Back home with Julia, Frank is impatiently getting things ready for a visit from the adoption agent when he learns that Julia and Tom have not only written a song for the "not happening" Marilyn musical but they're also planning on cutting a demo. So Frank huffs and puffs and reminds Julia she agreed to take a year off from working in order to make this adoption happen. Look, I realize it makes sense for the universe in which this show operates, but Holy First World Problems. Somehow, Julia goes off on a tangent about Marilyn herself and how she was mishandled all her life and everything she went through (she calls her "saintly," which, permission to gag: granted). Ultimately, Julia doesn't want anybody else handling this musical but her. Frank grumbles and growls.
Here's the thing: I hate work-vs-home storylines and I hate adoption storylines, and for some of the same reasons. They follow the same tired dance steps, there's never any balance of sympathies -- I am never going to sympathize with Frank wanting Julia to not work. I'm never going to want Julia to have a baby more than I want for her to make this musical happen, because the whole rest of the show is about making the musical happen. I'd just as soon fast-forward past the parts where Julia feels inadequate and Frank issues ultimatums and they break up and/or get back together and just get on with the parts of the show I like. For now, I will enjoy the fact that Frank is played by Brian D'Arcy James, whom I enjoyed opposite Laura Linney in Time Stands Still, and the adoption agent was in a great play called Next Fall, and if you think the Broadway-steeped cast isn't going to have me dropping names of shows I've seen like a crazy person, well, I am sorry. (Not sorry.)
Karen's dreading an upcoming visit from the parents, who, the last time they were up, tried to drag her back to Iowa. Because of course, Iowa. When they do show up, it's a very standard "parents are visiting from the sticks" scene -- they want to pay for dinner! And don't understand how she can possibly make a living with this whole "acting" thing! -- complete with Dev playing the dashing beau who sticks up for Karen and her nascent stardom. Dev's adoration of Karen mirrors Julia's adoration of Marilyn, which I guess is nicely symmetrical storytelling, but there's a real danger that this show is lionizing them both in a way it's not going to be able to keep up with. The storytelling and character building with Ivy is much more balanced. Anyway, the real draw for this scene is that Karen's parents are played by Dylan Baker and Becky Ann Baker, who I never until they did this show realized were married, though I did know they were awesome.