Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thoughts on Smash

     I like about half of Smash. The other half is overwrought and makes me yell at my TV.
     I don't much care for Ivy, her breathless voice, and her premature divalation. As much as I understand how she exudes sex and practically already is Marilyn, I still want her to fall and break her ankle. And for that to somehow cause her vocal chords to sift into puberty or whatever it is that allow the sounds to come out as words and not the faint whispers of a breeze through a sexy haunted house. Even her tantrums aren't very tantrum-y. Her "we're not football players" speech was just plain childish. You might not be football players, but you are adults, so suck it up and do your job. Your singing job, by the way. You sing for a living. You didn't lose a big case and endure the judge raking you across the coals for an improper defense on CourtTV. You fell on a couch and were laughing when the director said "don't do that." He's right.
     I would guess I'm not supposed to like the director, but as far as I can tell, he's the closest to being a human being. Yes, he is a jerk. But so are most people, so it works. Again, he's trying to put on a Broadway musical so yes, he just cares about your voice. And that you can stand and dance. He doesn't care that you have to cry yourself to sleep or that you require the care of two grown men to sing you to sleep because you're too goddamned frail. You're not handling your downward spiral well. Take his terseness to mean that. As far as I can tell, he's the only one on the production staff who really cares about making the show good and not about everyone's feelings.
     Oh Julia. For fuck sake, Julia, what the hell are you doing? And where did you get those pants? And why did you just put pants on over your pajama top and then go outside in Manhattan. Even at 10pm, people will see you. I really hate this affair story line. I get that audiences might find it intriguing, but I think it's pretty gross. The only good that could come out of it is that maybe Michael knocked something loose and Julia can get over her writer's block. Of course, the affair is most likely the cause of the block. Oh, messiness. I get it from a dramatic point of view, it just doesn't do much for me. Also, while we're talking about Julia, what is the deal with her family? They all seem to land somewhere on the autistic spectrum. They're lifeless. It's like the producers built an extra set and needed to fill it with people and said "we'll just call this her family." And again, the director is right to tell the writer he doesn't care about her family problems because Julia needs to do her job--write the damn show.
     And speaking of writing the show, the original numbers written for this mythical Marilyn musical are quite nice. They're a really fun part of the show. Bringing them from the rehearsal space to the pretend theater will fill stage numbers is fun and exciting to watch. Watching Katharine McPhee sing a Florence + The Machine song at a bar mitsvah? That's time to use the bathroom and maybe do some household chores. I love the song. Florence + The Machine are great. But it has nothing to do with the show and Katharine McPhee beings nothing new to it. Also, those kids who were "into it" were clearly not. I would guess it was the end of the day and the director was yelling at them "pretend you really like this song. Put your hands in the air and sway like people used to do for hip hop songs. COME ON! Fine, fine, just wave around listless for 10 minutes, that's fine too. I want to go."
     Angelica Huston is great, but I'm losing interest in her character. She's becoming too cartoonish for me. And hanging out with Tom's assistant irks me. Tom's assistant needs to fall down a sewer drain or slip and fall on the A train tracks. He's a little bitch and I can't believe adults aren't putting a stop to it. Parents don't let toddlers get away with that level of tattling.
     Also, when Karen drops all of her crap behind the piano and then overhears the entire conversation between Tom, Derick, Julia, et al, how long did she have to stay hidden before she could leave? She's already been hiding. She can't get up! She has to stay there until every person has left the building. And then still wait 30 minutes after that to make sure nobody comes back to sex their boss. It must have ruined her afternoon. That's why she was late to the bar mitzvah. 

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