THE "SMASH" REPORT: Season Two, Episode 10, Or, Surprise, It's Liza!
By Ben Rimalower
09 Apr 2013
Megan Hilty and Bernadette Peters
Photo by Will Hart/NBC
Playbill's weekly recap, with notes and comment, of the latest episode of the NBC musical drama series "Smash," about the dreamers behind Broadway musicals. Here's a look at the April 6 episode, "The Surprise Party."
The latest episode of "Smash"—and the first to air in the new undesirable time slot—is exemplary of everything that's been maddeningly idiotic and then, at moments, compelling since the beginning. Season Two, Episode 10, "The Surprise Party," explores the interpersonal boundaries between directors and actors, between theatre collaborators and between professionals in general. I use the word professional lightly as we see further fallout from Derek's peccadilloes and somewhat more nuanced conflict between Tom and his best friend/leading lady, Ivy.
It's tech rehearsal time and the livin' aint easy. Ivy, still mad Tom cast her estranged mother as her mother in Bombshell without a heads up, mouths off in front of everyone. Tom can barely tech the first scene in the show. Once again, from the top. "This is supposed to be fun," Tom moans to Julia, his writing partner/other best friend. He says Ivy poisoned the whole cast against him. Needing to be liked is no way to direct a show. The Tom-Ivy drama extends beyond the fourth wall of this rehearsal; Michael Riedel has written a big New York Post gossip piece about it. Eileen is flirting with Richard Francis of the New York Times, but the Gray Lady has already published a fluff piece. The PR problem seems insurmountable.
Speaking of mounting, Karen and Jimmy are in Manhattan theatre Workshop's costume shop. Derek calls for Karen. Faster than Karen can say, "I'm in Wardrobe heavy petting," Jimmy claps his hand over her mouth and tells her to keep their affair private. Karen agrees—it's more professional anyway.
Jimmy joins Derek in the theatre, handing him a wad of cash, loan repayment installment number one. They make nicey as best as their enormous egos will allow. It's sweet, but it's a time bomb. Karen, entering the room a discrete forty-five seconds behind Jimmy, barely even acknowledges Derek, let alone Jimmy in her drive downplay to their relationship. Laying it on a bit too thick, Jimmy explains they're professionals. Why would they say hello? They're just working together. Jeez!
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.