Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Were You Team Karen or Team Ivy on Smash?

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The season finale of the NBC show Smash aired last night, and we finally know who got the leading role. I was kind of disappointed to be honest cos I had been rooting for Ivy to get it throughout most of the season's episodes. By the way, Smash is a portrayal of what it takes to put together a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe and get it to Broadway


I liked the show, not just because it was a musical, and followed it semi-religiously every Monday for the past few months. It was well written, and the staged music was just fantastic. They had some pretty interesting characters and some storylines that kept me watching.

The competition between the two would-be leading ladies geared up very from the very first episode when we were introduced to two talented singers vying for the spotlight and the chance to play Marilyn. As the season progressed, we got to know them better, with the two of them striking up an uneasy alliance along the line. The rivalry ratcheted up last week when the character of Uma Thurman, star Rachel Duvall, bowed out of the production of Bombshell among other stuff happening.

So who are the two women battling it out in the ring?

There's Karen, or saint K as Atala called her last night, he's on her side of course. Karen (in gold) is a small town girl, typical girl next door and she can do no wrong it seems. Karen is beautiful - prettier and younger than Ivy - and she has a cute boyfriend too. Being the good girl, she turned down the advances of the director of the upcoming Marilyn show.

While I am a champion of someone standing by their convictions, and especially women when it comes to opportunist men who abuse their positions of power, the character of Karen seems somehow one-dimensional, and she does not convince me that she really wants that role. To be clear, she has a great voice, and can perform quite well. Maybe the confusion that comes through is cos she is also split between her love for her BF and the desire to be a Broadway star.

And then there's Ivy (in red) - Some may say Karen is the underdog in this show because she's inexperienced and new to town but to me Ivy is the underdog and that is why I like her. I also like that you can't confuse her for a saint, her character is so much more nuanced. She is insecure and tries to cover it up by being very snarky. Her mother was a Broadway star and Ivy has been working her ass off for years singing chorus and trying to match up with her mother's success. You can call her jaded, and you won't be far off.

I was rooting for Ivy because not only did I think she deserved a break, I also believed she was the more talented singer. She has an amazing voice with a powerful range, and listening to some of her songs gave me goosebumps. Also, Ivy is so passionate about Marilyn and about the show, she actually gave pointers to the director - who she entered a relationship with after a couch casting call - on making it all work better.

Well, Karen got the role in the end, and we're left to wonder the fate of Ivy. All I can say is that I may stop watching Smash next season depending on what happens to Ivy.

PS - The byline below is for those who copy my posts verbatim. Thanks for the love.

Myne Whitman - bestselling author, award-winning blogger, magazine columnist, and founder of Naijastories.com.


  1. I never watched the show. Sorry :(

    Anyways you were tagged. look for details at my blog. Hope you are good. Been a while.

    1. Thanks BSNC, yes it has been a while. Glad you're back.

  2. Initially, I was rooting for Ivy cos she lived Marilyn, she breathed her. She was the picture of someone who wanted something really bad and worked her ass for it. And that voice....she got a kind of presence whenever she performed her. She was passionate about Marilyn. On the other hand, Karen though good also, didn't want it as bad as Ivy. Even Karen said Ivy would be better for the role. But I started rooting for Karen when she found out about her fiance and Ivy. Ivy took something very dear to Karen so getting and playing the Marilyn role just made them even.

    I agree with you that Ivy was actually the underdog, unlike Karen who got support from her family *albeit, reluctantly* and her BF, Ivy really didn't have any support from those she would have liked * like her mom* and her director BF who should have given her the role, was rooting for her rival.

    That is life though, sometimes you work hard for something but you don't get it cos the person who has the say, says they don't see you in the vision in their mind's eye.

    I cant wait to see the season 2. I hope Ivy didnt kill herself sha.

    1. I apologize for the long post

    2. Don't apologize at all, I enjoyed reading your post. And true, Atala called what she did, throwing a grenade to destabilize Karen, and he doesn't like that part of her :)

  3. I rooted for Karen. I don't think she didn't want the role badly. In fact I think she wanted it badly but cos of her personality she didn't' want to be all in Ivy's face. Lol, When you've met people with her kind of personality you'll understand sha. Anyway, I didn't follow it all through but I'm glad she got the role in the end. Ivy was good too (in fact very good) but there was just something about her I didn't really fancy. I think it was the fact that sometimes it felt like she was intimidated by Karen and she sort of had friends in the group and high places. Anyway that's my own take. Team Karen!!!! ;-)

    1. Yeah, you have a partner here beside me. It's true sha, the show really made it hard in a way to be for either because Ivy did have some help along the line in the form of the director and the writers of the show :)

  4. I got to watch Smash while i was making a friend's hair. We watched it after watching the last season of Glee. So I'd say in terms of music, I liked Glee more but the story line of Smash was definitely more mature(I am so over high school shenanigans).
    Having said that I was team Karen all the way. True Ivy was Marilyn..or lets say she had the cajones for the role but i didnt love her - mummy issues and director notwithstanding..but like you said I appreciated her more nuanced role.
    Now Karen was the girl next door who you cant help but love. I think she really wanted the role but her character is self-effacing so she finds it easier to appreciate other talents -including Ivy's than herself. In the real world, self effacing Karens dont go as far as bitchy Ivys, but thankfully it isn't reality, so she gets her break Yay!!!!!


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