As cynical as I have sometimes been in my recapping of the show, both here and in the more official capacity over at BroadwaySpotted.com, I want to reemphasize that I've never actually been one of the SMASH cynics. My deep hope persists that SMASH can still be a great show and occasionally shows flashes of it.
When I heard about the shake up at the helm and on the decks, I was pleased. Mostly that we'd be losing that yucky assistant, who, strangely, my mind has already repressed. I cannot remember his name. Hold on, I'm going to go look it up... Ellis!
Anyhow. I was less pleased to eventually lose Brian D'arcy James and Raza Jaffrey, but, alas. What we were gaining in return was worth the price. Jennifer Hudson (sorta), Andy Mientus, Krysta Rodriguez and most especially Jeremy Jordan as series regulars with Sean Hayes and LIZA MINELLI as special guest stars?? Okay, then. Sign me up and let's get to watching.
I still find that there's something quite vacant about Katharine McPhee as a performer. She never feels present in any scene or any song. And I still don't get Marilyn even when she's playing her. Also, I feel like she's a little too bitchy anymore to Ivy. I dunno... maybe because to me, it was months and months and a whole country ago-- 5,440 miles ago-- I think, dude, let it go. No need to get anyone fired. Plus! You breaking up with your Dev (was that his name? Another one I've almost completely erased from my memory) meant that now you live with Krysta Rodriguez and I'd way rather watch her.
Most of the plot elements you guys can guess because, well, they pretty much give them all away in the promo. And I don't have much to say about them. I'm good with it. I don't mind some soapy elements. I lived on the Broadway campus long enough to know that the soap factor is actually one of the more accurate (and often satisfying!) elements of SMASH.
I'll say this though. I really do think they're going in the right direction. Yep. Bombshell should be thwarted. Because that shit's real. And because even without seeing the entirety of Bombshell, I can tell you right now I know for a FACT Julia's book for the thing was bad. Most shows get thwarted in some way, even when the writers have clout.
And thank god for whoever's idea it was (I'm guessing new showrunner Gossip Girl's Josh Safran) to bring in plot lines (and REAL MUSIC!) from young and emerging writers! YAY! It feels like being single for a really long time and then finally getting asked out on a date. And I'm not even writing for the show! But that's how satisfying it feels.
I'm also going to make a note that this episode features two of the most honest moments ever featured on the show to date. One of them, however, was immediately followed with eye-rolling pretense.
When Jennifer Hudson tells Kat McPhee to 'protect the work,' I nodded my head for like a full 30 seconds. But then, she said, "This will be you in six months," and walked out of her dressing room to a stage door that felt like a red carpet premiere. And just like that, the moment was shattered on the dirty theater district pavement.
The other moment--- oh, the other moment-- there was just nothing Hollywood could do to ruin it. Not Kat McPhee holding up her iphone for Derek to hear it, nor the plot contrivance of her forgetting the phone on the bar forcing her to come back and hear it. Nothing could ruin Jeremy Jordan singing Joe Iconis's 'Broadway Here I Come.'
I'd personally like to thank my friends Joe and Jeremy for this moment of the show. I re-watched the last four minutes of the episode about seven or eight times last night and once again this morning. It's so much better in the full version than what they show in the promo. I'm not a fan of the way they edited the song for that promo. It doesn't show off the best parts of the song IMO. But you'll watch the full thing and you'll see. You can also hear the lovely Molly Hager sing it here. And of course, Krysta, sing it here.
Off to a good start, SMASH. Please, please, I beg of you, keep it up. Josh Safran promised me and you "more music, less scarves." I'm going to choose to trust him to keep that promise. And I'll keep watching. But who am I kidding. Like all the people who love Broadway, I'm a glutton for punishment. I'd watch it no matter what.
You can watch part one of the Season 2 premiere on Hulu here.
The full two hour premiere airs on NBC February 5
- What's going on with Jennifer Hudson's teeth during her performance? It's like she lost the weight and became a lollypop head and her teeth just seem HUGE now.
- I was surprised to find Theresa Rebeck listed as an executive producer. My understanding is that she was relinquishing all affiliation with the show from now on, save Created By. Guess not.
- I feel a little dirty for saying it, but can we petition for more Riedel in this season. I'd take him in every episode really. There's something more palatable about him as semi-fictional soap villain on TV. AMIRIGHT???