Smash’s third episode, “Enter Mr. DiMaggio”, was anything but excellent, unlike its first two episodes. After viewing it twice, I can understand why some critics had such a negative reaction to this episode.
But I didn’t think it was awful. If anything, it felt like a classic “Lost” staller episode, the one you always got before the season finale where the pieces were being moved into place for the grand finale. Considering nearly every critic who has reviewed the first four episodes of “Smash” has said that the fourth episode is the best, I’ll write this one off as “moving the pawns into position”.
Still, this episode did have some enjoyable moments. My ten favorite moments of the night:
10. The Bruno Mars play. It had me laughing. In the interest of fairness, I’m not a fan of Mr. Mars’ music for the most part … but reinventing “Grenade” as the writers did was pretty funny stuff. Actually it was hilarious. This, I think, is the biggest reason why “Smash” is working for me, whereas “Studio 60” was failing by its third episode – the “show within a show” works.
9. The Eileen and Jerry interactions. Yes, it’s now officially a running gag, as reinforced by Jerry buying the Manhattan “for throwing”. Sometimes, official running gags are funny. This is one of them.
8. This week’s original production, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. Of the three songs so far for this musical, this was the weakest, but it was still pretty solid. Also liked the cutback-and-forth between Julia envisioning her life versus what Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio wanted.
7. As probably the only person who loves this show that doesn’t hate Ellis, you gotta love how he spends an evening … wait for it … hang on, let me haul out the Matt Foley memorial voice: “rolling doobies in a van down by the river!” Also gotta love his brazenness in simply taking Julia’s notebook to see what’s inside her head. Look it, it’s sleazy, it’s underhanded, it’s dishonest, it’s despicable … and I absolutely love it.
6. Katharine McPhee’s cover of “Redneck Woman”. How we get to this point, is beyond ridiculous (seriously, who holds a baby shower in a karaoke bar?) But it’s a damned good performance. Again, if Ms. McPhee had done stuff like this on “Idol”, instead of the vomit-inducing garbage she churned out, I might have at least tolerated her in season 5.
5. Derek’s excuse to Ivy for why they can never hook up at his place. Its pretty damned funny.
4. Ellis is straight! Wow, Julia nailed that one in the premiere. (And I totally whiffed on it.) In a related development, three more sweater vests out of that guy this week! Again, as the last male in Kansas City who still wears a sweater vest at least once a week, rock it dude. (Also, a casting note: Ellis’ girlfriend? Is played by Ahmad and Phylicia Rashad’s daughter. And yes, she looks like what a lab would spit out if you crossed those two together.)
3. Tom and Julia’s “fight” over Tom’s finding out Ivy has (possibly … ok, probably) slept her way into the part. Tom: “it’s so unethical!” This coming from a guy who just found out this info … while on a date with one of his dancers in his current Broadway hit. Oh hypocrisy. Apparently the Republican Party doesn’t have a monopoly on you after all.
2. The scene on Karen’s folks porch, where her folks finally sign off on her pursuing her dream of making it big on Broadway. I loved how low-key this scene was.
1. The scene with Julia and Ellis. I totally dug this. The uppity producer put in her place by the lowly assistant. Julia: (threatening voice) “I fired you once. I can do it again.” Ellis: (total smart ass voice) “You can sure try. Because you already did once, and it kiiiiiiiiiiinda didn’t stick last time, did it.” And then the capper, “Oh, and I found your notebook. I know you were really worried about it”, delivered with a smile as Julia realizes this person she thought she could easily dismiss knows every dirty secret about her and the production.
Overall, this was “Smash”’s weakest episode to date … and yet, it was still an entertaining 42 some odd minutes of television. I can understand why some folks hated it – this episode dealt with a lot of the behind the scenes, inner workings of the business, so to speak. But hey, I’m an accountant. I have to love the behind the scenes detail, the inner workings of things. Otherwise, I’d probably drink myself to sleep every night. Oh. Wait. Ignore that last sentence.
Until next time, one more friendly reminder. Give “Smash” a chance. The ratings slipped again last night, but it still somehow beat “Castle” for a third straight week in the key demo’s. As someone who watches both shows, color me pleasantly surprised …