Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SMASH: The New Competition Show

I knew I couldn't let a blog posting go by where I didn't talk about the new NBC show SMASH. I'm not going to give things away that we haven't all seen in the numerous commercials. Let me go on record as saying as a theater person, I'm thrilled there is a scripted show about New York and all that entails in working on a musical. They use New York actors. They talk about what's going on in the industry. And Marc Shaiman has created some wonderful original tunes. It's funny that one of the plot lines is about a song 'leaking' on the internet and social media. That's exactly what they've done with this show. They've used every aspect of social media in getting this show out there before it even started. You could watch it online, on demand, EVERYWHERE before it premiered. (I'll admit: I watched it Saturday afternoon on demand.) 

I've been a writer of new musicals and I really appreciate the sentiment behind the show of creating something "new". (The irony is that Marilyn is now everywhere and not so new. Movies. TV. And several versions of musicals out there...as well as on the horizon.) I was also in that business as a performer and hated the auditions, competing, and people sizing you up to see if they are better. 

I much prefer the world of writing where authors (for the most part) are not competing with you...but supporting you. And telling others to read your books. (Even some authors I'm up against in some categories for awards this spring. How amazing is that!?) And yet...the next two weeks of my life, I'm back in competition mode - in the middle of some sort of ‘American Idol-esque’ vote until you can't vote any more campaign to get my children's book published: complete with the video montage of the back story, major use of social media and technology to lead people to it, and good old-fashioned word of mouth.

It makes me wonder if we’ve become a society built around competition because of all of the reality shows. The creators of this show have returned to that premise in this show with “who will win the lead?” I'm eager to see where SMASH is going to head. From coming attractions, it seems as if it's concentrating on this one aspect. I do hope the fact that it is a scripted show means we'll also get great character driven moments so we can really begin to care for the people on the show. As long as it stays going in this direction and doesn't turn into America calling & voting, I think it'll be a great addition to TV. 

(Scratch that - just read there is a "Be On SMASH" contest starting.)


  1. I'll have to catch this one; it sounds very interesting!

  2. Speaks to theater peeps, Rick! Thanks Janine! And yes, Sabrina. You should.