SMASH was this season’s fresh and exciting new pilot. It had everything going for it, including Glee’s fan base, original music, a sharp focus, and plenty of drama. A few weeks ago, it was NBC’s bright, shining light.
But look at the show now. Not even ten episodes in, the show is experiencing a major identity crisis. It’s almost as if it’s trying to become Glee, trying to forget who the characters are, and focus on too many different aspects of musical theatre - and is not succeeding.
What is happening to SMASH happens to every show at some point. SMASH is starting to think too much like Glee. Is the musical theatre crowd enough? Will they last? They’re going for ratings by adding in all the go-to factors that usually equate to higher ratings: drama, cheating, celebrities, and anything else that risks their identity.
In an earlier post, I said one of SMASH’s biggest advantages was its original music. By original music, I mean Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s brilliant, touching and original music and lyrics. SMASH went all out with these musical theatre legends, and it shows. The first few episodes glowed with fantastic music.
Now look at all the pop trash that is flowing out of there. I have nothing against pop music except that it honestly doesn’t fit in SMASH. Make a decision, producers! Pick a direction and go with it. This middle ground is too much Glee and not enough SMASH.
And I cannot be the only one who wants to fire Ellis, the annoying assistant. His character seems to be written in purposely to piss every single viewer off. He has no role but to upset the natural workings of the show and create cheap and uneccesary conflict. The plot and innerworkings of the musical theatre world will create conflict on its own - we don’t need Ellis.
We also don’t need Ivy and Karen to stay the same, either. Ivy has forever been the one who is too talented for the role and never gets what she deserves. On the other hand, Karen is too nice and gets literally everything she does not earn. It’s frustrating as a viewer to watch no one change and for Ivy to never get any part she deserves. Anyone with ears can hear that Ivy deserves any solo - especially since she’s a Broadway star herself. That’s frustrating for all the musical theatre fans out there.
But the show has some amazing parts to it.
Debra Messing and Christian Borle are a hilarious and complementing pair that can set a room ablaze with laughter. They work perfectly together. They have the chemistry and the attributes to make their relationship on screen work. When they’re funny, they’re amazing. Borle is a semi-well known Broadway talent (whose voice I am so fondly in love with) and Messing an all around great actress. These two alone could hold the show together - so why aren’t they doing it?
Maybe it has something to do with the writing. Theresa Rebeck, one of the head writers and creators of the show, has announced her departure. I would be sad, but I cannot be. This might give the show the opportunity to stabilize itself and grow into its own. OR, it might totally destroy the show. It’s really up for grabs, so let’s hope that SMASH goes for it. Go big or go home - it’s their choice. More on that, of course, when it airs.
# smash # nbc # smash nbc # pilot # glee # debra messing # Christian Borle # broadway # tv # television # television review # television recap # television blog # tv blog # tv review # tv news
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