Did the latest Smash episode called The Bells and Whistles finally manage to crawl out of whatever hole in the sand the show has been mired in for most of this season, or was that a mirage? Will Nashville, which finally broadcast its 15th episode entitled When You’re Tired of Breaking Other Hearts, after being off the air for four weeks, follow Smash and be banished to the wasteland of Saturday Night TV? These are the questions before us this week.
I’m going to toss the playbook out the window and make this a doubleheader – random thoughts on two shows for the price of a single click.
As usual, Smash masqueraded as a tennis match for a while as we watched things go this way then that way. People fought, and disagreed, but we should remember that quote made by Sonny in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel –
Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right, then it’s not yet the end.
Each of the characters faced disappointment and travail, and all except one got what they wanted. This week. Yes that means spoilers a-plenty will follow, as well as comments and opinions. However before we all go off tooting our horns and wildly celebrating that this wasn’t a bad Smash episode – let me remind you of one hard, cold fact. This was just Episode 8. So we’d be lunatics if we didn’t expect the return of dust bucket episodes, otherwise known as ‘must-avoid-television’ in the coming weeks.
Let’s start with Eileen Rand, who has suddenly developed a new press agent – the no-nonsense Agnes (Daphne Rubin-Vega). Agnes brings bad tidings, the New York Times Editor of the Arts Section, one Richard Francis (played by Jamey Sheridan) has passed on an opportunity to do a story on Bombshell. He’s heard enough of the old Bombshell news to not be interested any longer. So he’s in the same boat as most of us, which means I must be doing these recaps as a penance for something.
But Eileen won’t take no for an answer. Meanwhile Eileen is pissed at Tom for his directorial choices – specifically for bringing in Sam Strickland (Leslie Odom Jr.) to do a number as Nat King Cole, without consulting her or getting her approval. She says that will be two numbers about JFK and isn’t this supposed to be a show about Marilyn? But the song, Let’s Start Tomorrow Tonight, even if out of Bombshell, gave the episode a nice lift with some clever staging in Tom’s apartment.
Tom, new to the director’s chair, both literally and figuratively, is trying to run a democracy at Bombshell – bring me your tired and hungry – ideas, actually, all to make friends. But at what cost – he makes friends and loses the respect of the cast. That’s what he gets by trying to be the anti-Derek. Isn’t every one an anti-Derek?