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TV Recap

‘Smash’ Recap: Episode 6, ‘Chemistry’

‘Smash’ Recap: Episode 6, ‘Chemistry’
Photo Source: Patrick Harbron/NBC
Ivy (Megan Hilty) squeaks in her upper register like Peter Brady when his voice changed on “The Brady Bunch,” and Eileen (Anjelica Huston) has a meeting with a producer played by Lewis J. Stadlen. Julia (Debra Messing), Tom (Christian Borle), and Derek (Jack Davenport) have a huge fight about the script’s lack of coherence—the script for “Marilyn: The Musical,” not the one for “Smash: The TV Series”—and Ellis (Jaime Cepero) fulfills his function as a rat by squealing about the fracas to Eileen. And we’re off and running for Episode 6.

Karen (Katharine McPhee) conveniently drops her purse behind the piano and overhears the creative people discussing possibly replacing Ivy, who has an inflamed throat. Derek wants Karen to take over the role and then sweetly and subtly shoves a knife in Ivy’s back at her apartment by casually mentioning that Karen will have to play Marilyn at the next day’s rehearsal.

Soft foreshadowing music plays as Ivy takes a bottle of pills out of her bag. It’s a prescription we’ve been oh-so-gently told will give her—cue soap opera organ chords—bad side effects! See how they’re drawing parallels between Ivy and the real Marilyn?

Then all of a sudden we cut to Julia smeared with batter and allowing blueberry pancakes to burn—she’s a bad cook, get it?—trying to make it up to her son for secretly kissing sexy leading man Michael (Will Chase). Then her husband, Frank (the equally handsome Brian d’Arcy James), returns from his teachers’ seminar, and she bursts into “Torn Between Two Lovers.” Well, not really, but she might as well have.

Karen gets a gig singing at a bar mitzvah so that McPhee can have her big number this week. Ellis continues to suck up to Eileen and somehow manages to get her a new condo without her having to pay a brokerage fee—huh?—and she drops Nathan Lane’s and the Nederlanders’ names. Then she’s drinking cosmopolitans and playing video games with Ellis and this other guy, who I think was his roommate from an earlier episode. Again, huh? Like that would happen—a major Broadway producer hanging out in a cheap bar with two gofers.

Ivy does a music video in her bedroom and then goes all “Snake Pit” as a dream version of Karen as Marilyn appears in her mirror. “What the hell was that?,” Ivy and I exclaim at the same time. Before I can say “Sybil,” we’re at the big bar mitzvah, and all I can think is “Well, at least at lot of background players made some money.” Cut to Rick Santorum’s worst nightmare—a roomful of rich gay men. It’s a party at the apartment of John (Neal Bledsoe), Tom’s new boyfriend. But is he? I thought they had terrible sex last week. Fortunately, Tom is called away by Ivy to chase the scary ghost of Karen, and Sam (Leslie Odom Jr.), the sports-loving chorus boy, is there. The promise of flirting is in the air as they calm Ivy down.

McPhee has her solo number at the bar mitzvah—when are they gonna run out excuses for her to do pop tunes? And where were those background vocals coming from?

Julia and Frank are in bed, and she tells him she’s jittery and is going to go for a walk—at 10 o’clock at night! In New York City! And the guy just sits there reading his chemistry text book! What’s wrong with this picture? Then she shows up at the rehearsal studio—in her pajamas—to meet Michael. WTF? Michael takes her top off. She goes out dressed like that for a walk? Ivy isn’t the only one losing her grip. Anyway, the two cheating lovers make out on the couch. The next morning Ivy goes over the top and finally tells Derek off in front of the company—bad side effects anyone? We finish with Eileen back at that cheap bar with Ellis and that other guy—we learn his name is Zack—and a hot bartender. Bernadette Peters is in the preview for the next episode, but it doesn’t tell us that she will play “Ivy’s pushy stage mother, ‘who was once a theater sensation’,” according to

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