Ratings are up, story lines continue to intrigue and hopes are high. So without further ado, five new reasons why I love NBC’s “Smash.”
1. Art vs. Commerce. Not since David Mamet’s “Speed the Plow” has the debate between the dream of the artist vs. the dream of the producer been so honestly depicted. Many haters have blogged and posted and tweeted how inauthentic “Smash” is (i.e. Season One featured Ivy running through Times Square in her “Heaven on Earth” costume). The rules and regulations of costume wearing off-stage are not the thing of great drama. A serious conflict between art and money is great drama. Based on my own experiences sitting in more than one producer meeting, I was thrilled by the accuracy of the arguments, tensions, and solutions centered on this dramatic conceit. And it made for great drama Tuesday night.
2. Urban Cowboy. Veanne Cox delivers one of the best inside joke one-liners I have ever heard…ever! And because it’s Veanne Cox, it’s delivered perfectly. If you haven’t seen this week’s episode of “Smash,” I won’t spoil it. But for theater folks in the know, I am 100% sure there was a collective gasp followed by a well-deserved guffaw.
3. Jerry Rand. To be honest, I don’t know where this storyline is going. Case in point, if he is in it to ruin “Bombshell,” he’s doing a terrible job since his fight to make it “commercial” is making at least one of the creators happy. (And by episodes conclusion it would appear both writers are happy). Still, Michael Cristofer makes for a potentially great villain. I’m waiting for the J.R. Ewing or Alexis Carrington or even Angela Channing moment of pure evil, and I hope it is as enjoyable as Hagman, Collins and Wyman made their moments.
4. Baz Luhrmann’s “La Boehme” on Broadway. If you’re gonna go fringe, find symbolism from the guy who was totally fringe but succeeded commercially…Baz Luhrmann. In a nod to his artistically stunning Broadway version of “La Boehme,” “Hit List” borrowed their basement theater set design (see the back wall) from the noir-romantic design from the 2002 Broadway production.
5. Saturday nights. Guess what everyone…the show is starting to improve in the ratings. It’s true. Here is a encouraging quote from their press release (Go Bob Greenblatt!): “”Smash” is currently building on this week’s lead-in by 29% or 0.2 of a point. Note that “Smash” continues to add an exceptional amount of viewership via time-shifting…” So rather than cancel the show outright, NBC is wisely placing the show on Saturday nights. This will capitalize on the larger number of time-shift viewing they know they are getting. This is a very smart move inspired by the commercial realities of TV.
And there ya have it. My five new reasons for loving “Smash.” What are your reasons for loving the show? (Besides the too infrequent cameos of Ann Harada!)