Alicia Carroll ’16/ Emertainment Monthly Staff
As a theater kid, when the original pilot of Smash was announced, words could not describe how happy I was. It is a musical show, unlike Glee or Fame in that it is not a show with music, but a musical show. Each scene and each song motivates characters and propels the plot. Fans were equally as excited about this unique television experience, but Smash was doomed from the start. The development team pushed the production of the pilot back for “development” purposes, causing NBC to advertise the show in the most vague manner possible, almost a year before it actually aired. In this “development” stage they changed the original concept of the show from being a musical show to a show about a musical with music. Sounds similar but they are very different.
In it’s first season, Smash debuted with two powerful leads and a well developed supporting cast. It looked like it would be an interesting take on the process of getting a show to broadway. As the season went on, they added so many subplots and intertwining story lines my head began to spin. By the end of the first season, they managed to create the single most annoying and hated character (and not in a good way) on television, have almost everyone on the show cheat or get cheated on, broke up a marriage, a potential marriage, and had an almost murder. They actually went so far as to seemingly rip off the plot of an already broadway musical, Curtains, which is about a troubled production rehearsing for previews in Boston, with a ruthless producer escaping the shadow of her husband, and an ill-equipped and untalented famous leading lady that is murdered…. the only difference in Smash is that she wasn’t actually murdered. She lived, and quit the show.
In it’s second season, airing a year after it’s first season, giving people time to forget it existed, Smash tanked in the ratings. and I mean TANKED, getting a .9 in the Nielson ratings. Even after bringing big musical and movie name Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls, Secret Life of Bees), and big broadway name Jeremy Jordan(Bonnie and Clyde, Newsies) into the cast as well as several cameos and guest appearances by Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray), Jesse L Martin (Rent), Bernadette Peters (Cinderella, Into The Woods), Daphne Reuben Vega (Rent) the second season still couldn’t get the viewership to keep it afloat. And after adding even more complicated plot twist like a conceited druggie criminal starving artist, they still can’t figure out what the show is. Season two had glimmers of brilliance. Glimpses of what the show was supposed to be, but they kept switching between a narrative musical to a flashback/daydream musical to a concert…no one can figure out what direction it was going in. After a short but mighty try…Smash was moved to SATURDAY NIGHT…aka a death sentence for any primetime show looking to make money. Smash is as good as dead. Lead actors are already signing on to fall pilots, waiting for the final word. What sucks is that I had really great hopes for this show. The music was good, the concept and the talent were there, but the execution was just too wishy washy to keep up with. RIP Smash. You might be missed…