The Smash Review I Didn’t Want To Write

(Hey! Don’t hang yourself! Courtesy of
There are only so many series that land the coveted “after the Super Bowl” slot. Okay, NBC’s Smash didn’t, but it might as well have. Smash is relying on The Voice viewers to stick around on Monday nights, since it’s all music and singing, and I fell for it. However, I did not watch the pilot until this afternoon, two days after it aired. You know when your DVR gets so full and you don’t know if you’ll ever get caught up so you start making “Sophie’s Choice” with certain shows? That’s how I felt at first about Smash. I kept thinking, “well, I’ll save it for the weekend”, and, on most weekends I’m not even in the vicinity of my TV. I read the other reviews, which were surprisingly good and I didn’t expect that. I thought the whole “GLEE for adults” tag line was a total joke. I also was under the impression when I heard about the show, I thought it was going to be a 21st century FAME. No, so I was still teetering on the brink of “should I or shouldn’t I watch” ledge. But since I’m a sucker for a good musical or musical show, thanks to all the other shows I just mentioned, I gave in.
The premise of Smash is pretty simple. Two musical writers, played by old NBC fav Debra Messing and Tony-nominated Chris Borle, decide to try and come up with a new show. However, Julia/Messing swore to her husband and son she was going to take a break. Then Tom/Borle’s assistant, played by Jamie Cepero, suggests Marilyn Monroe should be the duo’s new muse. They write a demo, a stage vet they know, Ivy Lynn, played by Broadway’s Megan Hilty, records it, the assistant posts it to YouLenz (clever NBC) and the viral madness begins. Enter producer Eileen Rand played by Anjelica Houston (smart casting, but what about oh, Bernadette Peters???) who wants to produce the show after all of her assets are on their way out the door thanks to an ensuing divorce and director/choreographer Derek Wills played by British actor Jack Davenport; who can resist throwing a Brit into the mix when it’s the theater! Tom has conflict with Derek and Julia still isn’t sure until she reads the reviews of the demo. 
Thus, onto casting “Marilyn” and here’s where the predictability kicks in. American Idol season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee plays Karen, the “typical actress/singer trying to make it in NYC-she left Iowa- but she works as a waitress” character. I can’t tell you how much I cannot stand McPhee, especially after her flaky rendition of “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” on Idol, UGH! Since then, McPhee has released music and has been acting here and there, and I suppose Smash is the perfect vehicle for her “hey remember me?” campaign. In short, Ivy and Karen are competing for the lead in the Marilyn musical and we find out in the second episode next week just who that will be…or will we?
 (Did Marilyn ever cut a bitch? Courtesy of
Personally, I want to see Ivy get the part, she embodies Marilyn and Karen is just too damn skinny, but the creative team love her. Tom wants Ivy because she’s a vet and she can pull it off. The big shots, including the pervy director want Karen, you can see where this is going, so I’m still on the fence with Smash, but I don’t dislike it. 
Smash airs Monday nights after The Voice at 10E/9C on NBC. 

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