Monday, April 23, 2012

Saving Smash, Before It's Too Late

            Smash is one of the most promising shows of the new season.  The plot focuses on the cast and crew of a Broadway show about Marilyn Monroe, from creation of the idea to, currently, trying to get investors and get it on stage.  It’s got a fun cast (especially Anjelica Huston as the producer), enough wit to go with the drama, and some awesome big musical numbers with Broadway-quality music to go with it (I highly suggest looking up Let’s Be Bad on Youtube).  Yet since The Workshop, the show has stumbled for me and it’s still trying to climb back up to where it was.  And if it doesn’t, a show that’s already renewed for season 2 is quickly going to become unwatchable.  Here’s my best suggestions for making sure this show doesn’t hit the sophomore slump hard (note: the last episode I watched was Understudy.  This means I haven’t seen anything with Uma Thurman’s character yet, but I am crossing my fingers that I am blown away):
1. Keep the plotlines focused on Broadway.  A recent subplot had one of the cast member’s boyfriends trying to become the White House press secretary or something like that.  It’s so far removed from the show that I don’t even know how it got there.  As far as I can tell, the show is trying to fix this fast by putting as many characters on a bus as it can, but there’s still problems with main cast members that aren’t working on Marilyn anymore.  Get everybody focused, get your main plot rolling, and THEN you can start doing subplots with secondary characters.
2. One great song is better than 2 mediocre ones. The current formula seems to say that there’s around 2-3 songs per episode.  Two of them end up being standard licensed fare that’s straight out of Glee, with little to no choreography and very little point besides to say “the character is feeling sad”.  The other is a big, original musical number that tends to always leave my jaw on the floor.  I would rather just have the musical number and leave the licensed songs to Glee.
3. No more cheating.  OK, this is frankly getting ridiculous.  About half the cast has either had an affair or has another character think they’re cheating on their lover.  The worst part is that the biggest affair so far was only found out because Julia was holding on to the idiot ball for dear life, and now they won’t stop talking about it.  Bury this plotline, and never do any like it again.
4. Start sowing the seeds for the next arc.  The most dangerous part of this show so far is that the entire plot is trying to get Marilyn on Broadway.  What happens when they succeed?  I honestly don’t know, and that worries me.  If the first arc ends with Marilyn getting on Broadway, is the show over?  Do they start working on another play?   Or are they just going to keep spinning the wheels on Marilyn until the show gets cancelled?  At least give me the slightest hint that you have more up your sleeve.

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