Inspired by NYMag.com’s brilliant Reality Index recaps, Linda Buchwald (@PataphysicalSci) and I have teamed up to bring you our take on what’s keepin’ it real and what’s faking it each week on SMASH. Follow the 'caps here, or on Linda's site!
Linda's on vacation again this week. But I promise she'll be back next week. Until then, join me as I do the 20th Century Mambo Foxtrot Electric Slide Tootsie Roll Dougie.
Okay SMASH. We need to talk. Here I’ve been, week after week, watching your shit and politely standing behind you and sticking up for you and telling people that you’re “getting better!” And I’m saying that because I want you to be better. Because I need you to be better. Because I believe in the premise and I like the actors involved and god dammit, if I’m going to be writing this Reality Index for another season, you have to get your act together!
Sorry. I needed to get that off my chest. But tonight’s episode “The Movie Star” made me so mad you guys! It was by far the worst episode of SMASH yet. What were those songs? That dialogue? That bullshit gay makeout scene?
If you ask me, it’s all Uma Thurman’s fault. The Truth About Cats & Dogs actress (what that’s how I know her...) made her first full-episode appearance as Rebecca Duvall, a Hollywood star stepping into the roll of Marilyn in Bombshell. Low and behold, she basically ruins everything and acts like an asshole. And now everyone is back to the drawing board. And next week, Duvall wants to fire Marilyn understudy Karen Cartwright. Which if I'm being honest, I'm kind of okay with. But it probably goes to show we’re never going to find out who’s playing Marilyn. AHHHH.
Worst of all, Thurman’s doing a 5-episode arc on SMASH. And there’s only four episode of the season left. Meaning that unless they’re counting her 2 second appearance at the end of last week’s episode, we’re stuck with “Rebecca Duvall” until the end of the season.
I give up now. I can’t do it. Jesus take the wheel!
We could also blame Ellis too, you know. He found Rebecca Duvall in the first place. I’m convinced he did this to get back at us. He’s trying to steal the title to the show and take all the fame for himself. Damn you Ellis! You are a life ruiner!
Oh who am I kidding? The show sucks. It’s all yours Ellis. Enjoy!
Here’s how the Reality Index stacked up this week:
- Karen is excited because she’s Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall’s understudy. Figures. She’s so naïve, she doesn’t even realize what a train wreck this is going to be.
- Sometimes, SMASH addresses its flaws outright. Almost as if they’re saying to the audience, “we know how bad this looks, but go with us here.” Take this scene between Sam, Julia, and Tom, talking about Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall’s believability as Marilyn:
Sam: Isn’t she a little old to be playing Marilyn?
Julia: No she’s perfect.
Sam: Yeah but wasn’t Marilyn like 36 when she died.
Tom: Yes, and Rebecca is 36…ish.
- Upon exiting the elevator, Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall, Derek, and Eileen are having this conversation:
Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall: Try the original one in Cobble Hill. It’s notas scene-y.
Derek: <something unintelligible in his thick British accent>
Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall: Last time I went they made me wait half an hour for a table
Eileen: Well I admire your patience, I never wait for tables.
We’re pretty sure that wasn’t scripted at all and that was just Uma, Jack, and Anjelica talking amongst themselves.
- SPOILER ALERT: Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall can’t sing. But you probably knew that already when you saw The Producers.
- The entire production team looks horrified when Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall starts singing. The entire ensemble, on the other hand, is ecstatic. As is the entire audience, who can’t stop laughing.
- Everyone tells Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall how great she is. Behind closed doors, they bash her. “She’s bad,” says everyone. Plus 0 because duh.
- “Listen, Rebecca Duvall is never going to be an opera singer. But she’s going to be great. She’s going to tear up the scenery she’s going to fill the seats. What we need to do is find a constructive solution.” – Eileen Rand, the voice of reason. How many producers do you think have said the same thing before? I mean, it’s basically been the entire strategy behind Chicago for over 10 years now!
- Derek suggests bringing Ivy Lynn back in the show, and we actually cheer because we miss that crazy bitch.
- “The real Marilyn needs to be able to sing,” says Julia. Or was it Tom? Or was it everyone?
- Ivy Lynn’s back and everyone in the ensemble immediately hates her.
- Karen Cartwright is being supportive of Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall because she’s “beautiful and famous and I wish I had her life.” Ugh. Karen Cartwright is sooo Iowa.
- BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES IS BACK. PLUS 15 EVERY TIME HE’S HERE! ALSO, PLEASE FORGIVE US FOR CHEATING ON YOU – WE LOVE YOU!
- Karen Cartwright goes to introduce herself to Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall and Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall keeps walking.
- Watching Derek baby Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall in rehearsals, Sam and Ivy Lynn share this little amazing conversation:
Sam: He used to lay into you for raising the wrong eyebrow.
Ivy: That’s because he knew I’d get it right eventually.
Sam: This isn’t over. You know who’s going to end up playing Marilyn, don’t you?
Ivy: Gwyneth Paltrow
- “I’m driving you crazy, aren’t I? I’m such a pain in the ass!” – Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall asks/tells Derek. Ugh. High maintenance people do that shit all the time.
- Hours after Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall’s mentioned that Tom’s songs are boring, he’s still ranting about it. And now because of it, won’t eat. He really puts the Queen in Drama Queen, huh?
- Rather than go on a date, Tom and Sam decide to sit in his apartment and talk about Sondheim. Gay guys – they’re just like us!
- Sam’s favorite Sondheim musical is Into the Woods. Tom’s favorite Sondheim musical is The Frogs. “But, I’m weird,” Tom adds. Plus 30 because you know you’ll be having that same conversation on your next date.
- Apparently, Tom’s 37 and his longest relationship is 5 months. Sam thinks that’s because he rushes into things and then gets bored and starts looking for something better. I think it’s because he’s never met me.
- Surprise! Ellis is around all the time. I'd turn this into a drinking game but I'd be wasted by 10:15.
- Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall has a list of issues. Explains Ellis, “No one is allowed to smoke within 100 feet of her. There needs to a blender for her daily Kale and flax seed smoothies. She’s allergic to peanuts.” Oh, and she can’t fucking sing.
- Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall sent Ellis out for gum while her assistants just sat around reading US Weekly. Plus 500 because wouldn’t you want to get rid of him?
- “Lesson #1: Keep your enemies close, and celebrities even closer, and their assistants closer yet. There’s power in proximity as I think you already know.” – Eileen Rand to Ellis. Plus 10 because we can all learn something from that, now can’t we? Also, I can’t wait until Lesson #2.
- Eileen Rand can throw shade like it’s her job.
- “I want you to like me so much and I’m afraid I’m not going to be any good at this and I really want to be good.” – Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall as Marilyn as Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall as Julia.
- Ellis takes Eileen’s advice of keeping her assistants closer by making plans to fuck Randall. I don’t think that’s what she meant, but okay…
- Oh HEY Marcus Schenkenberg in a totally thankless cameo!
- “Even The New York Times have gotten into the gossip biz,” explains Eileen Rand. How much do you bet Michael Riedel had them put that in there?
- Eileen demands that Julia writes new scenes for Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall. I’d like to think that producers would keep a show in tack rather than cater it to a star, but I doubt that’s true.
- Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall slams Eileen’s door in Ellis’ face and I love every second of it.
- Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall invites everyone to a private screening of her new movie, Casual Friday 2, at the Bryant Park Hotel. And then doesn’t show up. I can’t tell you how many screenings I’ve been to where the celebrity star didn’t show up.
- It’s weird. Even though I hate Karen Cartwright and Ivy Lynn separately, together they’re pretty fantastic. This party banter is great and should happen all the time.
- YES. ELLIS FUCKS UP! LINDA IS IN LONDON, BUT I HIGH FIVE HER FROM ACROSS THE POND.
- “She’s annoying. She stole our part. We hate her.” – Ivy Lynn on Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall. I love a girl who holds a grudge.
- Tom admits to Julia that he’s into Sam because he called him out on all of his bullshit. And suddenly I realize why I have a crush on my therapist.
- Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall was held up because she was on the phone with a local Carter School. “I’m on the board,” she explains. Plus 100 because DUH.
- Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall shows up to the meeting with serious solutions. “If we’re going to work together you can’t be so afraid to tell me the truth. Trust me. I want to be as good out there as you want me to be. Let’s get down to work. Right off the bat I suggest that you lower the key in all of the songs, giving me more vocal support, and cutting back on the solos. I know you don’t want to touch ‘Dig Deep,’ but I just can’t handle that kind of ballad… And I was thinking about hiring a vocal couch. Is that a good idea?” And finally, SMASH gives us a reason to like her. Though no Hollywood actress in the history of Hollywood actresses would probably be this honest, I still like it.
- Ivy Lynn and Karen Cartwright are sharing a drink together, trying to determine who knows the Marilyn part better. At one point, Ivy Lynn boasts about sleeping with the direction, and then mentions that Karen Cartwright will have to grab the role from her “cold dark hands.”
- Karen Cartwright calls Ivy Lynn “unstable.” “Please, who isn’t around here?” Ivy replies. Plus everything.
- Ivy Lynn thinks that she’s being super funny by being super mean to Karen Cartwright. “What, I was just kidding! You need to have a thicker skin, Iowa.” Yes Ivy. Because it’s all Karen’s fault.
- “You’re 17 years old right now. It’s time you stop mouthing off and blaming everyone else for your problems.” – Brian d’Arcy James’s Frank to Leo. Could he give that same pep talk to Ivy, Karen, Dev, Julia, Tom, Derek, and everyone else in this damn show?
- Dev is out drinking with RJ, which is exactly what Ivy Lynn said he would be doing. And what the rest of us saw coming for like, a billion episodes now.
- Okay, I’m coming around to this bartender Nick. Kinda hot, no? Just me? Also, the next time someone tries to break up with me, I'm just going to take him to dinner and make out with him and see if that works.
Oh Hell No!
- Julia asks Tom and Sam to stop flirting already and just go out on a real date. Then she calls up a restaurant, immediately gets through to the reservationist, and makes a reservation for two on a Saturday night at 8pm under Tom Levitt. “L-E-V-I-T-T.” And then she hangs up the phone and says “do it” to Tom and Sam. AND THEN I PUNCH MY TV BECAUSE HOLY FUCKING SHIT.
- Derek asks Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall if she wants to warm up before they start rehearsals, and she refuses. Don’t most rehearsals being with a vocal warm up with the whole cast anyway? Or was that just when I was in high school?
- “They said she could sing – her agent, her manager – they said she could sing!” Tom complains about Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall. How was that not a requirement before casting?
- “Didn’t you see Rebecca Duvall sing on SNL,” Julia asks. Um… shouldn’t it have been EVERYONE. YouTube people. Hulu. Didn’t these shmucks do their research?
- “I think I said she was utterly charismatic, which of course she is,” says Eileen of Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall. Um… no she’s not.
- Before answering the phone, Julia says “Leo’s school?” aloud. No one does that and it’s obnoxious.
- “Do you hear that? That is the sound of 1,000 ticket holders demanding their money back,” Ivy Lynn whispers to Karen Cartwright, upon hearing Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall sing. I’d like to think this is true, but I saw Melanie Griffith in Chicago and that totally didn’t happen.
- Derek keeps imaging Karen as Marilyn. And now she sings “Our Day Will Come” to him really sexy in a fantasy and it’s disgusting and I want to vomit.
- Dev is not telling Karen he lost his job. I see this shit happen on TV all the time. Believe me - this is not real life.
- Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall wants to see longer scenes with a little less singing and dancing. Come on - now they're just making her seem like an idiot.
- Tom and Sam are walking around Times Square not knowing where the restaurant is in which they have dinner reservations that very night! There are like, 10 restaurants in Times Square. How on Earth do they not know where it is!?!
- After a short kiss, Sam says that he wants to slow things down because he goes to church. I mean, come the fuck on!
- Okay. We need to talk about Colin, Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall’s drunk boyfriend. First of all, he comes into rehearsal politely saying, “we need to talk – why won’t you return my phone calls?” Then Randall attacks him and he basically pushes him out of the way like it’s a balloon. Then Derek grabs him from behind and Eileen threatens to pepper spray him and they force him out. HE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG! He was totally non-threatening! Why is everyone being a dick to him? He’s Marcus Schenkenberg for fucks sake!
- “Rebecca Duvall did not get to the top of the A-list by being simple or by having healthy romantic relationships. Either did Marilyn.” Eileen Rand tells us. I am rolling my eyes so hardcore right now, my head hurts.
- Karen goes to visit Dev at work, and just waltzes right into his (old) office. I’m sorry, but this is a government office. You can’t just walk on back there like it ain’t no thing.
- No one who works for the mayor’s office works in an office that gorgeous. But even if we are to believe one does, explain to me this: that d-bag becomes Press Secretary and takes Dev’s old office? If Dev were going for that job, why would he already have the FUCKING OFFICE! AHHHH!
- Again, NO ONE IN THE MAYOR’S OFFICE WORKS IN A BUILDING LIKE THAT.
- Eileen is blowing off Nick. Remember when he helped her get her major investors? WTF RAND!
- As she waits for Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall, Eileen seemingly finishes a whole bottle of wine. And then goes to get more. I know things are bad, but Eileen wouldn’t be getting wasted at a time like this.
- I’m a huge fan of Shaiman and Wittman’s original numbers for SMASH, but this song is terrible. TERRIBLE. I blame Uma for this.
- “Now THAT’S a movie star.” Eileen says, after Uma Thurman Rebecca Duvall performance. No, no that’s not.