I. Allow me to repackage my earlier statement: I'm sorry, what is the point of [Community] without [Dan Harmon] at the helm? Ugh, this is depressing. People have been ragging on his Tumblr post for being whiny/narcissistic/self-pitying, but I find it refreshing to have a real answer like that and not a polished press release. Mostly because I like having our collective outrage and indignation validated. If it was going to happen, it feels better having a Big Bad Network to blame rather than believe a showrunner so enmeshed in the show would leave voluntarily. It's still the most depressing news from upfronts yet.
II. I've never seen "Revenge." It looks unspeakably boring, no matter how gorgeous Emily VanCamp is and how much I have always longed to watch something she is in. But then TV Line mentioned something about a
beloved pet dog dying.
And because I obviously wanted to TAKE A SLEDGEHAMMER TO THE HEART, I decided to go watch the clip. Or rather, a handy 8-minute clip compilation including the context setup and the aftermath.
I am now an emotional WRECK. Oh my god, Sammy's limp little paw lift just like Kym when he flops over on his side on the porch...and him just lying there quietly inside while the guy whose childhood pet I presume this is cries all over him and pets his head and tells him what a good friend he was...I had to stop three times because I was crying too hard to take one more word.
And then it turned into sketchy kissing over the dog's (thankfully covered) dead body. -.- Oh my God, show, what is wrong with you. Like, okay, heartbreak over animals is super attractive and all, but right this very second does not feel like the most appropriate moment.
And now I have to go lie on the floor and pet Kym and bawl because it's starting to feel like she's going to live forever, too, and I have already set the expiration clock on the piece of my heart that is going to go with her when she doesn't. [what actually happened: despite having already been walked today, Kym bounced around like a super youthful loon when I came downstairs, so she got a second walk first. Then we lay down in the grass for half an hour and she let me pet her calmly. It was a perfect summer day.]
...I am now watching this clip for the third time. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. Tear trigger, always.
III. Finished up Smash, by which I mean I watched the last two episodes over again after originally watching them the nights they aired, because I have come to love the series that much. Shut it, internet. Why do you have always have to be wrong?
I think what I really love about this show is how it takes me out of my world and sucks me into the fantasy. I feel like I've really gone to Boston, like I'm running around a classy-looking old theater, trying on costumes for the first time, enjoying everything from the spotlight moments (with accompanying technical difficulties) to chatting in theater seats during downtime. I've never been part of an actual stage production, but this is the first time I've seen how people really get caught up in the world. This may be more the result of reading Dramarama and A Little Bit Wicked recently for additional insider background, but shhh.
I loved the format at the beginning of this episode. A lot of the musical's songs have failed to really affect me as they've rolled out, but seeing/hearing snippets of them all in order, I realized how fond I've secretly grown of them as I hear them over and over. Let Me Be Your Star (although I really only like the beginning), 20th Century Fox Mambo, Mr. & Mrs. Smith...I really would love to see this musical happen in real life, because it seems like a terrific show, even though I have no real interest in Marilyn Monroe/was unaware she was still considered captivating or popular.
I am blatantly and soundly offended by Derek's lying assertion that he needed to sleep with Rebecca as a form of routine stage management -- ewwwwwwww -- so thank goodness she's gone by the end, hopefully never to be seen again. Meanwhile, Eileen and Derek's interaction is quickly becoming my favorite thing. "So, you didn't think you had enough on your hands. Ivy, Julia, Michael Swift, first preview tonight..." + her pleasant "If this blows up in any way, Derek, I'll strangle you."
Some of the last scenes with Karen and Ivy being friends; treasure them. During my ill-advised forays into general internet reaction to this show, I have discovered an insane amount of vitriol and dislike aimed Karen's way, and I just don't understand how one can dislike the sweet, earnest face aimed Ivy's way while continually asking if she's okay. Feel free to keep hating on her and Dev's storyline, though. That is desperately boring. Can we get an award for Most Ill Advised Proposal Ever?
Subplot highlight of the hour: Tom and Julia's fight, culminating in epic blowout where I understand Julia's point of view, but everything Tom says is right and he uses tears for maximum effect to break your heart while desperately defending this fact. I believe I need a transcript for posterity:
Tom: Hiring him was the right thing to do, Julia. You cannot blame me for this. We needed an actor, fast.
Julia: Not this one. I'm sorry, but not this one. You put the show so far ahead of me and my family I may not be able to save it.
Tom: You did that. I tried to tell you so many times not to risk your amazing family for - what?
Julia: I made a mistake. I made a terrible mistake but I am trying to fix it and you --
Tom: You cannot blame me.
Julia: I am blaming you.
Tom: I stood by you. I didn't condemn you and I didn't cut you off because I love you. I tried to be there for you through all of it, but I couldn't support you in this. I couldn't. And that is not my fault.
I am glad it ended in simultaneous apologies, because they are the only unbreakable partnership on this show, but I just skipped the entire secondhand embarrassment segment that was the churchgoing. Too weird.
1x15: Bombshell (whatever. I will always think of the play's title as "Marilyn The Musical")
Aaaaand new favorite.
The one thing all the complainers do get a point for is that, all right, even I have to admit that Ivy is a better Marilyn. I know this is McPhee's star vehicle and the whole narrative is based on Karen's rise to the top, but there is literally nothing about her performance that outshines Ivy's. Not voice, not body type, certainly not hair (it is just such an obvious wig when she puts it on), and definitely not in "certain undefinable spark" caused by, as at least one person put it, "Derek's brain tumor."
What's different for me is that it doesn't ruin the show. (it ruins the soundtrack a little, when she turns up where I expect Megan Hilty to be -- LET ME BE YOUR STAR, COUGH -- but I digress) I don't know how things will progress in season 2 now that everything has the potential to be flipped around, especially since I'm pretty sure nobody seriously thought they were getting a season 2, but for now? I am okay with ending it featuring Karen in the spotlight. At least partly because I find it adorable how she gets all this encouraging enthusiasm from Tom and Julia, only to have them make panicked faces behind her back. Memo to season 2: the first thing I need is more of what we saw in the very beginning of the series, when Karen caught Julia's eye and it seemed like there was genuine mentor potential. I want Julia to focus more on her and less on DiMaggio, please.
I had a lot of fun watching them run through more numbers, getting little bits and pieces here and there.
Greatly enjoyed Tom and Julia's last-minute scramble to finish the song. How many times have I mentioned that I love watching them work? Answer, not enough. And can we add a small round of applause for him comforting her over Michael The Stalker again.
Speaking of comfort, you can actually watch my heart run like melted butter at Tom and his big watery eyes huddled morosely in the staircase. Until Sam shows up. I LOVE the setup, but the problem is that Sam is SO obnoxiously straight-ish that it makes me uncomfortable to have him around Teary Tom (TM), because he is clearly useless at comforting another guy unless it is for some legitimately big-ticket item like being fired from the show or a death in the family. First time I have had to kick them out and replace them with Kurt and Blaine. (I've been trying to resist doing that, because I like Tom, but...no. These two do not have the same level of partnership here and never will. AU playwright/actor it is.
I am undecided on how much I hate the Dev/Ivy affair, in that it seems like there were easier ways to break up this chemistry-free couple, but I love the way Ivy handled it. I suppose she did it in a fit of mean-spirited ambition to throw Karen off -- and in the moment she took the box out of her purse in the midst of her world crumbling down, I could hardly blame her -- but I like to believe the biggest motivation was disgust with Dev and thinking Karen deserved better than to spend forever with a lying cheat. (see needing to believe in their friendship, always)
One of the best parts: Derek finding runaway Karen, because there was so much potential for this to be icky and/or traumatizing for my eyeballs, and instead it was everything I ever wanted from them. Him being kind and indulgent - not too indulgent, with the focus still on disregarding your specific personal problems and moving on - but with no harshness behind the words. And without a trace of that distinctly lecherous vibe he started the series with. That's the important part. I want him to treat her like the young woman she is, with emphasis on the "young" that makes her as simultaneously important and off limits as a student with a teacher.
...wait, I have a poor track record with that. OK, like a normal student/teacher relationship as opposed to the things I am always trying to do.
The last song was definitely worth the wait, because it brought me to instant tears the first time I heard it. Had the exact same effect on me the second time. It should come with a warning for abandonment/rejection triggers. It builds to something grand and beautiful and wonderful, but the beginning's heartbreak is unparalleled by anything except Secondhand White Baby Grand*.
*I don't know if I mentioned that one in the episode review, but it was Instant Song Love, and the way Ivy sang it was pure emotional devastation.
Finally, it broke my heart in all the best ways to see, slipped into the montage of that grand and triumphant song for one girl, an Ivy with everything taken from her and nothing left to lose contemplating going out in true Marilyn style. Great close. Bravo.
-Ellis being fired is the single greatest moment I have seen on this series yet. CRUSH HIM LIKE THE COCKROACH HE IS.
-So happy to see Ivy's mom back. So beautiful, so stubbornly resistant to admitting reality.
-Also Lyle and his painting-returning, awww.
Wishlist for season 2:
-get rid of Ellis forever
-pleeeeeease don't make Julia pregnant with the spawn of Satan. Don't use my cleverness as a loophole, I literally mean do not make her pregnant.
-I really kind of hope they follow through on Ivy's suicide attempt. I'd love to see the immediate aftermath of someone finding her on the dressing room floor. I feel like this is not a feasible option, especially if we ever want her to be seriously considered to play the lead again, and yet...
[Edit of the Future: well, 2/3 ain't bad.]