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

Bombshell and Hit List are read simultaneously, though we're treated to zero snippets of the former and just one line of dialogue from the latter. Since we're not given any evidence, we'll just have to trust that what the characters say about each respective show is accurate. And here's the verdict: Hit List's book is dreadful, but its songs are great. Bombshell 2.0, on the other hand, is an unqualified success, a work of theatrical genius so great that it's capable of winning literally all the awards. And all it took was finding some dude to swoop in at the last minute and suggest making the show all about men. Somewhere, Theresa Rebeck quivers in rage.

Moon-eyed, sharp-dressed Kyle has just become Smash's most tragic figure (and that's saying something). He's like that poor kid at your high school who was so excited to try out for the spring musical every single year and always ended up being cast as, like, Cinderella's Father or Random Maurading Russian #2. He bemoans his fate to Karen: "How can you be so bad at something you love so much?" She tells him that these things don't necessarily come easily, and that she had to work really hard to get where she is today. The audience pauses to laugh forever.

But seriously, folks: Kyle is convinced that he just doesn't have what it takes to make it as a book writer. Rather than encourage or support him, his pals decide that the solution is to make Hit List a completely sung through musical, a la Smash's favorite point of comparison -- Rent. So now Jimmy's not just a brilliant songwriter, he's also a brilliant opera composer. And he's got to write a bunch of genius new tunes to replace Kyle's stupid, horrible, no good very bad scenes before the Fringe festival. While he's doing that, Kyle, maybe you should go off and find yourself some new friends.

There's trouble brewing among the Bombshell crew as well. Though even Jerry agrees that Julia's script is "an artistic triumph," he doesn't want to produce it because it isn't commercial enough. This is a reasonable thing for a producer to say, but Julia and Derek react as though he's just declared that he wants to kill every Israelite's firstborn child.

Instead of Bombshell 2.0, Jerry wants to bring another version of the show to the Belasco Theatre's stage: the draft that the gang workshopped last season, back when we were still calling their musical Marilyn. This, it turns out, is the version Assistant Nikki Blonsky was talking about earlier in the episode. Julia and Derek absolutely hate the idea, but Tom, surprisingly, is behind it; he thinks this earlier version is closer to his original vision, and it's also more of a spectacle.

NEXT: Which Marilyn reigns supreme?

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