Recap/Review – Smash – “The Callback” – 2/13/12

Hi, guys. I was so glad I finally got to see the second episode of Smash, because I caught the pilot very early on. And the ratings for the first episode were acceptable. It wasn’t a smash hit, but it didn’t tank, either. This week, the ratings did decline by about 25%. Smash beat Hawaii Five-0 and Castle in the 10PM timeslot in the key demo, but got beaten by both in total viewers.


This week picks up a few days after the ending of last episode, with Ivy and Karen stressing over if they got the part and Derek, Eilleen, Tom, and Julia contemplating their choice of Marilyn. They can’t reach a decision without more information, so Ivy and Karen will both have to come back in for a dance audition and a scene.

Jump with me for more.

For the audition, Derek choreographed a dance to “20th Century Fox Mambo,” and we focus mostly on Karen having a hard time with the choreography. When Derek invites Ivy in, who is reading a book about Marilyn, Karen and Ivy are introduced to each other rather awkwardly.

At home, Karen is still practicing the dance when Dev reminds her of the work dinner that was planned that night and where she is expected. She tells him she will get there right after the rehearsal, but that night when the dance rehearsal is done and Karen is ready to leave for the restaurant, Derek calls her back for a reading of a scene with DiMaggio. This scene takes a while as well, and when Karen gets to the restaurant, only Dev is left sitting at the table, angry at Karen for not letting him know what was taking so long.

The next day, Derek is working with Ivy on a scene, and when they share a moment, they end up in bed together.

When Friday’s final callback finally arrives, Ivy and Karen are both nervously waiting to go in and audition. When Tom and a few backup dancers go sit with Ivy to support her, Julia turns to Karen and offers her some supportive words. We only get to see the complete staged version of “20th Century Fox Mambo” performed by Karen.

After the final callback, Derek, Eileen, Tom, and Julia have to reach a final decision and are once again trapped between the choice between raw, untrained talent or the maybe too perfect girl with Broadway experience. Karen and Ivy are both shown waiting anxiously for the decision, and when Tom goes to tell Ivy the result in person, she freaks and assumes she didn’t get the part, but she did. That night, Ivy sings “Crazy Dreams” in a bar to celebrate getting the part of a lifetime.

And in other storylines:

Tom and Julia are figuring out the order for the show, and when Ellis interferes, Julia dismisses him. Julia mentions they could start with “Let Me Be Your Star.”

Julia and Frank are still working on the adoption, but when they find out it might take a few more years, Frank starts to have doubts. When their son finds out, he freaks out, because his parents made a promise. Part of the adoption is writing a letter for the birthmother of their child, and when Julia is working on it, Frank mentions he wants to get back to teaching. Julia finishes the letter, and when she reads the letter out loud to other couples planning to adopt, Frank walks in, and it seems like they are connecting better.

Eileen and Derek talk about Marilyn the Musical when they run into Jerry (Eileen’s soon-to-be ex-husband) and his new girlfriend. When Derek leaves the booth to talk to a colleague, Jerry goes to Eileen to ask about this Marilyn musical he keeps hearing about. When Eileen dismisses Jerry and he refuses to leave, she throws her drink in his face and leaves. Outside, Eileen mentions to Derek that Marilyn the Musical shouldn’t be overproduced and maybe be rushed to Broadway. At the end of the episode, Derek comes clean about being contacted by Jerry to finish My Fair Lady, but Derek told him to shove it, much to the delight of Eileen.

We got a Marilyn! And it’s Ivy Lynn! It wasn’t what I expected per se, and that’s partly because I’m a sucker for underdogs and partly because Karen received a lot more screentime than Ivy. But I can understand that with Karen not picking up the dancing as quickly and her thin resume that Ivy is the better choice. But since Katherine McPhee is a regular, I’m curious to find out how she stays relevant to the (TV) show.

Ellis is getting on my nerves even more than last week. He really thinks that he’s a big part in this production, and Julia was right in trying to put him in his place, since Tom clearly isn’t.

And speaking of Tom… Last week, he had this moment where he couldn’t remember the hot dancer’s name. And this week, it appeared like he didn’t know the name of Marilyn’s first agent (Johnny Hyde) when Ivy mentioned it. They could both be incidents, but it feels like there might be something wrong.

Derek and Tom are still not getting along, but they changed the direct confrontation to a more playful banter. When Derek mentiond that Tom was right, Tom had him repeat it with a very smug smile.

The relationships between Frank and Julia and Dev and Karen are showing some cracks.
Dev had a good point that Karen couldn’t say she was on her way and then not text she couldn’t make it. And Frank had a point that waiting for a child at home for a few more years could drive him crazy, but did he appear to blame Julia for some of that? Or was he just jealous of her for having her distractions? They certainly haven’t solved the tension that we saw last week.

And Anjelica Huston was a star again this week. In part, she played a more happy and enthoused Eileen, and that was a nice change from the mostly stern Eileen. And who wouldn’t like to throw a drink in the face of a soon-to-be ex-spouse, especially when that ex is a jerk like Jerry, as he was clearly trying to hurt her.

Finally, a quick look at the numbers of this week. We got “Call Me” by Karen in a daydream, with all the principals looking on. Katherine’s singing was solid, but it felt like a excuse to have Karen/Katherine singing another song (re: giving Karen more screentime). “Let Me Be Your Star” got a reprise with a more sober orchestration making it a lot more sensitive. I liked the change from the version we heard at the end of the pilot. “20th Century Fox Mambo” got a complete staging, and we only saw Karen auditioning the song. From what I saw about the dancing, it was very solid, but I would’ve like some shots of Ivy doing the same routine. The same counts for the singing, it would’ve been nice to have heard Megan singing the song (in part), as well. The episode closed with “Crazy Dreams” by Megan Hilty, orginally by Carrie Underwood. I didn’t know the original before today, but the original is definately more upbeat. I thought the adaptation of the song worked very well.

Next week, on “Enter Mr. DiMaggio,” the search for Joe DiMaggio starts, Karen returns to Iowa for a baby shower, and Eileen tries to round up investors. It’s on at 10/9c on NBC, and you can catch this week’s songs at

– JJ

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One Response to Recap/Review – Smash – “The Callback” – 2/13/12

  1. Music fan says:

    Thanks for the recap and I doubt you’ll ever get an opportunity to watch Ivy do the “20th Century Fox Mambo”, because the actress herself has said that she cannot dance.