THE "SMASH" REPORT: Season Two, Episode 10, Or, Surprise, It's Liza!

By Ben Rimalower
09 Apr 2013

Christian Borle and Liza Minnelli
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

"A Love Letter from the Times" is a Marc Shaiman-Scott Wittman instant classic, showcasing their trademark integration of contemporary conversational colloquiality into the best old-school tradition. It's Tom's wish for Ivy, to get a rave review from the New York Times, literally, and also figuratively, as the totem for everything theatre people want in the world. During the verse, the camera pans on Eileen who was hoping for an actual love letter from Richard Francis, but he left. Tonight wasn't supposed to be business. Liza delivers just about everything you would want from her—she even gets to use the word terrific! Ivy is totally disarmed.

Derek, blotto, interrupts Karen's quiet scene study. He always lapses into a Cockney accent, dropping consonants left and "ri" when he's angry or emotional or drunk, so like, a lot of the time. He admits he has feelings for her. Even the big, powerful Broadway director is on shaky ground when these lines are crossed. Karen's not taking any shit.

Tom and Ivy are elated. They've come a long way—since spending Ivy's last birthday at a Chinese joint when Ivy had lost the role of Marilyn and Bombshell was in trouble… (Am I the only one who thinks Bombshell is still in trouble??!) Tom apologizes for casting Momma BernaPone and Ivy admits she was a bitch, too. He invites her for a drink. She lies that she's going home to sleep and gets in a cab. Just then Tom is stopped on the sidewalk. Ivy left her keys. He'll take them to her. Follow that car.

Would you believe Kyle is still doing script work with Julia? Do the math with me… If Bombshell is in tech, that's 12-hour rehearsal days, out at 10. Ivy and Tom both showered and changed before dinner, so there's no way they were at the restaurant before 11 at the very earliest. And it was a four-course dinner. And from what I gather, nights with Liza are not short! It has absolutely GOT to be at least 1 AM—WHY ARE THEY KEEPING KYLE AT THAT STORYBOARD?? I guess MTW's non-union.

Kyle perks up, "I just had the most amazing idea."

Ivy finally gets to her party at Gusto. Um, of course, the JFK guy left with high-kick Heidi. It's 2 AM! Just as everyone's singing "Happy Birthday," Tom walks in looking surprised and then hurt. Everyone stops singing and Tom gives Ivy her keys, all betrayed-like. This is ridiculous! Is Tom really so surprised Ivy didn't invite him? This was clearly planned before they made up 20 minutes ago!

Seriously, Tom, get over yourself. Honestly, I was on your side in rehearsal when Ivy was being a brat. Now, I am on no one's side (except, of course, Liza). It says a lot that my only real allegiance with any character at this point is, "Ooh, what was Kyle's amazing idea??"