Everyone is either beginning to move on from Marilyn, figure out to get Marilyn back on track, or doing a lot of drugs. The big musical number comes from Heaven On Earth, along with a Karen/Ivy cover of Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink to That).” The most noticeable trouble this week was the lack of Marilyn as a foundation for all the characters and the plot, which left things a bit unhinged. It’ll be interesting to see how the writers continue to handle this moving forward.

The Players:

  • Director:  Paul McGuigan
  • Writer: Scott Burkhardt
  • Cast: Katharine McPhee, Debra Messing, Jack Davenport, Megan Hilty, Anjelica Huston, Christian Borle, Jaime Cepero, Raza Jaffrey, Brian d’Arcy James.

The Plot:

Karen books an orange juice commercial over Ivy, the last straw for Ivy’s camel, pushing her to a lot of drug induced stumbling. Sam and Tom come to the rescue (after Tom has some trouble with his boyfriend) before realizing Ivy is a big girl and their time should really be spent flirting with each other. Plus Derek is maybe staying at Ivy’s anyway. At least when he isn’t threatening to leave Marilyn and then getting manipulated by Eileen into doing exactly what she wants him to.

In Tom and Julia land, they finally come up with a title: Bombshell. Also Frank sings, punches Michael right in his home-wrecker face, and leaves Julia, hopefully forever.

 

The Good:

Heaven on Earth: it might be advisable for the NBC powers that be to turn Heaven On Earth into a webseries. The musical number might have been more fun than anything written for Marilyn.

Leo: God bless this child (and Julia) for running out of the apartment before Frank could get too many words in. This saved everyone from any extra time spent with these horrible people. By the end of the night, enough was enough.

Sweet Sam: Easily the best character already, he extended his lead this week, being a true BFF for Ivy, smirking that little smirk at Tom, buying Tom a meal, and generally being adorable and wonderful.

Karen in a motion capture suit: sweet Karen Cartwright landed a national orange juice commercial for which she got to wear a full green body suit. Katharine McPhee remains impressive, keeping Karen’s earnest charm in tact,

Megan Hilty’s Halo: watching Ivy run around backstage, in Times Square, in the liquor store, and even in her own apartment in full angel costume was a true delight (also those Marc Jacobs sunglasses were all kinds of great).

The Gay Republican’s Fundraiser: So Tom’s BF, John, is a gay republican. The forced political commentary is down in the bad section, but I could watch this scene over and over again on mute and just laugh and laugh for hours at all the faces Tom makes. Those faces plus his brief exchange with a giant taxidermied bear were probably the highlight of the week.

Anjelica Huston: lady can do no wrong. She has her own special place in this section for as long as we all shall live. Also, she put Ellis right in his stupid, sneaky, ladder-climbing place. Julia take notes; this is how it’s done.

 

The Bad:

Blatant political commentary: these moments between John and Tom were more boring than than politics itself.

Ellis the Sneak: he continues his slow, hostile takeover by conspiring with Eileen’s traitorous former assistant to get some industry hookups and try to land a star for Marilyn. He also magically becomes gay for said industry hookup and tries to get Eileen to give him a co-producer credit.

Frank’s Singing Voice: absolutely no one asked for any more Frank serenades, following his karaoke debut last week. Of course the song he sings is one Julia clearly wrote about Michael.

Michael and Frank: the above obviously leads right into maybe the worst scene yet in this series. As Michael and Frank are having their sidewalk confrontation, I had to do a double take to make sure the TV didn’t switch over to a Lifetime Original Movie.

Karen’s Wardrobe: turtleneck, ugly brown cardigan, and giant down coat? No thanks. What’s gotten into this girl? She usually looks perfectly cute!

 

The Quotable:

“Aw that’s sweet. What are you, a producer now, Ellis?” – Derek

“Go home, Frank.” – Michael (please, Frank, please go home and leave us all alone!)

“She just walks into this city with that Midwestern moon face and lands everything.” – Ivy

“It’s about a J.D. M.B.A. Ph.D. who solves crimes! Isn’t it interesting?” – Derek (while reading a TV pilot he’s in the running to direct)

“What’s a Bruin?” – Tom the sports lover

“There’s more to producing than casting, Ellis.” – Eileen (SHUT THAT KID DOWN!)

Overall:  automatic two point deduction for Debra Messing’s tears and Frank being involved in any way (loved him much, much more when he was having that off-screen romance with the periodic table), bonus points for Ellis finally shutting up and lots of Sam time, but the rest was just a bit blah. Maybe the NBC promo department went a little too crazy making things seem more exciting than they turned out to be, but without the grounding of Marilyn and its associated stakes, it’s hard to get as excited about these people’s problems. There were a lot of good bits hidden throughout, but overall, the plot and characters just weren’t as good as they could be.

Rating: 6/10

Smash airs Monday nights at 10 PM on NBC.