THE "SMASH" REPORT: Episode 10, Or, The People in Peoria

By Kenneth Jones
10 Apr 2012

Christian Borle's Tom gets into the act.
photo by Will Hart/NBC

DEV AND KAREN: Dev (Raza Jaffrey) has not yet told Karen that he was passed over for a promotion in the mayor's press office, or that there might be an opportunity for him in DC. However, Karen inadvertently reveals to Dev that Derek sexually harassed her (back in the pilot episode) in a late-night work session. Later, Derek (in his kinder, Dr. Jekyll mood) shows up at Karen and Dev's apartment to (sort of) apologize about that earlier incident: "That night in my apartment, I made certain assumptions based on a hard-wired set of personal experiences, which, to be fair, befall many a director of note, but that doesn't make them warranted or justified." When Dev bumps into Derek outside their apartment, they get into a fistfight on the street. This is the second straight-guy punch-out of the series.

SAY IT WITH MUSIC: The episode's major original song by Hairspray Tony Award winners Marc Shaiman (music and lyrics) and Scott Wittman (lyrics) is a number for movie mogul Darryl F. Zanuck, and it takes place in steam room, with chorus boys playing cronies and yes men as they discuss the business. (No flesh, just rehearsal clothes.) Tom stands in for Zanuck, chomping a cigar and singing and dancing with the boys in the rehearsal room. Gotta love the conga kick that Shaiman gives that number, which is called "Don't Say Yes Until I Finish Talking," choreographed by Joshua Bergasse. These original Bombshell/Marilyn numbers are so assured week after week that you can't help hoping that the current TV-producer meetings for Season Two are all about focusing on what's original about the series. If you want covers of pop hits, go to "Glee." If you want to hear the heartbeat of American musical theatre, here's "Smash." Here's a sample of the frisky comic patter in the Zanuck song:

Today the trades are all aglow
With grosses for our Miss Monroe
The things those vermin mustn't know
Is what she puts us through.

She makes directors wait all day
One line per hour's all she'll say
And still she thinks we're gonna pay?
She needs a talking-to!

…She's got them all tied up in knots
Makes each producer faint and plotz
She thinks she's queen and calls the shots
As she sits on her throne

She needs to learn she's only skin
The next girl's waitin' for a spin
I made a star of Rin-Tin-Tin
And paid him with a bone!

Neal Bledsoe's John visits rehearsal.
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

JOHN AND TOM: In an act of deduction on a level not seen since last week's episode, Tom's boyfriend, the Republican lawyer John (Neal Bledsoe), spies Tom being amiable with chorus dancer Sam (Leslie Odom, Jr.), and later notes that Tom is reading the sports section of the newspaper! He accuses Tom of being crazy about sports-lovin' Sam, and says, "You never look at me like that." John says goodbye to all that. 

UP YOURS, MANNY: Nick (Thorsten Kaye), the downtown bar owner who has taken a fancy to Eileen, tells her that he has a pal, rocker Randy Cobra, with money to burn. He introduces Eileen to the hooch-infused Cobra (played by two-time Tony nominee Terrence Mann, who created the Broadway roles of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Rum Tum Tugger in Cats and Javert in Les Miserables). Meanwhile, Eileen's oily assistant Ellis (Jaime Cepero) has done a background check on Nick and has made a discovery. She admonishes Ellis, rejects the report and tells him to keep it to himself. Eileen gathers Manny Azenberg and Robyn Goodman (and fictional producer Gary Garrison, played by Larry Block) together to offer them investor papers — papers that are then snatched away from them and lit on fire in a bucket. Literally. A public shaming. With fire! She introduces them to her chief investor — Randy Cobra! Eileen and Nick share a celebratory kiss. Manny and Robyn look shell-shocked.

(Kenneth Jones is managing editor of Follow him on Twitter @PlaybillKenneth.)

Check out the earlier "Smash" Report recap of Episode 9. View Playbill Video's earlier visit with cast and creatives of "Smash."