My prejudices shape my television viewing. Case in point – SMASH. As soon as I read a description of the musical drama about producing a Broadway play that stated the show was “Glee for adults” I was not interested. If for no other reason, than the person quoted must have never seen Glee. Glee is not a show for kids. As a matter of fact, it should never have been moved from its original 9 PM slot to 8 PM. Glee should come with a warning – 14+ and only if accompanied by an adult. Adultery, cheating, masturbation, abuse and sexual experimentation are adult themes, are they not?
Adultery, cheating, sexual experimentation are the themes explored in the episode of SMASH I watched this morning. Musical numbers were integrated or not into the plot. Bruno Mars Grenade…was integrated by having a potential male lead performing in a “Bruno Mars thing” – ie cabaret – somewhere in Manhattan. A country song with a Hell Yeah chorus was a karaoke choice. The “newly minted” song from the Marilyn Monroe show that is the arc of the series, however, was awkwardly integrated. First the composer and lyricist sang a bar or two while writing it. Then the “stars” sang it as if they were rehearsing it together. Then there was a shot of the cast recording capturing the actor playing Joe DiMaggio. Finally – and Glee like – Marilyn and Joe were on stage in costume, singing in character on a minimalist set. I should check to see if I can download the track from iTunes.
SMASH has more in common with Slings and Arrows than Glee. Slings and Arrows – a series about a theatrical company in a small town’s Shakespearean Festival – has Artistic adults behaving like children, while wooing backers, and mangling egos. However, with considerably more wit and less self-consciousness.