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Smash: Discussion Thread


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#1 Toups

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 07:52 PM

Smash: Discussion Thread


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#2 Toups

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 07:59 PM

SMASH

“Smash” is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire -- to be a "Smash." The series centers on a desire to create a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe -- written by the successful songwriting duo of Tom (Tony Award nominee Christian Borle, “Legally Blonde: The Musical”) and Julia (Emmy Award winner Debra Messing, “Will & Grace”). Julia recently began the process of adopting a child with her husband of many years, but her focus is torn when she has the opportunity to write another Broadway hit. A rivalry soon forms for the lead role between a youthful, inexperienced Midwestern beauty (Katharine McPhee, “American Idol”) -- who is trying to find fame in the big city against all odds -- and stage veteran (Megan Hilty, “9 to 5: The Musical”), who's determined to leave the chorus line and finally get her big break. A tenacious producer Eileen (Oscar winner, Anjelica Huston, “Prizzi’s Honor”) discovers the "Marilyn" project and jumps on board with a brilliant director (Jack Davenport, “Pirates of the Caribbean” films) -- whose talent is matched by his cunning and egocentric amorality. The series stemmed from an idea of executive producer and multiple Emmy and Oscar winner Steven Spielberg (“ER,” “Schindler’s List”). The pilot was written by acclaimed playwright/screenwriter Theresa Rebeck (“Mauritius,” “NYPD Blue”). Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Oscar-winning “Chicago,” “Hairspray”) and Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (“United States of Tara,” “The Borgias”) will also serve as executive producers. Original songs are written by Tony and Grammy Award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Hairspray,” “Catch Me If You Can”), who also serve as executive producers. “Smash” is a production of Universal Media Studios in association with DreamWorks. The pilot was directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (“Spring Awakening,” “American Idiot”).
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#3 EricMontreal22

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 01:55 AM

I've already seen the pilot, and a few quibbles aside, I think it's really good (even the original songs by the Hairspray guys are morememorable than expected)--my main fear is how long they can keep up the quality, and I wish the project had remained with Showtime (greenblatt took the project with him when he left there to move to NBC) where it would be FAR better suited (swearing and some more adult elements, less episodes a season--though due to costs maybe NBC will do that anyway--etc). That said my basic problem is the overall setup is cliche (aging chorus girl with her last chance at a lead vs midwestern fresh ingenue whose parents hate New york and including a skeevy director who wants to sleep with her) and some of the dialogue sucks--Angelica Houston has to spout some ridiculous divorce cliches, and all too often I could guess the next line... Still...


Anyway iTunes is offering (in the US only) the pilot for free download http://itunes.apple....n-1/id492511667

Edited by EricMontreal22, 18 January 2012 - 06:21 PM.

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#4 EricMontreal22

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 02:04 AM

It's also on Amazon (US) streaming video as well as every tv torrent site now...
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#5 tina m

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 08:39 PM

I have it on my comcast on demand service too, I need to find a day to watch the pilot on there. I've been a Kat McPhee fan since American Idol. I'm excited, I hope it lives up to my expectations!

Edited by tina m, 22 January 2012 - 08:43 PM.

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#6 dragonflies

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 08:49 AM

I'm excited for this show, especially since Thorsten Kaye will be on it, he plays a bartender & AH's love interest :wub:
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#7 JackPeyton

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 12:48 PM

I greatly enjoyed this pilot. It is def a show that builds with each episode.
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#8 VirginiaHamilton

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 01:01 PM

I get the feeling from the pilot that we're supposed to be rooting for Katherine McPhee's character (she being a small-town girl who wants to be a star), but I'm far more invested in Megan Hilty's character. IMO, she's a far better actress and singer that commands the screen in a way that McPhee can't.
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#9 JackPeyton

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 01:31 PM

I get the feeling from the pilot that we're supposed to be rooting for Katherine McPhee's character (she being a small-town girl who wants to be a star), but I'm far more invested in Megan Hilty's character. IMO, she's a far better actress and singer that commands the screen in a way that McPhee can't.

Actually, i do not think we are supposed to be more invested in one than the other, and what you see in their characters was established on the show. McPhee's chaacter has little to no experience who comes off kind of timid, but has potential, while Hitly's may not have a star level resume, shes got the experience and power to command the audience.

I loved them both.
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#10 Toups

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 09:34 PM

I'm a sucker for behind-the-scenes type of shows, and I really like the pilot. I love Katharine McPhee - her voice and her hotness - wearing only a white dress shirt and singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President...."....WOW!!! :wub: Ever since she was on American Idol, I was hoping she would be make it big. Unfortunately her singing career didn't take off after a few albums. So I really hope Smash is a big hit, or at least big enough for NBC to keep the show. I'm also a Jack Davenport fan ever since 'Coupling' and hopefully he's not a jinx again (Flashfoward, Swingtown). I'm not a fan of "Broadway" songs (like the baseball), so that was about the only negative thing for me. But I'd be happy if there were songs like "Let Me Be Your Star" - isn't wasn't too Broadway-ish.
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#11 EricMontreal22

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 08:58 PM

You have a very very limited view of Broadway musicals if you think Let Me Be Your Star--which was a camp perfect parody of Broadway power ballads yet also worked as a great number--wasn't "broadway". The Baseball number wa more old school 50s musical theatre (even down to the innuendos which often had to be toned down when those musicals were made into movies). But yes, I'm glad that we'll get "at least two" Marc Shaiman new numbers each week (he's the Hairspray composer who did both songs).

Apparently we learn who get sthe lead in episode two so the focus isn't, thankfully, on "who will win" for the full season.
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#12 Toups

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 11:59 PM

You have a very very limited view of Broadway musicals if you think Let Me Be Your Star--which was a camp perfect parody of Broadway power ballads yet also worked as a great number--wasn't "broadway". The Baseball number wa more old school 50s musical theatre (even down to the innuendos which often had to be toned down when those musicals were made into movies). But yes, I'm glad that we'll get "at least two" Marc Shaiman new numbers each week (he's the Hairspray composer who did both songs).

Apparently we learn who get sthe lead in episode two so the focus isn't, thankfully, on "who will win" for the full season.

Yeah, I don't know much about Broadway - never seen a Broadway show and have no intentions to ever see one. When I think of Broadway music, I think of songs like the baseball song.......the "broadway sound."
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#13 EricMontreal22

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:59 AM

That's fair enough--I sounded more insulted than I meant to--sorry. I think the modern Broadway sound is really exactly what "Star" is--that's why I saw it as much as a parody as the other song was--if not more. There's been some fight recently about what Broadway sounds like due to Randy Jackson's comments on AI which have led to even his producer Nigel Lythgoe claiming he would talk to him (the irony being that Randy's *small* non AI related success has been almost all kept to one tiny genre of music).

Shaiman and his partner are brilliant at mimic-ing different types of music (which i one reason they've never had much success on their own with musicals unless copying a sound--they have zero original voice). I hope this is used further on Smash--but the actual so9ngwriting duo is based on Lynn Harens and Stephen Flaherty (who were approcahced to do the music but said they could never write that quickly) and they have a very modern sound, even when doing period pieces like Ragtime.

And the irony really is that apparently they ARE hoping the show is enough of a success that it will lead to Marilyn The Musical being on Broadway (whichg I find iffy--there have been TWO iffy shows based on her that were huge flops, and I don't think the campy take on her life that the Baseball song shows would lead to a hit musical).

Edited by EricMontreal22, 06 February 2012 - 01:13 AM.

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#14 VirginiaHamilton

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 04:31 PM

Actually, i do not think we are supposed to be more invested in one than the other, and what you see in their characters was established on the show. McPhee's chaacter has little to no experience who comes off kind of timid, but has potential, while Hitly's may not have a star level resume, shes got the experience and power to command the audience.

I loved them both.


Mileage varies because I was less than enthused by McPhee. Whether that is intentional or not, we shall see.

But based on that first episode, I am square on Team Ivy Lynn.
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#15 HeedTheMessenger2.0

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 10:18 PM

NBC is really banking on this show, or at least are REALLY pushing for it. With most of their lineup flopping this season I think they are really counting on it...

They are replaying it on E, Bravo, Oxygen, and a few others I can't remember. I think they really really really need this to be successful........

I'll give it a shot!
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#16 Angela

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:38 AM

The early overnights for Monday...

We don't normally focus on the overnight metered market household ratings for the 56 largest market because you can't tell much from them. You can't tell what the adults 18-49 rating is or how many people watched and there is no way to figure that out from those numbers. Often there are shows with big household numbers that wind up doing badly with adults 18-49, and the reverse is also true.

But whatever the numbers we can tell that The Voice had a pretty great night and Smash had a good-to-great start and that in those 56 markets, NBC won every half hour of primetime in household viewing. The Voice pulled a 10.6/16 (household rating/share) from 8-10p and Smash scored a 7.7/13 at 10pm. Comparatively speaking that 7.7 was better than everything else on Monday night save the aforementioned The Voice, and CBS's Two and a Half Men (8.5/12).

For the half-hour watchers, the last half hour of The Voice drew an 11.1/16 and the first half hour of Smash scored an 8.3/13 and the second half hour dipped to 7.2/12.

Remember, all numbers above refer to household rating (not adults 18-49 rating) and you can't tell what the adults 18-49 rating is or how many people watched and there is no way to figure that out from those numbers. NBC looks to have done aiiiight though.

UPDATED NUMBERS:

The first Monday of February sweeps of course saw original programming on all of the broadcast networks. On the heels of a record breaking Super Bowl and great post-Super Bowl turnout for The Voice, would Monday's time period debut of The Voice and the premiere of Smash take a bite out of the competition's ratings? In a word, yes.

NBC won the night with adults 18-49 and total viewers with The Voice pulling a 6.6 adults 18-49 rating from 8-10p, 29% higher than last year's premiere. Smash debuted to a 3.8 adults 18-49 rating (the half hour breakout was a 4.2 dropping to a 3.4). For a hailstorm of bullets from NBC, click here.

CBS was second on the night with How I Met Your Mother down 0.4 from its last original to a 4.0 adults 18-49 rating. 2 Broke Girls was down 0.3 from its last original but was CBS's top performer (and the best 18-49 rating for a scripted show) with a 4.3 adults 18-49 rating. Two and a Half Men was down 0.4 from its last original to a season-low 4.2 adults 18-49 rating and Mike & Molly was also off four tenths with a season-low 3.4 adults 18-49 rating. Hawaii Five-0 was off a tenth to a 2.7 adults 18-49 rating.

The Bachelor's 2.6 adults 18-49 rating was even versus last week. Castle was down 5% to a season low-tying 2.0 adults 18-49 rating.
FOX shows took a hit with House down 17% to a 2.4 adults 18-49 rating and Alcatraz down 21% from last week to a 2.2 adults 18-49 rating.

Link to numbers for the night: http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/02/07/tv-ratings-monday-nbc-has-a-big-voice-the-day-after-super-bowl-cbs-down-not-out-castle-sees-lows-big-drops-for-house-alcatraz/118898/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Tvbythenumbers+%28TVbytheNumbers%29
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#17 gtru1981

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 10:51 PM

I think this show is doomed! I tried to give it another chance...but its way to boring!
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#18 EricMontreal22

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:43 AM

GH I wanna love this! Not just be amused by the (well done) production numbers and good acting. It really is playing it too safe--it should have been on cable (but really--this is 10pm drama...)

For a 10pm drama, it honestly doesn't have any bite (the mean characters--Anjelica's husband who seems to exist just so he acan say something cliche and she can throw a drink on him and we applaud--and the smarmy director, who actually now doesn't even seem all that mean or all that complex). While backstage sagas usually are rife with bitchiness, there's always SOME of that in the theatre but so far all we seem to get is a few people being only kinda nice to the new girl (That's NOT a diss in the theatre world even in my limited experience). I don't know Theresa Rebeck's theatre and TV work at all from the past, but I know she's well regarded--so far her first two scripts make me wonder if she's ever met a line of cliched dialogue she didn't like.

Rebeck recently spoke about how they had to soften a lot of it when they changed it from a show aimed at Showtime to one for network TV. But surely it didn't have to feel quite this "nice" for a ten pm drama.

As cliched as it is I do enjoy the musical bits and some of the rehearsal/"making a musical" stuff (yes All That Jazz, amonst others, did it better, but). And I think the character combos and stories have potential but so far they seem to be dealing with cliche storylines, with cliche dialogue and most of these dilemnas get wrapped up in one episode (the husband decides he doesn't want to adopt if he has to wiat two more years, same episode he comes around, etc). But with all the faultsd, for me it goes by quickly and is enjoyable. I just wish it was more.

It's like the show can't decide if it wants to be Parenthood (an underated Herskovitz/Zwick style family drama with touches of soap by their protoge Jason Katims who handled Friday Night Lights, but as the New Yorker critic pointed out well that seemed to get cool cred for being in a sports milieu that the other shows don't), or if it wants to be a campy All About Eve soap. I think i should just go whole hog and do that--because between the fun, camp numbers, and the over the top caricature characters, stories about chinese adoption (unless there's a kidnapping) just fall flat.

New York Magazine's Vulture blog, which did the hysterical recap Bobster posted, also had their stage critic write about the pilot's musical numbers. The full post is HERE, but I found his comments on the Baseball Number spot on (and yes, I did love it--it was "absolutely perfect without being any good at all" which in itself is something I could celebrate, if the characters didn't then fawn and cry about wanting to make a musical that showed the world the person Marilyn truly was)

2. “The National Pastime”
Ivy, a curvaceous striver who’s survived innumerable chorus lines, is the bombshell; she’s competing to play Marilyn on the basis of her raw carnal drive. Which, the show seems to be subliminally telling us, also means she’s a Broadway-belt soprano, in marked contrast to her slender brunette rival Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee), who represents “love” (i.e., pop melisma soprano). To drive home that precious (and oh-so-American) sex-love divide, we’re given the only full original number of the pilot: an homage to, among other things, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Athletically choreographed by Joshua Bergasse, this massive musical gangbang (no exaggeration) features moves ranging from the Cunnilingus Lift-Spin to the Double Rumpy-Pumpy. Brilliantly filmed and edited, indefatigably hoofed by an incredible ensemble, “National Pastime” — where Marilyn apparently celebrates her first date with Joe DiMaggio by getting double-entendre-teamed by the entire Yankee squad — is, in the immortal words of Spice World, “absolutely perfect without really being any good at all.” After so many decades of camp, numbers like this (funny! sexy!) are increasingly hard for a Broadway show to bring off: The point, it seems, is not sex but a parody of sex. Which isn’t sexy. But it is impressive! Again, I’d love to know how it works within the show. When, like, there is a show. As for the studio execs no doubt quaking in their wingtips over whether all those bats and balls add up to something inescapably homoerotic, well, that I wouldn’t lose sleep over: All great American rituals are inescapably homoerotic, after all.

Excuse the long rant but I don't get to indulge my Broadway love on here much...
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#19 DRW50

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 07:20 AM

http://weblogs.varie...is-sinking.html
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#20 alwaysAMC

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 10:47 AM

I finally caught up on this show... It's ok, but I don't love it like I thought I would. I had no idea it would be so Marilyn Monroe-focused. For some reason that just seems more in your face than anything else. Also, the NYC outside directing is horrible. There was one long shot at Times Square where you could see Angelica Houston and another character walking and talking - and on the sides you could clearly see the public being roped off and everyone is staring and taking pictures of the scene as it's been filmed. That was bad!
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