THE "SMASH" REPORT: Season Two, Episode 6, Or, Voices and Visions

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13 Mar 2013

Katharine McPhee and Jeremy Jordan as imagined by Derek for <i>Hit List.</i>
Katharine McPhee and Jeremy Jordan as imagined by Derek for Hit List.
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

Playbill's weekly recap, with notes and comment, of the latest episode of the NBC musical drama series "Smash," about the dreamers behind Broadway musicals. Here's a look at the March 12 episode, "The Fringe."


More and more, the NBC series "Smash" feels like a fever dream. You know — like the entire expanse of Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson. The March 12 episode is particularly odd, clumsy, joyless, illogical, tuneless and unconnected to the way the real world works.

By now we get the point that the series producers don't care if the show reflects the way real musicals are put together (unions, general managers, contracts, orchestrators and agents are not part of this fantasyland!), but must it all be so limp? Lately, "Smash" makes you hungry for last season's Ellis-is-bisexual twist. Or Julia's mopey son Leo smoking weed. Or anything having to do with smoothies.

"The Fringe" is an episode that proves that "Smash" is spread too thin, plot-wise. We've only got 44 minutes per week, folks. Instead of deepening and sharpening the story of the creation of one potent musical-in-the-works (Bombshell), we're bouncing between three shows, obligating the series writers to paint with broader and broader strokes — giving short shrift to intelligence, but also to pulse-thumping musical sequences specific to something (or somebody) we care about.


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