This publicity image released by NBC shows actress Jennifer Hudson as Veronica Moore in a scene from the second season of "Smash." "Smash," set in the world of New York theater, stars Debra Messing, Christian Borle and Angelica Huston. Guest stars this season include Jennifer Hudson. (AP Photo/NBC, Will Hart)
Smash

The Miseducation of Anita Hill

Okay, Smash we have to talk!

You’ve legit become an engrossing ensemble show; I actually care about what happens to most of the characters. I want more of them to succeed than I want to perish in hang-gliding accidents now. This is progress. I even am, sometimes, sort of, a little compelled by Karen. (#StillAnIvy) but we have to nip this Jimmy relationship in the bud before it gets going. I can’t.  I can’t. I CAN NOT with this. Jeremy Jordan is great; he sings like a lark and has the face of a young Jeremy Jordan ::swoon::. But this plotline is going nowhere.creep copy

Actually, I’ll tell you exactly where it’s going. If Smash wasn’t getting cancelled at the end of this year (which is it because somebody in Hollywood hates me–I’m looking at you, Girl Who Played Six on Blossom!) the season would end with a cliffhanger where Hit List inexplicably makes it to opening night on Broadway (despite the fact that it is written by amateurs, Off- and off-Off-Broadway are totally viable options, and the book doesn’t exist in this spectral plane). Then Jimmy, being that lovable loser that he is, would OD on X or whatever the kids are taking these days and disappear, leaving only a sad spotlight at curtain call, as Kyle, his floppy-haired footman, and Karen, his corpse bride, take to the streets to search for him, singing a song called “Codependency! (Fuck Yeah!)”

AND

I

CAN’T!

I can’t with Kyle being a lowly manservant, thrown hither and yon to the whims of his chemically dependent, moody friend (who probably has a borderline personality disorder).

Kyle and Bobby. Swoon.

Functional relationships? Matching swoop bangs? Absence of ironing? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I can’t with Karen lap-dogging after any man who is mean to her, just like Uncle Gerald from Iowa. I can’t with Julia castigating herself for all that is wrong with modern theater. I can’t with sad Ivy. And I can’t with Sexy Purlie.

Yes, you heard me. I can’t with this Derek storyline that somehow ends up being resolved not with him being chemical castrated and stuffed into a gimp suit, but rather proven right and competent by doing the one thing that you are NEVER TO DO: he makes JHud dance.

And you know that JHud comes from the Mariah Carey School of Standing Still and Singing. And you know that “I Got Love” was already roused from the moth balls and given glorious new life earlier in the episode when JHud stands still and saaaangs the hell out of it like God and Ossie Davis intended. And yet, for some reason, Derek and Josh Safran put their heads together and decided to Fosse-fy it. They turned every belt into a whisper (Don’t you know Jesus can’t hear you if you use your head voice?) They put JHud in character shoes like she’s a seven-year-old version of Lea Michelle on her first day of tap school. And they choreograph it like the Shady Pines production of Chicago.

And I can’t.

The only thing that would have made me more uncomfortable is if this was a scene from Clarence! The Clarence Thomas Musical and JHud was playing a Anita Hill. Act I closes with a showstopper called “What’s On My Coke (Ain’t No Joke)” ::abandons blog to go feverishly work on the book of said musical. Uses only scraps of paper and glints of light to write on because I am a poor gay striver and I exist primarily as a function of the whims of my straight counterparts (and sometimes in the novel The Hours).::

This publicity image released by NBC shows actress Jennifer Hudson as Veronica Moore in a scene from the second season of "Smash." "Smash," set in the world of New York theater, stars Debra Messing, Christian Borle and Angelica Huston. Guest stars this season include Jennifer Hudson.  (AP Photo/NBC, Will Hart)

100% not here for these Gwen Verdon shenanigans.

This is unacceptable.

Seriously, ladies and gays of Smash, can we please work on your self-actualization? There are like 2.25 straight men on this show and you’re all cow-towing to them. Porquoi?
This is professional theater, ladies and gays–your kingdom. Has any of those straight men every hit a high E on a belt or run into Michael Musto at a bathhouse? No, they have not. But you have. Who run the world? Gurls.

The only place ladies and gay have more power than professional theater is the dressing room at H&M, where one’s actual perception of reality is bent to the iron will of the surly staff. H&M is like Oz (both the magical land and the prison). I love how H&M even has a special “Real life” lighting, like “You may think you can see what things look like out there, in the ‘world’, but bitch you have no idea. Now buy these red skinny jeans before I shank the fuck out of you.”

I need y’all to rise up, ladies and gay! I need Ivy to own her fierceness. PLEASE. For instance, she rushes in to fill in at JHud’s concert and, upon seeing Karen, apologizes for her pressence.

Exsqueeze?!

Why is Ivy apologizing to Karen for taking a J-O-B? The market ain’t what it used to be, people are cutting back, you gotta catch as catch can.  If she hadn’t gotten this job on “Ronnie Moore Serves You Fosse’s Corpse” she would’ve had to make money selling her hair to French prostitutes or baking kitties into pies. What I’m saying is times is hard, times is haaaaaaard.

::applause break::

Seriously though, Ivy is a Broadway veteran! Stand up for yourself, girl! Karen was a last minute choice to star in an out-of-town tryout of a failed musical. Even I’ve done that. Ivy needs to go on Iyanla Vanzant‘s show and work out these inferiority issues. I am over meek Ivy. Own your life, woman! It’s like she’s playing Celie in an all-white version of The Color Purple (working title:  Beige.) Derek is playing Mister; Justin Beiber is Harpo; Adele is Miss Sophia; and I’m in the front row getting my life!

::praise break::

My one saving grace is the regal presence of Miss Deena Jones herself, the mother of an entire generation of on-screen singers from Moesha to Lauryn Hill’s surly Catholic school girl in Sister Act: Miss Sheryl Lee Ralph! Hallelujah!sheryl

I love that she comes striding in all shoulder pads and clear understanding of the hierarchy of needs. I love that she is essentially playing an alternate universe version of her character in Sister Act 2: Gangstas Paradise, complete with pursed lips, crushed dreams of a singing career that she takes out on her daughter and a revelatory moment of shiny-eyed pride during a concert at the end.

After a season of compulsive poor decision making from every character, Ms. Sheryl Lee takes these ladies and gays to school, Sister Mary Clarence-style. Derek’s sexual hangups? Not here for that. Drugged out white boy angst? Not here for that. Just write the damn song, thanks. Karen v. Ivy? Here for that, I am not. If you wanna be somebody, if you wanna go somewhere, you better sit on that stool and sing backup for my daughter!

Class dismissed! See you next week.

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