SMASH is one of those shows that ended before it’s time —being canceled after only two seasons (and banished to Saturday nights in the second season.). But still, I loved this show and have already binge-watched it again on Netflix. Now, it looks like BOMBSHELL, the fictional musical about Marilyn Monroe the show was built around, is coming to life! According to E! Online, it’s being made for a benefit held in New York City, for one night only. Playbill states that #Megan Hilty will reprise her role as Marilyn, which is fascinating since much of the show was about the competition for the role of Marilyn. I am praying that someone decides to bring this show to TV for one night, too – so those of us who were fans of the show and don’t live in New York can also enjoy it.
So of course, this inspires me to chat about the vast difference between Season 1 and Season 2, the rumored reasons and what really went wrong with a show that had some tremendous things going for it.
Season 1 aired to critical acclaim and high expectations —but as the season progressed, not everyone was a fan. There was a lot I loved in that first season but there were aspects that took away from what made it such a special show. The reason I watched was for the Broadway aspect, for the musical numbers and the premiere episode set up some great character arcs. But the season also seemed to keep those character arcs on the surface, and lifted up characters as angst that had no reason to be leading story. Ellis, anyone? The scheming assistant was so over the top, he might have spent the season tap dancing and twirling his evil mustache.
The second season was vastly different than the first, so the banish and eventual cancellation wasn’t a surprise. Show creator #Theresa Rebeck was ousted after season 1 ended, and was not a fan of Season 2. I can’t say I blame her. While I watched and enjoyed most of it, t was an entirely different direction for the show. Established characters suddenly were different. It was jarring. They introduced another, modern musical to the mix — which had some great music. But the second season lost a lot of what had been great about the first season —the Bombshell focus, the competition between the main female leads and much more.
This article by Kate Aurthur on BuzzFeed sums up my take on the issues in Season 1 succinctly:
Specifically, the Messing character, Julia, became enmeshed in an adoption subplot that had been established in the pilot to create tension with her husband (Brian d’Arcy James), who wanted her not to work while they concentrate on getting a baby; Ellis (Jaime Cepero), the scheming assistant of Tom, began to evolve into a main character, always lurking in the background and plotting something (by the season’s end, he literally poisoned someone); Leo (Emory Cohen), Julia’s sullen teenage son, also started to have an odd prominence; and the insertion of the non-Marilyn-related musical numbers were awkward and inorganic.
But show problems aside, the music was fantastic and much of the BOMBSHELL songs and many of the covers sung throughout the show remain on my Amazon playlists. Here’s one of my favorites from the show:
Here is Karen’s version (played by #Katherine McPhee):
And Ivy’s version of the same song (by Megan Hilty):
So what do you think? Which Marilyn wins? Did you watch SMASH? Which season did you like better?