SMASH: 1.02 “The Callback”
Well, we got the answer. While some people wondered if the Smash poster was giving away the leading lady, I’m pleased to say that veteran Broadway star (both on and off the screen, for that matter) Ivy got the role of Marilyn.
It’s not that I don’t like Karen (or Katherine McPhee). But Ivy just had the voice. Was she too perfect? Well, they did play up that angle. Obsessively researching the part, quoting books and movies, making sure her upper lip didn’t move when she imitated her voice — all of that really did take some of the natural elements out of the role. But was she better than Karen? Dancing? Of course! Yes, performing takes practice, but even I would be annoyed if the leading lady just couldn’t get the moves. Not to say her final audition performance wasn’t wonderful — it was. I still love how this show incorporates the theatrics into the auditions and humble performances; I feel like I’m watching live theater.
That being said, Karen (and you can see this above) would take a little getting used to as Marilyn. Looks aren’t everything, but it’s Marilyn for goodness’ sake! That’s like hiring a fat blonde to play JFK.
But what comes next? This isn’t the last we’ll see of Karen. This isn’t Game of Thrones and Sean Bean, for God’s sake. Katherine McPhee is a huge part of this show. I assume she’ll be cast in the chorus, probably be the understudy, but does that make for good television? Is Ivy’s promiscuous actions going to take her down? Does anyone care if she slept with the director? I’d think not, but maybe they do. Or maybe, poor Ivy will find herself injured, unable to play the role she so desperately wanted.
Or maybe…just maybe…Ivy is just Marilyn.
The only part that I missed in this episode was that of Ivy’s softer side. Last week, we got a glimpse of her on the phone, talking to her family who cared little about her success at auditions. It really made you feel for her, made you root for her, but here, in the second episode, she was obsessive, doing whatever she needed to do to get the role, including sleeping with the director. That sense of empathy was removed. Do we want her to be Marilyn?
I guess the best laid TV series make you ask the best question. And this one certainly does. Who did you want to be cast as Marilyn? And what do you see in these ladies’ futures?