Wednesday, February 27, 2013

All About Ronnie (Television Review: "The Song," SMASH S02 E04)


And so, the weekly Smash, and I am getting misty-eyed. And scared. SMASH is hurting in the ratings, and I am very very concerned that we may not see the rest of the season should they cancel it prematurely. As much as I criticize this show, I really honestly love the fact that there is a show in network television that deals with Broadway, and has Broadway songs. I don't think it's as bad as people say it is, and every week there is always a moment for me. And obviously, it's still appointment television for me. I have even started to not delete episodes on my DVR just in case I get wistful later on and want to re-watch the musical numbers.

Last night's episode was All About Ronnie (I do love that Chris Connor song)  The "Bombshell" storyline is sidetracked for Veronica Moore's one woman, one night only show, directed by Derek, of course, and musical directed by Tom. Pray, tell, why would Tom accept this project if he despises Derek? "I am doing this for Ronnie," he explains. Did anyoen else realize that they were close? No, I didn't think so. But there they are, setting "I've Got Love," that great Melba Moore number from "Purlie" and setting it Fosse style so it could be a sexy number for Veronica. I don't like this sexed-up arrangement, and wish Hudson would just sing it "straight." And while we are talking abotu Jen Hudson, as much as I do like her, I can't help but say that at times she does oversing. Can we at least for one time, have her sing songs as written, melodically? This song would have been the perfect opportunity. 

There's Deb Messing still struggling to find the tone of the "Bombshell" book with the dramaturg. There's a scene where Peter has his pretentious drama students critique the play, and blah blah yawn. over wine, Julia has a realization and blah blah we are supposed to care about the sexual chemistry between her and Peter. Yawn. And Eileen has to give a deposition regarding the "Bombshell" financing, and blah blah yawn yawn we get a big reveal at the end that Ellis (remember him? Of course you do) is behind all the shenanigans. Lazy writing, sure let's blame it all on Ellis if we can't think of any other way to wrap up story lines. 

But back to Ronnie. She needs to show that she has range and she has grown, against the wishes of her Mama Rose mom, stiffly played by Sheryl Lee Ralph in a stiff wig. Now ponder for a moment that SRR was the original Deena in the original production of Dreamgirls and Hudson of course is the most recent Effie. (I kind of wished they had gotten Jennifer Holliday instead. Wasted Opportunity!)  Anyway, I digress. Karen, now a saviour of all saviours, enlists Jimmy and Kyle to bring songs for Vernoica to sing. Tom pooh poohs them all - nice but not for Ronnie - so she calls both boys to write a song for Ronnie pronto , on the spot. Hey, they argue, Sondheim wrote "Send In The Clowns" in a day. If only they knew The Master hates that song. Jimmy gets to write one, but Derek refuses to even listen to it, because he has chosen Broadway standards like "If I Loved You " and "Ease On Down The Road." (Yes, yes, yes, please!)  Jimmy gets mad, so just like the rest of the entitled bunch of his generation, he decides to get high ("Some weed, some cook," he asks for earlier) and seriously, Jimmy is becoming the Ellis of this season: annoying without any redeeming value. It's just good that Jordan has charm to spare. Cut to: yes Jennifer has a realization, while singing Billy Joel's "Everybody Loves You Now,"  and goes back to the slutty repertoire, and ending with the ultra sexy (I roll my eyes) "I Can't Let Go" which, thankfully, sounds more Marc Shaiman than Jonathan Larsen. 

And so that's it. I like the episode, even though it was all abotu Jen Hudson, who I suspect will disappear after this episode. I kind of wonder what the point of her guest starring role in all this, but hey she sang well even though she had shifty eyes while acting. Now can we go back to "Bombshell"? 

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