‘Smash’ Goes Bollywood (But Why?)

SMASH: 1.12 “Publicity”

I literally just sat with my fingers on the keyboard for a full minute before I broke down and wrote this sentence. Once again, I enjoyed an episode of Smash last night, but what can I say about it? It wasn’t great. There’s certainly a lot that we can say about what went wrong (coughcoughLeocoughcough). It wasn’t bad, though, either. The deception coming off of Rebecca as she “befriended” Karen was just so tantalizing, and while I hate that Ivy has suddenly decided to join forces with Ellis, I do like that we’re getting more of her in the episode. You may not like her (heck, at times I don’t), but she does add a fantastic element of the show.

But then there was that small thing. What was it?

Oh yeah, the huge Bollywood number in the middle of the episode? Um, what was that about? Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty. It was flashy and involved the entire cast (in case you missed any of them, most of them are represented on NBC’s photo slideshow). But in all that flash, I missed what the entire song was about. I had to rewatch it before posting this to really discover that the real question is whether Karen can commit to Dev. Can she give him a lifetime or just 1001 nights?

Ok, so sure, you could generally tell that this was a song about Karen and Dev, and one could assume that it was questioning their relationship. But I feel like the flash put stars in the writers’ eyes, so you couldn’t get the full extent of the problems here. There are some real issues that these two will be working out, and the bright musical number seemed almost too happy for what they were really singing about. In the end, it felt less like a necessary plot item, less like a forced musical number, and more like an excuse to get the full cast — including Dev — in one musical number to grab a little more audience.

All that being said, I enjoyed it. And all of you men out there who are forced to watch this show by your wives probably enjoyed being that up close and personal with Katherine McPhee’s midsection. But it just stuck out to me. Did it really belong?

But what I really loved about this episode was the deception. Karen’s fallen right into Rebecca’s trap. We’re not entirely sure what she’s up to (beyond trying to add doubt between Dev and Karen), but we know she’s threatened by her understudy. Meanwhile, Ivy’s on her own path of destruction, stealing away Karen’s solo. I loved hearing Ivy sing again, but what I loved more was Rebecca’s reaction. Even Ivy didn’t see Rebecca’s stealing the song even from her. Rebecca’s got power, and she knows it.

As for Leo, geez, I don’t know. Did we need this? Not so much. Can we put this behind us? Please? And really, police officer? The most dangerous thing a teenager can do in New York is run away? Somehow I doubt it (and thanks for the words of comfort, too!).

Overall, the episode was enjoyable, but I did wish that the Bollywood number made a little more sense in the episode. It’s still a fun song (and catchy, too, I’ll have it in my head all day), and it sure was pretty, but this isn’t Glee. I want a little more substance and segue.