During the simpler times of 2012, SMASH looked like it was going to be a hit. NBC had been going through a rough patch and desperately needed a win. SMASH's pilot received a lot of praise and as the season went on, the show started to become a joke. How did the once dubbed, NBC saver and become such a joke and victim of hate watching?
I have only seen Season 1 of the show because I have been forewarned that Season 2 is even worse than its predecessor. I had high hopes for the show, being a huge fan of the classics, Hollywood glamor, and of course, Marilyn, I was pumped to watch a show that will paint Marilyn in the light she deserved. Unfortunately, the great music and promising actors were overshadowed by confusing plot points and cartoon like villains. I was never a fanf the show's Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee) character over-shadowing the far more talented Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty). It was like SMASH wanted to self-destruct, but why?
After reading Buzzfeed's 2013 article, "How 'Smash' Became TV's Biggest Train Wreck", it turns out that the downfall was not due to the writer's room, it was the show-runner and claimed creator, Theresa Rebeck. Buzzfeed's article details that Rebeck had never run a show for television and was not interested in having a writer's room. She had writer's write the first draft and then Rebeck would rewrite it. After the pilot, many believed the show was going in the wrong direction.
To me, it was like the show forgot about the main plot point, the Marilyn musical. It was still there, but was dominated by messy character storylines. For example, Debra Messing's character, Julia, had an adoption plot, which made no sense since most of the audience just wanted to see the development of the musical.
At times, it was also very unrealistic. In the third episode, one of the leads, Karen Cartwright, is performing Karaoke and the whole bar is acting like she is performing at a concert, which would NEVER happen in real life.
What bothered me the most, as mentioned before, was the whole Karen Cartwright character. Yes, she was needed for the pilot, but I believed she should have been a guest star and gone episode two. The show wraps around the idea that two women are competing to be the Marilyn role, a seasoned actress waiting for her break (Ivy) and a newbie who has never been in a show (Karen). Ivy was the clear winner but the show kept acting like Karen was the one, even though Ivy was very dedicated and clearly needed it more. At one point, the musical writers in the show put a movie star who doesn't sing as Marilyn over Ivy which again, unrealistic, and ridiculous. Megan Hilty very much deserved better and needed her talents to be shown.
Regardless of the show being messy, the music still holds up today. "Let Me Be Your Star", "Let's Be Bad", "The National Pastime", "History Is Made At Night" and "I Never Met A Wolf Who Didn't Love To Howl", all Megan Hilty numbers, surprise surprise.
It is rumored that SMASH's "Bombshell" will be put into production to be an actual Broadway show, which if true, you will definitely see me buying a ticket. If put on Broadway, SMASH's may be redeemed and who knows, may be given another chance on the small screen.