Colleen’s Unwarranted Opinion: NBC’s SMASH
I’ve finally formulated an opinion on Smash. It took 4 episodes, but here I am. If you would like to watch the show, I warn you, there are spoilers below. Not that anything exciting or unpredictable has happened yet, but fair warning.
I dislike Smash, plain and simple.
I wasn’t sure what to expect other than two girls trying to make it on Broadway. Turns out it’s about the girls trying to make it on Broadway, the one girl’s family and boyfriend, the two people writing the musical, the one writer’s family, the other writer’s assistant, the director, the producer, AND the producer’s ex-husband. I think I have them all.
I first see Debra Messing and I groan a little bit because I’m supposed to believe she’s one of the best writers to have ever written a musical. Then I find out that her composer/writing partner is a gay man (Tom, the only character name I actually remember). Suddenly I’m having Will and Grace flashbacks. Then, within the first 5 or 10 minutes, they bring up Marilyn Monroe as the subject of their new musical. Groan again. It’s not that I don’t like Marilyn; I have a huge photo of her hanging in my living room. But Marilyn Monroe as the subject of anything new (photo shoot, movie, song, musical) is overplayed to death. Then Debra Messing’s character starts to talk about Marilyn as if she knew her. “Marilyn would have wanted this, Marilyn would have wanted that.” How the hell does SHE know what Marilyn would want? Debra tells her husband she doesn’t want anyone else to make a Marilyn musical because she doesn’t want anyone to portray her as a joke. Note: The first musical number they block is Marilyn running around a baseball field bending over and asking how to play the game while fondling bats and having men lift her up so her crotch is in their face. Good job, guys, I really think you channeled her.
Yep those men are TOTALLY interested in her.
After the “Marilyn the Musical” premise has been established, we’re introduced to the two aspiring starlets - one is a blonde who’s been in the business for 10 years and wants to move out of the ensemble cast. The other is Katherine McPhee, a brunette trying to make it in big bad NYC while waiting tables on the side and maintaining a serious relationship with her boyfriend. Also, her parents want her to come home and stop living her ridiculous dreams because she’ll never become a star. YAWN. They’re both trying out for the part of Marilyn, and Katherine is the underdog! Too bad Blondie is way better at being Marilyn (mostly in part to the fact she did a shit-load of research on the character), whereas Katherine just shows up to the audition, sings “Beautiful”, and everybody magically loves her for no reason at all. ::bangs head on keyboard::
After the first episode, nobody can make a decision on who should be Marilyn, so they have call backs where they make the two ladies sing, dance, AND act, which apparently Katherine can’t do (she can’t act in real life, either). The Director makes a move on Katherine and she refuses him. The Director makes a move on Blondie and she sleeps with him. Blondie gets the part. SHOCKER!
Did I mention the Director is sort of a dick?
While Blondie gets to be Marilyn and screw the Director, the Director meets with Katherine for a drink (where him and Katherine’s boyfriend have a pissing contest to see who is more British) and asks her to participate in the “Marilyn the Musical” workshop as part of the ensemble. He leaves her with the lingering thought, “You never know what will happen in the end”, which means, “Maybe if you open your legs like I wanted you to, you’ll get the part of Marilyn when I’m tired with Blondie.” Oh, also, Tom the gay writer HATES this guy for undisclosed reasons, too. Maybe he tried to sleep with him as well.
“Feel the music… or my penis.”
Once the workshop begins, Blondie magically changes personalities and starts giving Katherine a bunch of passive aggressive crap, presumably because she feels intimidated. The staff and the ensemble cast basically bend over backwards to make Blondie happy, which pisses Katherine off. Katherine verbally attacks one of the cast members, and this poor woman decides she’s going to be her best friend and help her hone her chops. After recruiting the help of her other friends, they give Katherine a big city makeover because she’s too hometown. Just like every other Midwestern girl that moves to NYC, she must hope a city-savvy group takes her under their wing and shows her how to survive and thrive in the Big Apple. After one night of their tutelage, Katherine is magically good at singing, dancing, and acting.
“Oh my God, Katherine, you’re SO GOOD at flailing!”
With the musical well on its way to being completed, the producer (Angelica Houston, whom I LOVE) is trying desperately to get funding for Marilyn while going through a messy divorce. She gets the bright idea that she needs a backer, who turns out to be musical-prodigy Nick Jonas, and only after the cast sings a song for him at his birthday party (which the band magically knows how to play without rehearsal or music, and all the people at the party know how to sing without hearing it before). Nicky-boy thinks it’s fantastic and invests, and also tries to sleep with Blondie, as if we’re supposed to believe the kid is not asexual.
This picture is not one big innuendo.
So far, there is tension between Katherine and Blondie, Tom and the Director, Debra and Tom’s assistant, Katherine and her parents, and the producer and her soon-to-be ex-husband. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL, KIDS. The cherry on top of the unbelievably cliche sundae - Debra, in the past, had an affair with the guy they cast as Joe DiMaggio, and Tom’s assistant, who hates her, overhears her telling Tom about it. I WONDER WHERE THIS IS GOING. Every scene between her and Joey is just filled with eye-rolling sexual tension only perpetuated by the fact you don’t see Debra’s family past the first episode (they were supposed to adopt a baby back then, too, but that storyline quickly disappeared - thank God).
“HEHE YOUR TEETH ARE SO FUNNY.”
What’s going to happen, boys and girls? Will they finish writing the show? Will it find enough funding to open? Will Debra bone Joey once again? Will Katherine finally get the part of Marilyn?
I guess the big question here that nobody is asking is if I would continue to watch this smarmy bowl of predictable soup. Yes, probably, but only because it’s on after The Voice, and it’s unbelievably fun to poke fun at. That being said - if I miss a week or two of it, I’m not going to cry about it.