Nearly everyone I know watches Smash, NBC’s hour of jazz hands and appletinis that has something to do with making a Broadway show. However, nearly everyone I know doesn’t like Smash. That is the problem with this rather interesting experiment. Smash is both an awesome show and a total disaster at the same time. Yes, it is bad. But not so bad it’s good or so campy that it descends into high art (like Revenge). No, Smash is like a miscast Broadway actress, a real talent in a horrible wig.
There is something genius about a West Wing style show about the making a Broadway musical, and when the action is focused on Broadway — and in particular when it’s doing Broadway songs — the show is brilliant. It’s just the rest of the time that it’s wasting its potential. That the show did a whole number about hot chorus boys wearing towels in a steam room and not one of the dancers was shirtless is just another indication of how it misses golden opportunities for greatness.
Anyway, to help Smash get back on track, here are three storylines that it needs to forget about and just move on. Oh, and more numbers please.
Can the Investors: Any conversation about money, other than “What would you do if you won the lottery?” is inherently boring. No one cares if the musical has funding or if it can’t afford to pay the electric bill or if the investors are happy. No one cares about investors, that’s why there aren’t any famous Broadway investors. Like the unattractive stage managers, they’re best kept out of sight, out of mind, and out of the story altogether. I don’t care if the show’s producer Eileen shows up in the rehearsal room with one of those giant checks lottery winners get and says, “Well, kids, we have our money!” and we forget about investors forever.
The Kid Shouldn’t Stay in the Picture: Alright, Julia, it’s time to ship your pot-smoking, misbehaving, overly pouty teenager to military school. I hate to be mean to kids, but Emory Cohen, the 22-year-old who plays Julia’s son Leo, is awful. He has the acting ability and emotional range of a marshmallow Peep three months after Easter. The show already course corrected the ill-advised Julia-wants-to-adopt-a-Chinese-baby story, now it’s time to make her childless altogether. Give Julia something exciting to do like, I don’t know, divorce her husband and try to find a straight man in musical theater to go out with. That would be a hunt worth watching, unlike her awful family drama as its unspooling now.
Stoke Up the Rivalry: Last week we saw the impossible duet of Karen and her rival Ivy in Times Square and this past episode we saw Ivy giving Karen a pair of sunglasses to complete her transformation into Marilyn’s understudy. I’m sorry but people who hate each other, especially professionally, never become friends. That just does not happen. Ivy might tolerate Karen being at the same party as she is, but she is not going to actually talk to her. These two are best when they’re competing against each other and when Ivy is plotting against Karen. Let’s not rush to bury the hatchet, unless it is Ivy burying a bloody hatchet in Karen’s back yard to frame her for Dev’s murder. That’s the kind of hatchet burying this show needs.
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