Thursday, February 23, 2012

My beef with NBC's "Smash"

In this corner, weighing hundreds of thousands of channel views on YouTube, is "Submissions Only," a hilarious web series about which I gushed last month. It parodies New York's theater audition scene, has great characters, brilliant comedy, and is at the same time procedural and informative. Aaaand in the other corner, with swiftly declining ratings, is "Smash," NBC's soap opera drama that chronicles the mounting of a Broadway musical. There's sex, tears, British accents, lots of montages of Catherine McPhee/Megan Hilty gazing longingly, swallowing their pain, singing through hardship, and reaching for the stars!

Okay, okay, I'll stop being cheeky. As you can probably tell from my preamble, "Smash" is not my favorite show. But, here's the thing: I watched the pilot and didn't hate it. In fact, I liked it. I was rooting for it so hard! It's a TV show about Broadway, for Pete's sake! And that's awesome! 

But since then, my hopes have been all but dashed. As the characters get flatter, and the stakes get lower, and the camera-mugging gets muggier, disillusionment has overtaken me.  

The show's just not working. Here's why.

(DISCLAIMER: I understand only three episodes have aired, so I freely admit that this rant post is by no means conclusive. Let it thusly be deemed cautionary -- an airing of my grievances. I remain hopeful that these train wrecks flaws can be resolved before it gets canceled throughout the remainder of the season. Let it also be noted that I'm no expert on some of these matters; I can speak only from my limited experience in the biz of show, armed with my relative ability as a writer/performer to identify when something rings true and when it makes me want to vom comes off as hollow.)

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Submissions Only" is freaking fantastic

Yo dudes! I may be behind the times, but I finally got around to watching every single episode of Submissions Only, a web series that parodies the New York audition and theater scene, and I am totally HOOKED. If you're at all curious about what it's like to work as an actor in New York City, particularly as a musical theater actor, this is a very accurate (not to mention HILARIOUS) glimpse into that whole world.

The series showcases mondo-talented actors whom you'll recognize from stage and screen -- featuring the insanely funny Kate Wetherhead, who also (brilliantly) writes and directs (alongside Andrew Keenan-Bolger), Broadway star Santino Fontana, whose name sounds like an Italian soda spritzer (and who is, as the Italians say, molto simpatico), as well as Colin Hanlon, whom I saw play Fiyero on the Wicked tour, and whom I occasionally see working out at my gym, looking extremely strapping (no, I haven't yet said hello; instead I lurk in corners, staring wantonly). Bonus: There are tons of great cameos from the ├╝ber-famous, including Kristin Chenoweth. Yay!

So, what are you waiting for? WATCH IT! Check out the complete episode roster here -- and brace yourselves for lots o' laughs.