'Smash' Recap: Everyone Quits
'Smash' Recap: Everyone Quits
Bill King
Bill King
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
I swear to you all, I am really, really trying. I honestly DO like Smash, and I even went into Thursday's episode, "Fringe," telling myself I was just going to take things for what they were and not be overly critical. But I feel like I'm suddenly a member of the cast, since everyone else ON THE SHOW is trying to remember what they liked about it in the first place as well.

Someone needs to remind show runner Joshua Safran that this isn't the CW and we're not all 16-year-old girls. I don't know if I'm even allowed to phrase things this way, but EVERYONE is acting like jerks. They're ALL a bunch of jerks!

Now don't get me wrong, there are parts of the episode I enjoyed. If Jeremy Jordan just stopped talking and acting and playing the role of Jimmy in general and just effing SANG the whole time, I'd never turn it off. And if Grace's friend Jack carried around stuffed peacocks the whole time, I could overlook a lot. 

The ending number, with Karen and Jimmy debuting a song from "Hit List" at the Fringe Festival, was also spectacular (just sing Jeremy! SING!). And I still love me some Katharine McPhee, even if I don't like her character that much anymore. It was also nice to see Derek "see" her again, like he did as Marilyn in the first season.

The last song was reminiscent of Jennifer Hudson's four-episode arc, which include a whole episode dedicated almost entirely to her, with the only plot progression being that it got some people in the biz to hear Jimmy and Kyle for the first time. J-Hud crushed the song in "The Song," and it made us briefly forget that everything we knew about Smash was falling apart. 

Everyone Quits

And to be honest, maybe that's the point. Maybe the goal is to change the path we were on throughout the first season, but it just makes it seem like everything we were emotionally invested in doesn't matter any more. And also, it shouldn't take six episodes of practically nothing happening for us to achieve that goal. And seriously, does anyone care about "Liaisons"? Even Ivy's supposed scene-stealing song wasn't that great this week.

So in "Fringe," everyone apparently quits so they can either come back again or just quit further in the future. "Bombshell" is a total mess since Jerry connived his way into the executive producer position, and he's jerkoff number one. He's trying to change everything, from the songs to the script to the, ta da!, the director. And Derek telling everyone off before he walked out the door had to be my favorite non-musical moment of the season. 

Everyone is deconstructing the show for no reason, adding the crappy song with the plane and cutting one of the earlier songs that was the supposed lifeblood of the show, just because Jerry likes songs that make him "feel something." Like "Let Me Be Your Star"? There's a reason that's still the song they play when they try and get you to download something from iTunes.

The most confusing part about it all is Eileen picked the OLD script that everyone loved except Derek, Julia and the Dramaturd. So why are they messing with songs if they decided on the old script anyway? And why does anyone hate it when Tom then tries to blend the two together? I loved "Bombshell" last season. But now, I, too, just want it to go away.

Oh, and the Dramaturd also quits to work on a new show in London, and he wants Julia to go with him "to collaborate." We called it a study date in college, and I miss her ex-husband. And why is she still living with Tom? Is this a sitcom? What successful college professor and Dramaturd is romantically interested in a cheating, recently divorced single mother who sleeps on her co-worker's couch?

And that brings me to quitters Karen and Jimmy. Oohhh, Karen and Jimmy. Karen went out on a limb to help Jimmy and his stupid show and awesome voice catch a break, but when she finds out she'll have to quit "Bombshell" to perform in his silly little festival, is he understanding at all? Nooooo. So HE quits his own show! That is of course, until Karen risks getting fired from her legitimate shot at stardom to perform in "Hit List," but it's okay because she's thinking about quitting "Bombshell" anyway. Follow all that? 

More Jimmy-Karen Nonsense

And a little more about Jimmy, because sadly Jeremy Jordan has to act sometimes. Why is everyone his best friend? I don't care how much talent a guy has, if he's that much of a dick BEFORE he gets famous, people aren't going out of their way to help him so much. And you call Karen out for picking her career over her "friends?" Dude, she's known you like two weeks and has done nothing but worship you. She's been trying to get on Broadway for like a decade. Cut the chick some slack.

He should, but I can't. Don't actresses usually have to at least APPEAR on Broadway to have this kind of pull? From what I can remember, Karen has yet to appear on the Great White Way, at the very least not in a starring role. But critics and people are coming out specifically to hear her? How does she have such a reputation just from a couple months performing in Boston? 

And also with Jimmy, why still haven't we gotten more information about his supposedly sordid past? It was like episode two when he sneaked into that random old apartment, found his notes in an untouched dresser and got his ass beat for no apparently reason. Why did that guy bust his lip? Are we just supposed to shake our heads, think, oh, that dude has a sordid past, and move on? Is seeing him roll a J while reading bad reviews before he bails on Kyle and "Hit List" for the 12th time supposed to be enough for us?

The Most Ridiculous Plot Point in Smash History

If you've made it down this far (and I apologize for the length), then it's at least time to discuss the best moment of the show, nay season, nay series. So we know that Ellis helped Jerry undermine "Bombshell" to steal it from Eileen. But the way Karen finds out about it is FROM ELLIS' EX-GIRLFRIEND. 

Yes, that's right. I'm sure you were as shocked as his beard girlfriend was to find out that the character of Ellis was gay. Was that really the best they could come up with? Couldn't they have had Eileen return home to her apartment to find Ellis in leather chaps vowing eternal vengeance against Jerry for luring him in with romantic overtures and then denying him a producer position? Wouldn't that have been more satisfying? Did they really feel like they needed to clear the air on that one? Guy wasn't Dumbledore.

The Craziness Continues Next Week

Now that Eileen is on to Jerry's devious ways, she is determined to get "Bombshell" back (again). Only this time, Tom is her director, which ensures Julia is staying on. But now that Derek has moved on to "Hit List" (a project in the works thanks to Law and Order's Detective Ed Green), Karen wants to latch on to that and give Ivy back the role of Marilyn. And once THAT happens, Jerry steps back in and offers Derek full control over "Bombshell" again. Follow all that? 
Maybe at some point I'll just start to appreciate the disjointed wackiness for what it is. That's what happened for me with Zero Hour, which I found wildly entertaining, and that show didn't last four episodes. I think we're at least locked in with Smash for the rest of this season, so I will continue to faithfully watch each week. Still, it's starting to feel strange using "Smash" and "faithfully" in the same sentence.

What do you think of the season? Are you still enjoying it as much as you did before? Are you concerned for the show's future?

Smash airs Tuesdays at 10pm on NBC.

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(Image courtesy of NBC)