Stars: Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee, Jack Davenport, Angelica Houston
Writers: Theresa Rebeck
Director: Michael Mayer
Network: NBC, airs Mondays
Original Telecast: February 20, 2012
The testament of a good show is to be able to turn it on, intending to watch a few minutes, and getting sucked in to watch the whole thing.
That’s what happened while watching SMASH, the “Enter Mr. DiMaggio” episode. I was only going to check out how things held up after the first two stellar weeks, and well, I was sucked right back into the series.
Of course, with the good, comes the bad. As much as this is a pretty good episode, there are moments and situations that tear away at some of the good will created in the first two episodes.
“Enter Joe DiMaggio” focuses on the Marilyn stage play slowly taking form – and the challenges that come with it.
For Ivy (Megan Hilty) who got the part of Marilyn, she starts to question whether she got it because she’s sleeping with the director Derek (Jack Davenport). He also never invites her over to his place – hmmm. Is he serious, or using her too?
Then there’s Karen (Katharine McPhee) who is now part of the chorus, but clearly has Derek’s attention even if her annoying boyfriend Dev (Raza Jeffrey) is super jealous.
Eileen (Anjelica Huston) discovers it’s harder than she thinks in trying to produce and raise money for her first solo production without the guiding hands of her soon to be ex husband.
There’s also the casting for Joe DiMaggio with Michael Swift (Will Chase) who had a show crush with Julia (Debra Messing) during the last play she was in that Julia co-wrote. Actually, it was more of a show crush – kind of a full blown secret affair she told no one about.
Thrown in some sneaky moves by Tom’s (Christian Borle) sneaky assistant Ellis (Jamie Cepero) and you have a full-fledged prime time soap opera.
Many of these moving pieces work, though the whole detour with Karen being a bridesmaid and going back home for a trip felt a bit over-wrought.
I’m also not liking the direction the Ellis character is heading and it felt totally insincere to suddenly show Julia as the cheating type.
Oddly enough, the moments that really resonate the most are the one’s involving insecure Ivy and Derek. Hilty is so good at playing vulnerable, and her scenes so well written, that you’re almost clamoring for more of her.
Like GLEE, there are a handful of pop songs given the SMASH treatment. The good news – they’re organically woven into the fabric of the story (something GLEE tends to forget to do). However, it’s the original song “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” that reminds you the pedigree of talent behind the scenes. To come up with a song as clever and interesting as that only lends credibility to the TV series and the world it’s created as a whole.
SMASH is gripping television and it holds your attention, even when it falters. Hopefully the series will continue to grow and work through some of these small bumps in the road. Only a network like NBC could take a chance on a show like SMASH – hopefully there won’t be too much more ratings erosion, because I’d love to see this continue beyond the first season.
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Article:TV Review – SMASH – Season 1 – “Enter Mr. DiMaggio”