Smash season premiere recap: Another Op'nin', Another Show

With Karen and Ivy Lynn, her foe / Can Safran save it, or will it blow? / It's season 2 now so come on, let's go!
Ep. 01 | Aired Feb 5, 2013

YOUR MOMENT OF JEN A revamped season 2? Who cares -- all we really need is more J. Hud retro pastiche numbers.

Will Hart/NBC

Season 1's second episode began with Karen plaintively begging Bombshell's creative team to call her. Season 2's second episode follows suit: Karen implores Jimmy to call her, and when he doesn't, she shows up at Table 46 to say in person that she'd like to discuss his music. Because Jimmy is a jerk, he pleads ignorance -- he's like the Von Trapp children! He doesn't know how to sing! -- and hits on Karen once for good measure.

Thank heavens for sweet, adorable Kyle, who is clearly the calm Tom to Jimmy's tempestuous Julia. He passes along a song his partner scribbled on a few Table 46 menus and urges Karen to get someone to play it for her. Also, she's welcome to come by Jimmy and Kyle's place in Brooklyn tonight; they're having a party. Uh-oh -- does Karen watch Girls? Because I've got a bad feeling she's about to have a crackcident.

Things aren't looking up for Eileen, Derek, and Julia. The producer's been knocked off the guest list at the American Theatre Wing's annual gala; the director's been dropped like a hot, sexy potato by the producers of The Wiz, who don't want to work with someone tainted by multiple harassment suits. And the lyricist refuses to leave the cozy cocoon of shame she's built in Tom's apartment; as he notes with dismay, Julia is "starting to merge with the couch." This would never happen on Will and Grace.

Maybe this will cheer the creative team up: Thanks to Jerry's largesse, they'll be able to attend the Theatre Wing's gala after all. (If it's American, shouldn't the org spell "theater" with an "er"?) "And Tom? Tell Julia it's cocktail attire," Eileen notes after securing her ex's table. Ha! Too bad she didn't also warn Tom not to lie to Harvey Fierstein about what's happening at the event. The theater legend stops him on the street and starts fishing for Bombshell gossip. In turn, Tom tries to save face by saying fibbing that he and Julia are giving a speech at the gala. Ruh-roh. Or, as Harvey Fierstein would say, [unintelligible croaking sound].

For a heart-stopping moment, I am convinced that Julia's been eating mayonnaise straight out of the jar. Phew, no, it's marshmallow fluff -- though this marginally more acceptable activity is interrupted when Ivy shows up at Tom's door. The chorus girl was hoping to get a pep talk from her friend; a chance meeting with an old frenemy who's left the business has shaken her confidence. Instead, she'll have to settle for sad Julia, who can only offer platitudes and a spoon. Actually, maybe that's enough in this case.

Upon learning that even more dancers are coming forward with stories of Derek's terrible breath and his wandering hand, Eileen decides that he's not invited to the Theatre Wing party (to which she, too, is not technically invited) after all. The director goes to drown his sorrows at Table 46, suddenly the only bar that exists on Smash -- surprising, since it's the only bar in New York that doesn't come equipped with a stage.

But that won't stop Derek from having another fantasy sequence starring Karen. Only this time, she isn't in soft, innocent Marilyn drag -- she's one of several strong, Robert Palmerian dancers sporting bright pink pumps, harsh ponytails, and the lyrics to The Eurythmics's "Would I Lie To You?" As covers go, it's pretty good; as a production number, it's only okay.

NEXT: Off to the Theatre Wing Ding Thing!

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