Smash
The Cost of Art

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Joe R: B | Grade It Now!
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Own Us, Jonas!

So Lyle West. He's Nick Jonas, at least in terms of who's performing him. But in a more accurate, character-based way, he's Boy Lea Michele. Not in terms of how he's supposed to be an absolute nightmare, but in terms of how he got his big break as a child and now has hit it big on some huge TV show. The musical that launched his career, as it turns out, is the same one that Tom and Derek worked on (and has their subsequent falling out -- though Lyle does intimate that before they hated each other, Tom and Derek were great friends; which seems... wrong). Both Tom and Derek are taking credit for launching Lyle's career, but it's Derek who decides to throw Lyle a big birthday bash. Tom decides he has plans that night.

At the party (which is at Derek's apartment, because I guess he got that gas situation figured out!), Lyle flirts with Ivy and sings a full-band piano version of Michael Bublé's barfy "I Just Haven't Met You Yet" song, and generally is pretty good about this gross old adult throwing him a birthday party full of gross old people. On a completely different note, Eileen finds him moping on a staircase and chats him up about his newfound millions of dollars in personal wealth now that his TV show has hit syndication. She ends up giving Lyle "advice" about money-management that involves heavy investment in either gold bullion or priceless works of art. You know, because of China. Don't worry, it totally makes sense the way Eileen explains it. Ultimately, she wants Lyle to invest in "Marilyn," and he seems interested enough, but he can't just risk his money without seeing anything from the production. So Eileen calls Julia over and tells her to put together a command performance of one of the numbers, right there at the party.

So Julia places an emergency phone call to Tom, who is out on a date with this guy John, with whom he was set up by his MOTHER. Julia had given him sufficient shit about that earlier, don't worry. Oh, and speaking of Julia being more likeable by being less likeable, just GUESS who shows up at Lyle's party via Tom even though Tom wasn't there? FUCKING ELLIS. Julia introduces herself to his girlfriend "Cyn," who gives Julia stankface. Like it was Julia who stole Ellis's writer's notebook.

Anyway, so Julia gets Tom (with John) to come to the party and help them put on this audition for Lyle. So with Tom at the piano and Ivy on the mic, they perform the USO number, with Julia, Ellis, and Michael as backup. It's charming, and I like the "spontaneity" of the performance. I only wish this sounded more like something they were making up as they went along. This Glee-style overproduction on everything has its downside and it's in scenes like this when it might be nice to get a sense that the people in the room are actually singing in the room. Or, for example, why does Nick Jonas just jump in at the end and know the words to this song, when the whole reason they're performing for him is that he knows nothing of the production?? Get a handle on your sense of reality, Smash. You almost had it.

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