Will Hart/NBC
Hillary Busis
March 06, 2013 AT 07:18 AM EST

Correction: Make that three musicals, since “The Read-Through” also offers a glimpse at yet another show in the Smash universe: Liaisons, the revival that just might finally make Ivy a star. But before she gets her big break, Ivy must deal with Terry Falls (Sean Hayes, perfectly cast) — a so-called “big movie star” whose signature style of broad comedy is a horrible fit for his show’s serious material. In other words, he’s Rebecca Duvall with a Y chromosome and a penchant for fart jokes. If only Terry were allergic to peanuts!

Instead of resorting to poison, Ivy gently tells her costar he’s doing it wrong — then simply shows the guy how good acting is done. In response, Terry decides that the only way he can give a truly emotional performance is to go off his various meds; insert Prednisone joke here. Hoo boy. While this is an extremely goofy plot, it’s nice to see Megan Hilty widening her eyes in comedic horror rather than pouting and sulking like Jan Brady. Here’s hoping this whole thread leads to something good happening for Ivy, and that it somehow gets more cleanly integrated into Smash as a whole — because as of now, the Ivy/Liasons scenes seem almost like they’re dropping in from another TV series altogether.

More importantly: Smash went through the trouble of casting Jack MacFarland, then neglected to put him in a single scene opposite Grace Adler. Anastasia Beaverhausen would certainly not approve. Perhaps the Will and Grace stars will find some excuse to be in a room together a few episodes down the line. In the meantime, Bombshell‘s writer is busy glowing from her… stimulating marathon work session with Peter, the bold Petruchio who has managed to tame Julia’s shrieking Theresa Katherina. After their extended bonding session, Julia and the once-dreaded dramaturg are so close that they’re finishing each other’s sandwiches.

This just doesn’t sit right with Tom, who prefers Julia to be a shrill mess because of… reasons. The composer’s intuitions seem confirmed when an old friend — Other Desert Cities scribe Jon Robin Baitz, whom Tom used to date (!) — lets slip to Julia that Peter, like, totally screwed up his friend Leslie’s play. And here Smash loses a major opportunity to stage an elaborate re-imagining of Bye Bye Birdie‘s “Telephone Hour,” rewritten so that each character is telling a different story about Peter Gilman’s treachery. (Psst, Josh Safran: Call me!)

NEXT: Write Fight Man Woman

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