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The Workshop

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Angel Cohn: B | Grade It Now!
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The One Where Bernadette Peters Shows Up

Their little hookup is thankfully interrupted by Tom, who picks up quickly on the situation, but chooses to just focus on work and save his disdainful comments for a later date. The person they really need to worry about is Ellis, who is hiding behind a wall and saw the whole disgusting encounter. Is that guy just everywhere? Why was he in a big empty room alone? Is he just waiting for random hookups? Hiding out, making secret phone calls? What's the deal? He already knew that they'd hooked up before, so this whole scene of him looming in the background is goddamned pointless.

Eileen is screaming at a building manager about the lack of a maintenance person, and who the fuck cares. Open a goddamned window.

Karen gets a call to go back to the recording studio, and Bobby and Jessica push her to go, but Karen just waffles about it. She's almost out the door, but as she's leaving, Bernadette Peters walks in the door. With a depressed looking Ivy Lynn trailing along behind her.

The curly-tressed Bernadette is Leigh Conroy, a Tony award winning stage actress... and also Ivy's mother. She walks in, and turns Ivy into a coatrack as Bobby begs Leigh to sing something and the chorus fawns over her. Naturally, Leigh, being quite the diva, can't turn down a chance to sing and Tom even hops on the piano so that Leigh can belt the hell out of "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from Gypsy. Hitting the nail a little too on the head with a show about the ultimate stage mother? Perhaps. But Gypsy and Bernadette fans will likely not really complain.

While Leigh is singing, Tom is gleefully playing for a woman who seems to be a theater legend, while oblivious to Ivy's obvious pain. For a minute when Leigh sings the "you can do it" line to Ivy, I wonder if her grand plan is to force Ivy into the life of a stripper. It might be more lucrative than starring in a workshop for a Broadway show that may or may not make it. Derek, who is normally an insensitive clod, sees that Ivy's completely uncomfortable, and tells her that she's wonderful in the role of Marilyn. He even refrains from making a prickish comment while doing it. Progress?

Rehearsals get back underway, and Michael's wife and kid show up because apparently it's Bring Your Assorted Family Member to Work Day, instead of the crunch time that it should be. Julia looks stricken and horrified, like she momentarily had a stroke or something and forgot that Michael was married with a kid. Julia runs out and Tom follows after her, because that's obviously his job. He looks upset when she reveals that she slept with Michael. Clueless Derek just freaks out that his scriptwriter has abandoned ship less than a day before this trainwreck is supposed to reach the station.

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