If you want to know what actually happened on the second season premiere of Smash last night, go check out Millicent’s recap over at Sound on Sight. If you already know what happened and want to read my snarky commentary, park it and scroll.
Opening number Cut, Print, Moving On was lackluster for me, but maybe that was just because there was weird 1980s-style montage stuff splashed in there to try and give us some idea of what was going on with our main characters since we last saw them. Or maybe it’s because Karen Cartwright was playing Marilyn.
Anjelica Huston, you got a new wig, but you still have the same ex-husband who for some reason still goes to restaurants with you and still orders martinis. Sir, wouldn’t you have learned your lesson by now? My Favorite Eileen Rand Moment this week was when she was talking on the phone in her office. She was standing there posing, like, she was totally working that phone, and then when she hung up she was all “Bye, Peggy” like Peggy really pissed her off.
And now, an open letter to Karen Cartwright:
Karen, this new guy is a jerk. I’m not even sure I know his name because the entire time he was onscreen I was thinking about how much of a jerk he is and how much you should not even bother with him and he is definitely not “Jonathan Larson good” and you gotta stop wasting your time, girl. Last season you were wasting your time with Dev, who was at first just super boring and then turned out to be a super asshole when he cheated on you not once but twice with two different ladies, one of whom was HIS colleague and one of whom was YOUR colleague. Oh, and he also proposed to you after that because he felt guilty. KAREN CARTWRIGHT, COME ON. At this point, Derek might even be a better match for you. (Yep, I went there. And you almost did too. Gross.)
Oh and while we’re on the subject of Jerk New Guy, let’s talk about Other New Guy. Specifically, what kind of super loser keeps his collection of flop Playbills at work? …And that is all I have to say about Other New Guy. I think his name might be Kyle, but it also might not be. He will be Other New Guy.
Ivy seems to have really come into her own by now–I think she was still figuring some things out in the first hour of the premiere, but by the second hour, she’s talking to both Julia and Derek and she’s decided not to give up on her career. Then she strolls into the American Theatre Wing benefit/gala/gathering of important people like it ain’t no big thing and blows the roof off the place. I loved this for a few reasons: a) Ivy was so self-assured and confident, she knew she could do it and everyone–Tom, Julia, Eileen–everyone involved was proud of her b) That song now moves to the top of my list as the best song written for Bombshell c) Megan Hilty totally killed it. She gave the best best best performance, and I wish the rest of the show could be about that. Can we have an Ivy spinoff, please? But seriously, I hope this is a harbinger of good things to come this season because that was grand. Too bad Ivy’s mom “Bernadette Peters” wasn’t there to see it.
Grace Adler, who I still refuse to call Julia Houston, was being a majorly whiny non-adult for the majority of the premiere, which makes sense because she was a majorly whiny non-adult throughout the entire first season. All of your problems stem from your own poor life choices, Grace Adler. No need to wallow on your best friend’s couch eating marshmallow creme straight from the jar–at least, I hope that was marshmallow creme because it also could have been mayonnaise and, yeah, eew. God bless Tom for continually putting up with that lady while also attempting to talk sense into her. And we all noticed the Will & Grace reference there, right? Speaking of W&G, Sean Hayes is going to appear on Smash later this season and I think we need to petition to get Megan Mullally up in this biz too. Karen Walker has money to throw around, she could totally help out Bombshell.
Tom and Grace Adler’s team dynamic was renewed in a sweet, refreshing way, even though his plan to try and get her out of her funk sort of backfired and she ended up having a very Norma Desmond moment at the Theatre Wing party. You know, how Norma thinks Mr. DeMille wants to make her movie but really the studio just wants to borrow her car? Yeah, it was kind of like that. Except Harvey Fierstein was involved. Tom telling Grace Adler “It’s time to retire the scarves” was the best nonmusical moment of the evening. You are an A+ friend, Tom Levitt.
As far as music goes, two new Bombshell numbers were featured as well as several original non-Bombshell songs and, much to my dismay, the pop covers. The selections themselves are a little less ridiculous than before, and I’ll admit the Robert Palmer video vibe of the Eurythmics cover was enjoyably hokey. I personally could have done without the over-stylized, way corny performance of On Broadway, but something had to fill the time while Eileen was panicking over the demise of Bombshell and unfortunately, that was it.
I could link to the rest of the musical numbers, but why do that when you could just watch They Just Keep Moving the Line another ten or so times?