Smash recap: Batter Up

Marilyn -- and Julia -- are shaken up when the production finds its Joltin' Joe DiMaggio
Ep. 03 | Aired Feb 20, 2012

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER In soft-focus slow-mo, naturally.

Patrick Harbron/NBC

We all learned a valuable lesson tonight: Beware any episode of Smash that doesn't feature that gorgeous, airy rehearsal room. While "Enter Mr. DiMaggio" did set up a few important story lines, it also spent far too much time reiterating stuff we already know: Eileen is having a rough time financing the workshop. Karen is a small town girl with big girl dreams. Terrible Ellis is terrible.

I've seen next week's episode, so I know that things will seriously pick up once Marilyn's rehearsals begin. I can only hope that you'll all take my word for it -- and that Nielsen families will keep watching even after this relatively wheel-spinny hour.

Smash's first two episodes opened with sequences set inside Karen's head. Tonight, we ditch that device for a peek at Ivy's bed...which is currently occupied by both the blonde and Director Derek. Yes, these two are still doing the Horizontal 20th Century Fox Mambo -- and by the way Ivy's fretting to her friend Jessica, it seems like she might actually want to have a real relationship with Derek. I'm a fan of this development, since it seemed out of character for Ivy to sleep with someone just to get a part; these opening scenes prove that whatever's going on between her and Derek is more complicated than a simple casting couch encounter.

The next time we see Derek, he's meeting with Karen in a sleek bar. Is he trying to bag both Norma Jeane and Marilyn on the same night? No -- he just wants to let Karen know that he'd like her to take a role in the ensemble. (Not as Ivy's understudy? Maybe we've got a few more episodes before Smash goes full Showgirls.) Their chat is interrupted by an impromptu visit from Dev, who's clearly threatened by other handsome dudes with dreamy British accents. Sigh! I could listen to these two argue about who's Englisher all day.

Now that the creative team has their Marilyn, it's time to start thinking about casting the show's other major roles: Arthur Miller, JFK, and Joe DiMaggio. The leading contender for Joltin' Joe is one Michael Swift, played by Will Chase -- a Broadway star who's had the distinction of playing both Roger and Mark in Rent. This automatically makes him my 13-year-old self's favorite person.

Michael is currently performing in a Bruno Mars revue -- yes, you read that right -- at La MaMa. We're treated to a brief snippet of the show, a loud, unholy amalgamation of Movin' Out and American Idiot. One might call this performance of "Grenade" Smash's most naked attempt to sell iTunes singles. Unfortunately, one would be wrong, since Karen has yet to do a gratuitous cover of Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman."

Even so, Eileen and Derek love the show and its star. They're discussing Michael over dinner when Jerry suddenly approaches. Of course, since Eileen happens to be within a twenty-foot radius of a martini glass, it isn't long before her ex-husband has another drink thrown in his face. Jerry should really start tucking a pair of goggles into his cummerbund.

NEXT: Gonna smoke up some doobies -- down by the river side!

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