is anyone still watching Smash? Here is our review.
Are you a Smash fan?
When the term “opening night” is used in reference to a Broadway show or any type of theatre for that matter, it can evoke a nervous, edge of your seat feeling. Will the actors remember all their lines and cues? How will the press react? What will the audience think? Is it going to spark sold-out performances for the rest of its run? So when an episode of Smash titles itself “Opening Night” one can only hope it will be suspenseful and fill us (that tiny Smash audience that’s hanging on by the thinest piece of thread) with anxiety. But “Opening Night” completely fizzles out and lamely rests on plot lines Smash continues to rehash.
The cast of Hit List is invited by Eileen to attend the opening night of Bombshell, because that’s the right thing to do? An invitation for Derek, Karen, and Scott is acceptable, but really the rest of them have to go too? Karen is reluctant to attend because she sees Bombshell in the same light as an ex-boyfriend’s wedding, but Jimmy turns her on to the idea of bringing a date to her ex’s wedding. Little does Jimmy know that Ana has decided to bring Jimmy’s brother, Adam, to the opening of Bombshell too. I guess Ana gets turned on by the type of man who creepily leers outside the stage doors of independent stage productions. And that’s still the most we know about her character.
One of the greatest attributes about your show is the female leads. In the television world we get to see a lot of men in leading roles, with females competing for supporting roles. Smash has done an excellent job of allowing a handful of strong, female actresses to take control of the show. They’ve had some wonderful story lines for those actresses, except for this episode, “The Invited Dress”, where Ivy is relied upon to flash the audience to sell more tickets. And over at Hit List Karen is loosing her lead role simply because she refuses to be involved with Derek. This is a low point for the ladies of Smash.
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It’s sad to see one of the best episodes of Smash get wasted on Saturday night television. For the first time this season the audience catches a much needed break from competing shows Bombshell and Hit List as it digs deeper into how everyone’s love life is working, or not working. This episode also sparks the question: Why doesn’t Liza Minnelli star in everything on television? An appearance by Jennifer Hudson earlier this season felt as though Hudson would rather be doing anything other than Smash and Minnelli’s appearance feels utterly delightful. She is just so happy to be kickin’ it with her pals on Smash, never allowing her iconic status to go to her head. Also, more Christian Borle and Liza duets please!
Sometimes when approaching a new episode of Smash, it’s difficult not to think, “Not this again.” It’s not entirely terrible (okay well it’s a lot terrible); there are a lot of redeeming factors about Smash, such as the cast, the original songs, the acting, the sets, the lighting, and the location (many times New York City feels as though it’s its own character). All these things we love about Smash make it increasingly frustrating to watch a talented group wasting away, mainly because of terrible writing. The audience who has left shouldn’t be condemned because Smash doesn’t even feel like it’s trying at all.
The outcome of the recent changes made to Smash seems to have slowed it down to a snail’s pace. Last night’s episode was so boring it was easy to find an interrupting winter weather update in my city more interesting. It’s no easy task revitalizing a television show, and last week held so much promise, it’s just so sad to see the show take a turn into the land of the unenthusiastic. Long gone of the overly dramatic story lines (You guys, remember when Rebecca was poisoned? That was awful.) and now the personal lives of the characters have been striped from the show entirely. Smash has become so focused on making Bombshellwork, but Bombshell doesn’t even know what it wants to be.
Smash, Season 2, Episode 3: “The Dramaturg”
Written by: Bryan Coluboff
Directed by: Larry Shaw
Airs Tuesdays at 10pm (ET) on NBC
Smash, you make it incredibly difficult to love you. You have a whole audience who turns in each week just to hate you, and you neglect your loyal liege who will sing and dance to every musical number. After last week’s dismal ratings and poor reviews, it’s trying not to want to jump off this sinking ship. Going into episode three, it’s only hopeful that the new promised changes would make a noticeable impact; regrettably the result may be a mess that’s worst than the first season.
This episode is aptly titled “The Dramaturg”, because Eileen feels it is necessary that Bombshell get a fresh perspective in the form of a professional dramaturg, Peter Gilman (played by newcomer Daniel Sunjata). This sends Julia in a rage and she takes Peter’s suggestions for a rewrite personally. Albeit the show is for the almighty Broadway stage, but one would think Julia could take a little criticism this far in her career. But it turns out she cannot, and after an infuriating conversation with Peter in which he notes Bombshell lacks heat and steam, Julia writes a new musical number. A musical number that causes a bunch of grown adults to get flustered over the sexual relationship between JFK and Marilyn Monroe. Even though the musical number occurred at a climatic point in the episode, it was such a nuisance of a moment that all the audience could help think about was “Why are Marilyn and JFK doing it in Bing Crosby’s beach house?”
Smash has made the term “hate-watch” commonplace in television fanatics vocabularies. It seems a majority of the audience for season one were sadomasochists who loved nothing more than to be tortured by the melodramatic silliness of a Marilyn Monroe musical. Season two has promised changes like a new showrunner Josh Safran (of Gossip Girl), departures of dull characters, and a new musical. The Smash premiere breaks like this: in the first hour we are presented with industry conflicts for the Bombshell production, and in the second hour we learn more of how personal relationships are developing for the cast.
The first half suits its purpose of setting up storylines and conflicts. Taking the time to explain why certain characters were amiss is always appreciated (Goodbye Michael and Dev!) and new characters are instantly introduced. First Derek and Karen visit Tony award winning star Veronica Moore (played by a dull Jennifer Hudson). There is no doubt that Veronica has the pipes to sing, she showed up Karen when they preformed a duet of “On Broadway”. However, Hudson consistently has a bored look about her face. It’s as if when she lost the weight she lost her personality.
Midseason premieres are underway, which means it’s time to get back to TV podcast business as usual. This week, we take brief looks at the episodes we missed over the past few weeks, while we were doing our 2012 wrap-up episodes, including Happy Endings, Top Chef Seattle, the finales of Always Sunny… andThe League, Fringe, and the Doctor Who and Call the Midwife Christmas specials, and then talk through our most recent week in TV, including Parenthood,American Horror Story, Bob’s Burgers, The Good Wife, and Bunheads’ winter premiere.
Then, after spotlighting the fabulous season two finale of the BBC’s The Hour, we take a look at what the beginning of 2013 has in store for TV fans, with premiere dates and networks for the new and returning shows that caught our attention. Along with plenty of speculation about what’s to come, we review those shows we’ve had a chance to see already, including Downton Abbey season 3,Deception, 1600 Penn, Continuum (pilot), The Following (pilot), Do No Harm(pilot), Smash season 2, and Cult (pilot). Take a listen and see what premieres you’ll want to set your DVR for in the next few weeks.
Simon and Kate break down a week for unusual television, with interesting episodes of Mad Men and Community. After a roundup of Kate’s comedy, genre, and reality shows, we look at our shared viewing, with particular focus on Fringe, Girls, and, unfortunately, since we can’t seem to help ourselves, Smash. Then we spotlight the fantastic season 2 premiere of Sherlock, “A Scandal in Belgravia”, before we sit down with Chris Gore from Attack of the Show to talk about DVDs, special features, and the future of media consumption and storage.
Other shows covered this week: Cougar Town, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, The Amazing Race finale, Lost Girl, the Castle finale, The Voice finale (competition), 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, Eagleheart, Awake, Bob’s Burgers, and Veep.Source: soundonsight.org
It’s the first guest-less Televerse in a long time as Simon and Kate break down the week’s TV. They give ample time to Community, 30 Rock, Fringe, Girls, and Mad Men before spotlighting Park and Rec’s “The Debate”. Then it’s time for a season spotlight on The Good Wife, which wrapped up its third season with Sunday’s “The Dream Team”.
Other shows covered this week include Cougar Town, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Lost Girl, South Park, Eagleheart, Awake, Bob’s Burgers, Veep, The Amazing Race, The Voice, and Smash.Source: soundonsight.org