Previously: A fresh-faced recapper was given his first assignment, to cover a television phenomenon that, in its fifth season, featured a highly dramatic but very polished young girl with a lovely voice and an inability to dress correctly for her body type. He loved her very much, even (especially) when she was felled by an epileptic who had wandered onto the set at the beginning of her season and became America's favorite drunk uncle.
Currently: the Hollywood-skinny version of that girl begins singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in her glittery babydoll Dorothy dress, welcoming that same recapper back into the fray once more. Katharine McPhee, I have actually missed you.
In the reality of the show, this is Karen Cartwright, and she's auditioning to bored theater professionals who are not into her. On her way out, she strides past Ivy Lynn, who is definitely showing off tits and ass like a total pro, but who also has the look of past rejection on her face.
Meanwhile, there's Tom and Julia (of COURSE she's a Julia; everybody that was a Grace in the late '90s are now called Julia). They write musical theater together. Tom's just returning from an out-of-town trip to find his brand new, very cute (and maybe gay but maybe not) assistant named Ellis has made himself at home, but in a way that adds up to organizing the loose tea bags (gay) and making comfort foods like mac and cheese and meatloaf in anticipation of Tom's return (gay and available) (or else just exceedingly good at being an assistant for entertainment professionals). Ellis has also been enjoying Tom's reading materials, including a coffee-table book about Marilyn Monroe (as Tom's eyebrow goes up in Julia's direction, all "gaaaaaayyyyeeeeee!"), whom he feels would make for a wonderful stage musical. Julia and Tom remind him, in unison, that's it's been tried before and was a total flop, but Ellis remains optimistic, and the idea of an original musical begins to take shape in Tom and Julia's minds. So a word on Julia and Tom: yes, once again Debra Messing has signed on to play one half of a gay-guy/straight-girl couple, but these two are thus far less co-dependent and more professionally competent than she's been used to. Plus I am INTO Christian Borle in a major way, having just seen him in Angels in America over the summer. If you do right by Prior Walter, you're pretty much good with me for life.