Smash - Season 2

The word for this episode of Smash is progress. And nudity, but we’ll get into that in a moment. Bombshell is finally into previews, despite Tom’s incompetence, and everything the cast has worked for through two seasons has led to this night.

Ivy awakes the morning of the public dress rehearsal with an arm around her – it seems that she and Derek rekindled their relationship after he bought her that drink on her birthday. It’s still unclear how the audience is supposed to feel about this reconciliation. On one hand, Derek ran back to Ivy because Karen is unavailable, and Ivy deserves so much more than that. But Ivy is in charge this time around. Derek has strict instructions not to spend the night at her apartment, and to not make this relationship serious.

The theatre is jam packed for the dress rehearsal, because everyone loves a good trainwreck. Though Team Bombshell has reworked most of the show, there are still many, many problems they couldn’t forsee. Basically, anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The glass doors wouldn’t slide open during the opening number, trapping Ivy behind a partition. The giant plane, obviously, wouldn’t roll onstage during “Public Relations,” because that has always been a terrible idea.

Oh, and when JFK took off Ivy’s dress during “Our Little Secret,” her slip came down with it, exposing her breasts to the entire audience.

Now, that last little mishap actually proved to be positive; word that Marilyn shows off her Monroes spread like wildfire, and the next night’s show was sold out within an hour. The problem is, the rest of Bombshell is still a disaster. And it’s nowhere in Ivy’s contract that she is required to be nude to play the part of Marilyn. She tells Tom that she will think about it, and spends the rest of the episode fretting about the decision. She is an amazing, gorgeous, talented star – does she want to be remembered for showing her breasts? Or will it be just part of her amazing performance?

At Hit List, Karen is still being the worst because her equally awful boyfriend is casually using cocaine and lying about it. Instead of confronting him, she just complains to Ana, who definitely won’t use this information to bite her later when they have a blow out over their parts in the play. Derek has approved the changes that Kyle and Julia made to the play, which greatly diminishes Karen’s lead role as pop star Amanda, and moves Ana’s role as the Diva into the spotlight.

Karen is understandably upset because she left a starring role on Broadway to be in this play. She was promised the lead, and now is being pushed aside for someone else’s runaway vision. But, what Derek and Kyle see is a much better play. With Ana at the forefront, they have something huge on their hands. Ana tries to be the bigger person and apologize to her roommate about the situation. “That’s okay,” says Karen. “Derek is just mad because I’m sleeping with Jimmy. He’ll switch everything back and make your part small again once he calms down, and I’ll be the star again.” God, Karen.

It’s on. Ana is not pleased. The reporter from the New York Times (the same one who’s trying to sleep with Eileen, what a coincidence) comes by to watch the preview and is enthralled by the performance. He gives it a glowing review in the Arts & Leisure section that basically praises it as the next Broadway hit. Too bad Karen’s no longer the star.

The time has come for the next Bombshell public dress rehearsal. Tom has managed to work out the rest of the show’s problems, and do something truly innovative and horrifying: that second act thing that theatre people insist is wonderful where actors sit in the audience and climb over the seats and interact with audience members. Never do this in real life. Well, the audience finds it delightful and the show is saved thus far.

By the time “Our Little Secret” comes around, Ivy still hasn’t decided whether or not she is going to go nude. At the end of the song, she opts to keep herself covered. But during the highly emotional scene after the song, where JFK explains that Marilyn isn’t “First Lady material,” Ivy drops the sheet covering her naked body and exposes herself to the audience. It is shocking and brave; Ivy is immediately a star.

All is not well in the Bombshell world, though. That glowing Hit List review that called the show the future of Broadway? It happened to give Bombshell as an example of the old Broadway, and mentioned Julia in the same breath. Tom is devastated. Also, NYT guy? Probably not the best way to get in Eileen’s pants?

Next week on Smash! More tasteful nudity!