THE "SMASH" REPORT: Season 2, Episode 11, or The Un-Dress Rehearsal

By Ben Rimalower
15 Apr 2013

Debra Messing
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

Eileen feels they should cancel the first preview to fix glitches, but Tom worries that will make it look like Bombshell's a troubled production.

"Bombshell is a troubled production," points out Eileen, sagely. "This is our last chance to get it right."

But Tom is determined, and if he can fix all the problems by 3 PM, then the first preview is a go. Now, about that nudity. It's been blowing up online, leading to more ticket sales in the past few hours than the past few weeks combined, which prompts Eileen to tell Ivy, "Nudity was authentic to who Marilyn was."

Ivy is concerned about overshadowing the work that she's doing. Her mother advises her to go for it while she's still young enough.

Ann Harada has fixed all the problems in the show, but the intermission is still long. Maybe Tom could write a really long entr'acte? Ann Harada questions him, "And orchestrate it and give it to the musicians and have them learn it?" Then, she adds adorably, "Did I say that out loud?"

Looks like, for tonight, the show is stuck with a 30-minute intermission to get the plane onstage. Can Ann break the cast for dinner?

Wait ten minutes. Julia has an idea. Cue jazz brush. Tss-tss-tss-tss-tss-tss-tss-tss-tss-tss.

Meanwhile, downtown, Jimmy (looking "a little strung out") has been up for three days writing nine songs (just on Adderall and Red Bull, he assures Karen) so Derek has material for the nameless Diva character without having to pillage Karen's part. Karen is confident Derek wouldn't screw up the show two weeks before previews out of spite. Well, as insurance, Jimmy and Kyle have made sure Karen's the first thing the audience will see, "and that's not changing." Kids.

They run through the show with the new material. Derek feels disconnected from the material, uninvested, and can barely cough out a little, "I loved it," which fools only Karen. He confides in Julia, who, as a dramturg, has learned how to "speak from the I" and shares about her own experience when things ended with her former lover/leading man, Michael Swift—she saw the show more clearly than she ever had, free of whatever distractions had come before.

Derek takes another look at the show (and by other look, I mean, the entire cast and crew run through the entire two-hour extravaganza one more time and Derek pays attention this time).

Derek is inspired, barking out commands to move this section here and reprise that there and Amanda should take the E before the video (I assume he means the party drug Ecstasy and not the high note, E, as in "before my PAST once again can blind me" in "Meadowlark," but in Manhattan Theater Workshop's Hit List, one never knows!).

Everyone's falling in line—actors respect a strong leader, Tom!—and even Karen is superfluously chirping in her unnecessary support. Then Derek gets to his Big Idea. Derek wants to start the show with the final moment (Amanda's murder by the nameless Diva) and then tell the whole story in flashback, like "Sunset Boulevard" and "All About Eve" (I think the writers meant Sunset Boulevard and Applause… oh, wait!).

This is so controversial. Won't it spoil the ending? No, it sets it up (you idiot).