Megan Hilty, Marc Kudisch and Katharine McPhee in SMASH - Season 1 - "Previews" | ©2012 NBC/Will Hart

Megan Hilty, Marc Kudisch and Katharine McPhee in SMASH - Season 1 - "Previews" | ©2012 NBC/Will Hart

Stars: Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee, Jack Davenport, Angelica Houston
Writer: David Marshall Grant
Director: Robert Duncan McNeill
Network: NBC, airs Mondays
Original Telecast: May 8, 2012

As SMASH nears next week’s Season 1 finale, one can’t help but scratch their head at how a once promising show sunk so low, so fast.

While I still admit to being fascinated by a handful of characters and the backstage antics pertaining to the Broadway music itself, it’s the misguided decisions where the writers have forced their generally well-written characters to partake in that just strips the show of its original heart.

“Previews” finds the Marilyn Monroe biopic BOMBSHELL doing its previews in Boston as star Rebecca Duvall (Uma Thurman) proves to be an absolute bomb with every musical number she’s in  — and the ending is a disaster since it ends with Monroe’s suicide.

Then Duvall has an allergic reaction to a smoothie which she uses as an excuse to bolt from the show – leaving the big mystery for next week of who will take her place: understudy Karen (Katharine McPhee) or previous Marilyn Ivy (Megan Hilty).

Other drama –

*  Derek (Jack Davenport) is sleeping with his star, which pisses off Ivy when she’s shunned.

* Ivy and Dev (Raza Jaffrey) end up sleeping together after getting drunk in the previous episode (WHAT!?!). Way to go in making Ivy look even worse than before.

* Dev and Karen reconcile, but not knowing that he slept with Ivy (didn’t this same sort of thing happen with Julia and her husband episodes ago?)

* Tom (Christian Odom, Jr.) and Julia are still having a spat when he allowed  Michael Swift (Will Chase) to come back to the show. And now Michael is boning for Julia all over again.

The episode concludes with everyone going to Church to find their faith. A bit too heavy-handed for me, but the ending indicates, with Karen on stage singing gospel, that she’s going to get the Marilyn part.

Eileen (Anjelica Huston) gets perhaps the best moment in the entire episode when she sings a song with a piano man that encapsulates the emotions of the episode.

Sustaining a musical-drama or musical-comedy is a very hard endeavor. Look at GLEE. It’s so easy to burn through story and emotional through song, that to fill in the gap silly subplots and annoying soap opera theatrics tend to be the easy way out.

I wish SMASH was a little wiser with its decisions, because systematically, one by one, I’ve come to despise just about every character on the show outside of Eileen and Tom. Not a good sign for a show that’s already committed to Season 2.

Here’s hoping next week redeems itself and sets up a template for where SMASH should go in order to redeem itself.


Related LinkTV Review – SMASH – Season 1 – “Bombshell” – Season Finale

Related Link: Interview with SMASH star Katharine McPhee on the first season of SMASH

Related LinkTV Review – SMASH – Season 1 – “Publicity”

Related Link: TV Review: SMASH – Season 1 – “The Movie Star”

Related Link: Exclusive Interview with SMASH star Megan Hilty

Related Link: TV Review – SMASH – Season 1 – “Understudy”
Related Link: TV Review – SMASH – Season 1 – “Hell On Earth”
Related Link: TV Review – SMASH – Season 1 – “The Workshop”
Related Link: TV Review – SMASH – Season 1 – “Chemistry”
Related Link:TV Review – SMASH – Season 1 – “Let’s Be Bad”
Related Link:TV Review – SMASH – Season 1 – “The Cost of Art”
Related Link:TV Review – SMASH – Season 1 – “Enter Mr. DiMaggio”
Related Link: TV Review – SMASH – Season 1 – “The Callback”
Related Link: TV Review – SMASH Series Premiere

Related Link: Exclusive Interview with SMASH executive producers Justin Falvey & Darryl Frank

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  1. I agree with much of your review and also think this show has steadily deteriorated. I’ll probably see it through to the finale this season, but I really have no interest in watching Season 2 (surprised it got a second season).

    I’ve watching television since before there was anything on in color. Yet, in all those years I don’t think I have seen a show with more main characters who were complete a***holes than Smash.

    First there is Ellis – a major a***hole and the most likely person to have put peanusts in Rebecca’s smoothie. Then there is Derrek, whose idea of what it takes to be a professiona must make real Broadway directors cringe. Next we have Michael who has officially sunk to being a stalker. The man is despicable and Julia was a complete idiot for risking the loss of her family not once but twice for this jerk. And newest member to the d***head club is Dev. Cheating on Karen with Ivy was about as low as you could get. Although that was really a prime example of the poor writing that has taken over this show. They never really made it clear when exactly Dev and Ivy knew who the other was, but I assume they figured it out before they slept with each other. Or maybe Karen pointed Ivy out to him before but not actually introduced them. Who knows? What I do know was that having Dev and Ivy hook up felt really contrived and very soap opera-like. They obviously wanted to kill two birds with one stone with that development -start off Season 2 with (1)Karen no longer tied down romantically and free to bonk someone new every other episode and also so bitter and hardened that she is set up to become the newest a**hole on the show and (2)Karen hating Ivy’s guts and ready to make her life a living Hell! Sadly, this show has really become more about screwed up realtionships and people being incredibly self-destructive than the ups and downs of putting on a Broadway show.

    [Editor’s note: I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s great to have a villain, but the way everyone coddles Ellis even though they’re aware he’s the devil just makes everyone look like an idiot. I had high hopes for the show – not sure they’re going to be able to salvage this thing, unfortunately. Ivy sleeping with Dev was the clear dividing line that the writers would prefer to have their well-written and often times damaged characters do stupid things, just because it’s easy, instead of truly organic to the story. Ugh!]

  2. Hasthere been a plot development yet that didn’t involve two people sleeping with someone they weren’t supposed to be with? What is this, ‘Days of Our Lives’? Lots of ensemble shows have ‘relationships’ but nothing this sordid: West Wing, ER, Gray’s Anatomy, Chicago Hope, etc. This is lazy – and stupid – and unimaginative writing.

  3. I don’t agree with your review. For a working mom, it is my guilty pleasure and I have loved every episode – disappointed when they came to an end. I can’t wait for Season 2!


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