'Smash' Pilot Recap: Heaven on Earth?
'Smash' Pilot Recap: Heaven on Earth?
Here we go, folks! NBC's heavily promoted Smash is now on the way and ready to dazzle us with song and dance. Let's see how the pilot handled introducing us to the show's world.

Time Off

Julia is a middle-aged playwright who recently pledged to her family to take a whole year off because she wants to adopt a child with her husband. When she's in production, he laments that she's never at home, and when she does show up, she's absent-minded.

But unfortunately for her thin-spread family, she gets obsessed with writing a musical about Marilyn Monroe. Needless to say, her husband is not amused. But as it turns out, the fact that she's a prolific Broadway writer might work in her favor when the social worker comes around. Because, you see, the social worker has seen Julia's play Heaven on Earth on Broadway and loved it. What a coincidence!

Online Leak

What was supposed to be just a one-song exploration suddenly turns into a serious project when the composer's assistant accidentally leaks a video of the song onto YouTube. It becomes an overnight sensation. Critics and blogs alike love it.

So, apparently, Tom, the composer, and Julia don't have any other choice than to put together a full-on production. At first, the assistant is canned, but in the end he brings croissants to his boss and can stay because it turned out that leaking the video helped them.

Private Rivalry

But the next problem is already on the way: finding a director. Powerful agent Eileen wants Julia and composer Tom to work with the visionary director Derek Wills. But Tom and Derek already worked together in the past and didn't get along very well.

So Derek has to put together an audition for Tom and Julia, which is normally beneath him, but since Eileen insists ... and the number he puts together is really good and convinces Julia. Tom, however, insists that Derek is a "terrible human being." And the accused retorts that he doesn't "like gay people." Not exactly the best prerequisite to work together.

Surprising Auditions

Another potential disaster zone is that Tom has already someone in mind for the part of Marilyn, namely Ivy, a talented Broadway singer/dancer who is frustrated with her ensemble and is ready to be a star. But then Karen walks into the auditions. She is a struggling actress who waits tables at night to scrape by. The day of the auditions, she is the only one who doesn't come in dressed like Marilyn, and she sings a Christina Aguilera song that showcases her amazing voice instead of playing up her sexiness. Derek is infatuated with her.

"Happy Birthday..."

Late at night, Derek even calls Karen to come to his apartment and show him Marilyn's sexy side. It's not really clear if he wants to get into her pants, but she gives him a rendition of Marilyn's famous "Happy Birthday" song she performed for JFK and finally blurts out to Derek, "It'll never happen". After all, she is the main character of a network show and has to keep her integrity. And she also has a very supportive boyfriend.

Future Conflict

Because this pilot was so busy and needed to get so much story out of the way while still providing us with a reasonable amount of songs, and because the show will most likely try to stretch out the Karen/Ivy and Tom/Derek rivalry, we didn't get a real sense of how Ivy and Karen see each other, and we also don't know what Tom thinks of Karen. But I'm sure the show will get to that fairly soon.

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All in all, Smash's pilot did a solid job of establishing the characters and the setting. Most of the relationships are clear, and the frictions are apparent as well, so there is plenty of meat to this show to justify coming back for another serving next week.

What did you think? Do you like the characters and where the story seems to go? What about the songs? Were there enough of them? And how does the show compare to Glee?

Jan Cee
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of NBC)