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Smash: Glee + A Chorus Line - McPheever ÷ Spielberg = ?


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#2911

DashDixon

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 8:30 AM

She just wasn't going to measure up to Mary J's version. But YMMV.

Heh, I don't think either holds up to the original.
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#2912

Streya

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 9:43 AM

Yeah, Rose Royce did the original, from the Car Wash soundtrack in 1978. Yeah, I'm old.

Megan's not a soul singer per se either, but she captured the emotion of the song, IMO.
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#2913

RacheltheGreat

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 9:53 AM

Katharine McPhee sounded just like she always does in that gospel number. Pretty enough but it was NOT gospel. It didn't even blend well with the choir. I wonder if Ivy is even there. They showed Julia and her family, Dev and some of the chorus but no Ivy. I'm curious how we get to Karen singing for Sam of all people's (considering he's Ivy's bestie) church.


She's in the pics of them outside the church that were released a while back.
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#2914

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 10:03 AM

Heh, I don't think either holds up to the original.


I'm gonna be blasphemous and say I prefer the Mary J version to the original. There's something a little more desperate with that one that's interesting for me to listen to, almost like any second she's gonna snap, lol.
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#2915

Kosmonaut

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 10:08 AM

Yeah, Mary J. Blige's version pretty much changed my life. Put me down for underwhelmed by Hilty's, even if she obviously has a great voice. It just didn't do it for me.
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#2916

Zuleikha

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 11:07 AM

That's exactly how I felt with Hilty singing I'm Goin Down. Absolutely no soul whatsoever singing that song. It's something both these girls need to work on


I love Hilty's version, but I haven't heard the others. However, something I think is an objective fact is that Hilty adjusted her singing technique appropriately for that song. I'm not vocally trained, so I don't have the terminology for it (which is also why I think it's an objective fact, but I'm not sure), but watching the way her mouth and throat moved, it looked as well as sounded like she was doing different things to produce the sounds. In fact, the way she sings Broadway, the way she sang the kind folk-rock dreamers song and Breakaway, the way she did the Rihanna number with McPhee, and the way she did this were all very different. I think she excels the most at Broadway, but I think she's done well at all the other genres, too.

For all my dislike of McPhee's acting, I do not dislike McPhee's singing at all. I think McPhee's voice is beautiful, and I do enjoy most of her songs (although for the pop, I enjoy them more if I listen rather than watch). But I don't think McPhee's demonstrated the versatility that Hilty has. I think McPhee sings everything for this show as though it's the same genre, and I think that gets to a difference in Hilty and McPhee in general. Hilty always seems to be inhabiting her lines, emotions, and movements whereas McPhee is stuck on the top layer. IMHO Hilty interprets her songs whereas McPhee just sings them (beautifully and skillfully, but just presenting what's there).

I actually wonder if that's why McPhee is fine--even skillful--when she's dancing choreography but cringing to watch when she's moving free form. She seems to lack the ability to do deep interpretation on her own.
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#2917

atr

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 11:16 AM

A couple more previews have cropped up (which weren't listed on the NBC page)

These are a little more spoilery, (Ivy/Karen/Rebecca/Derek and Michael/Julia)
http://www.tvseriesa...k-per-previews/
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#2918

auralgami

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 11:39 AM

On the whole, I kind of liked this episode, but the soapy stuff is getting bad-to-the-point-of-camp while asking us to take it seriously. It doesn't work.

Best thing was, once again, Ivy. "I'm Goin' Down" Wow. I was breathless. So good, so perfect for her character, so well staged in its simplicity. I think it had plenty of soul and Hilty brought lots of different things to her voice. It doesn't have to be better than Mary J or the original for me to enjoy it immensely.

Also good was Rebecca and her interactions with Derek, up to but not including the very last. It was believable, which is a credit to both Thurman and Davenport. I almost wish Thurman was a permanent cast member because she's turned what could have been a joke into the most believable portrayal of someone working in the theatre on the show. She's also the only character that hasn't been collapsed down into one dimension, but hey, there's two weeks left.

Faring less well are the other relationships.

Oddly enough, Julia and her family was working for me, until the last scene. Her conflict felt real and it made something worthwhile out of the hash that was her affair. Then Shrek and Leo had to ruin it all with their pompoms and road trip. They should not be so easily on the side that brings her closer to Michael and Leo should just not say anything, ever. You know, Debra Messing could have lots of emotionally packed scenes if, say, a stage light were to tragically fall on Leo and kill him. Just sayin'.

Tom and Sam dodged some trains to Obviousville but hopped right on others. I can't for a second believe that Tom would diss a dancer like that in his own home. That said, the good and charming moments far outweighed the artless.

Ellis is apparently quite misguided. If you want to succeed as a producer, find a bartender who will give you money and career advice. I would hate this completely, but Eileen's relationship chemistry is cute and while I despise the plot points, I like the delivery.

I don't get Derek at all. If he's off his meds, we need to be shown that. If he's in love with the idea of Marilyn, and therefore, whoever is at the moment closest to her, we need to be shown that. If he's in panic mode over his "I Love You" to Ivy, if he's screwing Rebecca just so the show will succeed, if it's some convoluted fakeout that went too far, we need to be shown that. We need to be shown something because otherwise it makes no sense. There was no bridge from "I Love You" to I'm Banging Rebecca and there really needed to be.

Same with Dev. I get the guilt proposal, but as of last episode, he and Karen weren't even speaking and Karen was leaving him at home in favor of Rebecca. Telling the woman you want to marry that you almost just had an affair with
the woman she's most jealous of is incomprehensible. Dev is behaving like a complete tool, and sleeping with Ivy? I don't get it.

Once again, the destinations have trumped the journeys. We've all seen the signs of Derek/Rebecca getting together and Karen/Dev breaking apart, but it's how they get there that's the important part. Otherwise it's a bunch of disconnected and incomprehensible plot points that go nowhere. There's no payoff. There's no emotion, either, because how am I supposed to feel anything for people who are so completely unreal and completely change directions from one episode to the next?

The sad thing is that I have much more emotional feelings toward the actors who have to put up with this crap. Smash was supposed to be behind-the-scenes, but who knew it would be so meta?
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#2919

marioninnyc

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 11:39 AM

Speculation based on previews:

Spoiler

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#2920

AwNutz

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 12:01 PM

marioninnyc:

Spoiler

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#2921

photo fox

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 12:31 PM

Spoiler

AwNutz, that could be fantastic. It would kill a bunch of birds with one stone. Rebecca would get out of having to go on, Karen would get fired and finally have some real struggle, and Ivy would get her moment to shine. It would be unexpected, but still within character (as Rebecca has already been shown to be terrified of going on, jealous of Karen, and oddly unthreatened by Ivy). Unlike other "twists" they've had like everybody sleeping with everybody else totally out of the blue.

Edited by photo fox, May 3, 2012 @ 12:32 PM.

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#2922

zmulls

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 12:35 PM

Friday Night Lights had an incredible first season, but the second season was woefully plotted. Obviously, TPTB told the creators that the series was too small and quiet, and needed some sexed-up ratings-friendly plots. So the viewers had to suffer through a murder, a trip to Mexico for a miracle cure, an attempted rehabilitation of an ex-con, and “fun” plots like the Coach’s wife becoming the womens’ volleyball coach. There was still a core of good will, great writing and fantastic acting, and the series at its worst was still better than most of what was on TV, so we all got through the season.

For Season 3, something interesting happened. They fast-forwarded a few months, and for the rest of the run of the show, most of the S2 plots never got mentioned again. Occasionally, when it was unavoidable, there would be a fleeting reference, or a meaningful look between two characters who were known to have a history, but mostly you could have skipped from S1 to S3 and feel that you hadn’t actually missed anything. It wasn’t like “Dallas” where a season was written off as a dream; but it was just as good. (There’s a new book by The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson, called “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.”)

I wish they would consider this approach for S2 of SMASH. A lot depends on what happens with “Bombshell” (I’m guessing, without any spoilage of any kind, that “Bombshell” opens on Broadway and Karen becomes the star). But they could, and should, fast-forward and essentially “reboot” the series. (If SMASH opens on Broadway, Tom and Julia are going to have to write something else anyway).

Here’s what we could find when SMASH returned after the characters had gone through a year off-screen.


  • Dev is long gone. Karen can pick up a new love life (good or bad), either as a star, or as a struggling actress or pop singer.
  • Leo has been sent to boarding school. No one will miss him.
  • Julia can be divorced. Brian d’Arcy James is wasted in this role and the show won’t miss him (though some of us will). Debra Messing would be a lot more fun having dating mishaps.
  • Tom and Sam broke up over religious differences. Reboot Tom’s love life and have him date guys that are more in his wheelhouse (no boring lawyers, no religious dancers)
  • Eileen finalized her divorce from Jerry and now has her share of the money. So she doesn’t have to “put a show on RIGHT NOW” and can be a real producer on a real timetable.
  • Ellis has learned from his early mistakes though still has a wily and amoral core. Now he’s either working for Eileen, or producing small-scale shows off-Broadway.
  • Derek is working on something in New York (maybe staging opera, lots of big visually-oriented stage directors do it) and is still in the mix
  • Ivy is either back in the chorus of HEAVEN ON EARTH, or maybe is in an off-Broadway show Ellis is producing.
There are a lot of ways to go, and the show should open up to show more of the day-to-day lives of struggling actors, dancers, writers and other artists in NYC. Many possibilities. But they have to get out of the awful emotional corners they’ve been Rebecked into.

Edited by zmulls, May 3, 2012 @ 12:47 PM.

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#2923

cjane

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 12:44 PM

atr

A couple more previews have cropped up (which weren't listed on the NBC page)

These are a little more spoilery, (Ivy/Karen/Rebecca/Derek and Michael/Julia)
http://www.tvseriesa...k-per-previews/


Thanks for those! I really enjoyed the staging of the "Smash" number.

And, oh man, if the play truly opened with that vocal... I'm sorry, but that was just awful to me.
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#2924

dbklmt

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 1:35 PM

zmulls your reboot ideas need to happen :) and atr that link won't work for me. Does it use it an Apple video player?
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#2925

atr

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 1:54 PM

dbklmt - Shoot. Hmm, here's those previews on two English sites:
http://www.spoilertv...ws-4-sneak.html
http://www.spoilersg...ws-sneak-peeks/

If not, all the ones I can find look like they're embedded from the same source - do you have trouble playing any other videos on the net, and is your Adobe Flash Player up to date? (My troubleshooting skills begin and end with flailing, anyone know what could be going on?)

Also, a random stab at what could happen with Michael and Julia in the finale:

Spoiler

Edited by atr, May 3, 2012 @ 1:57 PM.

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#2926

alrunya

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 2:20 PM

An additional sneak of Eileen singing "September Song" just turned up:

http://artsbeat.blog...dition-debacle/

I already heard the audio version of this and didn't really like it that much, but the video made me change my mind.
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#2927

dbklmt

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 2:39 PM

Thanks atr for the new links. The others didn't work because my Quick Time Player stopped functioning and I can't seem to get an update for now. Those with Adobe Flash worked perfectly. Rebecca and Michael Swift are just revolting!

I like the clip with Anjelica Huston. Perfect song choice for her and Marc Shaiman was playing the piano :)
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#2928

photo fox

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 2:40 PM

Jeez, there have been so many previews released, I feel like I've seen the whole episode! Thanks to all for digging these up and posting here.
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#2929

dbklmt

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 2:58 PM

Anyone seen this in Chicago?
http://itineraries.m...oving-west?lite

It's moving to Palm Springs. Guess I'll have to make a trip to see it :)
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#2930

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 3:19 PM

My question about the previews: since when is Ivy not in History is Made at Night? Wasn't she in costume for that last ep when Rebecca had her meltdown?

I can appreciate that Uma Thurman is doing a good job with Rebecca but I really dislike her. Mainly because I think she's a lousy substitution for Ivy and Karen who both have more talent and would be better in the part. That clip of her singing was better but still couldn't even begin to compare to Ivy singing it.

The Michael and Julia clip just made me cringe. I know they are supposed to have this magical chemistry but I don't see it. I just cringe.

Anjelica Huston really wasn't bad. They chose a great song for her. It really suited her voice.
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#2931

brooklynbull

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 3:29 PM

He's back ...
Michael Swift - the WASP DiMaggio - ARGHHH!

On the other hand - Anjelica H. has won back my heart.
She was on Craig Ferguson last night - quite sweet and engaging,
easy to see why she has partnered with notable men.
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#2932

atr

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 3:34 PM

I think we're up to 8? previews now? Normally we get 6. I know it might be down to there being a helluva lot of numbers in this ep, but I also wonder if they're getting desperate, and trying to drum up viewership?

since when is Ivy not in History is Made at Night? Wasn't she in costume for that last ep when Rebecca had her meltdown?


On the car? At that point Ivy was just in costume for the ensemble, but Derek pulled her in to play Marilyn, just as a moving body so they could get the cues and technical bugs worked out.

Which is why I love Rebecca, even though I gleefully hate her - Ivy and Karen are, and will always be, the stars of Smash. Bringing Rebecca in is just another real Broadway twist, and displacing the both of them allows us to see what they do in this situation, and explore their characters and ambitions through a different dynamic than having them in direct competition as one or the other has the part. (And apart from Derek, grr) I don't think there is anyone involved with Bombshell who'd disagree that either Karen or Ivy would be much better for the part. ;)

Anjelica Huston really wasn't bad. They chose a great song for her. It really suited her voice.


I wouldn't care if it didn't :D This is definitely one of those times when the meta context overshadows all else, it's epic because it happened. (For those who aren't aware, "September Song" was written for and made iconic by Huston's grandfather. And Huston's directed Marilyn in "The Misfits," one of her most famous roles.)

PS: dbklmt - Score \o/ Life would be so much easier if NBC would upload their own things first, so there'd at least be consistency ;)
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#2933

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 3:52 PM

I don't think there is anyone involved with Bombshell who'd disagree that either Karen or Ivy would be much better for the part.


I liked what Rebecca did in Dig Deep better than anything I've seen from Karen in the Bombshell. I think Rebecca could have worked if she didn't let her ego get in the way. Giving some of the harder numbers to the shadow selves could have worked nicely and saved her from having to sing poorly. But I try to imagine her singing Secondhand White Baby Grand or Never Give All Your Heart, and I cringe.

In general, I think the Rebecca character has been okay and done interesting things. But I wish the show gave us more insight into why Rebecca is doing Bombshell and how that connects to her motivations for how she's treating Karen and Ivy.

I do not understand what the show is doing with the Michael Swift character. I always have the feeling he is about 10 minutes from an involuntary 24-hour hold.
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#2934

alrunya

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 4:26 PM

Yet another sneak peek of "don't say yes.." with the actual Zanuck actor appeared:

http://www.broadway....ash-sneak-peek/

um...I like Christian Borle's version waaaay better.
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#2935

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 4:38 PM

They are getting out of hand with all the sneak peeks. Must be desperate when their audience fell big time last week.

I like Marc Kudisch, but that video just reeks of him playing Hart in "9 to 5". I too liked Christian's rendition better. Maybe he could, no should, play dual roles, Zanuck and DiMaggio.

ETA first for puncuation :); a 2nd time to add a new link but then again for a 3rd time after my 2nd post was lost.

There's a new Smash Report: Episode 13, Blue in Beantown
http://www.playbill....lue-in-Beantown

We now have a new nickname for Ellis Company Rat and the dinner at Sam's parents can be referred to as "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner w/o the Tension". Love it!

And guess who is on Twitter--LOL
https://twitter.com/#!/SMASHJulia_H

Edited by dbklmt, May 3, 2012 @ 6:04 PM.

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#2936

braggtastic

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 6:05 PM

I forgot to mention about the gloves - why not grab from the upper arm part and pull them off inside out? I think that would be so much faster than pulling at the fingers.
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#2937

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 7:33 PM

My only questions are why- did he want to break up with Ivy and if so, why? And where do they go from here?


Best guess, swift breakup on his way to Karen/Derek. And they have to drag the issue of sex into it (over and over), which goes against everything they should be trying to indicate in a story that features Marilyn Monroe as its major conceit – namely, that a woman 60 years later may simultaneously be perceived as both sexy and non-tramp. But, I guess they think they’re going there as they drag “the sexy out of Karen” at all costs, because she wasn’t tramp enough to cheat on her boyfriend, whereas Ivy can go whistle for the last shreds of non-trampy innocence she left amongst the threads of Dev’s sheets. Never mind that Ivy had no obstacle other than people’s perceptions holding her back from sleeping with Derek (other people’s perceptions being the thing that dogged Monroe). Because if we leave out the fact that Ivy and Derek had sex (willingly) but Derek and Karen did not, in reality Ivy is more of an underdog than the overpraised Karen, and no less qualified for Derek to groom and claim as a “discovery”. This show is so irritating – just vast quantities of “brand new, you’re retro” piled atop each other.

We need to be shown something because otherwise it makes no sense. There was no bridge from "I Love You" to I'm Banging Rebecca and there really needed to be.


auralgami, agreed. I suspect the problem is that the writers applied the “Alias theory” (from a now-infamous New York Times Season 4 interview where their writers cheerfully said they had become masters of writing everything with 3 or 4 possible explanations so that they could leave themselves lots of options - believe me, it showed, and the method, and the article, made fans furious). I think it might have been "Smash Abridged" that wrote "because none of the writers want to make any decisions about this character", and it's destroying him, because at the moment the only clear feeling I have is that Rebecca deserves Derek, and vice versa - I wouldn't even wish him on Karen. Which can surely not be the intention as the entire cast was reportedly signed to season 2 (but not Uma, as far as we know).
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#2938

OptimisticCynic

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 9:36 PM

This is cracking me up:

http://broadwayworld...dt=44&boardid=1

Smash Abridged 13:
http://www.broadwaya...mash-01-13.html
His description of Uma dressed as Marilyn a la Glenn Close in 101 Dalmations is hilarious. And true.
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#2939

Zuleikha

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Posted May 4, 2012 @ 12:12 AM

I forgot to mention about the gloves - why not grab from the upper arm part and pull them off inside out? I think that would be so much faster than pulling at the fingers.


That was bothering me the whole scene with the assistant. Take off the bracelet, pull off the glove, and if the bracelet is needed for anything, put it back on. Should take about 20 seconds. And if brilliant Derek couldn't figure this out, why pick Ivy and Karen specifically to do the glove removal? It's a bit tactless, and there are multiple other ensemble members who could do it (like Jessica, who just lost one of her lines).
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#2940

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Posted May 4, 2012 @ 2:18 AM

I thought the whole thing with the gloves was stupid. They acted like they were going to pull it off from the fingers. Who doesn't grab it at the top, pull it down to the wrist, then grab the fingers and pull it the rest of the way off? That just seems like common sense to me. And if that isn't fast enough then drag it off turning it wrong side out. It seemed like a cheap setup for Ivy to have a snit.
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