Monday, May 21, 2012

Smash Test, Dummies

Okay, people, the Smash finale has aired...I'm guessing most of you gave up on the show, right?  I mean, I couldn't look away the whole time even though I didn't hear a lot of the dialogue because I was too busy screaming at the television screen for showing me something so bone-crushingly stupid, but I would imagine that a lot of people checked out around Episode 4 or 5 when it became obvious that the writers simply weren't going create an interesting story and about 50% of the cast was terrible (the other 50% is excellent...I'll name names if you want).  I, however, stuck with it through thick and thin and am left a bit at a loss.  Every episode, every single one, had at least one moment in it that was wonderful and was just surrounded by a mountain of crap. 

In any case, if you gave up, you're not alone.  One of my good friends gave up early on and when she told me I gay-gasped and clutched my pearls.  "You're missing EVERYTHING!"  I cried. "Debra Messing's son looks like he's Renee Zellweger's long lost twin brother!  People are running out in the middle of Broadway shows and bopping around Times Square in costume!  Katharine McPhee has yet to register an emotion!"  She looked at me skeptically (as if these were not things that would make her more likely to watch the show), so I took further action.  I rushed home and composed the following test for her...all I asked was that she take the test and if it didn't make her want to watch the glorious train wreck, I would never bring it up again.

Here I present to you, The Smash Test.  The rules are simple: below I have outlined four scenarios.  Three of them ACTUALLY HAPPENED in Smash this season, one of them did not.  Please, take your best shot...which one of them is the fake?

1) Julia (Debra Messing) is so overcome with attraction to Michael Swift, a co-star in the Marilyn Musical, that she tells her husband Frank that she's going for a walk, leaves their apartment in Cobble Hill, goes all the way to midtown and meets Michael in the rehearsal room (which he has somehow gotten open).  For those readers who don't live in NY, a subway ride from Cobble Hill to midtown is an easy 40 minutes door-to-door.  When she gets there, she very clearly says she does not want to sleep with him and only arrived to tell him that.  Michael, obviously being someone who's mother should have read him a copy of No Means No, Charlie Brown when he was a child, proceeds to slowly but surely convince her to take off her top.  Side-boob occurs, and they bang on the rehearsal couch (as someone who has used many rehearsal couches in his life, may I just say...ew).  Julia then returns home from her "walk," which, unless she has conquered the space time continuum, took at least an hour and a half assuming she and Michael got the refusal, rape-y convincing and the resulting porking done in a flat ten minutes.  Frank apparently does not notice anything odd, which means either a) it's convenient at this time for the writers to have him be a complete moron or b) Julia takes a lot of long walks. 

2) Eileen (Anjelica Huston), after being dumped by her comically over-the-top d-bag husband, discovers dive bars and the Buck Hunter video game.  Much time is spent with her obsessing over how wonderful the martinis are in said dive bar, which is odd because most dive bars I've ever been to would throw a pitcher of Bud Light in your face for ordering a martini.  There is also much time spent killing fake deer, which might be a reference to Betty Draper going full on Hatfield on her neighbor's homing pigeons back in Season One of Mad Men, but is accomplished with about a twentieth of the subtlety.  Over martinis and fake hunting expeditions, Eileen confides in her new favorite bartender about her money woes...after all, she only needs seven million dollars and she can't seem to raise it!  Said bartender then pulls a stack of money out from underneath his bar and offers to invest in the musical.  She refuses, so he introduces her to Randy Cobra (a Billy Idol-esque rock star and not, as you might have guessed from the name, a Ron Jeremy-esque porn star) who speaks to her for about 5 mintues gives her all seven million dollars, resulting in what I believe might be the first example of rock star ex machina in popular culture.  At this point, she calls all of her former investors who were putting demands on her to the aforementioned dive bar and Randy Cobra lights their contracts on fire in a garbage can.

3) Ellis (Jaime Cepero) is among the most hated characters in the history of television.  He's hated by the audience, by the other characters in the show and, I suspect, by the late Mother Theresa.  In order to secure a movie star to open the show, Ellis (who has been presented as a heterosexual with a girlfriend) bangs the male personal assistant of Rebecca DuVall (Uma Thurman) and with his help signs Rebecca to star. Rebecca demonstrates little-to-no musical talent, and in her neediness tells her assistant to stop spending so much time with Ellis and focus on her.  Ellis decides to grind up some peanuts, which she is deathly allergic to, and slip them into Rebecca's smoothie.  Rebecca goes into anaphylactic shock in the middle of rehearsal and her throat closes up.  In a possible homage to "Pulp Fiction," Karen (Katharine McPhee) takes the epi-pen she always carries with her for no good reason and jams it directly into Rebecca's chest saving her life and the show simultaneously.  Rebecca then reveals that she was able to taste the peanuts in the smoothie, but drank it anyway because she was so scared to perform live that she wanted to self-sabotage the performance.  She recommends Karen take over the role mere days before opening, while Ellis confronts Eileen and demands that he be given a producer credit because he took care of the Rebecca problem for her.  Eileen, in a move heralded by every person that's every seen the show, fires him and he stalks off threatening retribution.

4) Eileen's daughter Katie (Grace Gummer) arrives and everyone rejoices because she is the most angelic person to walk the face of the earth, which the audience is subtlely informed of via her nickname: "Saint Katie."  Eileen and the musical's director Derek (Jack Davenport) contact OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder and ask him to write new music for the Marilyn Musical behind the current creative team's back. Karen is drafted to take part in the sub-workshop and eventually puts on a surprise performance for Julia, Katie and company as a sexed-up, modern day Marilyn writhing on a bed, shrieking lyrics along the lines of "Touch me! I wanna feel you on my body, put your hands on me!"  The audience reacts with appropriate horror and numerous altercations erupt, including Saint Katie dragging her mother outside and scolding her that she should know better than to go behind her creative team's back; after all, she's supposed to be a better person than her odious ex-husband.  Saint Katie then returns to her mother's apartment, furnishes the entire place with what appears to be pieces from Pier One Imports and summarily departs to count salmon in Alaska.  Because that's what GOOD people do.

I'm dying to know...can you pass the Smash Test?  Full disclosure, my friend guessed wrong...but she watched the rest of the season. 

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