Monday, April 15, 2024

Jennifer Hudson, Anjelica Huston Can’t Save “Smash”: Second Season Premiere Tanks


I tried watching “Smash” last night. I watched as much of it as I could take. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. Most of the people who watched the Betty White special on NBC also tuned out as “Smash” smooshed along. Betty had about 6 million viewers at 8pm. “Smash” had 4.4 million at 9pm. Everything did better–“NCIS,” “New Girl,” “Vegas,” even “Raising Hope.” I even sampled “Mindy Kaling” for five minutes.

For the “Smash” return, they enlisted Jennifer Hudson to be in a faux Broadway musical, and she was simply outstanding. Returning as the lead character–the producer of a Broadway show– Anjelica Huston is a movie star–looking like Cleopatra who ate the canary. Debra Messing is a fave, too. “Smash” is pretty much over, I would think. A worthy experiment. But no one knew how to write a nighttime soap.

“Smash” has too many heroines, and no one to root for. I couldn’t figure out if Megan Hilty or Katharine McPhee was the star. (If you know, please email me.) The men are all foreign or gay or both, and very poorly defined as characters. Jack Davenport kept squinting — I thought he was trying to read the TelePrompter. The most hilarious part–and this is where I got out to look for a hockey game–was when McPhee discovered a waiter and a bartender in a restaurant had written the next great Broadway musical. Are you really kidding or what?

Then there was a kind of nod to the “Rebecca” scandal of last year–Huston’s producer character has been taking mysterious money–is it mob money or what? It was so out of character. And anyway, Huston was the Oscar winning star of “Prizzi’s Honor.” She’s too smart for that. It made no sense.

And the Devils beat the Rangers.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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