Smash, Season 2, Episode 5: “The Read- Through”
Written by: Liz Tuccillo
Directed by: David Petrarca
Airs Tuesdays at 10pm (ET) on NBC
The outcome of the recent changes made to Smash seems to have slowed it down to a snail’s pace. Last night’s episode was so boring it was easy to find an interrupting winter weather update in my city more interesting. It’s no easy task revitalizing a television show, and last week held so much promise, it’s just so sad to see the show take a turn into the land of the unenthusiastic. Long gone of the overly dramatic story lines (You guys, remember when Rebecca was poisoned? That was awful.) and now the personal lives of the characters have been striped from the show entirely. Smash has become so focused on making Bombshell work, but Bombshell doesn’t even know what it wants to be.
“The Read-Through” begins with Derek and Tom fantasizing about Bombshell finally being played out on the stage. Quickly we’re segued into an opening number where Tom acts all silly and it’s endearing, but the song is kind of terrible. (Katherine McPhee’s Marilyn accent is very bothersome) Jerry announces that he will pull the plug on Bombshell if opening night is not flawless. Which shocks everyone and it shouldn’t really. It’s funny how a bunch of successful show business people have no idea how show business works.
Next we are introduced to Terry Falls (played by Sean Hayes) who is a comedic film star making his Broadway debut in Liasions with Ivy. Upon first meeting Terry he has to be explained what stage right means and claims he already has his lines memorized, which is all great for the audience to get a laugh. Especially if you have experience working with actors- there exist Terry Falls everywhere. The joke becomes embarrassingly uneasy to watch once Terry decides he wants to turn Liasions into a comedy. It’s difficult to tell what’s worse- Terry turning the show into a comedy or the writers of Smash thinking this is a great story line. It’s really a waste of Sean Hayes’ talent.
While Ivy is busy dealing with her own show’s catastrophe, Karen is making bedroom eyes at Jimmy, who turns out is already bedding another female. Is it so wrong not to care about Karen’s love life? She is pretty, skinny, and very talented; it is almost guaranteed she’ll find someone. The show has nearly stripped all the characters of their personal life except for Karen. Tom’s love life, Julia’s crumbling marriage, and Derek’s chauvinist ways were much more entertaining to watch. Actually, a return to Tom’s love life would be welcomed. Especially since the one thing Smash was doing correct in the first season was portraying a realistic homosexual relationship, which is refreshing in a television world of cliches (see The New Normal).
However if it wasn’t for Karen’s attraction to Jimmy the audience is left with no reason to care about Jimmy and Kyle’s show. Remember at the end of episode three Smash decided it was going to railroad through the plot of Jimmy and Kyle’s show, never really to touch again on the subject that Jimmy and Kyle had a rough upbringing (which is way more intriguing than Karen getting laid). Still Karen gets some friends to help out and everyone gathers at Jimmy and Kyle’s place like an episode of Fame will break out. Karen’s friends don’t buy the script and Kyle pouts about everyone’s dislike of their contemporary rock musical. Despite getting an offer from Derek to help them out at the winter fringe festival they are still acting like babies. Once again, do we really have to remind them this is show business? There are thousands of writers out there that would kill for an opportunity like the one Jimmy and Kyle have been handed. Kyle grow some thicker skin, smoke some drugs, and get to writing!
While the read-through for Jimmy and Kyle may not have gone so well, the read-through for Bombshell turns out so good everyone needs a cigarette afterwards. Despite Julia’s doubts about working with Peter, he manages to help her change Bombshell into something worthy. However, now Jerry thinks the show is too good and wants to put on the version of the script that Peter used at a workshop. At this point the audience is so exhausted of hearing about Marilyn Monroe we don’t care what version you put on Broadway. Just make the show happen so we can move on with our lives already.