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January 21, 2022

F(l)o Show: Will Smash be a hit this season?

By Florence Lau | February 7, 2013

When Smash first premiered last year, it showed a lot of promise. The idea was that it would provide a glimpse of all the behind-the-scenes drama going on in the process of creating and taking a new show to Broadway.

Unfortunately, Smash went downhill as the season progressed. And this sad news is coming from the person who watched the pilot three times. Within one and a half weeks.

The drama and situations became more and more unbelievable as the season went on. And while this is a TV show and therefore it doesn’t need to have complete accuracy, anyone who has ever actually done theatre is wondering what the director and creative team of Bombshell (the musical they want to take to Broadway) were smoking.

In fact, after a while, the only character people actually cared about anymore was the show’s supposed “villain,” Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty). Hilty managed to take a character who became more and more two-dimensional as the show went on and actually make her sympathetic and likable, getting the audience to cheer for her triumphs and feel bad for her failures.

The fact that Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee), the “underdog” and the character we’re supposed to cheer for, can apparently do nothing wrong doesn’t really endear her to us. Add that to the fact that her getting the role of Marilyn at the end of the season (spoilers!) was a foregone conclusion, and you have the recipe for a plot that exactly no one cares to follow.

The supporting cast was no less ridiculous. Tom (Christian Borle) and Julia (Debra Messing), the showwriters of Bombshell, apparently decided to wait until opening night to finish writing the book to the musical.

In addition, Julia was having an ongoing affair with an actor in the show, an affair which I definitely felt icky about, because other than the issue of it being an affair, he pressured her until she gave in despite him knowing she was married. And it seemed like neither of them knew that having an affair meant that they had to keep it a secret. Because clearly, it makes all sorts of sense to make out in front of her apartment where someone like, say, her son, could see them, right?

Let’s not even mention Ellis (Jaime Cepero), who thankfully was cut out of show for season two. He actually poisoned the original actress scheduled to play Marilyn and then bragged about it. And instead of, you know, being sent to prison, he was merely fired (and let me tell you, no one was sad to see him go, including the characters). All he needed was a mustache to twirl and a cat to pet.

Despite all these issues, Smash got enough of a following to be given a second season, which began on Tuesday, Feburary 5.

The original showrunner and head writer has now been replaced, and the first episode of season two shows much more promise. Ivy is no longer a two-dimensional villan, all the affairs are finished, and even Karen isn’t as annoying this time around.

But it has a ways to go and lots to fix before Smash can become a smash hit.

Smash airs on Tuesdays at 10 pm on NBC.

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