the subtext of, “I want to blow you.” Yet, he bolted out of that reading faster than Theresa Rebeck could “step down” as showrunner. Not only did Bobby not like Hit Listhe led the charge against it. Bobby freakin’ rocks. He knows that no amount of sexual desire can make one blind to bad musical theatre.

7.) Ana is PISSED: Ana is back and Ana is PISSED. Ana doesn’t just not give a shit… She doesn’t give a f*ck. There was actually a moment at the end of this episode when I bought the statement, “Karen’s been through a lot this year.” I think the only bad thing that happened to Karen this year was her breakup with Dev. However, when Ana gets in your face about it, Karen might as well have just survived stage four colon cancer. Don’t f*ck with Karen, Jimmy.

Ana probably corners all of Karen’s boyfriends. Not because she has some big “lesbian crush” on her. No. Ana doesn’t want to have to deal with Karen’s whiny bullshit. When Karen is happy, Ana is happy.

Ana didn’t put the sauce down once in this episode. Girl was carrying a drink in every scene she was in. If I had to baby Karen and sit through the Hit List reading, I’m pretty sure I’d be wasted, too. Just when I thought Ana was too good to be true, she ended her arc on this episode by stumbling out of the scene and mumbling, “I’m gonna get some more booze.” Genius.

8.) Words of Wisdom from Karen Cartwright: Downstairs, Jimmy tells Karen and Ana that Kyle has been immersed in writing for musical theatre since he was a kid. Karen approaches Kyle on the roof where he is giving some more Spring-Awakening-angsty-face at the Manhattan skyline. After learning that Kyle has poured his heart into playwriting since birth, Karen tells him, “I had to work for it. Hard. Singing lessons. Dance lessons. Acting classes. You can’t just expect to wake up one day and write the next great American musical.” Karen better werk! She’s got some mad listening skills and a great sense of timing. I know when I’m feeling down about my career I can always count on Karen Cartwright to explain to me why I’m failing a life! If you look up #SoBlessed in the dictionary, it’s a picture of Karen Cartwright.

9.) Let’s Throw Kyle Under the Bus: Ain’t nobody give a shit about Kyle. Poor Kyle has unrequited love for Jimmy. Everyone calls Jimmy the sole songwriter even though Kyle writes the lyrics. And nobody thinks Kyle’s book is any good. What do you do when the book isn’t good? I know! Hire an expensive dramaturg to whisk you away to his cottage and make a sweet, passionate, libretto with you? Wrong. You duck tape that shit with more songs! I love that Kyle wasn’t phased by them axing his book entirely. He actually seemed pleased. That must mean Kyle don’t give a shit! Welcome to the club.

10.) Anjelica, Queen of Egypt: Jerry refuses to produce the current version of Bombshell because it’s, “too good for Broadway.” Jerry wants butts in the seats! Jerry don’t want some cultured theatrical event gracing the Belasco stage. Jerry thinks The Belasco is only meant for big Broadway blockbusters… like: Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Dracula: the Musical, Awake and Sing!, Journey’s End, Passing Strange, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and End of the Rainbow… you know, stuff that makes a lot of money and runs for years.

This leaves us at a standstill with Tom and Jerry (hahahahahahaha) wanting the first draft and Julia and Derek on the side of the final draft. Whatever going to happen next??? Quick, someone call Cleo…

We were reminded several times that Cleopatra (played by Eileen Rand) is legally obligated to stay away from everything involving Bombshell. That is why the end of the episode was EVERYTHING to me. In a cliffhanger written to rival Who Shot JR?, it is up to Cleopatra to decide between Marilyn the Musical and Bombshell. Man, this played out like an episode of LOST. You bet I ain’t switching over to Hart of Dixie next week!

BONUS: In case you missed it…

Steven Spielberg Don’t Give a Shit!: This week, I gave Mr. Spielberg a few pointers on how to use his legacy to improve SMASH’s ratings.


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