Smash Review: On Broadway ... Maybe?

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Goodbye Boston, Hello New York! Maybe.

On the Smash Season 2 premiere, Bombshell exploded - and not in a good way. After a successful preview in Boston, the show seemed to be destined for Broadway. Then, trouble hit from all sides: money issues, theatre blocking, writer depression, director sex scandal and negative gossip throughout the Broadway network. Will Bombshell make it "On Broadway?"

Veronica on Broadway

These issues make the show's previous problems seem like nothing, but in many ways the dysfunctional lives of those involved in the production may be its saving grace. Eileen will be able to keep the main players on hold, since no one else will take them.

All the changes were apparent right away. No more Michael, Leo, Ellis, Dev and a swift kick out the door to Frank. The casting changes from Smash Season 1 to Season 2 were handled in a natural manner. I'm looking forward to show's shift from personal dramas to the creative theatre world.

One main consistency is the rivalry between Karen and Ivy. Right off the bat, it was clear that Karen has the upper hand on Ivy and that's not going to change any time soon. They are perfect nemeses for each other. Despite all they have been through, it was no surprise that Karen would want Ivy off the show.

After Ivy's selfish behavior, she was making the move in the right direction. Her attempted suicide in Boston failed and apparently no one even knew about it. She even reached out to Julia to find a way to keep her job. She may have gone to Karen too late, but she laid it all out there. In that moment, Ivy was able to release the pain she'd been holding inside.

I felt sorry for Ivy. She made some horrible choices, but they shouldn't prevent her from having a successful career. Ivy was making a real effort to change. She not only auditioned for a ensemble job, but she left the diva attitude from her Marilyn audition behind. When she found Derek on the doorsteps, she didn't jump back into his arms. And, even after she was fired, she was there to perform for Eileen at the Broadway event. This new Ivy is one that I'm going to be cheering to see succeed. 

Karen hasn't turned into quite the diva Ivy was initially, but she's getting there. She made it clear that she was the lead on Bombshell. Her confidence and empowerment was a pleasure to see, especially with success in her professional life helping her personal life too. She may still hold a grudge against Ivy, but she's over Dev and ready to move on.

I already adore Karen and Jimmy together. He has a tough exterior, but his song showed there is much more to him. Did Karen go over the line to sing his song at the party? Maybe, but she didn't know Jimmy well enough to foresee the problem. 

In the end, she was the push he needed to get his music heard. Even though Karen has yet to perform on Broadway, she has the connections to get Jimmy and Kyle's musical in the hands of influential people. If Derek sees potential, they will get their shot. Kyle was right to tell Jimmy this was their one shot and that opportunity may never come around again. Plus, there's definitely some heat between Jimmy and Karen.

Smash's new direction was well set up in the first two hours. I still love Karen and that she's gained the respect that she deserves. At the same time, I'm glad that Ivy is changing from an annoying diva into someone likable. 

Could Ivy end up as Marilyn on Bombshell, while Karen leads the new Broadway show?

Odds and Ends

  • Veronica's (Jennifer Hudson) performances were amazing. She will be a great mentor for Karen. Their duet was beautiful as well.
  • Eileen's money troubles are going to be a problem. It was odd that her ex-husband ratted her out to the Justice department, but then without a fight gave her seats to the Broadway dinner. He got his wish though, he's going to get a piece of Bombshell.
  • Derek has always had a thing for the ladies. While it's disappointing that he is being sued for sexual harassment, it provides a reason for him to continue on with Bombshell rather than move on to another project. It was kinda nice to see him humbled by this experience. Would the women have gone for him if he wasn't a director?
  • Julia was a bit annoying. Get over it. Move on. Instead of dwelling on the bad reviews, fix it! Tom and Julia have a strong partnership, but I'm not sure it will survive her depression. Are apology muffins enough?
  • "It's time to retire the scarfs." -- Tom to Julia. I never noticed the scarves until people were tweeting and commenting about them. Funny nod to the critics and reason for her to give them up.
  • The music throughout the two hours was top notch. My favorite two songs and performances were when Karen sang Jimmy's song at the party and Karen's duet with Veronica.
Did you miss any of the characters left behind in season 1? Did you enjoy the addition of Ana, Jimmy and Kyle? What was your favorite song?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (83 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

Sarah silva

I am glad Smash is back. This was a great premiere. I am guessing Derek replaces Karen with Ivy. Then Karen will have to go and join another musical. Jimmy is good looking let's hope he does not stay a jerk. There is lots of turmoil going on and I think this will be a great season.


I like the changes they made, but really as long as McPhee is still there I'm tuning in regardless, lol.


WOW! Katharine McPhee never ceases to amaze me. Not only she's gorgeous, she can do it all. Completely in love with Caught in the Storm, can't stop listening to it! Loving her new attitude too. Overall I thought it was a great episode, and I'm so glad they got rid of the characters they did. And the new characters =


watching this again on ONDemand, and Karen just sang the hell out of Caught in the Storm !! WOW!!
Will I Lie to You another WOW moment from Karen!!!
On Broadway WOW!! JHud & Karen killed it!! And did I mention Karen can DANCE! WOW!!


I enjoy McPhee's singing until singers of the calibre of Megan Hilty and Jennifer Hudson open their mouths. They are REAL singers.


Agree 100% with your write up! It was a great 2 hour episode, so much so, that I am watching it again on ONDemand! I too agree with your song choices- On Broadway & Caught in the Storm, but I really liked Jimmys Broadway Here I Come too!!
I liked Eileen's take charge attitude, Karen's ballsy & feisty attitude & I LOVED Derek's drunk scene! He was great!!
Ivy I could do without--replace her with Anna or Beth IMO.
And yes, I think the hit of the season will be KAREN & JIMMY on the NEW SHOW --HIT LIST!!!!!!!


I used to be a real Glee fan, but this year it seems they are stuck in a rut, recycling old plots and characters. I'm happy to see Smash seems to be dodging that danger.
Last season I always rooted for Karen, and she definitely has a beautiful voice, but put her next to Jennifer Hudson and she practically fades into the wall. She just doesn't have the power and electricity of a big star. She has never grown beyond winning a talent contest. I'm guessing one dynamic of the new season is Karen taking a back seat to Vanessa. How will Ivy balance that equation? Should make for some interesting episodes.
All in all, the music and story were nicely balanced and I'm looking forward to this season's journey.


Did NOT miss a single character from last could you with such a fantastic first episode? The music, production and choreography were ALL top-notch and it seems apparent to me that everyone from the original season of Glee is now working on Smash. Has anyone else felt the same way. There was so much about Smash that was definitely "Glee-esque" in terms of pop culture-remember the song with all the divas dressed in black and their slick black hair pulled back ala Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love?" The whole musical production, as well as the look and feel of the show was more refined and slick than last year and if this keeps up, NBC is going to have a mega-hit on its hands, in spite of last night's ratings. I don't think it was any coincidence that The Bachelor had yet another two-hour showing in the same time slot as Smash. Thank the stars (no pun intended) for TIVO! Kudos to Jennifer Hudson, too for her singing and acting chops. She loaded quite a bit of solid character into her short time on screen. Ivy had to come around or we would have all pushed more pills down her throat for her. Only time will tell if she benefits from her "hail Mary" confession or not. I not only have faith in Smash, I have faith in Eileen to get this show onstage at the St. James. That's her plan and "Nothing's gonna STOP! HER! NOW!" Do you have to love Broadway to love this show? Well, no...but you sure need to love music and the producers gave us plenty of that on this opening episode...and so much more! Let the music play as we make our way to opening night for not one, but two fabulous musicals. Count me in!


Jimmy and Kyle look like rejects from kindergarten. As for chemistry between Jimmy and Karen--no way! Karen is too much woman for a kindergartener. Get some real men on SMASH!


I thought the duet between Karen & Veronica exposed Katherine McPhee as a lightweight compared to Jennifer Hudson. I like Katherine, but she just isn't strong enough in this role to be believable. Production couldn't see this?????

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