Tuesday, March 27, 2012

smash episode eight: the coup, where a white guy not named dusty singing bob marley happens

“Smash”’s eighth episode, “The Coup”, was honestly my favorite to date, beginning with the opening scene in which Frank serenades Julia with a Bob Marley tune (“Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”) while toker son Leo, shown in his room, smiles knowingly along at the inside joke.  (Or is that inside “toke” (rimshot!)  I’m telling you, these things write themselves.)

The episode’s title refers to devious Derek’s ambitious plan – to hijack Tom and Julia’s “Marilyn” out from under them, to refashion it in what he views as a better way, with a different Marilyn to boot.

Having noted up front how much I enjoyed this episode (and the show in general), allow me to bitch about the worst ongoing subplot, and that is how dense / dumb / mentally challenged when it comes to common sense Karen tends to be.  Believe it or not writers of this show?  Not everyone from flyover country suffers from brain damage.  Not all of us are as dumb as Peter’s horse on “Family Guy”.  No, not everyone in the Midwest has realized that The Enlightenment occurred two hundred years ago, and that we aren’t bound to simply believe blindly in things that aren’t provable because our great grandparents did.  But most of us have common sense, or at least can see a coup d’ etat underway when it’s underway.  Let’s work on making Karen’s character more believable, please.  (But thanks for dropping the adoption subplot though!  Leo’s ongoing weed issues is a much more enjoyable storyline.  Uum, not that I’ve ever taken a hit of the wacky tobaccy.  In the last 48 hours.  Let’s move on before I incriminate myself, and yes Dusty, “incriminate” is a word.  It even passed spellcheck and everything.)

My ten favorite things about this episode, mostly in order as they appear:

10. Leo’s drug charges reduced to “failure to obey a park sign”.  That sign?  “No walking on the recently seeded grass.”  Oh, you witty clever “Smash” writers, you!  I love people who see the obvious one-liner, and just go for it, rather than groan and ignore it.

9. If you had to pick one person in this world to finally put Derek in his place, who would you pick?  I’m not sure either, but Ryan Tedder of “One Republic” isn’t a bad choice.  That was a fun couple scenes in the warehouse.

8. At the risk of offending (doing the rough math here … carry the two, divide by one, multiply by nine …) 88.56% of my reading audience, the best thing about this show?  Is that they treat all relationships on equal footing.  And please, spare me the “gay marriage makes a mockery of marriage” bullshit.  Really?  Because us straight folks, with our 50% first marriage divorce rate, 62% second marriage divorce rate, constant infidelity, and cohabitating (aka “why even bother with marriage”) haven’t made a mockery of it?  And don’t even get me started on the really shitty “we’re just defending the traditional definition of marriage” argument.  No you’re not.  The traditional definition of marriage for 90% of recorded human history is one man, multiple women.  Unless you’re defending polygamy, you’re not for traditional marriage.  Times change, people evolve, usually for the better (as in the case of doing away with polygamy).  I applaud “Smash” for daring to show a loving gay couple as a natural thing – in this week’s case, two partners cooking dinner, having a typical end-of-day conversation, simply living life.  A normal human couple.  God forbid anyone on the religious right realize those exist.

7. The bowling alley scene.  Take a great rock-out song (“Dance to the Music”, sadly missing a coked out Sly and his Family Stone), toss in a few bowling balls, and voila, magic.  Or at least a highly entertaining two minutes.  (Emphasis on “high” (rimshot!)  Told you these things wrote themselves.)

6. Even if it was just a twenty second throwaway, Eileen in the dive bar!  Enjoying yet another “best seven dollar martini in Manhattan”.  As someone who has one dive bar* he absolutely loves, anytime you can go to a dive bar, you have to do it.

(*: in my case, it’s the Daily Double in Raytown, at 63rd and Woodson.  The place is so classy that (a) the ceiling tiles are ringed with brown stains from all the cigarette smoke, (b) four Bud Lights and a stiff vodka tonic set you back $10 (with tip), and (c) the only way you know where this place is?  Is because the sign outside says “Lounge”.  And the surest sign you’re a lounge in flyover country?  It’s closed on Sunday.  We need more “lounge”’s in our life.  I know I’m right about this.)

5. This scene will get a couple slots … but the “Touch Me” scene.  Ellis and Ivy sneaking in was predictable.  But the look of horror on Julia and Tom’s faces as they realize Derek has decided to “sleaze up” their musical is priceless.

4. It slays me that a kid that graduated from ORU and is by self-admission a devout Christian, is the composer of “Touch Me”.  I’m just saying, sometimes you can’t judge a book by its cover. (See Tebow, Tim, underwear model.)

3. The Tom and Derek long-overdue showdown.  Honestly, this was my favorite scene in the series so far.  We finally find out the reason for their mutual hate, we get the classic “Welcome to my level” putdown from Derek, and we reach … détente?  Somehow I doubt it, but it’s curious to contemplate.

2. The opening to the final scene, Ivy, fired as the lead, sitting in her bed, breaks into “Let Me Be Your Star”, and honestly?  THAT’S how that song should be sung.  Haunting, depressing, a person looking back at what could have been, and knowing that abject failure was the ultimate result, sings it in a halting, wistful manner.  Loved that scene.  Finally,

1. Derek shows up at Ivy’s doorstep.  Not to ridicule her, not to humiliate her, just to be there for her.  I think these two have a future, if (a) he wasn’t such a pompous ass, and (b) he wasn’t such a pompous ass.  Funny, I would have said that about my ex-roommate a time or two in the past, and both of them have done quite well for themselves – in the words of Ryan Lefebvre, they have both “punted well beyond their coverage”, pompous assishness be damned. 

I know most critics ripped this episode, but I kinda dug it.  Give it a chance on Hulu if you haven’t seen it.  It’s not a completely worthless way to spend 43 minutes of your day …

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