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Is Katherine McPhee the reason SMASH failed?

On some boards you'd think she was the worst no talent that ever no talented. The debate seems polarized around her and Ivy the Wronged.

I think there was so much wrong with how the show was written, produced and broadcast, McPhee's the least of the problems, although I did think last night she was doing a pretty good imitation of a Cigar Store Indian.

Well managed, that show could have been like any great ensemble show that goes for a few good years. They fucked it up. Like somebody said on the board I am thinking of: the fucked up making toast. It's hard to fuck up making toast, but they did it.

by Anonymousreply 5704/20/2014

She wasn't the only problem, but she certainly wasn't the least of the problems. No charisma whatsoever.

by Anonymousreply 103/14/2013

SMASH is such a triumph of bad creative decisions, bad scripts, bad production, and yes, really, really bad casting that singling out Katherine McPhee is a little ridiculous. She's not terrible, she's just not especially good.

SMASH isn't making toast. Let's be fair. This was an enormously ambitious project for a primetime network series. It's more like an eight-course formal dinner once a week, every week.

And they fucked up dinner. Once a week, every week.

by Anonymousreply 203/14/2013

Messing is a bigger problem.

by Anonymousreply 303/14/2013

PS: I'm delighted NBC is showing all of Season 2, even if it's in the Saturday night graveyard. Given the high profile of SMASH, the names involved, and the epic failure of it all, it's TV history. TV fans will talk about SMASH in the future the same way they discuss COP ROCK and a handful of other shows.

by Anonymousreply 403/14/2013

Hindsight is everything. I was thinking, if only they had (as another poste said in the main SMASH thread) focused on characters more. I wish they had maybe started with young people out of high school - 2 boys, 2 girls - who all met in NYC (waiting tables? acting class?) and we would see episodes based on some or all of them every week.

One could have been in a Bway bound show like Bombshell.

ONe could have been in a star-driven disaster like Liaisons.

We could see one going on nonstop auditions.

One or more of them could room together.

Smash - last year but much worse this year - tries to do EVERYTHING at once. I'm a huge show queen but even my head spins. The episode 3/12 was beyond craptastic.

All the same, I WILL keep watching till the bitter end.

(and then I will hope I read that Safran, Spielberg, and the head of NBC primetime programming all die in a real, LITERAL trainwreck!)

by Anonymousreply 503/14/2013

I blame Safran mostly. He helmed it.

Beware the show fixer who wasn't around for the original vision.

by Anonymousreply 603/14/2013

The music for BOMBSHELL wasn't good enough. The reason I don't like a lot of musicals is that the music bores me. And they didn't play any songs often enough for me to get used to them. That's imperative when music is alright but doesn't grab me right away. Some things take time. SMASH didn't give us time with the songs that might have worked.

by Anonymousreply 703/14/2013

R5, that sounds like FAME, the tv series.

by Anonymousreply 803/14/2013

Safran did a good job coming into the middle of Gossip Girl. It wasn't a given that he would do a bad job with Smash.

by Anonymousreply 903/14/2013

Maybe I'm just old, but I have a difficult time understanding McPhee. She mumbles all of her lines.

by Anonymousreply 1003/14/2013

SMASH failed in a lot of respects, but the casting of McPhee was, perhaps, the most cataclysmic.

There's no amount of retooling that you can do when the core is that rotten.

by Anonymousreply 1103/14/2013

McPhee was terrible, but she just accepted the offer of a great-paying job. It's the producers and the network who are to blame for casting her, keeping her, then doubling down on her when it was clear that she was terrible.

by Anonymousreply 1203/14/2013

No one wants to see a TV show about backstage at Broadway productions. Broadway is dead.

by Anonymousreply 1303/14/2013

It was nearly impossible to believe that the characters in the show were Broadway professionals working at the top of their field when they endlessly praised the theatrical gifts of Katherine McPhee, who we as the audience could see was nothing more than a propped-up Singing Birthday Card.

It was a fundamental flaw that not even the best show could overcome.

by Anonymousreply 1403/14/2013

Blame the mechanic, not the oily rag.

by Anonymousreply 1503/14/2013

Yeah, this show is a bomb of historic proportions. NBC's Supertrain 2013. Debra Messing is chopping down trees in her backyard as we speak.

They spent $70 million on this season alone.

With all that money at stake, Steven Spielberg as producer, a head programmer who brought it over from Showtime as his baby, how was it allowed to go so wrong?

by Anonymousreply 1603/14/2013

There's a bunch of faults. McPhee is wooden in the acting, but sings great. Hilty might be great on stage but she is a big nothing on film. The original songs don't stand out. One of the reasons for Glee's success is the instantaneous music recognition. The writing is very weak. It needs to be vicious, it's a soap. Who's the villian? There has to be a villain. The producers ex-husband? He's hardly a threat.

by Anonymousreply 1703/15/2013

r17 - I actually think Hilty is lifeless on-stage but memorable on tv.

I watched the first season and loved it. I did not make it through the first hour of the this season's opening episode.

I don't mind McPhee as much as I hate Messing.

I still love Angelica Huston, but her character is awful.

by Anonymousreply 1803/15/2013

It failed because of Theresa Rebeck

by Anonymousreply 1903/15/2013

I've never seen an episode.

Is that a problem?

by Anonymousreply 2003/15/2013

No, the reason Smash failed is/was Jennifer Hudson

by Anonymousreply 2103/15/2013

Jennifer Hudson was fine.

The problem was her entire story arc reeked of stunt casting and had nothing to do with the rest of the show.

Suddenly, it just became the Jennifer Hudson show, and then *poof* she's gone again.

The whole series feels like they're making it up as they go along.

by Anonymousreply 2203/15/2013

THey hyped up AH too like it was Julia Roberts doing network TV. She didn't even get a lousy Emmy nod...

by Anonymousreply 2303/15/2013

We're any other girls considered for the leads? I think Hilty is pretty amazing to be able to go from villain to being likable in just two seasons. I'm a fan.

by Anonymousreply 2403/15/2013

Had McPhee been a really charismatic, talented triple-threat, maybe the writers could have risen to her level and written better. But she is truly a black hole.

by Anonymousreply 2503/15/2013

McPhee is nice looking, but she can't act and doesn't have a spark, she's just very dull. Debra Messing is kind of annoying because her character is always angry and defensive.

by Anonymousreply 2603/15/2013

McPhee is awful, Messing is unlikeable, the men are boring.

I stuck with it for the first season but I haven't even looked at it this season.

by Anonymousreply 2703/15/2013

SS should have been shown the door(what does he know about Broadway?)stayed at Showtime,a little full frontal male nudity goes a long way. Done a revival had a few new songs and pop hits. Too late now...

by Anonymousreply 2803/15/2013

The writing on tv shows these days is awful. People will watch anything. They will watch a show about storage facilities, for christ's sake. Networks aren't going to pay top dollar for good screenwriters when they know people will watch Lost even though it's ridiculous, or the Walking Dead, even though it's a show about people arguing with zombies in the background. And then there's Honey Boo Boo.

They know you're either interested in this show or you're not. One person has already said he's going to watch it no matter what.

That's why you get shitty tv shows. People will watch.

by Anonymousreply 2903/15/2013

It was Rebeck. It got better when they ousted her, but she had already run the show into the ground.

Read her memoir, Free Fire Zone and you will see that her view of backstage life was too simpleminded, even for television.

by Anonymousreply 3003/15/2013

Death by a thousand cuts, this is.

But yeah, the fact that McPhee couldn't convincingly act out a fart on screen didn't help.

by Anonymousreply 3103/15/2013

I disagree about the songs for Bombshell. I think Shaiman and Wittman did very good work. I listen to the Bombshell "cast album" all the time. I'd pay extra for a special edition with Hilty replacing McPhee in her solos. No amount of TV "magic" could make me think McPhee could actually perform "Don't Forget Me" live on stage. I loved Hilty on the show.

It should have been a fun, trashy soap with musical numbers, but the creators thought it was The West Wing and too, too many of the actors were beyond dull.

by Anonymousreply 3203/15/2013

Oh R28, your version sounds worse than what is currently running. Everyone should just watch Nashville.

by Anonymousreply 3303/15/2013

R29, your post makes no sense. Smash is a shitty tv show, and no one is watching it. The question being asked is why, and just repeating old guy grumbles doesn't answer the question asked. Why wouldn't people watch this particular shitty tv show?

by Anonymousreply 3403/15/2013

Whoever cast McPhee and didn't notice she has no charisma and can't act gets alot of the blame. But the horrible writing didn't help either.

by Anonymousreply 3503/15/2013

A shitty show is OK, as long as people watch it.

by Anonymousreply 3603/15/2013

The very simple answer is that the show tried to be too many things. Was it an in-depth look at Broadway similar to the West Wing's look at the White House? No. Was it a delicious soap? No. Was it an entertaining camp fest like Glee? No.

Smash had an identity crisis from the very beginning. And from that first airing, lots of people checked it out and huge numbers of them didn't stay through the hour. This was never about the actors.

by Anonymousreply 3703/15/2013

Good God, r36, you're a fucking idiot. Of all the broadcast networks, NBC has been the one who has kept low rated quality shows on the longest.

From where I'm sitting, they are still the network that tries more daring ideas than the others. Smash was a bold experiment about a world that had never been done as a TV series. I may not love The New Normal but it dares to be different. Parenthood, Community, 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights - all low rated gems.

You're talking out of your ass. Idiot.

by Anonymousreply 3803/15/2013

Let me tell you about Deb Messing...

by Anonymousreply 3903/15/2013

I think that the songs and their performances are great, and am always impressed by the elaborately staged "show tune" scenes. This season some of the scenes have just been beautiful ("I can't let go", They Just keep moving the line", etc).

I think that its great that network television is spending money on productions where you can actually see the result in lavish detail. Its also great to hear people sing, with minimal use of autotune ("Broadway, here I come", "I got Love"), unlike Glee.

Overall I think its a great show and hope that it does well. BTW, ratings were up 23% on the last episode, so hopefully it will gain some momentum.

by Anonymousreply 4003/15/2013

I heart R39

by Anonymousreply 4103/15/2013

McPhee isn't great, but in fairness to her, Karen isn't written very well. There is nothing in the story that makes Karen stand out. McPhee needs a little something to work with.

I can't imagine what the direction for her was like, "go out and sparkle so a big director will envision you as a star"?

by Anonymousreply 4203/15/2013

I don't mind McPhee at all. Messing is the weak link for me. I love that the show is branching out to other stories about other shows. I just wish they would do it a little better.

by Anonymousreply 4303/15/2013

Great cast, great concept, terrible writiing.

For all the messing hate, she is a high profile TV actress and is perfectly suited for this role. McPhee cannot act, but is a great singer, at least.

The rest of the cast is strong and represents a mix of TV, Film and Broadway newcomers and vets.

By any standard, it is a dream TV Cast.

Poor production value can be overlooked, especially in such an ambitiously scaled network show.

Not all of the songs will be good if its a weekly series. BUT, the one aspect that cannot be bypassed is the awful witing.

The storytelling somehow managed to be overwrought and completely bland at the same time.

The dialogue was all exposition and telegraphing.

The characters were paper thin. Some arcs were drawn out and became repetative while other major overhauls happened unrealistially quickly.

The tone was incinsistent, the pacing was off....the plotlines were mostly perfectly fine in theory, but the non-stop bad writing ruined this show.

by Anonymousreply 4403/15/2013

McPhee is a bore of an actress but I don't think she got very good directions either. She was pretty good in the performance numbers in Bombshell. I actually really liked the music but what do I know?

by Anonymousreply 4503/15/2013

The show had an identity crisis from the beginning and hack Rebeck is mostly to blame. A huge problem for the series is that it is about putting a Broadway musical together and none of the creative team had any first hand knowledge if their subject.

This season Hilty is the only reason to watch though Andy Mientus is cute but he hasn't been able to show what he can do. The songs for Hilty and Hudson were highlights of their episodes.

by Anonymousreply 4603/15/2013

Spielberg and TV don't mix.

by Anonymousreply 4703/15/2013

I agree that Deb Messing is a huge weak link here, and I think she's finally been exposed as the Emperor's New Clothes here.

As in: When she doesn't have someone else strong to carry her, she comes off as the labored, unengaging bore she's been since the Year One.

by Anonymousreply 4803/15/2013

[quote] disagree about the songs for Bombshell. I think Shaiman and Wittman did very good work. I listen to the Bombshell "cast album" all the time.

And there ya go. On first listen, the songs are boring. Repeated listening to Cast Albums is what Sondheimites insufferable.

by Anonymousreply 4903/15/2013

[quote].[R29], your post makes no sense. Smash is a shitty tv show, and no one is watching it. The question being asked is why, and just repeating old guy grumbles doesn't answer the question asked. Why wouldn't people watch this particular shitty tv show?

Let me spell it out for you, so it will make sense.

It's

Badly

Fucking

Written

by Anonymousreply 5003/15/2013

I am loving these comments. They are more entertaining than the show itself. :) I'm laughing. So funny. Yes this show is addictive to me. It's total junk food television. It's not working, but I can't stop watching it!

by Anonymousreply 5105/16/2013

I think it's those Gummer Girls!! Why, they're Box Office Poison!

by Anonymousreply 5205/16/2013

ahhh R39 tears are coming out of my eyes I'm laughing so hard...the Deb Messing Troll thing is worth sitting through 2 seasons of that Shit Show

by Anonymousreply 5305/16/2013

She's staring in tonight's ABC tv-movie. Maybe it'll be a hit!

by Anonymousreply 5404/20/2014

Far be it from me to take away from the horror and pestilence that is Deb Messing.

However, there was a laundry list of problems with that show and Katherine McPhee was one of the larger items. So stiff, so dull, so uninspiring, Steven Seagal would have been better. She is Leonard Pinth Garnell bad.

by Anonymousreply 5504/20/2014

No, she wasn't.

by Anonymousreply 5604/20/2014

McPhee uses the casting couch. It's no coincidence she was caught kissing the married Smash director. She's fucking for parts.

by Anonymousreply 5704/20/2014
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