Wait, so Ivy really didn’t realize she got the role of Marilyn because she slept with the director?
Of course that’s the reason she edged out Karen for the role. Her daftness is also one of the many, minute details about this week’s Smash that set the show off kilter and halted the show’s progression. Another mountain to climb is the fact that there is still a plethora of important subplots being thrown at us that turns this musical drama into something of a soap opera.
The show is only three episodes in, and it’s already a little bit of a mess. If all of the characters (nine are listed as a main cast with another half dozen listed as recurring characters) weren’t enough to keep track of, “Enter Mr. DiMaggio” provides us with a new character in Michael Swift, played by Will Chase. Not only is he the favorite to play DiMaggio in the musical, but he also had an affair with Julia some time ago. Of course a character can’t simply walk into the pool; he has to do a cannonball with a big splash.
Even though the addition of Swift caused problems for the pacing of the episode and the overall arching storylines, it will eventually pay off and isn’t that big of a nuisance. One giant headache is the character of Ellis. The college-aged personal assistant of Tom has provided a few key moments so far, but overall he is simply annoying. Now it turns out he really isn’t gay and is out to make Julia’s life a living hell. While the character might pay off somewhere along the line, he doesn’t seem all that vital, and I’d rather see him as little as possible and see more of the main members of the ensemble.
Another missed note of this week’s episode was the forced inclusion of popular songs. Smash created a Bruno Mars musical to take advantage of the musician’s popularity and draw in viewers in a very similar way to how Glee employs their musical numbers. Also Katharine McPhee’s karaoke rendition of “Redneck Woman” was added into the episode for no reason other than to showcase the American Idol alum’s vocals. The first two episodes worked in the musical numbers rather seamlessly, yet they managed to jerk in these two, which took away from the closing number “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” The song should have been the highlight of the episode, but by the time it was finally sung, interest in the episode had fallen by the wayside.
One reason the first two episodes were as solid as they were was because nothing seemed forced. Now it’s as if the show needs to cram as much information in as possible. At first I thought plots would be fleshed out, but instead of focusing on the core, Smash has already added on layers and layers of plot that may be a little too much. Somewhere along the way the show will hopefully hit its stride and everything that has been introduced will blossom into stories that the viewers can connect with and not view as a farce.