Jimmy’s continuing erratic behaviour threatens the future of Hit List again some more.
Previously, on Smash
Good morning, and welcome to the fourth hour of The Today Show! Kathie Lee Gifford is here with the cast of Bombshell to report on some theatre program where talented moppets from across the country are flown in to New York to see Broadway shows by night and take master classes from real Broadway performers by day. Today they’re learning the Twentieth Century Fox mambo. Kathie Lee is dressed up like Marilyn which is a fairly terrifying sight. Her interview with Ivy establishes that Ivy’s schedule is punishing but then that isn’t really developed any further over the course of the episode so OK. Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future is doing that mouth-corner-pointing-at-smile-signal thing at Ivy from the sidelines which is pretty hilarious.
Ivy, Kathie Lee, Bobby, Jessica and a handful of other chorines launch into the number and Megan Hilty takes another song away from Katharine McPhee.
Unfortunately we don’t get the full number as we cut away to Eileen and Tom watching on a monitor. Eileen is surprised Julia is missing out. Tom left her a message. Eileen thought they were still living together. She awkwardly segues from that mine field to a new one, suggesting Tom and Julia start thinking about their next project after Gatsby. Tom hadn’t heard that Scott announced Gatsby to his board earlier in the week.
Karen and Ana pose for a photographer from New York magazine. Ana’s holding a gun on Karen and the photographer is sensing some tension. Some murderous in-tension.
Wrapping their shoot, he calls for Jimmy Charming, who is two hours late. Ana notes that he left in his costume last night. His costumes look exactly like what he always wears; how could she tell?
Scott and Derek enter, discussing the swarm of producers ready to write checks for the Broadway transfer sight unseen. In a stroke of genius, Derek has invited about a dozen producers for tonight’s performance. Stage Manager Not-Linda summons Derek to deal with the Jimmy situation. Kyle’s been leaving him messages with no response. He tries to defend Jimmy but Derek and Scott aren’t having it, Scott noting that these shenanigans could cost them the cover of New York. Karen asks Kyle where Jimmy is and Kyle says he didn’t come home last night.
Ivy bids goodbye to the theatre moppets and Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future reminds her of her…sweater signing at Macy’s? All righty. Eileen goes over the rest of her schedule, including a matinee, an interview and tonight’s show. Ivy thinks she’s then free to get caught up on the new season of Girls (those naked Andrew Rannels gifs can only hold a girl so long) but Eileen reminds she’s moderating a Q&A with Tom and Julia. At a restaurant. Really?
As she exits Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future returns and gleefully informs Eileen that Marisa Tomei has broken her leg so Moonstruck won’t be going to Broadway this season. Imitation of Life is DOA and the Lloyd Webber show is closing so if Bombshell stays open until June the Tony is pretty much theirs by default. Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future isn’t sure that can happen since ticket sales are weak. Eileen starts thinking Bombshell, radio, Bombshell, radio but there’s no money to pay for a new campaign. Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future suggests prayer.
Julia’s finally deigned to show up and she explains to Tom that she just started writing the Gatsby play and the flow was so smooth that she lost track of time. Tom’s all yeah, yeah, tell me right now what you’re doing with Gatsby. Julia says she’s doing it as a play, not a musical. She’s already set things in motion, having promised it to Scott. Tom tells her to un-promise it and start working on it with him. Wasn’t it just a month ago that Tom was the one agonizing over breaking a promise and Julia was promises are made of air?
The photographer packs up his gear despite everyone’s swearing on the religious text of their choice that Jimmy’s on his way. He says that they’ll still have a story but it won’t be the cover. Just then Jimmy arrives but he’s far too intoxicated for anyone to consider letting him pose. He swans in past Kyle, breezing “What’d I miss?” Titles! From which Leslie Odom, Jr.’s name has been removed.
Julia arrives at Scott’s office where he shows her the “Who’s Who of American Theatre” who are coming to tonight’s show.
He’s just finished reading the first scene from Gatsby and predicts not only a Tony but years of sweet sweet regional theater royalties. Julia rains on his parade, telling him that Tom won’t let go of the project. Scott isn’t having it, letting her know that to bolster Hit List he’s dipped into next season’s budget. If Hit List doesn’t transfer to Broadway, he has to come up with something incredible for next season or he’ll lose his job.
Derek and Ivy chat on the phone after her sweater signing event/swag bag grab. He tries to set up a hookup but her schedule cock blocks him for the rest of the week. She told you last week she’d call you if she needed you again, Derek, take the hint.
Kyle gives Jimmy a dressing down in the dressing room about costing the show the New York cover. Jimmy amusingly still somehow thinks he’s bullet-proof. Cute lighting director Blake pokes his head in (not like that) to check up on Jimmy. He pops back out again and Jimmy’s surprised that they’re still together after Kyle hooked up with Tom. Kyle claims drunkenness and star-strickenness but Jimmy replies that that doesn’t explain the multiple additional hookups. Before they can get any further into it Generic Handsome Actor enters and asks if the auditions for Jesse are in here.
Cut to Sam (hey girl, hey!) singing “Rewrite This Story” for Derek. Jimmy bursts in demanding to know why there are auditions for his part.
Derek explains that the audition is for his understudy, which he’d know if he’d been around during the week. So this show, which is being directed by a man whose last project saw its leads change literally ten times before it opened and which in fact has already opened, does not have an understudy in place for its emotionally unstable, drug-abusing lead? I just…I…how is that even a thing that is possible?
Whatever, anyway, Jimmy disses the talents of the guy who’s been in eight Broadway shows and a national touring company and flounces out like the diva monster he is. Ana labels him a “jackass”, like, duh, and adds that Adam (her drug dealing boyfriend) was totally right about him. Karen leaves that chunk of irony on the table, instead making it all about her as usual. She hates the idea of the show suffering because she broke up with him. Ana says that’s not on her but Kyle insists that it is, reminding Karen that she begged Jimmy for months to open up and then dumped him as soon as he did and then brought in her friend to audition for his part. Karen feebles that it didn’t quite go down like that but Kyle rejoinds that it went down exactly like that and if no one else is willing to enable Jimmy then by god he’ll do it himself!
At her office Eileen commits her multi-million dollar show to an appearance at the Brighton Beach Senior Center. Brighton Beach, Eileen? You just got out from under the Mafia and now you’re cozying up to the Russians? Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future enters to report that half of her producer clients are attending that night’s performance of Hit List. Eileen doesn’t understand what her takeaway from that is supposed to be. Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future suggests she look at Hit List as a possible next project.
Kyle finds Jimmy in the dressing room and tries to reason with him but my focus is pulled by the orange plaid shirt that appears out of nowhere on the rack behind Kyle. Jimmy says something about Karen being The One because of course she is because she is the Muse and every star in every constellation spins around her. Kyle has stopped believing in The One. His parents are coming to the show tonight and they’re taking him and Blake out to dinner. He invites Jimmy but before Kyle can tell him what time Derek storms in. His last nerve is officially plucked. Sam is Jimmy’s understudy and tonight is the most important night in the show’s history. If Jimmy doesn’t get his shit together then by this time tomorrow he’ll become Jimmy’s replacement.
Y’all let’s talk about casting Sam in this part. I realize that the show has to shoehorn Odom in somewhere and Hit List is the only available option, but from an in-universe perspective I’m not at all convinced that he works. For one, he reads a lot older than Jimmy, like a decade older at least. I don’t see him as the struggling young kid with the Broadway dream and I don’t see him and Karen as a match (again because of the perceived age difference). To me, he just doesn’t fit.
Later that day Kyle, Blake and Kyle’s parents are on their way to dinner while Mom gushes about seeing Kyle’s name on the poster. Some random camped outside the theater jumps up to say what a big fan he is. Mom asks if he wants Kyle’s autograph, or maybe hers. Stop it Mom, you’re embarrassing him!
Mom keeps gushing and Dad gets in on it too, telling him how proud he is and how Kyle should be enjoying the moment. Kyle says it’s not just his moment and they should be proud of Jimmy too. They say they are and wish he’d have come with them. Blake suggests checking whether Jimmy’s showed up yet and Mom suspects that Jimmy is using again. Good instincts, Mom.
At the Q&A Grill Tom asks Julia how Scott took the news of losing Gatsby. He didn’t; Julia is keeping her promise. But what about me, Tom whines, what about your commitment to me? Julia assures him that she’s totally committed to whatever he wants to work on except for she’s still doing Gatsby on her own. Tom whinges about how they’re supposed to work on everything together and Julia wonders if he’d gotten City of Angels would she be co-directing it? Is she co-directing Bombshell? Tom snides that apparently her not co-directing Bombshell is the problem and it’s so not. Julia can’t understand why he can’t get over it for one play. One play, Tom replies, that she optioned through their company which makes it legally half his. Are you threatening legal action, Mister Fabian?
Derek greets a couple of producers backstage before the show and I’m assuming they’re another couple of Broadway cameos but their full names aren’t spoken and they aren’t on IMDB yet so I can’t be arsed to figure it out. Traversing the sea of warming-up chorines Derek learns from Stage Manger Not-Linda that Jimmy hasn’t arrived. Gee, if only there were someone else connected to the show who had been trained to take over the part if the lead became unavailable. Derek plans to cancel. Kyle begs for more time but Jimmy wanders in just then. Derek sneers that if this were Broadway Jimmy would be facing a fine. Why he thinks this would matter to Jimmy is unfathomable. Jimmy heads to get changed into his costume that looks exactly like his street clothes and stops beside Karen for a second before passing her derisively. Karen is so upset by this that she blinks her dead eyes, Twice. Acting!
Having changed into his costume that looks exactly like his street clothes Jimmy pulls that same bag of coke out of his locker, as if he wouldn’t have Hoovered that shit within seconds of getting it.
As Stage Manger Not-Linda calls places, he slides it into his back pocket and heads for the stage.
Out front Scott sidles up next to Derek and says he thought there was no way Eileen would ever produce this show. Derek says that’s right and then Scott points her out in the audience with Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future.
The lights go down on the hipster douchebag-filled audience and an announcement over the PA invites the audience to record the show because “we don’t own it any more than you do” because this not-for-profit theatre organization whose director has already spent a chunk of next year’s budget is happy to kill as many revenue streams as possible. Shut up, PA announcement.
Ana as “The Diva” appears on-stage, sings Karen’s stolen number and fires her gun. The opening music for “Rewrite This Story” begins and begins again and begins again because Jimmy’s missed his cue. Eventually he disgraces us with his presence.
At the Q&A Grill Ivy compares Tom and Julia to Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Lowe and Kander & Ebb. Better stick with Beaumont & Fletcher, they’ve been dead for 300 years. Then she compares their relationship to a marriage and asks how they keep their marriage together and they do that passive-aggressive schtick where their answers become more and more barbed and it’s entirely tedious and I refuse to waste another thought on it. Out of this comes Tom’s declaration that the partnership is over.
Hit List continues apace as “Jesse” works on a new song. “Amanda” and her hideous silver shorts enter and deliver an awful line of dialogue poorly, then ask if “Jesse” has written anything.
Who dresses you and why do they hate you?
He has, and he starts playing it again. “Amanda” picks up the sheet music and starts singing, and McPhee’s voice compared to Jordan’s is so highly processed it’s ludicrous. The song, “Don’t Let Me Know”, encapsulates “Amanda’s” journey from her block on the edge of town to super-stardom as “Nina”.
It’s a decent song and a largely effective bit of staging but I did not understand why there is the Dance of the Rickety Chairs in the middle of it. Are the chairs a symbol? Of what? The thing with the iPads is cool, where the chorines affix them to a wall and swipe their images to form that picture of Karen from the poster, but gods, that image is so dated.
Jimmy continues to monkey wrench his own show, wandering around the middle of the choreography into places where he doesn’t belong, while Derek and Stage Manager Not-Linda seethe with impotent rage in the wings.
Tom and Julia continue dismantling their partnership at the ol’ Q&A Grill, with Tom accusing her of auditioning new partners for months: Peter; Scott; Team J/K. Julia reminds him that just last week he said all he cares about is directing and maybe they’re just headed in different directions. Tom suggests that Julia only cares about their partnership when it’s all about her, which, really Ego Monster? They go back and forth some more until Julia says that working on Gatsby has been the only thing that’s made her happy for years. Ouch. She immediately tries to backpedal but Tom’s not having it. He walks away.
Jimmy’s still cocking up his choreography while Karen sings “Broadway, Here I Come”. He spots Ana raising her gun toward Karen and remembers he’s supposed to be up next to Karen to catch her. He runs for it as Ana pulls the trigger. Jimmy doesn’t make it and Karen hits the floor with a loud clank.
The Hit List cast makes a costume change for the final number and Jimmy tries to apologize to Karen, who is not having it. As the same chorus boy pulls his shirt on twice in the background (this episode and shirts, honestly) Derek reads Jimmy for filth for jeopardizing the entire production. The closing number is a peppy up-tempo ditty about lovers parted forever by death called “The Goodbye Song”.
“I just committed murder. Why am I in this number?”
Karen finally has an excuse for her dead performance on-stage because her character is literally dead. It’s another Bombshell parallel, as that show also ends with its dead leading lady singing. “The Goodbye Song” even quotes “Don’t Forget Me”, putting the words “Don’t you forget me” in Karen’s mouth.
After the show Jimmy is straight up fired. They’ll shut down for a couple of days to give Sam time to get off-book. Not even Kyle can muster up a defense, merely asking that he be the one to break it to Jimmy.
Outside the producers from before are trying to figure out how they feel about the show and when they start leaning toward positive Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future flat-out sabotages. She compares the show to Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Rocky Horror, saying Hit List feels “culty”. There’s “edge” and then there’s “cliff”. When Scott joins them a few moments later to invite the producers for drinks they give him this wide-eyed stare that is not to be believed. Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future smiles to herself, satisfied by a job well done.
That’s how we do it in Lima Heights Adjacent!
At the bar after the show (where Kyle’s mother asks Karen to sign a program for “the Cohens”) Scott and Derek exposit that none of the attending producers are interested. They loved Jimmy (ha!) but feel like the show is “too dark” for an uptown crowd. Derek charges off to contact Eileen and Jimmy appears, joining Kyle and Blake. Kyle breaks the news and Jimmy accuses him of taking their side. Kyle responds that he has always been on Jimmy’s side since they were kids and he’s constantly helped him including getting him out of that mess with Adam. I do not understand these characters’ backstories at all.
Jimmy leaps up onto the bar to say he’s out of the show on the word of the creative team, which term he is using loosely since he’s the only one who contributed anything to the show. He sarcastically thanks Karen for cock-teasing Derek into directing and for engineering his replacement because she can’t handle real emotion either on or off-stage. No Jimmy, it’s not she’s afraid of emotion; it’s that she’s incapable of expressing them. He next thanks Kyle for his loyalty by which he means screwing him the first chance he got just like he did with Tom last week, Blake.
Ana pulls him off the bar (Jimmy: “You’re…stronger than you look.” Snerk.) as Blake heads for the door. Kyle chases after him but Blake tells him not to speak to him. Ana lays into Jimmy for dumping on Karen and Kyle, the two best friends anyone could ever want who have done nothing but love him. Kyle arrives at Jimmy’s side just in time to hear him say that only one of them is in love with him and it’s not the one Jimmy wants. Kinda can’t believe they went to that well again. Jimmy leaves.
Ana rushes to comfort Karen even though Kyle took the harsher shot. Kyle says he has to go after Jimmy and tell him how messed up that was but Karen says he doesn’t, because Jimmy will just addict-charm his way back into Kyle’s enabling heart. Kyle realizes she’s right (Of course she’s right; she’s so right that it’s even in her name!) and agrees to break up with Jimmy tomorrow. Karen insists he do it tonight before he loses his courage.
Eileen tells Derek on the phone that she doesn’t have the money to move Hit List to Broadway and even if she did she wouldn’t bet against Bombshell. She hangs up and turns to Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future, saying she has to call Tom and Julia and ask them to reduce their royalties to help get the show to Broadway. Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future says ticket sales are up 7% today and look even better tomorrow so with that and the competition dead she can hold off on that call.
Ivy’s settling in for her Girls marathon when her phone buzzes. It’s Derek; she ignores him. Back inside the bar he consults the Oracle of Iowa about what it means when someone you thought you were seeing ignores your obsessive phone calls. She says it means she’s on the other line getting a restraining order. You can’t get a restraining order over the phone, Karen! They chat about Broadway dreams and what-not and this is clearly leading up to sex.
Kyle sings Jeff Buckley’s “Last Goodbye” over a closing montage that features among other things Tom staring forlornly at the board for Bombshell, Eileen staring at that Bombshell billboard that’s gotten so much screen time it has its own SAG card, Julia working on Gatsby, Derek “walking Karen home” and Kyle packing Jimmy’s stuff and dropping it at Adam’s place where despite everything Jimmy is apparently staying because he honestly is that rock stupid. Kyle does a good job with the song but I find the “kiss me out of desire” lyrics a bit much considering. And then it happens.
Kyle steps off a curb and his face is illuminated by headlights before a smash cut to black.
I was going to close this with an analysis of why I feel no emotional investment with Hit List when I was heavily invested in Bombshell, but that ending. I just can’t. I swear, if they’ve killed off Kyle I will…still watch this show because it’s my job, but begrudgingly. Another dead gay kid on television? Do. Not. Want.
But from the preview it’s not looking good…