Last night, NBC ran the season finale of its new hit Smash, giving the world a shockingly intense hour of television. I have been watching Smash all season, and have loved it but found myself surprised when I spent most of the finale on the edge of my seat. Without my noticing, the show had spent a season rolling a giant snowball and during the finale, they rolled it down a hill.
There is no doubt in my mind that Smash needs to be classified as a drama because, other than some killer musical numbers, the show was only filled with drama. The television show chronicles all the work and drama that goes into writing, producing, directing and creating a Broadway musical. Rather than having a single main character, the show boasts many and each main character takes part in a different aspect of creating the musical. Not only does each character have a role in the musical, each comes complete with their own specific drama.
The two possible Maralyn Monroe’s, the show’s lead character, cultivate a fair amount of drama between themselves. Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) comes with a boyfriend trying to work his way up the political ladder and a naive disposition that does not suit Broadway. Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) feeds on drama and eventually ends up sleeping with the show’s director, Derek Wills (Jack Davenport). Derek is an angry man that takes no nonsense and will do anything for the show. The show’s writers, Julia Houston (Debra Messing) and Tom Levitt (Christian Borle), both claim their own relationship problems. Tom is trying to navigate his way through the world of gay dating, eventually starting a relationship with one of the show’s dancers, Sam Strickland (Leslie Odom Jr.). Julia is desperately trying to hold her marriage together while dealing with her affair with one of the show’s male leads, Michael Swift (Will Chase). The show’s producer, Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston), is going through her own divorce while trying to scrape enough money together to produce her first show.
The over abundance of drama knitted together perfectly to create an entertainingly dramatic and eventful season. Each episode held multiple speed bumps for the show that forced characters to grow and drastic changes to be made to the show. While each episode presented obstacles for the show or drama between characters, the show never seemed to be immediate danger of failing. Everything seemed to be completed with just a little time to spare or a character stepped up to fix the problem. That’s why, when everything goes wrong with twelve hours to performance time in the last episode, the entire episode becomes unbelievably intense. Each character is forced to race the clock as each new catastrophe brings the show closer and closer to its seemingly imminent destruction.
I highly recommend this show, especially to fans of Glee that have found themselves disappointing with anything past Season 2. Each episode features at least one original song from the musical and one song cover. Each number seems to be straight out of a Broadway musical, containing a diverse set of styles in dance and song. The acting is great, the fairly unknown faces like Christian Borle and Leslie Odom mix very well with faces we have seen before like Jack Davenport, Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston. The face and the voice that stood out among the others was Katharine McPhee. Charming to a fault, I was unable to take my eyes off her while she was on screen. The show is certainly worth watching for the acting performances but more so for the musical performances. I give the season a 8 out of 10 and recommend giving it a shot.