THE "SMASH" REPORT: Season Two Premiere, Or, Change Partners and Dance

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06 Feb 2013

Michael Cristofer
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

JERRY AND EILEEN: Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cristofer (the actor-playwright who wrote the play The Shadow Box) returns as Eileen's producer ex, Jerry, who wants a piece of Bombshell's action. In a bit of soap opera villainy, he sends a text to some unknown party (to Michael Riedel?): "Time to move forward with the plan." He's apparently the tipster who points the feds to the show's shady financing. By the end of the episode, the leonine Eileen draws up papers to deal him in, thus assuring that Cristofer's chewy line readings ("Chordan!" "Chulia!") will be with us later this season. (Sadly, Eileen does not toss drinks into anyone's face in these two episodes.)

TOM AND JULIA: In one of the more awkward plot transitions of the series, incredibly, Tom decides that the Bombshell press event is the best time and place to tell Julia that he saw Frank apparently flirting with another woman. This causes the aforementioned public scene between Frank and Julia, hastens their marital split and plunges Julia deeper into depression and professional torpor. How can she fix their show in such a state? And how can she address the show's problems if she hasn't read the Boston reviews? (Those notices were bad for her libretto, but good for Tom's music; he even gets flowers and a complimentary note from Wicked songwriter Stephen Schwartz!) Suddenly roommates, Julia admits that she read the reviews, and the songwriters come out stronger in the end (in ways that are not completely clear). Wouldn't it have been better — or more humane and sensible — to kill Frank off in a subway accident and send their son, Leo, off to college? (The actors who played Leo and evil producing assistant Ellis, polarizing characters from Season One, are absent in the premiere, though Leo's photo is in a picture frame.)

Continued...

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