We're in love with Smash.
While the world of Broadway musicals might not appeal to all viewers, our Round Table team of Matt Richenthal, Dan Forcella and Steve Marsi were taken by the performances, pace, dialogue and overall maturity of this NBC drama's series premiere. For more in-depth coverage of the episode, join in on our following discussion, won't you?
What was your favorite scene from the premiere?
Matt: Katharine McPhee, as Karen of course, seductively singing to Derek. It was quite hot, of course, but it also told us a lot about both characters; that Derek would summon her to his apartment to the first place, and that Karen would gather the courage to go through with the performance... but not to go through with any other kind of performance, if you know what I mean.
Dan: I have to go with the "National Pastime" audition because it was the exact opposite of the "Studio 60 problem." Studio 60's issue was that it was a show about these people that created such a hilarious sketch comedy show... but it the skits weren't actually funny. The song by Julia and Tom, the performance by Ivy and the direction by Derek, however, blew me away. Their actions match the writing of the series, which is why it works so well; or at least why the premiere did.
Steve: Julia's reaction to that critic actually liking the leaked video. It was a funny look inside the univers in which Smash resides, replete with a Spider-Man jab.
Who is your favorite character so far?
Matt: Gonna go with Karen again. Call me a sucker for a beautiful young woman with a dream.
Dan: For better or worse, I am always drawn to the complete a-holes, so Derek did it for me right away. His feud and sarcastic tone with Tom, combined with how he treated Karen at his place, makes this an easy answer.
Steve: I also need to go with Derek, but almost for the opposite reason as my Round Table cohort above. I doubt he's a "complete" a-hole. I'm looking ahead here, but I'm guessing we'll learn more about the character, his background, why he's so serious at his job. And I'll take a complex jerk over a one-note nice guy or gal any time.
Who is your least favorite character so far?
Matt: Can I choose a character we have not met yet? Okay, good: Julia and her husband's unnamed, unknown baby-to-be in that case. I just have a feeling this adoption storyline will be a drag and a distraction from the fun world of Marilyn: The Musical.
Dan: I guess I'll go with Eileen. The combination of her not doing much thus far, and just how creepy Angelica Huston plays her, has turned me off immediately. I know she's had a long illustrious career, but she will always be Morticia Addams to me.
Steve: Tom's assistant. Is there really another answer to this question? That guy is way too nosy.
Choose a Team: Ivy or Karen?
Matt: I just spent two answers raving about Karen... but Ivy. Let's be realistic here: if you're casting the lead of any play, let alone one that focuses on the life of a real icon, you need someone with legitimate Broadway experience. Karen can be her understudy, though!
Dan: As much as I LOVE me some McPhee, I'm early on Team Ivy. I want her to get the shot that it seems she so deserves. I love that they didn't go with the up-and-coming star versus the washed-up veteran routine. Although she's been in the game for a while, Ivy has yet to make it big, making this rivalry be something much more interesting to watch as the season goes on.
Steve: I can't say I'm an expert on all things Marilyn Monroe. But if she really was an innocent, insecure woman underneath all that makeup and all those low-cut dresses, wouldn't Karen make the most sense? It's okay if the audience sees her as a newbie at first because that's how they saw Marilyn. It just matters that she convinces them of her star power by the end of the performance.
What other celebrity would you want to see a musical about?
Matt: She's not real, but maybe the Wicked Witch of the West? Something from her perspective? It seems like she's a misunderstood individual.
Dan: Robert DeNiro. Seeing someone playing him while singing and dancing would just be hilarious.
Steve: Lindsay Lohan. The only score you'd need would be the sounds of a train wrecking over and over.