The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

"Smash" Gives "Glee" Some Competition

2 min read

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Not all musical television dramas are created equal. Comparing NBC’s new show “Smash” to the ever popular “Glee” is like comparing apples to oranges; sure, they are a little similar but in the end one is much better than the other. In this case “Smash” comes out on top, and by quite a bit.

Although it does not premiere until Monday, Feb. 6 at 10 p.m., the pilot of “Smash” has been available for free online since mid-January through multiple websites, including iTunes, and Hulu.

Though some names may not be instantly recognizable to those not following theater, like Christian Borle (“Legally Blonde the Musical”), Megan Hilty (“Wicked”), and Brian d’Arcy James (“Shrek the Musical”), the cast is full of actors who have honed their art on stage.

Katherine McPhee, most notable for her second place finish on “American Idol” to Taylor Hicks in 2006, shines in her role as the young, inexperienced actress Karen Cartwright. She is a “triple threat,” who can sing, act and dance, all of which she does in the pilot episode.

“Smash” is about the creation of a musical about Marilyn Monroe. The pilot starts with the spark of an idea and the beginning stages of its creation.

“Smash” shows the creative process involved in the creation of a musical and all the behind the scenes action involved, including drama to cast the lead role of Marilyn, which veteran Ivy Lynn (Hilty) and newcomer Cartwright (McPhee) are fighting for.

Unlike its most likely comparison, “Glee,” singing is always for a reason; one does not break out in song at random on “Smash.” The show is also a good mix of both covers and new material written for the show by Mark Shaiman and Scott Whittman, most famous for their work on the Broadway and subsequent 2007 film adaptation of “Hairspray.”

While the premiere shows promise, the rest of the season can only get better. With guest stars like Uma Thurman and Will Chase there is more talent to come.

“Smash” easily lives up to its name.

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