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SMASH - "Musical Chairs" (S2/Ep7) - 03.19.2013

NOTE: If you haven't seen S2/Ep7 yet, then don't read this and please don't complain because this is a discussion of an episode that has aired already, therefore technically not a spoiler.

"Musical Chairs"? More like revolving doors! Or trading places. Who's going where? Who's starring in what show? Who's directing which show? Who's doing what to whom, and when and why? Who's On First? Don't these people have contracts that prevent them from storming off in a fit of artistic temperament? Aren't there legal consequences for these spontaneous outbursts and resignations?

Despite Karen being more likeable than Ivy initially, it's obvious that the more talented Ivy is the logical choice to play Marilyn in Bombshell or Maribomb, Bombilyn or whatever they're calling it this week. Now that Ivy's horrendous flop Liaisons, the real life equivalent of Springtime For Hitler from The Producers is closing, she's free to pursue it and Karen will be relegated to arrogant, obnoxious and infantile Jimmy's Hit List, a low-rent knock-off, mash-up of Rent and In The Heights.

Speaking of Rent, it was a nice nod to that iconic show when they had Artistic Director Scott Nichols (Jesse L. Martin) sitting in his office under a Rent poster because Martin's break-through came as a cast member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical Rent in 2005.

That moment when Eileen learned that Ellis had been undermining her by spying and reporting everything he discovered to Jerry just cried out for one of her signature drink tosses from S1. Alas, it didn't happen, but we can dream. It would've been delicious.

It was great to see Meryl Streep's real-life daughter Grace Gummer return as Jerry and Eileen's daughter, Katie. Wasn't Katie a medical professional who travelled globally with some organization similar to Doctors Without Borders last season? She really came through by finding a legal loophole, thereby assuring her mother control of the show. It's a pity that they don't have any entertainment lawyers in NY.

It was interesting to learn recently that SMASH is partially based on a 1980 novel by Garson Kanin. He's most famous for co-writing the Tracy-Hepburn comedy classic Adam's Rib and Judy Holliday's Born Yesterday, with his wife, actress Ruth Gordon. The book chronicles the trials and tribulations faced by a production in pre-Broadway tryouts. It's out-of-print, but there's a Kindle version for download from Amazon. Can't wait to read it - all 500+ pages.

So what's going on with Veronica Moore (Jennifer Hudson) and The Wiz revival? Did they just drop that storyline altogether without resolution? Has J-Hud's arc run its course? Where are they going with all these shows? Are the storylines somehow going to converge at the Tonys with Ivy and Karen competing for Leading Actress in a Musical? Somehow I can't see Tom vying with Derek for Best Director. You almost wonder whether the writers watch their own show. Tom was so brilliant as the Musical Director for Veronica's TV concert that her mom-ager Cynthia (Sheryl Lee Ralph) instantly promoted him to director, where he seemed quite creative and competent. Then just weeks later, after Derek stormed out and Tom was crowned Bombshell director, suddenly he's a total disaster who can't do anything right. What?