So So Gay brings you the latest review for original US drama, Smash.
After the disappointing performance in front of the investors the whole team have been knocked back and forced to rethink their approach. Of course as you would come to expect, the character based drama is not going to be making anything any easier. The schisms between the various factions however are coming to a head as everyone is trying to find a way to get the show ready for the stage.
Looking at the production team it seems that no one is particularly sure about where to go from here. Eileen also has to contend with her daughter who has just come back into town and is bringing in her own dose of melodrama to the steadily stewing cast. It is good to see a little more of Eileen’s back story here as she was in danger of becoming a one note character. It also helps that her daughter Katie is actually a hilarious little firecracker who is incredibly watchable. On one hand she is an ally for Eileen in her continuing battles with her ex, but she also helps to humanise Eileen a little more and give her extra depth. Of course the event that made this episode for us was the argument between Derek and Tom, which finally brought all the endless sniping to a long awaited showdown. Seeing this cataclysm was a welcome and much needed
Looking at our two stars and the backing dancers, it seems that the uncertain fate of the musical is beginning to take a toll on them. While Ivy is trying hard to keep level, Karen’s naivety takes the stage again as she lets herself into being talked into doing things that she doesn’t feel comfortable with. Karen and Derek are going behind everyone’s backs to talk to the new song writer which could spell doom for Julia and Tom, who are trying to utilise the duplicitous Ellis to spy on them. Ellis is reaping rewards by priming all the sides against each other for his own benefit.
Ellis as a character is a bit of a wild card, he follows his own rules but, as clever as he seems, we cannot find the energy to like him. He is well written and Jamie Cepero manages to play him extremely well as the conspiring assistant, but even with all this we still can’t stand to look at him without wanting to punch him. It’s a credit to the producers that they are able to create such a thoroughly unlikable character, although he is in danger of quickly becoming a one trick pony. Likewise, the troupe of dancers from the chorus seem to be taking the stage more, but other than the occasional bitchy comment they don’t seem to be contributing very much.
Looking at the music this week there was a slightly half hearted ensemble piece by Ivy and the company of ‘Dance to the Music’. Though it was fun and did have a decent impact, after some of the powerhouse performances we have seen already, this did not seem to be a best effort. It was Katherine McPhee’s ‘Touch Me’ which proved to be this episode’s real power piece. It was balls to the walls explosive and felt more like a music video than a musical interlude. But for a show that is touting itself as a televised musical, the decision to do an original piece with this sort of treatment was too out of character and just felt like an excuse to showcase McPhee’s talent. Though not a criminal inclusion, we did not sign on for spectacle and prefer the musical treatments we have come to know and love from previous weeks.
This episode was a decent effort and shows that the series is managing to hold steady. They just need to find out how to innovate without changing the fundamentals of what is best about it, and start adding a few more dimensions to the characters.
Smash airs every Saturday night on Sky Atlantic at 9pm.