I’m not a huge fan of theater shows on TV, because I’ve never watched one that seemed anything more than an overblown and out of proportion take on how people in theater act in “real life.” It’s also almost always done in a really campy, not relatable way that people who have never been in theater don’t understand.
Of course I’m sure we’ve all met people who have been in or are in theater. Sure they are a little quirky, but isn’t anyone in a creative industry quirky? However, not ALL of them are crazy weirdos like those creeps on Glee. (Read a good explanation as to why Glee sucks here) Don’t even get me started on the absolute shit hole that is Glee. Smash is nothing like Glee.
First of all, I’m surprised at how well casted this show is. Anjelica Houston, Debra Messing, Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty and the whole gang were all really good choices. It seems at any moment if you were to run into one of the characters in real life, that they would actually exist as human beings and be believable. Rachel Berry and company on the other hand…
Second, the show takes musical theater on Broadway to a more human level. None of the characters are decidedly so far off the spectrum quirky or “too” theater, whatever that means. The actresses vying for the role of Marilyn on Smash are hard working gals living in NYC who are immersed or trying to break into the acting world. That sounds realistic. And the writers, choreographers and producers seem relatively honest portrayals of professionals in the theater biz as well. They aren’t trying to ruin each others lives (yet) in what seem like cheap and easy, not to mention repetitive, story lines with horrible acting. (I hate Glee.)
All in all, Smash is the least self indulgent theater show I’ve ever seen on television. They’re not (yet) selling an album full of songs that are shittier than the original to everyone with too much expendable income. Basically, Glee is sloppy television and product marketing at its absolute finest; Smash is a tv show (with less obvious marketing) about musical theater in NYC. If I have to pick a show about theater on TV, Imma go with the latter.