What’s on the Tube: Following NBC’s SMASH!!!
The entertainment world is a vast multi-genre platform of visual, audio and pictorial art. It can excite us, inspire us, teach us and even make us question the world around us. It is the one form of expression that makes us unique as human beings. That is why I always find it amazing when I am able to come across a particular outlet of entertainment that pleases all of my curious senses. Case in point; the object of my newfound intrigue comes to us in the form of a television show entitled; SMASH. It’s a fresh new show straight from the minds of some of Broadway’s most recognizable producers, including executive producer Steven Spielberg.
Because I am a lifelong fan of Broadway, and an extremely dedicated musicals fan, I have decided to choose this show to both follow and review for both entertainment purposes and reader satisfaction. Each week, I will watch, review and discuss new episodes with readers and fans alike that choose to follow the show with me. Together we will watch the show’s progression, character development and writing pros & cons. So without further adieu, I give you my thoughts and opinions on NBC’s promising new show; SMASH!
Plot: The show takes us head first into the fast paced cut-throat world of Broadway. Before the curtains rise, before the stars take their positions and even before the story comes together, therein lies the planning stages. The hectic rush to put together a story, find that right idea that will spark life into the stage and draw in the masses, and more importantly, find that special someone who will take center stage and become the star of the whole show.
Episode 01 – We open with Karen Cartwright, a lowly café waitress with the ultimate dream of becoming a famous Broadway star. She’s got the looks and a stunning voice to boot, but she just isn’t making heads turn. Nonetheless, she continues her journey to find someone who will take notice and see the quality she has to show. We then cut to Julia Houston and Tom Levitt, two aspiring writers looking for that (out of left field) idea that will bring in the crowds. After a short conversation with Tom’s new assistant, Ellis, the two come up with an idea that would soon become the main storyboard for our entire show. Throw in a hard-hitting director in the form of Derek Wills and you’ve got something!
Critique: Where to start, geez? Let’s start with the ‘Story’ first; which in my opinion outdoes the writing aspect of ‘Glee’ within the first episode alone. The story is solid, it’s very well written and it speaks volumes. It isn’t just about some small-town girl who wants to sing and make it in the big city, or some writer who wants to put on a good show to become famous. It’s more than that. It takes you straight into the heart of the world that exists behind the curtain, the world that we never see before a play comes together. And for me, I think that’s an amazing change in formula from the usual “make it big and become famous” scenarios that we’re usually accustomed to in these types of television shows.
Next up is the cast, which in my opinion is remarkable to say the least. From veteran actors like the always amazing Anjelica Huston and Debra Messing, to breakthrough performances by the likes of Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty, everyone from the episode’s opening scene to its amazing closing musical number, comes together perfectly. I was pretty impressed with the introduction of Katherine McPhee, because I was never really a fan of hers to begin with. I originally put her in that group of American Idol alumni that just faded into the background with their mediocre voices and little or no talent to support a stable career. Call me cynical but it’s what I thought of her.
But after seeing McPhee bring her A-Game to the role of Karen Cartwright, I have to say, I’m glad to have been wrong about her. Now don’t get me wrong, the jury is still out on whether or not she can handle herself throughout the length of an entire season, but so far it looks promising for her. Unfortunately, I do NOT see her becoming Marilyn Monroe any time soon; no matter how much you dye her hair and make her change her voice. I see that role being owned, and I mean OWNED by one person alone and that’s Megan Hilty in her portrayal of Ivy Lynn. I can see her becoming Karen’s minor villain as they struggle to get the part of Marilyn, but ultimately, I see more of Marilyn in Ivy than Karen.
Jack Davenport always knows how to be an asshole, and he does it again as Derek Wills, the ever brilliant (yet womanizing) Broadway director who is clearly willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants, even if that means putting potential stars like Karen in compromising positions. I found myself really interested to see what kind of person he turns out to be, especially after his late night ‘casting session’ with Karen. Actually, that would also play on Karen’s character development too and gage just what kind of person is she willing to become just to achieve stardom. All in all, the show needs to be able to grow and the characters need to be allowed to develop, A LOT!!!
It’s fresh, it’s new and with the original concept and more importantly, original songs, I can foresee this show giving ‘Glee’ a run for its money. The story is fresh and with proper care, I could see myself believing in Karen Cartwright in her reach for the stars. Katherine McPhee has promise, but true greatness still remains to be seen, while Ivy Lynn was able to captivate me within the first several scenes, with Megan Hilty really making me hope she gets the role as Marilyn. And don’t even get me started on Anjelica Huston, that woman is always amazing. So with that, I end my thoughts & opinions segment on this premiere episode of NBC’s promising new show, SMASH!
Stay tuned each week for an all-new (and much shorter, I promise) “Thoughts & Opinions” article on all-new episodes of SMASH, in which I will give a short rundown on the pros and cons of storyboard and character developments. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the show, should you decide to become a regular viewer.
Official Site: http://www.nbc.com/smash/