Recapping Smash 1.11: Don't Listen to That Blonde Movie Star Playing a Blonde Movie Star, What Does She Know Anyway?

Special Features   Recapping Smash 1.11: Don't Listen to That Blonde Movie Star Playing a Blonde Movie Star, What Does She Know Anyway?
 
Rebecca Duvall is a movie star with ideas about how to give a better performance—so of course she must be just the most annoying person ever! Oh, Smash!
Eileen is all of us in this moment in time.
Eileen is all of us in this moment in time. NBC

Catch up on Smash every night with Playbill at 8 PM Eastern! It's available to stream with commercials on NBC, and available for purchase on Amazon. Episode 10 recap here.

At rehearsal, no one can shut up about Rebecca Duvall. Karen even put on lipstick—sorry, lip gloss. And for Sam and Tom, it's just another excuse to flirt in front of Julia, who has. had. it. "Go out on a real date already," she snaps at the two. To quote Tom in one of the show's most vicariously embarrassing moments, "Girrrrrrl, oh no she didn't! Okrrrrrr."

Rebecca and Derek seem to be flirting a bit themselves, discussing a restaurant where Rebecca even waited for a table once! "I admire your patience," Eileen deadpans. "I never wait for a table."

And then finally, finally! We get the Rebecca Duvall performing that Houston-Levitt score, starting with "Let Me Be Your Star." And... she's great! OK, no, she's scratchy and creaky and just generally all-around abysmal. Perhaps, and this is just a suggestion, someone should have asked if she could sing. Well, they had. And her team said she could! Julia suggests group suicide as a constructive solution, while Derek suggest bringing Ivy Lynn back in the ensemble. Julia is somehow enraged by this, and they all storm off to their corners.

Regardless, Ivy Lynn is back! And for once Karen is annoyed. Even Midwesterners get annoyed! And she certainly won't gossip about Rebecca Duvall and her impending implosion. Shes not thinking about how bad she is, she's thinking about how beautiful and famous and enviable her life is! Snore. Then she morphs into Marilyn in Derek's imagination again. And Ivy Lynn is the unhirable one?! Oh Derek.

Then, because maybe too much has happened, the episode grinds to a halt as Karen-as-Marilyn sings "Our Day Will Come" to Derek. As if that wasn't dull enough, Karen then calls Dev to check on that press secretary job. He still hasn't told her that he didn't—oh wait, why am I wasting my time recapping this? Likewise Julia's meeting with Frank, her estranged husband, about their son.

Rebecca Duvall is also bored—by the Bombshell score! She wants more acting and less singing and dancing. Frankly, I could do with a lot less acting on this show, particularly when it comes time for Sam and Tom's date, which morphs from dinner into drinks in Tom's apartment where Sam shares that sex is holy and Tom says his longest relationship is five months. It's telling that I had time to clock the VCR in Tom's apartment during the scene.

What isn't boring is Rebecca Duvall! Between her shaky acting (Uma Thurman is genuinely great at being mediocre), free passes to a private screening of her new movie, Casual Friday 2, and her drunk boyfriend storming into rehearsal, she provides some real drama. Plus the chance for Eileen to hold up a bottle of pepper spray and declare, "I will temporarily blind you!" And then order Tom and Julia in the calmest, most badass way possible that, because Rebecca Duvall is a major star, they will cater to her whims.

Quick observation: According to the poster, Casual Friday 2 is... a thriller? At least, it features Rebecca Duvall holding a gun, which doesn't immediately scream light-hearted. Sure enough, we get treated to a clip of Rebecca Duvall in a beret holding a gun. But then Karen says it's funny? I'm so confused.

While the cast is all at the screening, Rebecca Duvall calls a work session with Eileen, Tom, Julia, and Derek, and she lays her cards on the table. She knows what's what, and every heaves a huge sigh of relief when she goes down the list and makes constructive suggestions. Oh look, an adult who handles difficult conversations with aplomb!

The result is one of my favorite songs in Bombshell, for the word play alone: "Dig Deep." (Here, it's staged very similarly to "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," Marilyn's big song in Let's Make Love. The episode ends with Rebecca Duvall saying she has lots more ideas for the show, and this is treated as a minor annoyance by Eileen (and the rest of the creative team). But... didn't Marilyn Monroe also have lots of ideas that were dismissed because she was a movie star? Why does this series have on such stubborn blinders about its treatment of artists working on a show about artists? One of the great mysteries of our time.

ELLIS NONSENSE
He doesn't want to run errands for Rebecca Duvall while her assistants just read Us Weekly; he accidentally calls Rebecca Duvall's manager "that loser" to him over the phone.

THE SONGS
"Our Day Will Come," "Dig Deep"

THE STARS
Angie Schworer in the ensemble, Betsy Aidem as Leo's guidance counselor,

THE SCARVES
7 (Tom, Rebecca Duvall, Karen, Rebecca in Casual Friday 2, Eileen, Rebecca-as-Marilyn)

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