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Very Marilyn

Oh, so all this time, you should know that wherever there is a closed door, Ellis is eavesdropping on the other side of it. He even establishes a frenemy relationship with Eileen's more bored-looking assistant, a poor man's version of some of the relationships in Kell on Earth, but I welcome anything that reminds me of that show. Julia, for the record and bless her for it, continues to resent his mere presence. Openly. Which, can you entirely blame her when he keeps referring to "Marilyn" as "my idea."

Over in the Subplot of My Discontent, Julia and Frank with the adoption counselor (whom I failed to properly recognize by name last week as played by Maddie Corman), who informs them that it could likely be two more years before they get their precious Chinese baby. So this week, Smash decided to shake things up by making Julia the one who's really desperate to adopt and Frank the one with cold feet. He's got doubts about the long wait conspiring to make him a 47-year-old new dad. And since they're having this discussion in the middle of their (gigantic) kitchen, their teenager overhears them and has a big ol' snit about it himself out in the courtyard (?!?!?!). He whines to Julia about how they've been promising him a little brother or sister since he was a little kid (wow, done with this brat already) and how his little sibling is out there somewhere in the world right now. "What is going to happen to her if we don't go get her?!" he freaks. Ummm...some other wealthy and possibly bored couple will step up one position on the insanely long waiting list and raise the kid themselves? You can tell Leo was raised in the drama industry. Also, sorry, still fuming about the fact that the Houstons have a courtyard.

Ivy shows up for choreography auditions and gets a little one-on-one time with Derek. She impresses him with her Marilyn book-learning (Ivy's almost as much of a Marilyn devotee as Julia, it seems) and her workmanlike dedication to getting the role and routine down. After a quick round of head-fuckery where Derek makes sure Karen and Ivy meet (where Ivy proves herself to be ahead of the game in the shade-throwing department), Derek sets up a one-on-one reading with Ivy, where they engage in some over-identification with Marilyn, followed by some heavy flirting, followed by a smash-cut to them having sex. Yes, already!

We only see Karen's final audition with the full "20th Century Fox" number, and it's staged as rehearsal-into-imagined-production much like "National Pastime" was last week. You'll recall that THAT number was all Ivy -- there's a determined balance to the show's treatment of Karen and Ivy that can make the show feel overly engineered, but I appreciate it nonetheless. This episode definitely shifts things much more to a Karen-sympathetic place, which gets underlined when both women show up for the official callback. Ivy is surrounded by well-wishers -- Tom and Dennis -- to the point where Julia has to take pity on poor, waifish Karen. Ivy's got the friends, the chops, the career, and now the sexual relationship with the director. She's the girl with all the advantages. Meanwhile, Karen's the one working overtime to get the routine right -- to the point where she flakes on an Important City Hall Business Dinner with Dev that leads to the first big fight of many on the road to their inevitable breakup.

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