‘Smash’ – ‘Chemistry’: Roid rage

A review of last night’s “Smash” coming up just as soon as bismuth is my favorite element…

I was almost tempted to skip over reviewing a couple of episodes, just to see if it changed my reaction to the show overall. But then they had to go and do a storyline about the dangers of steroids, bringing to life one of the many terrible “Smash: The Smash Williams Story” jokes I made on Twitter(*), and I couldn’t resist writing a little something.

(*) So what “Friday Night Lights” story will they remake next? Seems too early for a murder plotline, but maybe someone can teach Julia’s son how to read? 

As for “Chemistry” itself, it didn’t do a whole lot to sway my opinion on the show’s various flaws. I’ve grown to outright despise both Julia and Michael at this point, and that’s even though Julia’s husband is among the show’s most boring characters and her son the most irritating. Really, I’m not sure there’s any character I genuinely like at this point. Karen’s inoffensive but boring when she isn’t singing (and couldn’t be bothered to Google the lyrics to “Hava Nagilah” on the long train ride from Manhattan to Northport), and I still like Christian Borle’s performance as Tom, even if I’m not particularly interested in either of his love interests. (With “Smash” once again telegraphing all its punches, anyone want to guess how many episodes it’ll be before Tom drops the boring lawyer and hooks up with the sports-loving chorus boy?) And given that “Smash” has decided it’s more interested in inter-personal drama than in trying to dramatize the actual creative process of taking a musical from idea to Broadway(**), the dearth of sympathetic personalities is becoming a large problem.

(**) Then again, the show doesn’t have much profound to say about Marilyn thus far, and seems to know nothing about Joe DiMaggio save that he played baseball and was Marilyn’s husband for a few years, maybe a version of the show that was more oriented around the musical itself might not be more interesting.

I want to like “Smash.” I like many of the people in it. I like the idea of it, even if the execution is poor. Many of the musical numbers still have good energy. Kat McPhee’s voice isn’t as distinct as Florence’s, for instance, but that was still a good rendition of “Shake It Out”(***).

(***) And I’m sure this was no more intentional than the steroid thing, but I was amused that the bar mitzvah kids assembled in front of the stage to recreate the arm-swaying “American Idol” mosh pit as our former runner-up sang.

But we’re nearly halfway through the season, and the reality of “Smash” isn’t doing a whole lot for me. NBC sent out a screener of next week’s episode, which I’ll watch soon, and that may be a good time to cut bait on these reviews if there’s not a major change.

What did everybody else think?