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« Curio: Freaks of Nature | Main | LaBeouf in the Buff »
Monday
Jul302012

Smash Season 2 Now Filming

If it were January instead of July we'd be tuning in to Season 2 of Smash right this second. Mondays at 10:00 PM on NBC, don'cha know. Only six months to go. Ugh!

Here is Katharine McPhee as "Karen" (who won the Marilyn Monroe role on Season 1) bowing down to Jack Davenport as "Derek" her director. As well she should since Davenport runs circles around her as an actor and convincingly sells us on his Karen-fixation which goes at least a little bit of the way towards understanding Karen's otherwise invisible charms as a leading lady.

I kid. I kid.

About the bowing down part (I meant everything else). I have no idea what McPhee is doing in this photo?Adjusting her marks maybe -- but doesn't she have people for that?

I am so excited for Season 2 of Smash and I have no idea why since there might be less Megan Hilty (the MVP) since she didn't get the Marilyn part. But a new show runner, new song writers (for a competing musical in the Season 2 plotline), and new cast members including Jennifer Judson in a multiple episode arc (a la Emmy nominated Uma Thurman last year), and rising stage star Jeremy Jordan of Broadway's Bonnie & Clyde and Newsies (and the Dolly/Latifah musical Joyful Noise) could mean a better show but it could also mean a lot of change for the sake of change and that's not always helpful either.  


Right about now or 5 minutes ago, you're like "Why is Nathaniel talking about Smash in July?". It's only because I'm suffering withdrawal and seeking solace in my Smash-patch (i.e. playlists. I recommend listening to Hilty tearing into "Let's Be Bad" at least once a week to stave off the cold sweats and palpitations).

Smash was the target of much internet and media ire last season (musicals always have big bullseyes on their chests just visible underneath the sequins) so I was happy to read recently in Variety that its fate wasn't as dire as armchair and professional TV pundits originally suggested which could bode well for a Season 3 unless Season 2 is disastrous. Apparently Smash commands a very high CPM for an in house drama and it's also popular in high income households which is a big deal to massive corporations like NBC. 

Are you hopeful or un about Smash S2? Will you join us on Tuesdays in the winter for weekly recaps like we did this year?

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Reader Comments (21)

Very excited for season 2, even though season 1 was a huge mess (minus the musical numbers, which were out of this world). What were your thoughts on Uma Thurman, Nathaniel? I thought she was really bad, especially in that Dig Deep number, even though I really like her. Hopefully Jennifer Hudson gets a killer role and Emmy win, then she'll have the EGO in EGOT.

July 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

i only watch Smash because of Katharine McPhee -- she's a breath of fresh air! She's a triple threat!

She & Jack Davenport are amazing together! They sizzle!

July 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertinmar

I'm returning for S2 ONLY because it looks like NBC are trying to fix what's wrong with the show.

Dev and Ellis out, Anjelica's supposedly been given far more promninence this season and less Debra Messing being a drama queen (that affair storyline lasted longer than the Who Killed Rosie Larsen in The Killing, heee), new showrunner, Greenblatt making amends in the recent TCA tour, saying 'the biggest problem with Smash was consistency and not being able to maintain arcs for very long' so I'm always glad when people acknowledge mistakes without having to point them out for them.

Now they just need to get rid of Julia's son and we've got a good show, folks.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

I am super excited; despite its flaws (and let's face it, there were quite a few) it was a highly entertaining hour of TV each week. Megan Hilty was absolutely the MVP, with Debra Messing a close second. No offense intended to tinmar, but I don't understand how anyone could prefer McPhee to Hilty. I find her as bland and inexpressive as a block of wood. She's a hell of a singer, but you need more than that to sell me on her as Marilyn. I don't see it at all.

Let's Be Bad was by far the best song from the show. It's probably been a few weeks since I listened to it, but at least once a day I find myself humming it. Amazing.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonny

Nevertheless, they need to stop trying so hard to sell the idea that McPhee is more talented than Megan Hilty. Can't they work their way around the storytelling to make McPhee seem a more obvious choice?

I hope this season we don't have the producers of the show again discussing how McPhee is a star, how McPhee is a fantastic singer, much better than Ivy at this, and at that and then... Hilty comes and belts a powerhouse ballad and makes everything they just said sound crazy.

Nuts. McPhee is a good singer. And she's HOT.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

Ugh....I am one of the few who doesn't think season 1 was so so terrible. it's hard for musical shows, there aren't typical patterns to follow. And every mistake they make is scrutinized, whereas every procedural scrapes by just because. Why can't we let go and just enjoy the songs, like those old ladies let go and just enjoy the Mentalist's ridiculous schemes? It's all fun and games.

Katharine really is spectacular. The acting is woof. But that voice is interesting and organic, flawed and effortless. The argument of "trained vs. natural" is a good one, the writing just didn't pull it through. Megan is great too, the beats and the specifics of the writing just weren't perfect last season. I am all about Joshua Safran....kind of. I recently binged on Gossip Girl on Netflix (so beautiful, so dumb, so watchable) and spent a lot of time thinking about his fit for Smash. Will he just create new conflicts for the sake of longevity each episode? That's GG's bread and butter, but it shouldn't be Smash's. But what should Smash be about? Is it about the two leads? Should one be gone this season? We'll see...I'm worried Rebeck might have laid the DNA for a show that is virtually unextendable beyond its first season, so as I wait for the second, I am deifying the front 13 and OD'ing on McPhee's "Don't Forget Me," which is awkward lyrically, but so perfectly sums up the desperation of the show and of Marilyn. And come on, Hilty couldn't sing it like McPhee does, all dopey sincerity and blank-faced bombast,

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermoviejoe26

I'm not hopeful at all, mainly because I believe they will continue with 'the karen show'.

and regarding katharine mcphee, well, I think this paragraph from emily nussbaum (reviewing the finale) sums up my feelings: "The show’s most intractable problem, however, is the former “American Idol” winner Katherine McPhee, who plays Karen, that shiny-haired Iowan ingénue and human humblebrag. Even when I squint, and grade on a curve, it’s impossible to ignore how bad McPhee’s performance is: the woman was given a one-note character, then took it down a half-note. McPhee has a pretty pop voice, but she plays every scene with a Splenda-flavored neutrality, which might not rankle so much if the show didn’t keep insisting that Karen is a star whom everyone adores. During the last episode, I spent most of my time mentally replacing the awed facial expressions of cast members gazing at Karen as she sings with the horrified expressions of “Game of Thrones” characters staring at King Joffrey as he tortures minions. It helped."

the only good thing that came out from that "smash" finale was the critics' reviews.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

I honestly have no idea how people even watch this show D:

It's horrible. I couldn't watch more than a few episodes. It's like the definition of bland and boring.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

That looks like Rachel Weisz.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

Philip -- how can it be the definition of bland and boring when there's absolutely nothing like it on the television landscape? For every 1 Smash there's 69 police dramas, 84 supernatural dramas, 98 hospital dramas, and 113 legal dramas and among those 87% of each is an investigate procedural.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternathanielr

If Smash is a drama, then I guess All That Jazz is a Greek tragedy. What were Emmy voters thinking?!! Same goes for Shameless. Can't we tell the difference anymore?

I'll watch season 2, but I demand more Huston, less marital problems and better boyfriends for Borle.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I'm hopeful for Season 2. I actually like both Hilty and McPhee, although I think Hilty is by far the better performer and I have more interest in her character.

Sometimes I think that Hilty, as a musical theatre veteran, uses each song to move the narrative along, deepen the character, and give texture and pace to the story. McPhee seems to treat each song as a self- contained unit, and the story stops dead. Gears clank and machinery groans as everyone has to work to get the story going again. Hilty, on the other hand, seems to know from experience that great songs alone doesn't send your audience home happy.

I'd like to see Hilty get the lead in Anjelica's ex-husbands competing production.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteradri

LOVE Smash and can't wait for Season 2! The show absolutely had its problems, but it looks like the new showrunner has gotten rid of the biggest one (NO MORE ELLIS!!!), and the potential is still there for a great show. I'm nervous that the hiring of someone from Gossip Girl to be the new showrunner will mean an excess of the kind of soap-y plots that were the worst parts of the first season, but I'm more than willing to give him and the show a slot.

I still find the extra-textual/meta-narrative of the show (McPhee vs Hilty/Karen vs Ivy) to be fascinating and I am very excited to see what happens as the show moves forward.

And more Anjelica can only be a good thing!

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Yeah, I think the Hudson casting is beyond brilliant. And I'd be so pumped for her to win an Emmy-she's still got 16 years on Rita Moreno for the competitive EGOT's (if you include the Honorary Award's Streisand's winning all four by 28 is one of those records that no one will ever break).

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I agree with Jorge in that I'm only interested in season 2 because key people involved with the show realize how much about the first season was terrible. Dumping Ellis and Dev? Yes, please. Getting rid of Michael and by extension the awful Julia romantic subplots? Sounds great. Now just stop shoehorning Ivy into the "crazy diva" role and make Karen an actual character rather than the human equivalent of a Care Bear, and we might actually have something.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

I can only stand SMASH for another season if the first show starts out with everyone waking up to terrible reviews of Karen in Bombshell. Then they have to figure out what to do. My secret fantasy is that Jack decamps with Karen and turns Bombshell into a wierd techno-robot musical. Katharine McPhee would be perfect in that role! Sort of like the automaton in Metropolis or Hugo. ;-) Seriously, Katharine has a perfectly decent pop voice and I wish the show would just decide that she should do that (become another Britney or Kylie Minogue or something) and come back later in the season as a STAR!

Or maybe Megan will find Broadway stardom with people who recognize her talent.

I don't mind a soapy show if the characters and motivations are somewhat consistent from week to week. We don't expect J.R. to become a teddy bear, short of a debilitating brain injury or something, and who really wants that?

I think SMASH can be saved if they can just acknowledge what isn't working and have the guts to eliminate her, er, it.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

I'm eager to see what season two will bring. It seems like the new show runners are already on the right track by excising the cast of all the extraneous characters, thus hopefully bringing about the refocusing that series needs because, quite frankly, it's best when it's about the work of the theatre. Furthermore, add me to the list of people excited for what J. Hud adds to the table.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

I'm embarrassed to confess that I love this show so much that I even made a playlist named Bombshell in which I placed in what I guess was a chronological order all the tunes of the musical inside the show (by the way does anyone know where" never give all the heart" is supposed to go?). Anyways it's like a real broadway cast recording made in heaven! Can't stop listening to it.
My favorite song is "history is made at night" hands down. It's like an instant classic. Something Sinatra would rush to record. My least favorite should be Dig deep, because eventhough I love Uma, she just cannot sing and what is it about the outfit she wore during that song? I guess it was to disguise her pregnancy but, common. I've seen potato sacks more becoming.
I never care much for Mcfee, never bothered me much either, until she robbed (and I mean it) the Monroe role from Hilty. It was so unfair and ridiculous I also took a bunch of pills down my throat, just as Ivy did in the final scene. Only mine were antacids so I wouldnt get an ulcer from the disgust.
I'm anticipating the second season with delight because it's a show so rare it's precious. It's not camp enough to be guilty pleasure, or good serious enough to brag about it with friends. It's like a vice you enjoy alone in your room... You don't talk about it but god, sometimes you just need it!

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeisgrados

Get out of my head Dave! That has been my dream since the season ended and actually wouldn't be a bad idea narratively. Would everyone else continue to bow Derek's "vision" until he's able to make Karen the star he/the previous showrunner thinks she is or would the contention rise causing some major ripples? I don't care as long as they don't continue to saddle Hilty with the most inconsistent character arc ever (Ivy should be a confident, diva star- period) and let Messing have a storyline worthy of what she's bringing to the table. I'd say they only have a few episodes before I'm willing to completely jump ship, but all bets are off if the music stays as good (especially if Hilty and now Hudson are performing it).

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVal

nathaniel - just because it's UNIQUE doesn't make it entertaining. that's what i meant. it puts me to sleep.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

When last I contributed to the comment shlag I shared how my red Persian cat Wilson hacked up a Rhode Island sized hairball during the finale, Bombshell, and I complimented his critical sensibilities. And before the credits had scrolled down my screen on that terrible night in May when Derek promoted that lump of oatmeal, Karen, to the role of Marilyn Monroe, and made things irreparably worse by telling Ivy "I see her. In my head. I can't help it, I see her. She has something that you do not...", that I was Done. Done. Done. with Smash and wouldn't watch a minute of that train wreck in Season Two. But now I find myself wavering....if nothing else I hate to miss anything that Megan Hilty does, even if her character is being written into a drug addicted bitch and slut shamed....shamelessly (how far HAVE women come??? What is the male counterpart for the adjective "slutty", the noun "slut", the sport of "slut shaming"?) But I also find myself hoping against hope that Ivy will find redemption, that the Smash Creative Team will have learned from the massive hew and cry over the vapidness of Katharine McPhee in what became THE KATHARINE MCPHEE IS A STAR SHOW which was S1 of Smash. Is there room for hope? Dare I allow Wilson in the same room as the TV come the January or February return of Smash? As a responsible pet owner I have a moral duty to watch out for my furry boy. He's a sensitive soul.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle Girl
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