Despite what the press may have you believe, Smash is a show worth your time. Here we take a look at how it has evolved and why you should come along as Smash moves to Saturday nights.
It’s no secret that Smash’s ratings have been less than stellar. A few weeks ago it hit record lows and the situation has become so dire that the network was cornered into moving it to a Saturday night time slot. (Were you as shocked as we were to learn that original content still premiered on weekends? Because, yeah. Who even knew that was still a thing?!) The most likely scenario to expect from the change is that the show will move to its new spot, where it’ll become lost in the chaos of the weekend, limp along until the final episodes of the season play out, to where Smash will reach its ultimate demise.
But here’s the thing. Smash is actually a good show.
Now before everyone starts lighting those torches and sharpening those pitchforks, allow us to have a moment of your time to present the evidence. Hopefully though, you can try and leave those pesky expectations at the door and judge the show for what it is. Not for what is has been or what everyone is saying it is. If you’re intrigued and like what you see then maybe you can tune in next week! But if not, that’s ok too. Just continue to not-watch and we’ll let this thing play out as expected.
Smash had a lot of trouble in its first season. There’s no denying it. Plot direction was shaky, there were several irrelevant characters with lackluster talent, and some of the magic of the premier was lost. But virtually everything the fans passionately disliked was eliminated. Julia’s (frequently irritating) son Leo and (often distracting) husband Frank were phased out. The manipulating personal assistant Ellis was written off. And even Karen’s adulterer boyfriend was dropped along the way. They cut out all that unnecessary jazz and put their energy into constructing characters worth following.
Fans can’t really ask for more than that. The production listened to the audience’s feedback and agreed with them. They recognized there were weaknesses and instead of sticking to their guns despite the problem, they chose to rectify the situation. There are quite a few shows on TV right now that could afford to learn this same lesson. It may have taken Smash a while to settle into itself, but it got there in the end. And, it would be very sad if this was a ‘too little too late’ situation because there’s still so much in this show to enjoy.
You know how on some shows there’s just that one character everyone loves? Well, on Smash that prize goes to Tom Levitt. Seriously, Tom is a perfect human being and what Christian Borle brings to the role is priceless. If you have a problem with Tom your judgment is going to be seriously questioned. It’s not just his mannerisms, kindness, or talent that makes you fall in love with him – it’s also his relationship with Julia. Those two are family. The richness Debra Messing brings to her half of the pairing is absolutely heart warming. Their relationship makes people believe in friendship. Long after all the couples on this show fall apart, Tom and Julia will be as strong as ever.
Derek is another character that hasn’t lost the qualities that make him special. He’s still an arrogant, bossy, entitled ass… But frankly, these are the things we love about him. We love how he can command a room or take charge of a situation. Because at the end of the day, we know that he does it to get the best out of a show or a person. He pushes and antagonizes to make things better. Not to mention, this season Derek has expanded a bit and we’re finally getting to see some of his vulnerabilities that were only hinted at before.
On top of all that, the focus of the show has shifted back to the theater. No more cheating partners, scheming assistants, or mamma drama. The show is centered around two up and coming shows – Bombshell and Hit List.
Which brings us to…
Easily the best new additions to the show – Jeremy and Andy play the friendly and professional theater duo Jimmy Collins and Kyle Bishop. The two characters are introduced as a composing and writing team at the very start of their careers. Jimmy is a scrappy and slightly troubled soul that is also spilling over with talent. Since he’s not the easiest to get along with, Kyle his best friend and business partner often acts as his – charming and sweet – doorway to the world.
Now, we can admit these aren’t the most original characters in the world… But, the actors who inhabit these guys have made them incredibly compelling and watchable. It takes a special kind of talent and chemistry to really pull off the type of relationship that Jimmy and Kyle have. The two are life long friends but they’re also trying to break into an extremely competitive business… Add to that the underlying romantic tension between the pair and you have a recipe for something quite entertaining.
Jeremy and Andy have impressed us week-after-week with what they’ve brought to the show. Andy gives Kyle a youthful and optimistic spirit that somehow avoids becoming naive or bland. He’s sweet, real, layered… And every time he’s on screen you have to force yourself from smiling like a loon. Jimmy on the other hand is a bit abrasive and impatient and the audience is supposed to wonder why Kyle would put up with him. Although, from the second Jeremy comes on screen, his charisma takes over and you fall in love instantly.
This isn’t even highlighting their outstanding vocal performances on the show! Which are absolutely swoon worthy bee-tee-dubs. If you don’t love either of these songs then we recommend you get your ears checked. Fast.
There is no need to kid ourselves about this one. Musical theater just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. You either enjoy it or tease, mercilessly, those that do. But here’s the thing. A lot of people just haven’t been exposed to Broadway or theater culture. Not everyone has access to theatrical venues much less the finances to afford ticket prices. In reality this sort of entertainment is still kind of reserved for a fortunate few.
There is so much fun to be had in musical theater! Shows like Glee have really popped open the door to this demographic and shown that singing and dancing kids can be extremely successful. That being said though, Glee has its own type of audience. It’s not geared for adults nor does it have the on stage Broadway element of Smash. Take a look at these for example:
And if those are a little to Classic Broadway for you, maybe something a little more contemporary will satisfy your apatite
Tell us one place we can see something like this on TV other than Smash? There HAS to be an audience for this type of thing. A sizeable and interested group willing to tune in every week. And frankly, part of that group is probably you. How many of you have fallen in love with Rent, Chicago, Across the Universe, or Moulin Rouge, or even Footloose?! These are all different expressions of a singular concept. Story + Music = Entertainment. And Smash is just a new adaptation of the musical genre.
Maybe the tide has already turned and it’s too late for this show to regain its footing. It’s really not because the show is a flop. It’s because the audience gave up just a little too soon or because the intended viewers never found the show to begin with. If the network wants to let Smash go, so be it, but we refuse to let it go down with a bad name. Because, at the end of the day – this was the show brave enough to invest in televised musical theater – and that’s something to be proud of.