When I first heard the title of the new Smash episode was "The Fringe" I was all 'grrl, whaaa?' since Smash is safe and exceedingly polished (the show has always looked great and well funded whatever you want to say about the writing and acting) whereas most Fringe shows are kind of the ultimate clichés of scrappy underfunded hot messes. Surprised I am but I report that this week's episode turned out to be the best of the season thus far.
2.6 "The Fringe"
What's the buzz ♫ tell me what's-a-happening? Eileen has opted for the more commercial version of "Bombshell" and Julia is horrified that her favorite song "Never Give All The Heart" might now be cut. Derek in a petulant fit quits the show. Jimmy in a petulant fit quits his show (for like ½ a day). Karen in a dead-eyed fit (there are no other kinds for her) sneaks out to perform in "Hit List" which is kind of a back-door way of quitting her show. Julia in a sulky fit vaguely suggests she might quit her show. (Ivy is too much of a professional to quit her show but it's so bad you know she wants to...) Is all this quitting brilliant self parody and meta commentary on the episode by episode erosion of Smash's audience? more
Set List: Originals: "A Letter From Cecile" (Hilty),"This Will Be Our Year" (McPhee, Jordan, Mientus, and cast), "Never Give All The Heart" (McPhee), "Heart Shaped Wreckage" (McPhee & Jordan); Jukebox/Showtunes: none.
B♡BBY:Let me just share a screen shot because I'm always glad when he's there even if it's just as scenery.
Worst Moment: Derreck quitting "Bombshell". So much of Smash's "drama" feels inauthentic to me like a terrible fusion of drama queen realness and bad writing but that scene was especially ludicrous. None of the characters on this show make much sense from episode to episode anymore.
Best Moment: I can't believe I'm saying this. I repeat I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M SAYING THIS... but there was something about the blatant Baz Luhrmann rip off set with its Pepsi-Cola backdrop instead of the famous Coke sign that made me smile. There was something about the fringe smallness in the middle of Smash's big scale that made me feel generous toward it. There was something about Karen and Jimmy walking toward each other (my two least favorite characters!) singing a good song "Heart Shaped Wreckage" while Derek looked on that made me suddenly interested again. It was like I was one of those bored extra reporters looking up from their boredom in the "Letter From Cecile" scene when Megan Hilty chucked caution to the wind and really dug comically into her Liaisons number just to wake them up.
Grade: B because this episode woke me up.
Look, maybe I'm grading on a curve because the second season has been atrocious but whatever. It's not technically forgiveable (Seriously, showrunners... there are calendars. And rules!) to wait six episodes for something that feels like plot movement but there exists more highly praised longer running shows that do this all the time and people allow them to continue airing! I'm going to be sad when Smash is cancelled on account of there not being anything like it on the TV landscape but I want the sadness to be earned so I was glad that this episode had a pulse and intriguing moments!
P.S. Do you think Uma Thurman is weirded out by Smash's obsession with her? First she was the big multi-episode guest star last season as a talent-deficient famous movie star (not exactly a flattering gig) and now Megan Hilty is upstaging her Cecile role from Dangerous Liaisons by way of musical comedy aplomb?