'Smash' strikes the right note
February 7th, 2012
09:32 AM ET

'Smash' strikes the right note

Let's get this out of the way right now: "Glee," this is not.

After months of hype (not to mention online streaming), NBC's "Smash" premiered on Monday night, and it was easy to see that while plenty of singing is involved, the show has a very different tone from the Fox hit series. (Worth noting: "Smash" was originally pitched to Showtime in 2009, the year "Glee" premiered.)

"Smash" – as anyone who saw the endless promos probably knows – revolves around a musical adaptation of the life of Marilyn Monroe.

What's incredible right out of the gate is how fully formed the idea for the story is, not to mention the songs. For example, Ivy, the more experienced of the top two contenders to play Marilyn, had a showstopping baseball-themed number. (This show will make the actress who plays Ivy, Megan Hilty, a star – her rehearsal scenes alone!)

The ingenue, Karen, played by onetime "American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee, wowed the producers with her rendition of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful." Despite the fact that this scene has been shown the most in promos, it's still an extraordinary performance.

Karen, by the way, might as well have had a halo over her head. Despite the notion of "Team Ivy" versus "Team Karen," so far we were asked to sympathize with her a lot more. (She even does the right thing by refusing to sleep with the director, Derek – possibly eliminating any future Marilyn-esque performances of "Happy Birthday" for the rest of the series.)

In another very memorable scene, Karen is seen practicing her Marilyn, singing along with Ivy thanks to a video that was leaked online by the playwright's assistant (whose story arc could be very interesting to follow).

Speaking of the playwrights, Debra Messing's character, Julia, was drawn into making a Broadway musical, almost like it's an addiction. The moment it becomes clear that the Marilyn musical can work, she and her writing partner Tom are unstoppable.

In the meantime, Anjelica Huston wasn't given too much to do, but it's early yet.

With the possible exception of "Homeland", this was the pilot this season that had me dying the most to see what happens next. It didn't hurt that the way they left it off, with a terrific song – and Karen and Ivy almost running into each other before walking into callbacks – was absolute perfection. I think we'll see more than a few Emmy nominations this summer.

What did you think of the premiere? Are you in for the season, like me? Share your iReport or comment below.

soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Loan

    I love Katherine McPhee but I'm not quite sure I love her enough to keep watching the show. Although it's a great idea for a show it's a little boring and not really worth skipping Hawaii Five-O (at least for me) which plays in the same time slot. Yes it's different from Glee but even that show is losing momentum and teens watch way more TV then any "sophisticated" crowd I know. I'll probably watch it when it's posted online and I'm bored. But I'll give it a real deserving try and watch a few more episodes before writing it off completely.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Hawaii five-o?? Really?Along with the thousand other crime/drama shows, don't you think there's a little room for something different.I for one think so and am so tired of the up-tight negativity of bloggers.Leave your opinion and then go do something useful.Dance !Sing! Create!.....Thanks for listening

      February 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave

    Didn't see the show, but I am overjoyed that Union actors and techs are again working on TV as opposed to the public ripoff of the unscripted and trashy "reality" shows currently running roughshod over the public airways.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Victor Schwartzman

    A lot of effort went into the show, but no one seems to have asked why do a happy go lucky musical about a tragic figure? The show appears clueless that it doesn't work to do triumphant stage songs about someone whose life was a mess. The baseball number did not work for me because it forgot the baseball marriage ended in tragic divorce. The show itself meant well but was a compendium of cliches. If there was an original thought or character, sorry but I missed it. Hopefully the show will improve over time.

    February 9, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Someone

    i tuned in out of curiosity and thought it very well done. like another commentor, i found myself at the end wanting the show to continue! however, i am holding onto my own reservations as i fail to see how the show is more than a movie mini-series masquerading as a tv series. i hope that i am proved wrong!

    February 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MyDalmation

    I enjoyed the show. However, I am a singer and love the theatre. I agree with another comment - it makes me miss NYC too. I was very impressed with Katherine McPhee. I think that she is very pretty. Enough with the dissing already!!

    February 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Art Hymon

    I thoroughly enjoyed the show and look foreward to watching it each week. I'm not a New Yorker but particularly got a kick out of all the location shots. I really don't watch a lot of TV but this show is an absolute must see for me each week. Like several others have said I hated seeing that the hour was up and that it was over. Outstanding!!!

    February 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. duh

    Sword swallowers only for this one

    February 8, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Denise

    I enjoyed it very much and can't wait for the the next episode.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Observer


    February 8, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. JeffF

    Reading some of these comments from people who have probably never acomplished a thing in their life is pretty funny. This was actually a very well done show and although I've never been a big Katherine Mcfee fan she was very good and is actually a very pretty gal.
    All of you with your crude and cruel comments can now go back to you dismal lives.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Beth

    Absolutely loved it!! Can' wait for more.

    February 8, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sokman

    Didnt I already post a comment on this rubbish show in this blog? I hope McPhee forgets her underwear again

    February 8, 2012 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kasey

    I watched the Pilot on youtube before it actually aired. AMAZING show! Can't wait until next week!

    February 8, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. @Kathy

    So, that means you didn't like it? lol

    February 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kathy

    Boring, cliche, unimaginative, seen it all before, completely insulting, culture-deprived drivel. It just gives me the creeps to even think about it, it's so completely dumb. And I don't mean the stars are those words, the stars of the show are just acting out crap. Complete crap. Sorry, but I just think it is so completely stupid and it's all been done before. We all know Marilyn was a confused soul, I mean, can't they think of something else to write a story about, then take Marilyn AGAIN and hash it all out?

    February 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Elton John

    Yeah, but you're partially retarded, so you're opinion is weak.

    February 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Jann

    Loved every minute of this show!!!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Betsy

    Loved it!! Can't wait for more episodes!!!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Niinipini

    I liked it, too. Actually, much more than I expected. It ended on a high note.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Elton John

    Let's get one thing straight. Is this more or less gay than glee?

    February 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  21. SilverSnikle

    I did not want to add another show to my DVR line-up, but SMASH left without the option. I was floored. And at the end, when I realized it was in fact the end, I was actually angry. I wanted it to go on forever!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Name*deberad

    Ok...hope it gets better!

    February 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  23. RatherRead

    Linda is correct. Boring. Silly story line and all the hype was just that...HYPE. Don't waste any time on this one. NEXT!

    February 7, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  24. Linda

    You must have watched a different show than I did. I found it boring and predictable. Next!

    February 7, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  25. Celina

    I truly enjoyed it but I dont think it will do well with viewers. Unless you have broadway dreams or lived in NY you wont releate to the show. It really made me miss NYC and all its energy.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • bf

      you don't have to "live in new york" or have "broadway dreams" to appreciate broadway?

      February 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      I think it is on at 10pm for a reason. Glee this is not and I think it's "sophistication" will try to draw an older audience. I don't think this is geared for teens and I don't think it will be a top 20 show. But there are a lot of other really good shows that don't get the credit (ratings) they deserve either. I'm hooked!

      February 9, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  26. Atawewe

    Reblogged this on the1tvjunkie.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  27. Annie Baker

    Newsflash: Megan Hilty already IS a star. Duh.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  28. @9:16

    I liked it. It was sophisticated. People on it had tattoos and smoked cigarettes. Thats how you can tell if someone is sophisticated and different and cool.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  29. maybe

    disappointing if you ask me.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  30. tunein

    I am not a Glee fan at all, but Smash is sophisticated and so well done. It's like watching a movie, theatrical musical, with top notch acting and performances. Thank you for great TV.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  31. Heather

    I wasn't interested – but found nothing else on to watch either – so I watched it now I can't wait to see more

    February 7, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  32. pinto

    It made me toot.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  33. jeff

    Katherine Mcphee sure has a horse face. She reminds me of an uglier Sarah Jessica Parker.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • skipinVegas

      I don't think "uglier [than] Sarah Jessica Parker" is possible.

      February 7, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Ugly? You are crazy! She's not smokin' hot, but she is really 'bring home to meet the folks' cute.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  34. marcus

    I just didnt even watch it. It is definitly the most boring and lame show on tv today. It was just silly. ILL give it 2 more episodes before it is gone.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Jesse

      All that negative criticism that started with "I didn't even watch it." Moron.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda Jamshidian

      I thought you didn't watch it??? It was fabulous:you're loss.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Giselle

      It was interesting, different and promising, enjoyable music... I'll certainly give it a chance

      February 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |

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