What is Smash? If All About Eve and The Producers had a love child carried by Marilyn Monroe, it would be NBC’s Broadway backstage soap opera, which managed to excite and infuriate audiences when it premiered last February. For every delicious one-liner and Megan Hilty musical moment, there was a peanut allergy or eavesdropping douchebag daring the audience to change the channel. But we didn't!
There was much to love about the show, and as Smash’s first season DVD hits stores on January 8, we decided to look back at the elements we loved about the first round of episodes. Sure, things are a-changin’ for season two—Ellis has been eliminated, bowling alley karaoke has been canned and Debra Messing's wardrobe has been overhauled—but here are five things we’re not embarrassed to admit we thought were smashing about season one:
Real Estate Porn
Theaters aren’t the only plush settings on Smash. Did you see any of the apartments owned by the show’s successful characters? Derek’s sweeping Flatiron loft, Julia’s luxurious brownstone, Tom’s deluxe pre-war…they’re enough to make you feel like your Hell’s Kitchen railroad flat is just one step up from a cardboard box. And let’s not forget the pang of jealousy that hits whenever the cast convenes in Eileen’s lavish Brill Building office. One thing is certain when it comes to Smash’s cushy accommodations: We’d gladly sublet.
From red-hot rousers to jazzy blues, Smash songwriters (and Tony-winning favorites) Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman have composed a delectable score for the show’s fictional musical Bombshell. “Let Me Be Your Star” is the standout track in a list that includes the sultry swinger “Let’s Be Bad,” the tender “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and the why-isn’t-this-on-Broadway patter song, “Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking.” If watching Smash is like guiltily devouring an entire pizza, Shaiman and Wittman’s tunes are the delightful veggies that make you feel moderately better about what you’re gorging on.
Name-Drops and Cameos
Part of Smash’s appeal is its attempt to portray Broadway with authenticity. Occasionally the show is about as realistic as a unicorn at Hogwarts, but namedropping and cameos manage to bring it back to reality. Jordan Roth, Michael Riedel and Manny Azenberg make cameos as their theatertastic selves. The Nederlanders and Bernie Telsey are referenced almost weekly. Folks like Bernadette Peters, Nick Jonas, Norbert Leo Butz, Marc Kudisch, Annaleigh Ashford and Montego Glover allow viewers to play “Spot the Tony nominee.” And the fun continues: Season two’s opener has more cameos than even we know what to do with. (Hellooo, Harvey!)
Entertaining Eye Rolls
Julia’s baby drama. Ellis’ constant snooping. Uma Thurman’s legume meltdown. Get ‘em while you can, because these less-than-thrilling plot points have been given the boot. Truth be told, we’ll kinda sorta miss the mildly miserable moments that made the show such a polarizing talking point in pop culture this past year. Without Karen screaming “I’m in tech!” or Dev exhibiting the charisma of a bag of sand, what will we talk about at the watercooler? Hopefully season two won't eliminate all of the show’s signature ridiculousness…as long as Anjelica Huston has a tray of Manhattans at her disposal, things should be just fine.
Unapologetic Love for Theater
At its core, Smash had one thing that made it mandatory viewing for Broadway fans: an unabashed passion for all things musical theater. Beyond the outrageous dramatics and over-the-top numbers, the show is really a simple story about a group of people united by a common goal and a shared love of Broadway. The dedication each character has toward this wild, wonderful art form is something theater fans certainly understand, and it’s what gives Smash a stroke of authenticity and heart…and it's why we’re so excited for season two. (February 5, y’all.) Until then, let the repeat viewing of the first season begin! Let me be your staaaaar.