And we start with a song. This time, a soulful “Call Me” by Blondie sung by our girl Karen at a club. And of course she has a fan club in attendance. Writers, producers, director, and Ellis the Intern naturally. Oh wait. It was all just a dream. Again. Karen’s stressed because she hasn’t heard about Marilyn. Drat. Why hasn’t she head? Well, because there’s still a debate between Karen and Ivy. Team Ivy, lead by Tom, is being outnumbered by Team Karen, lead by, the others. That is until Derek flip flops clearly since Karen rejected him.
Ivy chats with her besties, including the amazing Savannah Wise, about her miserable callback woes and her competition with Karen. Ten years in the chorus and then “Karen” comes around. “Karen” is now a derogatory word for these vets. Waiting is the hardest part, you know in callback world, and also when adopting a baby. We learn that the Chinese baby Julia and hubby want will take about two years to come. With all the babies in China, you’d think it wouldn’t be so tedious! Then we cut to Karen’s dance callback. Derek informs the troupe that they will be dancing to a demo sung by composer Tom (yay! We get to hear Christian Borle sing!). A little chorus boy does a couple of moves, Karen is suddenly overwhelmed, and then…our title screen (with a soundtrack of an orchestra warming up.) Alright, so that’s the set up of the episode. No new information. Will the rest of the episode be dragged out?
Of course not! We learn that Ivy’s boytoy Dennis is spying on little Miss Karen. But before we get to see more of him, we then jump to the Marilyn brainstorming process. Julia throws in a little quip about why she’s depressed on the couch because it took a shorter time to write West Side Story than to adopt a baby. Julia and Tom via a corkboard decide to order their songs when Julia figures out that perhaps the musical should be nonlinear, beginning the musical with “Let Me Be Your Star” instead before the act break. Thus, we enter fantasy world with Karen center stage with the girls, including Ivy, behind her singing a stripped down version of the song. We go back to reality when the adorkable Ellis asks, “but who plays Marilyn?” Julia responds the answer we all knew was coming, “We don’t know yet.” Duh! And thus Julia still hates on Ellis. Back at callback headquarters, Karen still can’t dance like a star. Derek gets frustrated, walks out to see little Miss Ivy standing outside with a copy of a Marilyn book. And since he’s a slut, he flirts, she obliges, and the Karen dance work ends. Ivy walks into the room and her spy shakes his head making sure that he thinks Karen sucks. Are we setting up Ivy to be a villain? The quintessential theater bitch? Sure looks like it! But how could we hate someone who tries the Marilyn pout in the mirror?
Eileen reappears in the episode at the same restaurant, Bond 45 apparently, as her exhusband. She embarrasses him in front of his current bimbo blonde. Eileen, at lunch with Derek discuss the Marilyn ladies until, the Insider Moment of the show, Jordan Roth’s cameo steals the moment. Wait, what? JoRo? This allows for Eileen to get pissed at her ex for interrupting her, thusly throwing a drink in his face. So old school! Eileen and Derek discuss the workshop process until Eileen drops the bombshell: don’t overwork it! One workshop, one out of town try out, then BAM! Broadway! If only it worked that way. If only.
Frank Houston is the next to drop the bombshell: Honey, I’m going back to work. I miss the kids. So Frank’s a “good” science teacher who doesn’t want his own kid, but he’ll take the ones he can adopt for a year. Well someone can’t make up his mind. Trouble is brewing for the Houston’s! The question is who will get bratty Leo during their divorce.
Oh, yes, right. Dev did have some scenes. He’s just so bland, I decided to leave him out. He has a big fancy dinner or something. His lady is late because she has her acting callback work with Derek. She begins being out-acted by Dave the reader until McSleazy (oooo Derek’s new nickname?!) gives her an adjustment. And then we have the cliché moment where we see Dev alone at the fancy restaurant and then gets mad at girlfriend for following her dream. Wait…last episode you told her to do what it takes! Dev and Frank are bad lovers. Bad, bad lovers who can’t make up their mind.
Ivy now gets her alone time with McSleazy. Will he take advantage of the situation? You betcha! She uses the subtext to entice McSleazy who literally lets down Ivy’s hair and gets all up in her grill. What happens next? Duh! Ivy and McSleazy do it! Right before the day of the callback no less. Karen’s audition is first. They do a little number about Norma Jean (aka Marilyn before the name change) doing her screen-test, “The 20th Century Foxtrot” as it’s called. It’s a flashy number with props and set pieces galore. And then we enter fantasy moment. The studio is engulfed with lights and costumes, sans Karen. That is until she disappears into the ensemble circle of magic and has an incredibly quick costume and wig change. Oh the magic of theater, or television. But was it enough for Karen?
The deliberation room. McSleazy continues to call Karen “green.” Tom claims Ivy’s audition was great, but we don’t get to see it. Boo! But the decision seems to have been made? How do we know? Because Ellis talks about it and Karen talks about it and Ivy talks about it. When will we find out? The very next moment! Tom goes to see Ivy in person to tell Ivy that she…got it! Wait. I thought we were supposed to have like an entire season of battle! But what happens to Green Karen?
McSleazy and Eileen have a moment where he tells her that he told Mr. Ex to shove it on My Fair Lady, with an underscoring of “Let Me Be Your Star” of course. Then our second Insider Moment, has Tom Kitt at a club announcing that his friend Ivy Lynn winning the role of Marilyn. But before we can see her sing, we need to see Julia at Adapotive Parents Anonymous, where bi-poloar Frank joins late. Ivy sings a song (with Tom Kitt on piano) that is no where near as triumphant or wonderful as “Let Me Be Your Star” as we the reactions of all the “what just happened” moments of the episode.
We didn’t really learn anything too “new” except for Ivy winning the role of Marilyn, but honestly, are we shocked? So how does Karen play into the workshop process? Is she a chorus girl? An understudy? And will we see more of Dennis the boytoy spy? Something tells me Tom and Dennis will be acquainted at some point, if they haven’t already. And when will Dev get the axe!? And who's glad "Marilyn the Musical" was not mentioned once! With no promo for the next episode, what happens next?