THE "SMASH" REPORT: Season Two, Episode 8, Or, Tomfoolery

By Kenneth Jones
28 Mar 2013

Daphne Rubin-Vega and Jamey Sheridan
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

The dirty backstage doings have been reported by needling gossip reporter Michael Riedel over at the New York Post, branding the show a poisoned one. So what Bombshell needs now is the perfume of legitimacy, says producer Eileen (Anjelica Huston), and there is only one atomizer that will spritz it properly: The New York Times. This episode introduces Agnes, a theatrical press agent, embodied by Rent Tony Award nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega (that show's original Mimi), who is dressed expensively and barks into a wireless Bluetooth attached to her ear. Looking at a publicity shot of the show's new Marilyn, Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty), Eileen observes, "Ivy looks amazing here, doesn't she? She's got her mother's face." Agnes adds: "And her rack!" (The attempts at humor on "Smash" usually make the characters look tasteless or shallow, but you can't help but be impressed by Eileen's good taste in websites. In this scene, Eileen is logged onto Playbill.com's front page. We love you, Eileen Rand!) By the way, as you know, Ivy's mother is Leigh Conroy, the retired Tony-winning star played last season by a guesting Bernadette Peters.

The Times has passed on a Bombshell feature, Agnes says. But there's a good story here, no? Eileen is old pals with the Arts and Leisure Editor, Richard Francis, played by Jamey Sheridan. Eileen bursts into his office in a scene that wouldn't happen in real life at the Times fortress at 41st Street and Eighth Avenue. Security would have retained her at the door. Richard says Bombshell is not material for the Times, unless there's a fresh angle. It gives Eileen an idea that surfaces later in the episode: Why not get Leigh Conroy to come out of retirement to play the pivotal role of Marilyn's mother? (And let's not inform our lead, Ivy, whose past with mom is full of tension! What?) Peters is set to show up in next week's episode, and if you have the rather smashing soundtrack album to "Smash," called "Bombshell: The New Marilyn Musical From 'Smash,'" you know that the recording — featuring the songs of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman — offers a serious spoiler.   Continued...