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Broadway musical drama with big stars, some sexy stuff.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

One of Smash's recurring themes is striking a balance between getting what you want and staying true to your own ideals -- and some characters do it better than others. There's also a subtler message that true talent will take you far if you work hard enough and that it takes a team of talented people to make something great.

Positive role models

Characters have a variety of motivations, but most share a strong passion for what they do. Characters must also collaborate and make compromises as part of the creative process.

Not applicable

Regular scenes of simulated intercourse without nudity (visible bare shoulders under sheets, sides of breasts, etc.). Post-coital scenes of same-sex couples in bed. Use of terms like "sexy" with a few provocative dance moves. Some degree of sex appeal is essential to the Marilyn character.


Very little.


The show goes out of its way to change familiar brand names (subbing YouLenz for YouTube, etc.), but a few slip in, including iPad. Songs from the series are available for purchase via iTunes, with plans to launch a full-scale musical in the future, depending on the series' success.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main concern in this musical drama is sexual content. Expect to see implied intercourse, some kissing, and seductive dancing in the style of Marilyn Monroe. Language and social drinking are barely present, but songs from the show will be available for purchase via iTunes, with a possible full-fledged musical to hit Broadway should the series perform well.

What's the story?

Chronicling the behind-the-scenes creation, casting, and staging of a fictional musical about Marilyn Monroe, SMASH follows the lives of the various players involved, from the show's writers (Debra Messing and Christian Borle), producer (Anjelica Huston), and director (Jack Davenport) to its aspiring stars. At the center of the action are a pair of talented ingenues -- one, a fresh-faced newcomer (Katharine McPhee), and the other, a more seasoned triple threat (Megan Hilty) -- who are both vying for the role of the iconic but ultimately tragic blond bombshell.

Is it any good?


Sprung from the mind of execustive producer Steven Spielberg, this carefully produced primetime musical with a big-name ensemble cast certainly wants to be taken seriously -- and it makes a convincing case. Less certain, however, is whether the series will have broad audience appeal that will make it the Smash it means to be. After all, musicals aren't for everyone, and convincing the masses to watch week after week can be an uphill climb. (But, hey ... it works for Glee.)

The difference, of course, is in approach. While Glee dives right in with zippy dialogue, zagging plots, and autotuned pop songs, Smash asks more of its audience by doling the action out at a much slower pace and building most of its soundtrack from original songs, with just a few Top 10 hits thrown in to keep things familiar. It's a quality show for sure, but at least initially, it lacks the magnetism of the Hollywood icon it pays homage to.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Smash's premise and the amount of planning that goes into creating an original Broadway musical. How accurately do you think the series portrays the process? Do any of the steps surprise you?

  • How much do you know about Marilyn Monroe -- and have you ever seen any of her movies? Was there more to her talents than just good looks? Why do so many people continue to be fascinated by her life and career?

  • Why do you think the show's producers chose to include pop songs so prominently in the series (such as Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful") in addition to original songs written for the "Marilyn" musical?

TV details

Premiere date:February 6, 2012
Cast:Debra Messing, Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty
Topics:Arts and dance, Music and sing-along
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

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Adult Written bydr dew January 24, 2012

realy good

well i am a guy first off but that did not stop me from loveing this show and i think you will like it too just be careful with smaller kids due to some sexual content and brief mild language but other than those issues good show
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written bysweetrae1 February 19, 2012


I love this musical show. It shows how the process is very long, but once they have everyone in character the show will be great. I love how the music is so real and you feel like part of the directors!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byyespleasebroadway April 26, 2015


This show is AMAZING. If you are involved with the world of theatre, I cannot even begin to describe how much this will resonate with you. The acting is amazing, with Broadway stars such as Megan Hilty, Brian D'Arcy James, Christian Borle, and Bernadette Peters playing large roles, the songs are beautiful, and other than a little extra backstage drama, it's pretty realistic. Totally worth the watch.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex


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