'Glee' Grown Up

You don't have to be a fan of the Fox show, "Glee," to enjoy NBC's new Broadway based drama, "Smash," from NBC, writes Fr. Terrance Klein in this exclusive Web review:

"Glee” is produced by Fox. These days, all creativity seems to come from one of the non-traditional broadcast networks. The three old stalwarts seem content to play the same role that Detroit now does in auto-making. Let someone else be creative; then repeat the same in the most cost-effective manner. So when NBC offers us Smash, about the production of a Broadway musical, replete with musical numbers, is there any reason not to expect a corporate knock-off of “Glee?”

Advertisement

Yes! In every way that matters, a resounding yes. When the musical numbers stop, any similarity ends. To begin, “Smash” has a season-long plot. It doesn’t simply put the kids into a weekly situation, one often organized around an homage to this week’s pop celebrity. “Smash” asks what it takes—in the lives of those who do it—to produce a Broadway musical. Whose dreams will come true, and at what price?

This show to be produced is based upon the life of Marilyn Monroe, a young woman America made into an icon but at the cost of her own personhood. The plot of “Smash” revolves around which of two young women, Ivy Lynn or Karen Cartwright, will play the role. Both are aspiring actresses, hoping for their first big break. Each is loaded with talent and looks. Either of them is, or can be made into, a Marilyn Monroe type. The question is, which of them can be more than a type, can truly channel the woman America never really knew? In that regard, the Broadway musical at the center of “Smash” is an act of moral retribution. We may have made Marilyn into a type, but the woman now being chosen to play her is supposed to be more. She is to be someone who worthily inherits the adulation that smothered Marilyn.

Read the rest here.

Tim Reidy

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

The tête-à-tête between Paul Krugman and Nancy Pelosi in Manhattan was like a documentary about a once-popular rock band. (Rod Morata/Michael Priest Photography)
Speaking in a deep blue stronghold, the Democratic leader of the House calls for “civility” and cautiously hopes that she will again wield the speaker’s gavel in January.
Brandon SanchezOctober 16, 2018
The lecture provoked no hostile reaction from the students who heard it. But a media firestorm erupted.
John J. ConleyOctober 16, 2018
Though the current synod appears to lack the sort of drama and high-stakes debates of the previous two, the role of conscience appears to be a common thread.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 16, 2018
When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists on the Olympic podium, their act drew widespread criticism. Now Colin Kaepernick is the face of Nike.
Michael McKinleyOctober 16, 2018