thegirl20: (Ivy: Smile)
[personal profile] thegirl20

Flash back to a girl with a song in her heart

When we first meet Ivy, she’s at an audition.  It’s clear she’s been to more than a few in her time.  We discover that she is in the ensemble in ‘Heaven on Earth’ (Tom and Julia’s awful looking ‘hit’ musical on Broadway).  Tom confirms that she has ten years of Broadway experience (including a year in Wicked).  Ivy is asked to perform a demo of the first song that Tom and Julia write for their proposed Marilyn musical.  When the buzz around the show picks up, Ivy is invited to audition.  Ivy shows up to the audition carrying a biography of Marilyn and reveals that she’s read ‘a lot’ of books and watched all of Marilyn’s movies in preparation.  After exhaustive auditions, during which we are subjected to ridiculous conversations about why Karen ‘feels like’ Marilyn.  Which is good because she doesn’t look, sound or act like her.  Anyway, eventually Ivy is given the part.  From there on, it’s pretty much downhill for our girl.  She is ridiculed and humiliated by Derek.  She slides into drug use, causing her to mess up onstage during Heaven On Earth and ultimately to lose her job as Marilyn.  She is then forced to watch Karen, Uma Thurman and then Karen again, get to play her part while she languishes in the chorus.  At the end of the season, we see Ivy sitting in front of a mirror, with a bunch of pills in her hand…

Let’s Be Bad 

Throughout the first season of Smash, Ivy Lynn was presented as ‘the villain’.   How did we know she was ‘the villain’?  Well, quite simply, she wasn’t Karen Cartwright and therefore had to be the villain, right?

Let’s take a look at her villainous behaviour....

She has sex - The show has a bit of a Madonna/Whore thing going on, both regarding Marilyn herself and with its leading ladies.  More than one character comments on the fact that Ivy slept with Derek prior to getting the part.  (Indeed, Ivy herself questions whether or not that is why she got the part).  No-one bothers to then say that Ivy and Derek actually go on to have what is a fairly long-term and pretty affectionate relationship following the initial shagging.  Ivy is consistently presented as a slut and, as such, we are supposed to hate her.

She’s mean to Karen – Yes.  Yes, she is.  Repeatedly.  Is she given reason to be nice to her, though?  While Karen appears to believe that she deserves the part just for existing, Ivy works hard to get it and expects it to be difficult.  Karen appears from nowhere, with no experience and is (apparently) giving Ivy a run for her money during the auditions.  Even after Ivy gets the part, Karen keeps singing over her and not fitting in with the rest of the ensemble.   Why should Ivy like her?  Actually, I think the relationship between Ivy and Karen could be one of the more interesting dynamics on the show.  Their later interactions are intriguing.  They’re never friends and, especially on Ivy’s side, there’s always a competition going on. 

She sleeps with Dev – Um.  Okay, there probably is no excuse for this one.  Although, to be fair, he was the one cheating on Karen, not Ivy.  Ivy has very little reason to give a fuck about Karen’s love life. And she does seem to feel guilty about it.  

In reality, Ivy is an ambitious and talented young woman who wants to play the part of Marilyn Monroe to the best of her ability.  Sure, she’s not a ray of sunshine all the time, but neither is she the devil incarnate.  And at the end of the day, do a Broadway audience pay to see a ‘nice’ performance, or do they pay to see someone who embodies the role?  Ivy gives it everything she’s got and more.  Do you get the impression that Karen does?

Something Second Hand and Broken

Somewhat problematically, the show insists on looking at everything and everyone through a Marilyn filter.  Ivy has huge parallels with Marilyn – a lack of maternal affection, a need for affirmation, a tendency to turn to pills to fix things, poor taste in men, her suicidal thoughts.   From these parallels, I suppose we’re supposed to draw conclusions about what should/will happen to Ivy.  But, to be honest, the show is so wildly inconsistent in its own view of Marilyn, that it’s difficult to know what we’re supposed to think of her and/or Ivy at any given time. 

What we haven’t mentioned yet is that Ivy’s mother is a renowned Broadway star (played by renowned Broadway star Bernadette Peters).  And we learn that she’s never had much time for little Ivy.  Ivy seeks her mother’s recognition and praise, but it isn’t forthcoming.  Nothing is said about her father, but I think we’re safe in the assumption that she had little to do with him, if anything.   So, as with many performers, she craves attention and affirmation.  (Karen, meanwhile, comes from a cookie cutter town and family.  So she has no issues.)

This need for praise is not fulfilled by her relationship with Derek.  He consistently criticises her performances, or ignores them.  When she finally gets drunk enough to call him on it, he dismisses her with absolutely no acknowledgement of her complaint:

“You blow so hot and cold, I don’t even know what day it is anymore.  You are so hideous to me in rehearsal…”
“I’m hardly hideous.”
“You humiliate me!  When you’re not ignoring me.  Half the time I feel like I don’t even exist for you in there.”
“No-one does.  I’m not kidding.  This isnt’ some big romantic statement about who I am as an artist, it’s just a fact. […]   Look, I am building something in that rehearsal room and, with all due respect, it would be a lot easier if everyone pretended, just for five minutes, not to have all those annoying feelings, because frankly they get in my way.”

This could almost be acceptable, if he didn’t go on to coddle both Karen and Uma Thurman in the role.  He later tells Ivy ‘Rebecca needs my attention, and I’m giving it to her. Is there any other approach?’  HE SAYS THIS TO IVY AFTER SLEEPING WITH REBECCA WHILE HE IS GOING OUT WITH IVY AND NOT EVEN ACKNOWLEDGING TO HER THAT THEIR RELATIONSHIP IS OVER.  Like, who does that?

While there are various motivations floating around backstage at ‘Bombshell’, Ivy’s only motivation appears to be a desire to give a great performance.   During the audition process (which Karen is complaining about to anyone who will listen) Derek apologises to Ivy for all the hoops she’s having to jump through.  She simply says ‘It’s Marilyn.  I never expected it to be easy.’

When Ivy’s part is taken from her, leaving Karen to fill the gap for a week, Ivy’s advice to her is ‘Karen, you get to be her for one week. Don’t waste the chance.’  She doesn’t say ‘You get to be the star’.  She says ‘You get to be Marilyn’

When Uma eventually turns up, Ivy and Karen are watching her and Karen says ‘I’m thinking she’s beautiful and famous, and I wish I had her life.’  Nothing about talent, nothing about giving a good performance – only beauty and fame. 

While I think that some people might view Ivy as fame-hungry and ruthless in her pursuit of it, I’d have to disagree.   I don’t think she comes across that way at all.  Yes, she wants the part of Marilyn, because she genuinely believes she can play it better than anyone else.  She doesn’t just want any part, she wants to play Marilyn. 

The price of fame that no-one can repay

More than anyone else in the show, Ivy is punished for her perceived ‘villainy’.  Ivy very rarely ‘gets away’ with ‘bad’ behaviour.  She’s mean to Karen in rehearsal?  Derek will make Karen teach Ivy how to ‘do’ Marilyn.  She carries an entire presentation on her shoulders in a heatwave, stumbling only once?  She gets yelled at and told she’s not giving enough to the performance. 

One of the show’s, many, flaws is that it attempts to present Karen as a serious competitor to Ivy, without actually demonstrating this.  So, we see Ivy give a stellar performance of one of the songs, and suddenly Derek is yelling for Karen to come and show her how it’s supposed to be done.  IT JUST DOESN’T WORK.  Except as a way to humiliate ‘the villain’ and bring her down a peg or two.

Here are some of the ways Ivy is punished throughout the season.

  • Her performances are unfairly criticised – Seriously, how anyone can watch the performances that Megan Hilty gives as Marilyn and offer any criticism is beyond me.  But Derek seems to find something wrong with everything she does.
  • Her friends inexplicably decide to be Karen’s friends instead, seemingly because Karen tells them that they should be.
  • The ritual humiliation and unfair pressure put on her (by Derek and by Eileen’s insistence on rushing everything through) lead to her damaging her voice, causing her to take drugs, which result in her going onstage in ‘Heaven on Earth’ completely high - and of course Saint Karen is there to witness her fall from grace.
  • The part of Marilyn is taken away from her and given to a ‘Star’.
  • Her boyfriend inexplicably starts shagging someone else, and doesn’t bother to tell her that they’re no longer an item.
  • As a final slap in the face, she is not chosen to replace Rebecca Duvall, Karen is. 

Protect them and take special care

The only people who are presented as solidly on Ivy’s side throughout the show are Tom and Sam.  Sam is a little more objective than Tom, and calls Ivy out when he thinks she’s out of line.  Tom clearly adores Ivy and would have given her the part without an audition process.  You can see it kills him when they have to go with Rebecca.  ‘You were wonderful.  You are wonderful.’ ‘But I’m not a star.’  I don’t know how anyone could watch that scene and come away not wanting to bundle Ivy up in a huge hug.

 Julia, for some reason, seems to have little or no regard for Ivy.  They barely interact except at Lyle’s party.  Eileen vacillates wildly and really only cares about getting the damn thing onto a stage.  Derek is quite clear that he ‘sees’ Karen as Marilyn.  Ivy’s own friends jump ship to Karen.   Her mother is distant.  She has no-one to turn to but Tom and Sam.  (And, bizarrely, Karen on occasion.)

At some point, I believe all of the characters acknowledge Ivy’s talent.  Even Karen says, more than once, that she is amazing.   And yet, none of them seem to think that talent is what should be taken into account when assigning the role of Marilyn.  They say stupid things like ‘Karen feels like Marilyn’.  How about Ivy can sing, dance and act and has demonstrated all three consistently and repeatedly?  Again, it’s down to the writing, but it is beyond belief that Derek would choose to go with Karen who clearly cannot dance, or act and does not have anything close to the voice Ivy has.

Let Me Be Your Star

In conclusion, I believe that poor writing and dubious casting have left Smash flailing in its central premise: that there’s serious competition between Karen and Ivy.   I have not been shown anything which leads me to believe that the part of Marilyn should go to anyone other than Ivy.  I can’t imagine what next season will bring.  More rewrites.  Further recasting of the main role.  Someone going to another show.  Who knows?  All I know is that I will be there as long as Ivy is, even if it hurts my heart to watch her be treated so poorly.

Ivy, you will always be my star.

Date: 2012-07-25 04:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd like to point out that Julia not liking Ivy really may have something to do with the fact that Tom has a great relationship her. The whole "Ivy's his girlfriend, Julia's his wife" thing makes a lot of sense considering that otherwise, she should totally 100% back her best friend's choice for the role (someone who she knows could knock it out of the park), but she doesn't. And then she has the nerve to get mad when Tom agrees to Michael during the previews, despite him being their only option, the situation being awkward because Julia made it awkward, and Julia not backing up Tom's decisions but expecting him to blindly follow her.

Date: 2012-07-25 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You make points, Little Dove.

I seem to have the impression, and I can't really point at anything in particular that makes me think this way, that Julia doesn't really get on with other women. All of the people she interacts with at length are male: Tom, Frank, Leo, Michael. We rarely see her one on one with Eileen and she hardly speaks to Ivy or Karen, save to give them a few encouraging words now and then, depending on which 'Team' she's in at the time. I don't know that I could say we've been presented with enough evidence for me to conclude that she's threatened by other women, but I definitely wouldn't say she's a girl's girl. So I think Ivy taking up Tom's attention is something that would play on her neuroses. Because she's more fun, better looking, more talented...whatever. I don't even know if this comes across to anyone else or if I've just imagined it, but it's definitely something I feel with Julia.

And yes, I agree it's totally hypocritical for her to go ape-shit at Tom for letting them bring Michael back, but her not backing Tom up in his original choice of Ivy (or at any of the junctures at which Ivy could've been brought back.)

tl;dr Grace sucks.

Date: 2012-05-30 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sometimes I want there to be a like button because I want to give my approval without adding anything thoughtful -- because why would I want to do that? -- but then I'm pretty sure that, like with AO3, that's basically all anyone would ever do.

Given the lazy way out, people will always choose it! Like Karen, we believe it's just OUR RIGHT.

Like here where I talk about something else unrelated to the post to express my approval of your post. I give the false impression of depth and content when in fact all I'm doing is saying "yaaaaaaaaaaay."

But yeah, you're an asshole and I totally watched some of Smash this weekend. (If it's not clear, that's WHY you're an asshole.) Poooooor Ivy.

Date: 2012-05-31 07:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I understand your quandary with the 'like' button concept. I am an inherently lazy commenter, but I sometimes would like to let people know that I have read what they have written and liked/agreed with it.

However, now that you have compared me to Karen, I may have to CHANGE MY WAYS. I can never think of myself as like Karen in any way. Well, I wouldn't mind having her hair. Or her face, tbh.

Also, if I in any way contributed to you watching Smash at the weekend, then I completely accept that I am an asshole.

But I am glad that you 'like' this post. :D

Date: 2012-05-31 07:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well I would have added more of substance, but as you well know I haven't finished season one of Smash. (... yet.)

But I do have a tendency to get incredibly defensive about the characters that for whatever reason fandoms have decided to hate, so... I have a hunch I'll be back with even more fervent nodding when I feel more fully qualified to make an assessment?

Date: 2012-05-31 06:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I often find myself liking the unlikeable. My favourite Glee character was Terri Schuester. 'Nuff said.

So you're planning to watch the rest of Smash? Are you gonna come back and call me an asshole some more? You're completely welcome to :)

Date: 2012-05-31 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I preferred Gilsig as Gina in Nip/Tuck, who seemingly a lot of people found unlikable too, but I dug Terri too. I feel like I never HAD a favorite Glee character since they always felt more like abstractions of humanity rather than, you know, real people. Terri probably less so than most, so I can definitely see that. She deserved better than Will, certainly, but EVERYBODY does. (Don't get me started on the weird shame shit Will puts on Emma for her OCD. OH MY GOD, someone just telling me about it caused RAGE.)

And... it seems like a distinct possibility. So I guess I might? Depending on how much worse it gets.

So based on that, you tell me: am I going to have to come back and call you an asshole? ;)

Date: 2012-05-31 07:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Gina was the best thing about Nip/Tuck. No question. She's probably the reason I had such affection for Terri from early on. I felt that very few people took the time to understand her as a character. She was deeper than most, due to her portrayal rather than the writing, I'd say, but I'm biased.

Rage about Will Schuester, you say? Well, don't mind if I do... I wrote that after seeing the Rocky Horror Glee Show. Will's behaviour towards Emma enraged me so much in that episode, and in general, really.

I fully expect to be called an asshole. I will be the assholiest of them all. It'll be like I'm Christian and you're Gina.

Date: 2012-05-31 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Read through your link. ... god.

Okay, so there's apparently an episode -- one of the ones with Idina, so a friend had bothered to watch and then informed me -- where Emma doesn't want Will to meet her parents because they cause her a lot of stress and higher stress levels increase OCD behaviors. She doesn't want him to see her that way; she's embarrassed.

But he insists, and so of course he gets his way! They end up treating her like shit and she freaks out and Will acts self-righteous and surprised and eventually ends up singing Fix You because you know he's going to FIX EMMA for being SO BROKEN and MADE WRONG and omfg the way the show has Will show "compassion" for OCD is... there are no fucking words. It always feels like we're supposed to think, "oh what a great guy for being willing to fix this flawed shell of a person Emma is who really he should find intolerable." Because he has no flaws or foibles of his own for her to look past! No, he can correct minor errors in the span of an episode while she is BROKEN and needs HIM to FIX her and UGH UGH UGH.

Will is a piece of shit who actually thinks he's a saint and every time Sue puts him in his place I cheer a little.

Date: 2012-06-02 09:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMG. That sounds awful. I am so glad I did not witness that. Emma is way too good for him. He should be alone and lonely until he realises that he is not God's gift to the world. And then maybe, maybe, I could be okay with someone lowering themselves to date him.

Date: 2012-05-31 07:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I will say this:

When I saw the pilot, they had me fooled. I mean, obviously the writing wasn't great; but for the average quality on the big three networks, it wasn't that bad. There were weird choices sometimes in the pacing, but the music was GOOD and some of the choices actually seemed daring, especially for NBC.

They got the whole "who's it going to be" thing out of the way right then! No dangling it for several episodes or the whole season and while it was already obvious it would eventually become Karen, I really believed they were going to have her fight and struggle and evolve and grow and EARN it and that they might even impress with a means of gracefully pulling Ivy out. (Another show? An "injury," which is cliche, but less of a cop out if by then it makes Karen actually mature enough to feel conflicted about getting the part that way, etc.) It didn't seem like they were going over the top villain with her, so I figured they'd have to find a good reason to have the audience accepting of the removal of someone clearly so talented.

I already thought Ellis was bad news but that they MIGHT BE SUBTLE ABOUT IT. (Ha! Aha-ha!) I don't know how I was so wrong. It's just that NBC pilots are usually ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE, even if the show eventually becomes watchable, so with this one being so strong (for them), I thought there had to be eventual greatness. Then literally one episode later, almost all of that is getting tossed out the window.

I feel like I might never recommend a show to my coworkers before week two ever again.

Date: 2012-05-31 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think I went into the pilot with expectations that were a little too high. Everything about it indicated that I would love it. And then I...didn't. I didn't hate it either. But it wasn't as good as I'd expected. But I think, at the time, I thought it was probably unrealistically high expectations that had caused the disappointment. But over the next couple of episodes, it gradually got worse and I couldn't deny it any longer. I didn't like the show. And I primarily blame the writing. The writing is awful. The dialogue is often painful. I can forgive a lot, but present me with inconsistent characters and a nonsensical narrative and I start to rage.

I remember speculating with [ profile] anomalousalanna when Ivy was given the part so early on as to what would be the cause of them giving it to Karen. My money was on an injury, I must say. But neither of us could've guessed at the convoluted and contrived series of events that would lead to Karen taking that stage in the final episode. Like you say, it was obvious that she was going to get it. (She's at the top of the pyramid thingie in the promo posters for starters.) But there were a hundred ways that they could've made it believable and organic. They found one that was neither.

Date: 2012-05-31 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I almost never have high expectations for anything that doesn't have a huge name behind it anymore. Even then, it can be really hit or miss. Go in expecting shit and you can be pleasantly surprised!

Basic rule of thumb is that almost any one hour drama is going to take fewer risks and be more by the numbers than any given comedy, even more so on NBC who is so desperate for a mainstream hit that they'll cut anything that might ruffle feathers or, you know, INTEREST A VIEWER. (The buzz is that the pilot they showed for Frontier was really good but people are saying it was "too daring" for NBC, which I assume means either "dark" or "complex characters." Heh.)

My coworker who ADORES McPhee actually agreed with me today that Ivy is clearly being written to read as a villain but that it doesn't really work because she's too charming and nothing she's doing is actually as awful as the show continually implies it is. I compared it to season three of The Office (US), when we're suddenly supposed to hate Karen and Roy just... because they're in the way of the couple who is meant to get together. The show spends a season making them seem like plausible, real people who just happen to be with the wrong person, and suddenly it tries to turn them into ASSHOLES who a viewer might think DESERVES to get dumped. And it doesn't sell it at all. (NBC, you suck at this. You really, really do.)

Date: 2012-06-02 09:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really should have learned by now to have no expectations. But I keep setting myself up for heartbreak. I do, however, pride myself on not watching things that I do not enjoy. I give up on things very easily. Which is why Smash is such an aberration. I blame Megan Hilty completely.

I'm still so disappointed about Frontier. I mean, I get the principle of not ruffling feathers, but can't people see that when a story is told well, almost regardless of what that story is, people will respond to it. I really think that's what is lacking these days; storytelling. Siiiiiiigh.

I went into Smash with no problem with McPhee. I had both of her albums (and her Christmas album) and I really only knew Hilty from various Wicked clips I'd seen. So I went in kind of expecting that I would like McPhee better. But I did not. It's like you say, Ivy is not actually 'villainous'. Okay, she did a couple of not very nice things, but she's hardly breaking Karen's legs with a tyre iron in the dressing room, is she? She's a woman who knows she is right for the part, and can do it, and all she wants is to be treated with respect. It's frustrating.

OMG. I liked Karen way better than I liked Pam. (And I never shipped Jim and Pam, ever.) So I totally get where you're coming from. I'd much rather watch a real story, where someone had to make a mature decision, than the vilification of characters just to serve the relationship that 'everybody' wants.

Remind me why I watch TV again?

Date: 2012-06-02 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I give up on things very easily.

Netflix, hulu, and DVR have really changed the way I watch TV completely. Because I work crazy hours, I'm usually either still at the office or on my way home when primetime TV starts, so I watch everything that isn't on the weekend after it's aired. This often leads to me being a couple weeks behind and just marathoning even when it's a show I enjoy. At the end of the day, this makes it very obvious to me which shows I really care about and which I don't. If I watch it that night on DVR, no matter what? It's the top of the list. And some like Smash I just... never got back around to.

I also really love using netflix to go back and give a show another chance, because I really do give up on them very, very easily. There are just too many good options out there to hang on week to week if I'm not completely in love with it, personally. But if it's just an in the background marathon thing on netflix? I'll give things a try, and I'm glad. This is how I consumed Seeker and The Tudors, how I'm catching up on Parks and Rec, giving The Vampire Diaries a chance after the first two episodes bored me (because I still have a huge fondness for the Scream films), and it's how I came back to watching Lost after quitting it in season 2. I've enjoyed all these shows to an extent -- and in the case of Lost, it became one of my all time favorites -- and I'm absolutely certain I never would have watched them in the old television paradigm. As much as it scares the networks, the new way of consuming media is a good thing. It seems like the UK has accepted that much faster than we have, from what little I understand of how TV works there.

I'm still so disappointed about Frontier.

After I watched enough of Seeker to know this was going to be a THING for me, I googled Bridget's name and went through a very short but intense emotional roller coaster of, "OMG A NEW SHOW ... WITH COWBOYS :O :O ... on NBC oh well at least she'll be paid for a year... maybe. :(" Basically like that. On the bright side, she's free to keep looking for work that could theoretically last more than one season without a false sense of security. (Other than Grimm and Smash -- which are both fairly sanitized in their own ways -- I can't name the last NBC one hour that got renewed that wasn't about a cop or a doctor.)

As for The Office, I always liked Pam and Karen both way more than Jim. They both could've done better and now Rashida Jones is on a better show anyway, so it all works out in the end, I guess. But yeah, I stopped watching The Office right after all that bullshit to end season 3.

Remind me why I watch TV again?
Because sometimes attractive women emerge from the water in slow motion? That's probably why.

Date: 2012-06-04 11:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I very rarely watch anything on actual TV anymore. Some specifically British stuff like The Apprentice or whatever, but very few 'real' shows. I download stuff. Which is really bad and means that I'm not contributing to the viewership of said shows anywhere. But I console myself with the fact that I am lazy enough that I wouldn't watch them anyway and would just wait for the DVDs. (Incidentally, I do buy the DVDs of almost all of the shows I download, so I feel slightly less guilty about my illegal shenanigans.) Plus, except Game of Thrones, we have to wait AAAAAAGES for stuff to be shown over here (Glee was a good 6-8 months delayed from its first showing in the US, although it did catch up due to all the weird breaks you guys seem to build in to your 'seasons'.) Netflix in the UK is awful. I did the free trial thingie and there was NOTHING I wanted to watch there.

It seems like the UK has accepted that much faster than we have, from what little I understand of how TV works there.

It interests me that you think that. What is it that you know about our TV consumption that leads you to this conclusion?


Cowboys are a total kink for me, so you can imagine how thrilled I was. (Please see my excitement at the prospect of a Cara/Kahlan western for an indication.) And now it will not come to pass and I am saddened.

I am glad that Rashida Jones became Ann Perkins. Because Leslie Knope needs her Ann by her side. And I stopped watchning The Office after S3 too.

Because sometimes attractive women emerge from the water in slow motion? - Maybe that's it...

Date: 2012-05-30 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I found this on Tumblr and I COMPLETELY agree with all of this.

Date: 2012-05-31 06:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, I'm glad I'm not alone in my feelings :)

Also, that may be the first Eastenders LJ icon I have ever seen...

Date: 2012-05-30 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is basically everything I feel as I watch Smash. I just sigh try to understand why I am supposed to root for Karen when she's given me nothing but an "i deserve everything because i'm a country girl come to town (which is so overdone. please stop with that writers)" attitude.

Date: 2012-05-31 07:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay!! I'm glad it's not just me. I blame the writing of the show entirely. The writing is awful. A skilled writer would've been able to make us believe that there was serious competition - they wouldn't have made Ivy quite so perfect for the role, and they'd have made Karen work harder. Then I might have cared more about Karen.

Date: 2012-10-31 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]


Date: 2012-11-01 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Do you come to this entry at regular intervals to sob and make caps lock responses to old comments? I'm not judging. Just asking.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2012-05-31 07:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is in no way a brilliant critique. I wish I'd spent more time on it, but I just had to get it out.

I'm glad that you agree, though :)

Date: 2012-05-31 06:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
wow.. this is just, i have no words for how perfect this is..

Date: 2012-05-31 07:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay! I'm glad you agree with my feelings :D

Date: 2012-05-31 07:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i went on my own mini tumblr rant after the finale, so yeah, i most definitely agree with your feelings..

Date: 2012-05-31 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2012-05-31 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2012-05-31 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you for being so right. And for writing it so well. Hell to the yes!

Yes, she wants the part of Marilyn, because she genuinely believes she can play it better than anyone else. She doesn’t just want any part, she wants to play Marilyn.

Standing up on the table and actually applauding. Ivy has confidence in her talent. She's not asking to play every leading role in every thing. She's happy to get a part, any part. Except this. She KNOWS this is hers. She's worked her ass off for 10 years, happy to do so, and she comes prepared, she knows what downstage is, she knows the book and every number, while Karen just didn't, because she was told understudies don't rehearse until later.

Ivy deserves the role, Karen expects it. And I can't believe the producers and writers for this show actually expects me to ignore Megan Hilty's brilliant (and hopefully award-winning) performances to McPhee's just-okay-sometimes-really-boring ones. She's a fine singer. Just fine. Not Hilty-level.

Date: 2012-05-31 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm just glad that there are like-minded folks around. I mean, to me it's perfectly obvious that Ivy should be Marilyn. I said that once on tumblr, but made the mistake of tagging Karen's name. I was then told that I should not express my opinion in such a disrespectful way. So I wrote this.

Ivy deserves the role, Karen expects it. - And that is, in a nutshell, this show. Thank you for summing it up so well when I took hundreds of words to not actually make that point :)


Date: 2012-06-03 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
God, I'm glad I stopped watching after four episodes.

Date: 2012-06-03 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ugh, you are so lucky!!! I wish I'd stopped watching. Well, I almost wish I'd stopped watching. If I'd stopped watching, I'd have missed the little flashes of perfection that were all Ivy Lynn related.


Date: 2012-10-02 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You should watch episode five though. For Let's Be Bad. Because it is just perfection.

Date: 2012-10-04 12:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
WHYYYY would you encourage one of my friends to watch Smash?!? She's good people. Don't force Smash on her!!

However, you should watch Let's Be Bad here:

Date: 2012-06-04 11:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't read this but I promise I will when I have seen more than one episode!! BTW knowing that bad things are going to happen to my GoT ships makes me wantt to avoid watching.

Date: 2012-06-04 11:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No worries, get to it when you feel sufficiently rage-y and want somewhere to vent ;)

Yes, I would want to avoid watching GoT too. Avoid it for as long as possible. Stop after ep nine with the awesomeness of Cersei being the thing that's stuck in your head. Avoid ep 10 until you absolutely have to watch it. Maybe right before next year's season premiere.


Date: 2012-06-11 08:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm sticking to your above plan. Ongoing successful avoidance of 2.10 is being achieved.

Date: 2012-06-11 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Impressive ;)

Date: 2012-06-11 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I suffered through every episode of Smash. After the first few I was about to be done with the show then Ivy sang and I stuck with it. For so many of the episodes her one song saved them because she is the most talented and has a true Broadway voice for the part. You are spot on in this review, thanks for sharing.

Date: 2012-06-11 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's like you looked into my brain. This is exactly my experience with Smash. It's lovely to have likeminded folks to sob with.

My 2 cents...

Date: 2016-02-11 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pomoscorzo (from
I like your review but I can’t quite agree. I think Ivy and Karen represent two different aspects of Marilyn Monroe - Ivy is the real-life-woman who will do anything to get a part, from hard work to taking too many pills to sleeping with the director; Karen is the sensitive, romantic countrified nobody who, in the end, lands an unexpected success.
Ivy never struck me as the serie’s “villain”. If there is a villain, it is the egocentric, reckless Derek. Also I would count in Ellis, who is ready to do anything to become a producer.
The trouble with “Smash” is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be: a serious drama based upon events backstage during the development of a new production, a soap opera, or simply a vehicle for a lot of new songs (many of which, to be honest, are stunning).
At the beginning the character design and their development and dynamics, with the exception of Ivy and Karen, are flat and almost uninteresting; after a while it gets better; and then they didn’t know how to call it quits. The producers probably found the series did have more success than expected (or more than at the beginning) and that the songs were rapidly getting famous and selling well, so they got on with another season.
They shouldn’t have, in my opinion. Season One could have had such a fulfilling ending with 1) Karen getting the part but having her love life in pieces (although honestly, I think she’s better off without that weakling Dev, who has the nerve to sleep with a strange woman while he still has Karen’s engagement ring in his pocket); 2) Ivy not getting the part but finding a fulfilling relationship with Derek (he really seemed to care, but then he had to shag Rebecca after all - bleah); 3) Tom finding his counterpart in Sam; 4) Julia making up with her husband. The series never knew where its focus was to be, it wanted too much and wound up ruining a story that could have been so beautiful and intense instead of the mess it turned out to be.


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