In an episode that was to be focused on finding just the right actor to play Joe DiMaggio, the second husband of Marilyn Monroe, this new episode of Smash seemed to be overshadowed by filler stories focusing on affairs, stealing, acceptance and posturing.
Ivy is still leading her (for now) quiet affair with Derek, but questioning if she was given the lead part of Marilyn because she is having sex with the Director or because she earned the part based on talent. Later in the episode, Ivy questions whether Derek is just using her for sex when he waits three days to contact her after their latest tryst at her apartment; and, she also wonders why he hasn’t taken her to his place yet. His lame excuse, which for some reason Ivy actually accepts, is that his apartment is a mess because of work being down by his downstairs neighbors that is for some reason affecting his kitchen. This is the 21st century, Ivy, c’mon – you’re actually going to buy that line?
The posturing is between Dev, Karen’s boyfriend, and Derek as they meet for the first time while Karen has a casual meeting with Derek at a local bar/restaurant to discuss her options with the ensemble cast of the play since she was passed over for the lead role. Both Derek and Dev are from England; and in true male style they play the “who has the bigger one” in terms of what college they went to (and which one went to a better college than the other) and where in England they are from based on their accents (and which one grew up more affluent than the other). Obviously, this unnecessary rivalry upsets Karen, but the spat between she and Dev doesn’t last very long.
Meanwhile, the heart of this particular storyline – the casting of Joe DiMaggio – takes center stage albeit in short bursts throughout the episode – with a well-known actor named Michael Swift (recurring guest actor Will Chase) being concerned for the part. Since Derek has not seen Michael in action on stage he and Eileen take in his ongoing (but soon to be concluding) performance at a nearby theatre. Eileen and Derek later end up at another restaurant where Eileen has yet another run-in with her soon-to-be-ex-husband, Jerry, who once again tries to entice Derek back to his My Fair Lady production. And, in what has quickly become her signature response to Jerry, Eileen once again throws a drink right in his face.
Elsewhere, Karen and her co-worker are talking about her not getting the lead but that she (Karen) will be part of the ensemble, which she is trying to accept as a good opportunity even if it is only in the workshop phase, which could end up costing her a job because of all the time workshops like these take up for those involved. But first Karen has to get through a trip home to Iowa for a high school friend’s baby shower.
The posturing continues at Tom’s place between Ellis and Julia. Julia, of course, doesn’t like Ellis and Tom thinks his new assistant is great. The duo also continues to argue over the merits of having Derek as the director while still attempting to complete a new song for Joe and Marilyn. The stealing angle comes into play when Ellis takes Julia’s notebook out of her bag so he can read it and see if there is “anything interesting” inside the pages (it doesn’t help that two of his friends, including his girlfriend – yes, Ellis has a girlfriend – tell him that he should get paid for giving his boss the idea for the musical). When Ellis returns Julia’s notebook, claiming he knew how worried she was about where it could have disappeared to and lies that he found it under a stack of Tom’s mail. Oh, what a tangled web Ellis is going to weave, but he better be careful because Julia fired him once before and she’s more than willing to do it again (even though he reminded her that that firing “didn’t work the last time”).
More posturing goes on between Eileen and some potential backers – all of whom only seem interesting in the Marilyn project if Jerry, her ex, will be involved. Eileen does her best to “keep it together” in front of the money men, sharing that she and she only is producing the production. The money men, obviously, don’t seem impressed especially the ‘greatest producer in town’ who meets with Eileen at the end of the episode. He tells Eileen point blank that he won’t help with if it’s only her producing it, as he is more comfortable working with Jerry. Could this spell doom for the play before it even really gets off the ground?
Karen is also mulling over her own financial options should she continue with the workshop for Marilyn in terms of whether she could lose her job or not. Dev tells her that he will gladly pay the bills so she can pursue her dream, but Karen isn’t ready for that phase in their relationship yet. And, when she shares this news with her friends in Iowa, they call her crazy for not taking him up on the arrangement. And, of course, her parents (who she is staying with during her short two-day visit) are concerned. Concerned enough, in fact, that her dad gives her a check at the end of the episode for which she begrudgingly accepts.
Ivy and Derek’s affair is soon learned about by Tom when one of the Heaven on Earth dancers – who has a thing for Tom AND is best friends with Ivy – lets it slip about Ivy sleeping with Derek. This, of course, sets Tom off and during his discussion about the situation with Julia; she admits that she had an affair with Michael – the well-known actor up for the part of DiMaggio – which will make things a little awkward, obviously. As it turns out the affair was “great” (according to Julia), but it was only a set-fling and no one – not her husband Frank nor Michael’s new wife (for whom Michael has a son with) – know about the affair and she wants to keep it that way. But the ever-present Ellis overhears; or more to the point, is eavesdropping (again) and knows now too. And, you can bet Ellis will use that little gem of information at the most inopportune time for Julia and to his best advantage.
Finally the story returns to the casting of Joe DiMaggio with Michael, obviously, getting the part and he and Ivy singing the newly completed “theme” song for Joe and Marilyn entitled “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” as we see a flash of them performing it on stage and in Tom’s in-house studio. All these entanglements aren’t going to land anyone in trouble, right?
“Enter Mr. DiMaggio” is the third episode of the new series Smash on NBC. The next new episode of Smash will air Monday, February 27 at10/9c.
What did you think of this episode? How long do you think the affair between Ivy and Derek is going to last? How soon will Ellis use his knowledge of Julia and Michael’s affair to his advantage? Will Karen consent to Dev’s offer of paying for her bills while she is in the workshop? Will Eileen be able to find any backers whose pocket strings aren’t already controlled by her ex-Jerry? And, how awkward are things going to get between Julia and Michael? Please share your thoughts.