So, bouncing back to the Hit List story, everybody reacts poorly to Jimmy and Karen’s outbursts, causing cheer-worthy moments for both Kyle and Ana, as each respectively grows a spine. Karen continues to look into Jimmy’s past after a little prodding from Derek, despite being all “well, I guess it’s ok he does heroin”. Ana meets Adam, a mysterious figure from Jimmy’s past (I’m not the first person to say it and I won’t be the last – does this mean Jimmy is Dick Whitman?)
Amazing what a little perspective shift can accomplish.
Throughout this week’s installment, Karen and Jimmy behave at what I can only assume is their most petulant level ever. They both, at varying points, lash out, privately and publicly, at Derek Wills, as he makes changes to Hit List that are not necessarily in their favor. They assume it’s because he’s being pissy about their coupling.
However, the great thing is that for once, the show clearly frames Derek as enlightened beyond his childish crush, and Jimmy and Karen as clearly in the wrong. As a result, and in the face of massive, intentional character flaws, I’ve never actually liked Jimmy or Karen more than I do right now. The fact that the words “I’m sorry. I’m a dick.” actually leave Jimmy’s mouth is just gravy by that point. Well done, Smash!
My perspective has shifted a little as well, and I didn’t realize it until tonight. As I watched Tom have a fever-dream about being naked onstage, and then wake up next to the dreaded ELLIS (!!!) in another dream, I squealed. But it wasn’t pure horror. It was delight at how hilariously horrific it was!
See, I realized in that delighted Ellis-screaming moment that I actually love Smash‘s terribleness. I enjoy the histrionics, the unprofessionalism, the full-on ridiculousness, because in that moment (and the sublime Liza sequence last week), I finally got the sense that Smash got in on the joke.
Over at Bombshell, there is a spirited debate over whether Ivy should go nude, after a wardrobe malfunction provides an unexpectedly powerful moment. Because I was able to put aside my qualms about the professionalism of such last-second changes, being in a state of zen-acceptance not unlike Derek, I actually quite enjoyed the twist. Ivy takes the accident and moves it to a much more powerful moment in the scene. Though if I were the actor playing JFK, I might have been a bit pissed at the curveball.
All of this builds to a New York Times article framing the two shows in comparison with each other, calling Hit List the future-present to Bombshell‘s past. Eileen is mad at her BF, Tom is mad at Julia, Derek is mad at no one, and no one has given a moment’s thought to an “apples vs. oranges” scenario.
Perhaps they could use some new perspective. Maybe Tom should sleep with Ellis for real!
Song-wise, all we got this week was “The Monroe Doctrine”, a fun riff on acting school pretension that acted as Tom and Julia’s new Act Two opener. Mostly, it was notable for a funny little tease at “the method” involving Stanislavski and Marlon Brando, but it also evoked what I assume is many people’s fears of actors in the audience! Oh no!
It sent me straight back to my eight-year-old self, sitting in the Winter Garden Theatre, directly under the Giant Coke Can, watching Cats. See? Creepy-crawly audience actors stay with you for years!
Next week, April 20 8pm, it’s “Opening Night” for Bombshell.