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

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06 Feb 2013

Andy Mientus 
Photo by Patrick Randak/NBC

Kyle is keen to pursue Karen as a professional contact, Karen is attracted to Jimmy's music and is keen to learn more about their project (and loops Derek in), but Jimmy, in one of those ridiculous "Smash" character turns, resents Karen's interest in the songs! Kyle slips some sheet music to Karen and invites her to a party in Brooklyn. Karen and her chorus pals Ana and Bobby (Wesley Taylor) think the soaring song, "Caught in the Storm," is "crazy good…like, Jonathan Larson good!," and they plot to perform the song at the party. (This number is written by the ubiquitous young songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, whose A Christmas Story, The Musical did boffo business last year on Broadway. It was their Broadway debut, just months after their Off-Broadway debut with the musical Dogfight. Songs by them and other new writers will be intermingled with the work of Shaiman and Wittman, as showrunner Safran explained in a recent interview. Follow the young writers on Twitter @pasekandpaul).

In a flirtation sequence at the party, Karen begins to sing Jimmy's "Caught in the Storm," which freaks him out. He berates Kyle for promoting their show. "We do it on our own, we don't need anyone's help!" spits the "protective" and "complicated" Jimmy. He tells Karen, "There's nothing to hear. I don't need your help, I write for myself." This will be explained in episodes to come, of course (some kettles are supposed to boil slowly) but it seems as clumsily written and inauthentic as the worst parts of Season One of "Smash." He's writing songs for an experience that is meant to be public, but he doesn't want them sung or exposed? For now, "Smash" continues to succeed on at least one level — when it Says It With Music.

Read's recent Stage to Screens interview with Jeremy Jordan.

At the end of the episode, Jimmy relents after Kyle expresses a feeling of betrayal; Kyle was always cleaning up Jimmy's messes over the years. So, Jimmy delivers a demo of his music to Karen's apartment (he got her new home address from the back of her headshot — something that does not reflect reality). Karen brings the music to Derek, and a new world dawns for "Smash."


Read The "Smash" Report columns that documented Season One here

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


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