A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
Themes & Topics
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