Smash recap: Fringe Benefits

Smash's various musicals come together and fall apart; lather, rinse, repeat
Ep. 06 | Aired Mar 12, 2013

COME WHAT MAY Karen will love Jimmy, until Smash's cancellation day!

Will Hart/NBC

I almost titled this recap "#60MinutesCloserToDeath," á la the anonymous Twitter user who didn't like Hit List's initial Karen-free performance. In the end, though, I decided that would be unfair, even as a joke -- watching tonight's episode was a pretty fun way to spend an hour, though the idea that next week will include a moment "no one saw coming" is fairly ludicrous. (Like, we all know Karen's going to leave Bombshell for Hit List, and Ivy's going to be brought into Bombshell to replace her, and both shows will get nominated for Tonys, and Karen will end up beating Ivy for Best Actress in a Musical in the season/series finale, right? It's as Ann as the nose on Plain's face.)

But I digress. As our story begins. everything's looking pretty peachy keen for Hit List. The gang has secured a "shoebox" theater that looks pretty dang huge to me for their Fringe performance. The new material Jimmy wrote with lightning speed is apparently good. And their high spirits don't lag even when a stage manager not-so-kindly asks them to shut up and stop singing a buoyant, optimistic tune because there's a performance going on upstairs. Ha!

Bombshell rehearsals, of course, aren't going nearly so smoothly. Or should I say Marilyn rehearsals? That's right: Eileen has officially picked the more commercial version of the show over Julia and Peter's male gaze masterpiece, a decision that doesn't sit well with Derek. He's mad that they're including a number that requires a "big, expensive plane" prop, he's mad that Tom keeps stepping on his toes, and he's especially mad that Jerry wants to cut "Never Give All the Heart" because the producer thinks it's boring. Jerry also seems to think that Karen has too many songs. Is the spirit of Rebecca Duvall possessing Eileen's ex or what?

The day goes from bad to worse when Jerry catches wind of that week's issue of Time Out, which features a short piece about Hit List -- accompanied by a ginormous photo of Karen. This is a big no-no, since Jerry's been selling Bombilyn as the show that introduces Karen to Broadway audiences; he can't do that if she's already been in something high-profile enough to be written up in a magazine. Furthermore, her contract stipulates that Jerry has the right to approve any other project she does while she's in his show. (Did everyone have to sign new contracts when Jerry came on board?)

This seems like a pretty "no duh" kind of revelation, but even so, poor Karen is floored by it. Why doesn't Jerry make an exception for her? Doesn't he know who she is? In any case, she has to tell the Hit List boys that she's out of the Fringe performance. Jimmy is disappointed but understanding, since he knows she would never screw them over on purpose. Juuuuust kidding!

NEXT: Ellissssss

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