Smash, Season 2, Episode 11: “The Invited Dress”
Written by: Julia Brownell
Directed by: Mimi Leder
Airs Saturdays at 9pm (ET) on NBC
Smash you disappoint me. One of the greatest attributes about your show is the female leads. In the television world we get to see a lot of men in leading roles, with females competing for supporting roles. Smash has done an excellent job of allowing a handful of strong, female actresses to take control of the show. They’ve had some wonderful story lines for those actresses, except for this episode, “The Invited Dress”, where Ivy is relied upon to flash the audience to sell more tickets. And over at Hit List Karen is loosing her lead role simply because she refuses to be involved with Derek. This is a low point for the ladies of Smash.
This week Tom is allowed to show off his more comical side, which is a relief because the drama over at Hit List is so petty and exhausting this episode needs a boost of funny Tom. The first night of dress rehearsal goes very bad for the Bombshell cast and crew, leaving Tom with limited time to make all the changes to the show before preview night (apparently you do not want to cancel a preview night, it’s very bad luck). If anyone can do it, Tom certainly can. After fixing a rogue fog machine and finding a missing plane, the biggest problem for the show rests on Ivy’s breasts. Literally. Tom, Julia, and Eileen figure after the first night’s dress rehearsal in which Ivy suffered a wardrobe malfunction and flashed the audience,they think this would be a great way to get people in the seats. A whole musical number dedicated to the love affair between JFK and Marilyn Monroe isn’t enough for these people, now they require nudity?
Ivy is asked to consider going naked on stage and Sam is the only one to offer profound wisdom. He tells her she will undermined her performance if she goes naked. Her bare breasts would be the only thing the audience remembers. Smash has been an excellent platform for strong, female characters and now it reduces one of it’s more talented female characters to demean herself for the sake of selling more tickets. Also it was difficult to understand how being naked would signify Marilyn’s “vulnerability”? Hello everyone! JFK was the president of the united States of America and Marilyn was an actress. I think her vulnerability is pretty obvious. Sadly, Ivy does decide to go full frontal on the stage during preview night. Ivy you are so much better than that. And oh so talented. You can’t help but wonder if the roles were reversed and Karen was still Marilyn and Derek was still directing if they would have asked Karen to go naked too?
Not to be a narc but it feels as though Smash is treating Jimmy’s drug habit very lightly, almost as though Jimmy would list it as a skill on his resume: “Singer, Actor, and occasional coke snorter.” Karen, who is all too caught up in her vanity, carelessly places Jimmy’s drug habit on the back burner while she deals with Hit List. As much fun as it was to watch Karen get kicked off her high horse (Sorry Karen, Team Ivy all the way!) Karen is being punished for all the wrong reasons. It feels as though if Karen had simply given into Derek sexually Karen would be avoiding all this drama. For Smash, which is primarily written by females, it’s disappointing to watch them take this route. But Ana is given the opening of the show and handed one of Karen’s cherished songs. Even though we still have no idea who Ana really is.
Perhaps if Smash had spent as much time developing Ana’s character as they have Jimmy, Kyle, and even Sam the audience would be delighted to watch some work get thrown Ana’s way. We have no clue who she is but nonetheless the changes Derek has made to Hit List have greatly improved interest in the show. Up to this point Hit List has appeared like some experiment in acrobatics. Derek’s murder mystery spin could be an enjoyable take on the show, and after all Derek is a highly skilled Broadway director who probably knows what he’s talking about. But it was fun to watch Scott Nichols (Jesse L. Martin revisiting his Detective Green role from Law & Order here) lay down the law by telling everyone to quit whining.
After Bombshell’s preview night and Hit List showing off it’s new opening for Richard Francis at the New York Times everyone is anxious to read the reviews on the internet. Well they’re in luck because apparently the fastest writer in the journalism industry wrote and published a piece about both shows in less than an hour. The piece compares both musicals, stating that they are both similar to Marilyn Monroe’s life- Bombshell is about the past and Hit List is about the present and future. Well, duh. Everyone saw that coming, except for Eileen who takes off storming for Richard’s head on a stick.
It’s also revealed in the article that Julia has been working on Hit List which pisses off Tom so much he’s forced to awkwardly down a martini and inform Julia that she should stay with her new boyfriend, Scott, for the night. Julia was all more than happy for Tom when he became director, so why can’t he be happy for Julia when she is offered an exciting opportunity as well? Are the ladies on Smash never allowed to catch a break at all?