Review: Smash Season 2, Episode 8

A serviceable episode focuses on the struggling directors, and adds some depth to Tom's character.

After last week’s fugues and feuds, “The Bells and Whistles” is a well-balanced and solid episode mirroring the two musicals “Bombshell” and “Hit List.”

Tom, trying so hard to get rid of Derek’s shadow in “Bombshell,” invites every actor to give suggestions about their parts, which turn out to be overwhelming. Derek, on the other hand, arrogant and self-indulgent, is having disagreements with Jimmy on every decision.
Their dilemmas are built in their personalities: Tom being kind-hearted and supportive, and Derek being pushy and arrogant.

For Derek, the real trouble is that despite being always, right he can be wrong in the creative process of getting to that answer, and he can’t hear other people’s suggestions as the help he might need.

Tom’s problem—asking Sam to quit “Bombshell” and then firing him because his number is redundant—makes his personality stand out. Christian Borle’s Tom is always fun, creative, and musical, and well performed. But we seldom saw Tom fighting for himself or being troubled by personal problems, which let other characters outshine him onscreen. In this episode, it is a treat to see Tom’s incompetence expose his weaknesses.

Apparently, their personalities are complementary. The parallel plots come together when Tom and Derek, who never get along with each other, sit side by side and discuss their business. This is the best enemy-friend moment in “Smash.”

Derek and Jimmy’s relationship isn’t as interesting. It is obvious that “The Bells and Whistles” is trying to create a “bromance” type of chemistry between the two. As Tom points out, Jimmy is the 24-year-old Derek: “arrogant, stubborn and full of huge ideas.”

Having these two jerk geniuses work and fight with each other could have been inspiring and interesting. Yet Jeremy Jordan’s performance is an unbearable monotony of “angry face” coupled with “angry shouting,” and called acting.

Sam’s performance of “Let’s Start Tomorrow Tonight” for Tom’s little party is quite enjoyable. In this song, he plays Nat King Cole, the famous crooner. The moment he sings the first note, the apartment seems to brighten. His voice sounds like Cole’s soft and smooth baritone. His singing is skillful, and he carefully keeps it low and lets it groove with the melody. When he wears a fedora, picks up a cane, and climbs up the piano smiling at Tom, I believe there is no one who would want him to ever leave the show.

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.