Smash‘s imminent move to Saturday nights will be bittersweet. On one hand, the timeslot shift is basically NBC’s way of pointing out that it and the show are experiencing “creative differences.” But on the other hand, this also means that we’ll be treated to two episodes of Smashy goodness this week — one featuring Bernadette Peters, the other featuring Liza Minnelli. The third member of this Perfect Diva Trifecta, Patti LuPone, also gets a shout-out in tonight’s installment; unfortunately, she fails to appear in the flesh because her name isn’t invoked thrice.
Bernadette, of course, is once again playing Leigh Conroy, Ivy’s retired Broadway diva of a mother. (Did Leigh simply keep her maiden name, or does Ivy go by her first and middle names because she doesn’t want people to know she and Leigh are related? Smash can’t get canceled — too many important questions will be left unanswered!) The blond feels like she’s stuck in her mother’s shadow, a fate that could have been avoided had she gone into computer programming or basket weaving or literally any other profession. And though Leigh does seem a little nicer than she was in season 1’s “The Workshop,” she still can’t resist reminding her daughter that she had already won a Tony before she got to Ivy’s advanced age.
Despite this friction, Mama Rose and Louise will have to find some way to get along — because Tom and Eileen have gone ahead and cast Leigh as Marilyn’s own difficult mother, Gladys. When Ivy hears the news — helpfully punctuated by the arrival of Leigh herself — she’s too shocked to do anything besides let out a reluctant “yay” and pretend to be okay with it. Come on, girl, can’t you smell the headlines? Imagine if Liza and Judy Garland had co-starred on Broadway together! This has juicy human interest story written all over it.
Karen, meanwhile, is coping with parental issues of her own. First, her father — in town for a conference about corn or something — surprises her at her apartment, arriving just in time to spot a leather-clad figure climbing onto her fire escape (not a euphemism). Then Mr. Cartwright accompanies his daughter to Hit List rehearsal, clapping adorably after she performs “Broadway, Here I Come” and eying Derek suspiciously when he notices the director’s Fonzie jacket. Karen’s dad doesn’t realize that he should actually be aiming his ire at Hot Young Mr. Yuk Jimmy, who’s got bigger things to worry about than a midwesterner’s genial disapproval.
NEXT: Nooo… wire…. hangers… EVVAAHHH!