Smash “Enter Mr. DiMaggio” Review

Smash had spent so much time on the casting for the role of Marilyn that I had expected a similar experience for the casting of the big romantic lead in “Enter Mr. DiMaggio.” Unfortunately, there was very little in the way of casting for the role of Joe DiMaggio and instead we got a lot of largely forgettable fluff.

We got more of the Jerry and Eileen divorce drama. After the first two episodes, it was already clear that Eileen was determined to get this project running on her own and that she would face challenges because of her divorce. No significant details were added to this story tonight, although I did enjoy the running bit of Eileen tossing her drink into Jerry’s face.

We also dipped a little toe into the drama around Derek and Ivy’s relationship. Ivy expressed doubts about the nature of their relationship but Derek seemed to be legitimately interested in her. There wasn’t much new material here either, except for the fact that now Tom and Julia know about the not-so-secret secret.

Ellis came to a realization that maybe he was being taken advantage of by Julia and Tom. He stole Julia’s notebook, but we don’t know how he benefited from that yet. He did stand up for himself this time when Julia went off on her usual tirade of insults. I appreciated Ellis’ new politely aggressive attitude towards her. I don’t get why Julia hates him so much. Ellis also happened to eavesdrop on Julia’s confession about an affair she had with the new DiMaggio lead, Michael Swift. What good that will do him has yet to be revealed.

Probably the most useless story line was following Karen back to Iowa where she attended a friend’s baby shower… at a karaoke bar. I have been invited to countless baby showers in the last few years, but never have I been invited to a baby shower at a bar where everyone but the pregnant mom-to-be could drink, smoke, and party. I realize they just needed a location where Karen could sing in public and remind us of how talented this girl from small town America was, but this entire story line just seemed so contrived. I was annoyed every time we came back to it.

Although the stories were weak, the musical numbers were pretty good tonight. Michael Swift’s Bruno Mars show number was strange, but I really enjoyed the Mr & Mrs. Smith number that he and Ivy sang together at the end. I even enjoyed Karen’s karaoke number, but I was hoping that among her friends she would relax and put on a bigger performance. She sounds great, but as Derek critiqued in an earlier episode, she kind of just stands there and does nothing. I’m waiting for that Sister Act moment where, like Sister Mary Robert, Karen suddenly comes out of her shell and shines like a star in all aspects of her performance.

Truth be told, it might be possible for someone to skip this episode of Smash entirely and not miss much going into episode four. I’m not saying that “Enter Mr. DiMaggio” was a particularly bad episode of Smash but there just wasn’t a whole lot of substance to the stories we got. There were moments I enjoyed (particularly the British sparring between Derek and Dev at the very start of the episode) but it wasn’t enough to make it memorable. I really enjoyed the first two episodes of Smash, so I won’t hold this one against them. I’m looking forward to what will hopefully be a much more exciting set of developments next week.