THE "SMASH" REPORT: Season Two, Episode 7, Or, Rewrite This Story

By Kenneth Jones
21 Mar 2013

Jason Kravits and Sean Hayes
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

TERRY FALLS, CONSPICUOUSLY: It would appear that Sean Hayes' guest-star arc as the off-his-meds, message-board-reading movie star Terry ends with this episode; and Hayes never got a scene with former "Will & Grace" co-star Messing! Hating Liaisons, the serious-minded musical that he's in, and feeling out of his league, Terry — at the suggestion of Ivy! — decides to have some "fun" at the opening night. ("Fun" is overused in this episode.) He violently improvises on stage, amping up the energy and business in an already unlikely new Marc Shaiman-Scott Wittman number, "Ce N'est Pas Ma Faute" ("It's Not My Fault"), the staging of which includes tap dancing, a can-can and bits that border on sexual assault (the word "motorboat" is included in the song — we don't even wish to identify the wonderful character actress whose bosom is paddled in this scene). Terry collapses on stage in this "Springtime for Hitler"-style turn. It does not make a lick of sense, any of this. Why was this burlesque number in Liaisons in the first place? Was Terry creating "faute" and "boat" rhymes on the spot? Two weeks ago it was a revival of a respected period musical drama. Nobody in this misbegotten "Smash" detour ends up looking smart, not even those who are in the house of the Broadway Theatre, where Liaisons is being performed. (In real life, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella is playing the Broadway Theatre. Cinderella seems like realism compared to "Smash.") The song is, naturally, delicious whipped-cream writing from Shaiman and Wittman, with an effervescent orchestration by Jonathan Tunick. (Joshua Bergasse is the series choreographer, The Book of Mormon's Casey Nicholaw directed the episode.) But it further tears away at the already paper-thin credibility of the storytelling. The misuse of the gifted is becoming the demoralizing hallmark of the second season of "Smash." Not "fun."