Smash recap: Two Musicals, Not Alike in Dignity

Hit List and a new, improved Bombshell both get readings. One's genius, the other's a mess -- but can you guess which is which?
Ep. 05 | Aired Mar 5, 2013

THE SADDEST CLOWN Poor Terry Falls (guest star Sean Hayes) is so not the drama type.

Will Hart/NBC

Anyhow, it looks like Julia's trust in Peter is kaput -- especially after Jerry's assistant (played by Hairspray's Nikki Blonsky; man, Smash is really bringing it with the cameos tonight) gushes to Tom and Julia about a version of Bombshell that bears little resemblance to the new draft Julia just turned in. Does this mean a return to shrieking, shrewishness, and scarves? A nation waits, breathless, clutching its pajama shirt tightly to its adulterous bosom.

Meanwhile, a call from Derek prompts Karen and Ana to leave Jean-Claude Van Damme's House of '80s Kickboxing and travel to Brooklyn. There, they tell Jimmy and Kyle that the director wants them to mount a one-act version of Hit List for the upcoming Fringe Festival. (Timeline note: This means tonight's episode takes place in mid-July of 2012, since the Fringe is held every August.) Before they start finalizing the show, though, Karen suggests holding a read-through that very day so they've got a better idea of the show's strengths and weaknesses.

As usual, Kyle's the one who instantly busies himself with doing stuff that's actually useful (making copies of the script, giving Ana an excuse to ditch Karen for a little while). Karen stays behind so that she can follow Jimmy around mournfully, singing an incredibly on-the-nose Death Cab for Cutie song about boys who "don't know how to love." Don't get me wrong -- the vocals here are very pretty, and I'm into season 2's unorthodox cover selections (see also: "Dancing on My Own"). But the context is so groan-inducing that it detracts from the song itself. Fine, so Jimmy's some kind of damaged, vulnerable wounded bird. Boo frickin' hoo; that doesn't matter if he's also a stone-cold jerk to every other character.

Before Bombshell's reading can begin, Julia corners Peter and tells him that she's onto his little tricks. She knows he submitted a second Bombshell script, and that he's trying to wrest control of the show from her. But as it turns out, these paranoid delusions are just a figment of Julia's silly little woman-mind. Her benevolent counselor assures her that the other lady playwright has been spreading lies about Peter -- bitches be crazy, am I right? -- and urges her to believe in herself. "Herself," here, is a synonym for "him." Her hysterics quelled, Julia somehow finds the strength to head into the reading.

Somehow, as he listens to all this, Tom resists the urge to unleash history's greatest eye roll.

NEXT: Poor, poor Kyle, whatcha gonna do? Things look bad for you -- hey, whatcha gonna do?

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