Smash" reminds them of "Glee." The shows have very little in common, so it's just a lazy comparison that's made because both programs happen to feature musical elements. "Smash" is a layered show about adults in realistic situations, not adults playing teenagers in the most ridiculous high school ever. NBC's series also has serious actors (like Anjelica Huston) and (judging by the upcoming episodes we've been privy to) actually remembers its storylines from week to week and doesn't wildly change itself in order to fit the music of the week. Oh, and its original songs are truly catchy, and the less said about that time "Glee" went for originality, the better. Here are the other shows "Smash" actually resembles:We're sick of everyone saying that "
"Smash" isn't about a family in the way that "Parenthood" is, but the process of creating Marilyn weaves the characters together in a way that could last for the five years it typically takes a show to make it to the Great White Way. The cast excels at bouncing off one another in large groups, while still maintaining our interest with side relationship dramas, very much how the Braverman chaos unfolds each week.
'Will & Grace'/'Ned and Stacey'/'The Starter Wife'
Almost every Debra Messing TV vehicle applies here. Messing's "Smash" character Julia and her writing partner Tom are very "Will & Grace" 2.0. And not to be too spoilery, but the show will feature a character dating someone just to get ahead, a la "Ned and Stacey." Finally, if you want a messy divorce like "The Starter Wife," Eileen's got that in spades as she struggles to prove she can handle producing a Broadway show on her own without the help of her soon-to-be ex-husband. We've got a feeling Molly and Eileen would have a lot to talk about.
Two dysfunctional people trying desperately to adopt a baby from a foreign country? Sounds a lot like Meredith and Derek to us. And at least it sort of worked out for Zola.
'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip'
There's definitely an Aaron Sorkin-esque vibe to this show, and we've seen a lot of comparisons to "The West Wing," but it actually has more in common with the short-lived "Studio 60." That was a show about creating another show, but "Smash" actually hired real Broadway writers to create the tunes for the musical within the show, while "Studio 60" relied on Sorkin to provide both the drama and the (painfully unfunny) sketch comedy -- one of the show's biggest mistakes. And like "Studio 60," "Smash" also has a best friend/creative partner tandem in Tom and Julia.
Some of the most original and catchy songs on television are on "South Park," and the ones that aren't done by Trey Parker and Matt Stone are often written in collaboration with Marc Shaiman. And it just so happens that Shaiman is the go-to composer for "Smash" as well. Was Marilyn's mom a big, fat bitch, by any chance?
Another Sorkin show within a show, which alone would merit it a spot on this list (if only the characters on "Smash" could walk and talk), but the real reason we're putting this one on here is Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy. Huffman's real-life husband, Macy, was brought on as a recurring guest star in the second season, and there's a bit of a similar behind-the-scenes romance happening on "Smash" as well. Messing, in real life, is dating Will Chase, who joins the show in a few episodes in a key role with a juicy backstory.
'Norma Jean & Marilyn'
We're cheating a little by including this TV movie, but there isn't a more apt comparison. In fact, we'd be surprised if "Smash" didn't eventually contrive a way for Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty to split the Monroe role, with the brunette as Norma Jean and the blonde as Marilyn.
'Dirty Sexy Money'
There's something about Eileen fighting with her husband, Jerry, over thousands of dollars as their divorce turns into a public spectacle that recalls the soapy "Dirty Sexy Money." Here's hoping that there's not a plane crash in someone's imminent future.
In Season 5, McPhee was an optimistic young girl who auditioned for the show and ended up in a head-to-head battle with someone far more seasoned than she was. True, she lost that competition (to the dreadful Taylor Hicks), but we'll be shocked if "Smash" doesn't give her Karen a happier ending (though not necessarily the one she's looking for).
If you missed it, you can watch the series premiere of "Smash" in full right here:
"Smash" airs Mondays at 10 PM on NBC.
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