Posted on 10:40 am,
April 24, 2012

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-Coty joins Jess, Mitch and Megan for a heated, intelligent discussion of this week’s Smash episode, 1×12 “Publicity.”

-Starting of quickly with our recap, we note how the new DiMaggio actor wasn’t introduced very well.

-Sneaky Bastard once again sets things in motion in this episode by doing all of the wrong things. Mitch threatens to punch his T.V. in frustration.

-Leo goes missing, causing an interesting debate over whether Frank and Julia should stay together for their son’s sake.

-The bar scene with Rebecca and Karen reminded us of The Black Swan a little.

-Megan and Jess explain to Mitch why Rebecca was building Karen up with a wonderful LOST “Sawyer ‘long-con’” analogy.

-The songwriters of Smash are really keeping up their end of the bargain. However the pop songs, namely the Bollywood number, don’t sit very well with the co-hosts.

-Was Dev in the right for talking back to Rebecca in the way that he did? Should Karen have done more to stop them?

-The girls re-create the sounds of whale-speak, as seen in Finding Nemo, and inspired by Eileen’s boy toy’s odd obsession.

-For next week’s preview, we discuss Dev’s engagement to Karen, the odd kiss between Derek and Rebecca, and the return of Michael Swift.

-News covers two interviews with Angelica Huston, a spoilerific synopsis for episode 14 (timecode to skip provided: 1:17:27), and poll/game on

This episode's hosts: Coty Chanley-Jones, Jessica O'Neal, Mitchel Clow, and Megan Stoll

  • Trel

    I love the show BUT ya’ll are sooooooooooooooooooooo Critical of Karen that it annoys me to no end.  Considering Karen is a Novice at life as a whole yes she doesnt kno what shes doing or how to handle situations but we see with each episode that shes learning how to handle these life situations.  Karen and Dev I want that relationship to end He really doesnt want Karen to be successful he has this whole Im the breadwinner and your the housewife type of attitude…I loved the Bollywood scene it was cheesy but cheesy in a let lose kind of way…Like in real life that is a Defense mechanism for Karen she mentally shut down for a couple minutes to protect herself from the conflict and she does that all the time.  But everyone in the scene sounds AWESOME.  Id prefer Karen over Ivy to be Marilyn because Karen doesnt hold that Cocky nature she is “pure” and bright eyed…the level of confidence is whats pushing Karen to be marilyin in my head…because ideally to be the small town nobody and because a great star …you are faking your confidence to no end and karen does that… Also Ivy’s marilyn singing is too “strong” for my liking.  Rebecca needs to go lol shes just wrecking everything

    • Mitchel Clow

      You bring up good points about the way the show presents Karen in a light to show how she slowly learns from all of her experiences. And yes, Dev and Karen DO need to just break up already, jeeze! haha

    • Kate

       I don’t think the show is critical ENOUGH of Karen.  I think it’s clear she just wants to be famous (case in point, her quote from last week: “[Rebecca] is beautiful and famous and I want her life.”  If Karen has passion and drive, the writers better start SHOWING that. Bc all I’m hearing is the TELLING that Karen is an uber special talent and would make an awesome Marilyn, but I’m not buying it because the character onscreen does not back that up.
      Her leaving work without checking with the stage manager was hilariously idiotic. “Julia has the flu”? So what? You’ve been rehearsing without Julia all week, you moron!
      We can’t just explain away her incredibly stupid behavior by saying she’s a total novice. She’s been in NYC long enough to establish a long-term/living together relationship with Dev. She has an agent, which is not something you can get just by hopping off a bus fresh from Iowa and singing for one. 

      And also, I disagree that Dev has a “your [sic] the housewife attitude” with Karen. In the pilot he told her parents how proud he is of Karen for going after her dreams, and said he thinks she’s a star.

      • Trel

        I was talking about the Hosts of Smash Chat not the writers of Smash

        • Kate

          So was I.

      • Trel

        Also weve seen that Dev approval of her dreams was a lie because he hates what her life has become now… And If Karen is stupid for making mistakes and being Naive then everyone is … People learn in different ways and she’s learning  to be better and handle situations slowly through the show…and Karen having an agent, a boyfriend and being in new york for however long shes been there has nothing to do with her personality, professionalism and street smarts…Why do you have to call her behavior “Stupid” people are so quick to judge everyone else without thinking about the selfish and “stupid” things they’ve done themselves and its all a learning experience 

        • Kate

          I feel perfectly in the right to call a fictional character or her actions stupid WHEN THEY ARE. I do not see her learning from her mistakes anyway. And if she’s been living in NY long enough to have a live-in boyfriend and an agent, she should have more professionalism and street smarts by now. I have no problem with the concept of the Karen character – it’s just that the writers are not executing her well at all, and it is frustrating.

          • Trel

            Once again your opinion. So it is what it is.

      • Gianmarco Segato

        I think part of the problem with Karen’s character is the lack of opportunity we’ve had to see her actually singing any of the “show” numbers…that’s been left mostly to Ivy and now, Rebecca. So, instead, we’ve had her mostly singing auto-tuned (hey, I understand what that means now!) pop songs, and as the subject of Derek’s Marilyn dreams. I agree that we’ve mostly just been *told* (through Derek especially) that she’d be the perfect Marilyn. As far as her story arc goes however, I think they’ve done a good job of showing what it’s like for a young, very talented performer trying to make it on Broadway. The relationship with Dev is problematic I think because Karen is in her own way ambitious, and very focused on her career as she should be. It’s probably a bit early in her life to be making big compromises for a relationship…tough decisions for sure, but I’m pretty sure we’re heading to a point where she’ll have to make up her mind either way. I like how in this episode they showed her getting sucked into Rebecca’s glamorous world…I think a lot of young performers in her position would do the same.

        • Jessica O’Neal

          Excellent points, Gianmarco. The only thing I sort of disagree with the lack of opportunity to see her perform the show numbers. While Ivy has gotten to do way more than Karen, we have seen Karen perform “Let Me Be Your Star” and “The 20th Century Mambo.” Admittedly, “Let Me Be…” was not a dance number and her vocals on it are incredible, but “20th Century” was and, while I thought she did a great job on it, I don’t think that her performance was as good as what we have seen from Ivy. For whatever reason, I prefer Ivy’s voice over Karen’s.

          • Gianmarco Segato

            Thanks for refreshing my memory about Karen’s involvment in those numbers…I’d kind of forgot about that. Part of the reason I think is because we’ve simply been inundated with her “sleepy karaoke” numbers ever since then. It’s as if the show’s creators have decided that this type of thing is the “Karen song” i.e. very slow, dreamy, autotuned (!) etc. I think she sings them all very well, but a bit more variety would be nice. But in general, I’m not a fan of these covers as they mostly (not all…see “bowling song” and “Bollywood number”) seem plopped in with little context. I should qualify that…the ones for Ivy have been better, but that also might be a function of me liking her voice more as well.

          • Jessica O’Neal


            P.S. Thank you for all the insightful comments. :)

      • Jessica O’Neal

        “all I’m hearing is the TELLING that Karen is an uber special talent and would make an awesome Marilyn, but I’m not buying it because the character onscreen does not back that up.” I agree with this wholeheartedly. While I do think that Karen has talent, I do not think she has more talent or is better suited for Marilyn than Ivy. And I couldn’t believe it when she bought that text message without double checking it either. That was crazy!

    • Jessica O’Neal

      Hi Trel! I elaborated on my feelings and opinion of Karen after another comment above (in reply to AndrewRocks28), but there are a few things I will add here. While I do get that Karen is naive and that she is learning a little more every day, I think that she uses that ignorance as an excuse sometimes. I agree that she and Dev need to be done and that he has a breadwinner attitude, which I have tried to bring up on the podcast. I don’t think he necessarily wants her to be a housewife, but that he doesn’t want her to be more successful than he is. As annoying and inappropriate as Rebecca was, there was some truth in what she was telling Karen. I have hope that Karen will continue to grow as a character and that in time I will come to like her more, but I will always think that Ivy has a better voice. ;)

      Thanks for the comment and for listening!

  • Kennedy

    I think you guys were WAY too harsh about the Bollywood number. It was fun and over the top, and adorable. Whenever songs are done on Smash outside of rehearsals it. is. dull. Katherine Mcphee doing sleepy karaoke. Let them do crazy fantasies. Yeah it’s done on Glee all the time but that’s for every single song. Once in a while is good. It’s either this or make new arrangements of the cover songs. I’d prefer these crazy numbers to Karen singing perfectly (yawn) and close-ups of people watching her in awe. Rant over, love the show.

    • Mitchel Clow

      Don’t worry, I loved the Bollywood number, but I didn’t think to mention it while recording! Literally, right after it happened, I turned to my roommate to express my love for Fantasy sequences :3

    • Jessica O’Neal

      I don’t mind the more fun fantasy sequences when I feel that they make sense. If they had done this number in a different context there is a good probability I would have liked it. I love Bollywood dancing and like it when we get to see the characters have fun (like the bowling alley number), but the circumstances surrounding the number did not match the feel of the song. I found it so jarring to go from this intense argument at dinner to this fun, bubbly dance song. And I agree that I would prefer stuff like this on occasion to replace Karen’s “sleepy karaoke” (LOVED that phrase! Perfect description, lol.).

  • Andrewrocks28

    first of all i have 2 say i love the show,however it makes me very sad how much u guys are hating on Karen,who is my faveriot charcter  . i understand its your opnion though.
    but i would like to know what u guys have against her ?

    • Mitchel Clow

      I don’t hate her all that much personally, but I usually can see where my other co-hosts are coming from when they’re talking about how she needs to stop acting so naive and just take an assertive role. Note that I said “sometimes” haha.

      I think she’s had her fair share of strong moments, like choosing to not sleep with Derek at his apartment in the pilot. However, she WAS naive enough to go over to his house at that time of night without expecting him to flirt with her, so there’s that! :p

      • Andrewrocks28

        thanks for clarfiyig  mitch ur now my fave host cuz u support karen !

        but this was more a question for coty and jess cuz i know there the ones who talk negativetly about karen usually

        • Jessica O’Neal

          I would be happy to clarify my opinions on Karen. 

          First, not taking personality, experience, or anything else into account, I think that Ivy is the better singer and performer. This is just a personal preference thing, but I think that Ivy, or I guess I could even just say Megan Hilty, is more talented. That doesn’t mean I think Karen sucks by any means. I just think Ivy is better.

          Now, as for her character, she bores me. I get annoyed with her doe-eyed innocence which she uses as an excuse for the mistakes that she makes. I absolutely think that she is a better person, has better morals than Ivy, but in a fictional show that is meant to entertain me I find that boring. There have been moments over the course of the season where I have really liked her, and those moments have almost always been when she was acting more assertive – when she stood up to Jessica about the cast members treating her poorly, when she refused to have sex with Derek, when she worked Dev’s opponent at the dinner event, etc. But most of the time she is this “perfect Patsy” who lets people walk over her and wears her green-ness as a banner that allows her to do whatever she wants.

          I do not want Karen to change who she is and become like Ivy, but I DO want her to continue to grow her assertiveness and backbone. I want her to own up to her actions and not use her naivete as an excuse. I want her to continue to be kind and take the high road, but stand up for herself.

          I hope that helps you understand where I am coming from a little better and thank you for asking. :)

          • Coty

            Same goes for me, double.

  • Gianmarco Segato

    LOOVed the Bollywood number. Wonderful…don’t find it gratuitous at all. In fact, I’m so impressed about the way they integrated this “trendy” number to include all the storylines and characters. There was a statement made in the context of this extravaganza about everyone…loved the cheeky Tom extracting fumes from his genie lamp; the “perfect family” portrait with Julia (and then to see her dancing!); Ivy being fed grapes by Derek and so on…really quite brilliant. Not to mention Dev singing and dancing which was pretty hot!

    • Mitchel Clow

      Yet another thing I didn’t think to talk about when we were discussing the Bollywood number: the great references to characters. They each made me chuckle =]

    • Jessica O’Neal

      I think the thing that bothered me so much about the Bollywood number was that is felt so inappropriate to the situation and mood that they were in. If they had been in a happier moment and gone into that fun piece I probably would have liked it more. I don’t know, it was like the scene before was priming us for something completely different than what we got. Does that make sense?

      • Gianmarco Segato

        Yes, this does make sense. In fact I wrote my comment after viewing the episode only, not having yet listened to your comments on the podcast. I still feel the number was very well done, but I agree with you that the context was a bit off. The scene in the restaurant made me squirm and feel very uncomfortable for all involved, especially Dev (and yes, Rebecca was being incredibly racist…a little shocking for a supposedly enlightened Hollywodd celeb I would think!). So, I can see how the transition from that particular scene to the Bollywood number could be viewed as not the best.

  • Gianmarco Segato

    OK, so she may have got her moment back in the spotlight by nefarious means but…how amazing was Megan Hilty/Ivy in that last song??? One thing I’ve been thinking about is the very insightful way this show has spoken to the issue of the trend to bring stars from other media (film/tv) to Broadway. Here we have an amazing performer, trained to the hilt in music theatre who has been cast to the sidelines in favour of a big name star who clearly doesn’t have the skills to succeed in a live show. And now the “star” is being shown up by the performer who should be playing Marilyn. I fear the show might be heading towards ditching Rebecca in favour of Karen, but in the end I think it’s pretty clear that Ivy should be playing that role.

    • Mitchel Clow

      Well put, Gian!

    • Jessica O’Neal

      Yes to all of this!

  • Soapstef

    I love Karen and I don’t want to see her go from zero to Ivy in season 1. If that happens it should take time, and many career & personal heart breaks.

    I haven’t seen the Bollywood number yet! The episode is in the DVR until my day of tomorrow. Facebook keeps trying to spoil it for me!

    • Jessica O’Neal

      I agree with you that a switch like that in Karen’s personality should not happen overnight.

  • Hydra

    I have a real love- hate relationship with this podcast. Sometimes the comments seem so a little uninformed about the breadth of human behaviour and experiences and naively judgmental. Karen and Dev do not have a bad relationship: they’re young and are going through major changes in their lives. They will have disagreements and bad patches. On the other hand they’re at the age where their paths will probably diverge.
    The assessment of Julia’s cheating is incredibly moralistic: it’s not true that there have to be problems in a marriage for someone to cheat. Michael and Julia’s affair has to be seen in the context of working together closely in creating a work of art – happens in theatre and on movie sets all the time. Doesn’t make Julia a bad person or Frank a bad husband. Also, someone moving out of the marital home doesn’t neatly end the marriage: in real life separation is often protracted and non-linear. I doubt very much Frank and Julia’s marriage is over. They’ll work it out but have to work through the pain and loss of trust. (unless of course Michael inserts himself back I to their lives).

    Frank is not unsupportive just because he’s angry about Julia taking on a new musical: it’s clear he relegated his career to Julia’s for quite some time and was planning to go back to work. Her starting a new production seemed like a breach of a long standing agreement for managing work and family. I don’t think it was unfair for him to be disappointed about coming yet again second to her career ambitions.

    Rebecca is not stupid just very skilfully manipulative. Derek will have an affair with Rebecca: he is besotted with his work and will probably always fall for his leading ladies. She decided to go for him after he yelled at her in the lobby. She’ll manipulate her way into his bed and he won’t be able to say no. I think the show is brilliant and the drama appropriate to the story. Wish it was a 22 episode drama!!!

    • Gianmarco Segato

      Like this analysis a lot and think it speaks to the complexity of this show. There are no pat answers or judgements to be made about these characters, their motivations, their relationships. The show and its writing is much too smart for that. And, I think you hit the nail on the head with regards to Rebecca. When Derek finally blew up in her face in the elevator, there was a very sly look on her face as if to say “I’ve pushed him to this point, he’s really paying attention to me now”, she certainly wasn’t angered or defensive. Will be very interesting to see how this all ends up!

  • Drew

    I just listned to your podcast ( I know it’s kind of late). And I heard that you disliked a thousand and one nights and I completely loved that scene. I do understand that it was pretty random. But I loved the song and I loved the small snippets of what is going to happen with the other characters. I thought it was FANTASTIC! 

  • Rochelle Korolewski

    I was just wondering if anyone considered that Leo may have ‘run away’ to see if that would work to reunite his parents? If that was a goal of his, I think it definitely helped get them going in the right direction!

    • Megan Stoll

      I never thought of that but I think Leo may be smarter than we give him credit for!

  • KristenKranz

    I just re-watched the two major musical numbers from Publicity. While the bollywood scene was a little crazy, I absolutely love that song. It’s addicting. Oh, & Ivy’s rendition of Secondhand White Baby Grand is so pretty. I love this show… sigh.

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