Smash Pilot Review

I just finished watching the pilot to Smash on NBC.  And I have to say I liked it.  When you watch a pilot, all you can really decide is do you want to see episode 2, and I do.  I am first and foremost a Broadway Baby. That may mean it was actually good because I have some knowledge about the subject (I liked the Kristin Chenoweth reference and the casting of Brian d'Arcy James.)  But it also means, I have a high standard of what I am going to expect from a Broadway Show.  I agreed with Julia Houston (Debra Messing) when she laments, "Where are all the original musicals?"   I have had it with them turning every movie into a musical and calling that a Broadway Show.  My standards for musicals begins and ends with Stephen Sondheim.  That being said, the show seems like it will be a nice mix of something we know (Marilyn Monroe, Katharine McPhee) and something we don't (new songs written by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman.)  I think with the amount of real Broadway knowledge the producing team has this show should be able to not slip into camp.  The moment that it does, I will be leaving the theater and going out for an early dinner. I thought the characters were a bit on the "light" side and a bit cliche.  (The director character is ripped right out of a bad movie and in my opinion should be recast with a character we have not seen about a million times.)  Creating two dimensional characters  is a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do in a Broadway play because you have very little time to develop a character.  But on Television, you have nothing but time.  This would be my main complaint.  The script for the pilot dropped in so much exposition in unbelievable sentences.  No one just drops in casual conversation what State they are from to their longtime boyfriend. (of course it was Iowa.)  People don't tell their life stories to their significant others over and over again.  An example was when the assistant mentioned a musical he worked on in high school and the writer turned to their partner and said, "Our first hit."   They would both know what musical they wrote first.  And you know what?  It is OK if people at home don't know what their first hit was in the pilot.  Everything doesn't have to be explained in the first 40 minutes.   I have noticed that in all the pilots I watched this year, the writers are trying too hard to develop every character all at once.  They want to TELL us what the person is thinking, feeling, striving for, instead of show us.  Or even better, let us figure it out over time.  I am not sure I see this show lasting years, but I think I will enjoy it for a short ride.   And really, that is all we can ask of a network show anymore.  To enjoy it until the network ruins it.

 

UPDATE: Click here to read my review of Episode 2

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