TV: Jennifer Hudson is the only smash on ‘Smash’

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
Smash airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC
Rating: 2/5

Smash - Season 2

Had Jennifer Hudson not agreed to be a part of this season of Smash, I do not know what the writers would have done. Right now, she is the only great thing about the show, and she isn’t even a cast member – she’s just a guest star.

Tonight’s episode, “The Song,” was only acceptable because of JHud’s phenomenal talents.

Sadly, this may be her last guest appearance for now. We’ll cry about it together later.

Veronica’s (Jennifer Hudson) idea to do a one-night only concert is happening now and will be filmed by Bravo for the television audience, but Derek (Jack Davenport) is just on a yelling spree for most of the rehearsals.

Because of Derek’s desire for something new for Veronica to do, Karen (Katharine McPhee) calls Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan) and Kyle (Andy Mientus) to pitch their songs. Derek agrees to give them a shot. Well, “one shot is all it takes” so here ya go.

The dramaturg now has a name – Peter (Daniel Sunjata) – and he invites Julia (Debra Messing) to come to his class at NYU. She thinks she is giving a lecture, but he actually invited her to come hear his students perform Bombshell. I like this guy. He’s surprising and critical – something both Bombshell and Smash need.

The students tear the play to pieces, and Julia is furious and insulted. Ugh, her over-reaction to about any critique toward Bombshell has become quite annoying. Obviously the show needs work if it didn’t go straight to Broadway. Suck it up and listen!

Smash - Season 2Veronica’s mom (Sheryl Lee Ralph) is wonderful: the typical monster mom-manager character but not too over-the-top. She challenges Derek and the sexualized direction he is pushing Veronica in because Veronica is not comfortable with that.

In an attempt to write a new song for Veronica’s show, Jimmy is feeling the pressure but Karen seems to be his muse, for when she is in the room with him, suddenly all the words come. Oh really. So not only is she Derek’s muse but also Jimmy’s?! The girl who is horrible at acting and whispers her lines half the time is your muse? You have to be joking.

Nick (Thorsten Kaye) returns to turn himself in so Eileen (Anjelica Huston) can continue on with Bombshell. He turns himself in, but she still confesses she knew about where the money came from despite Jerry’s (Michael Cristofer) warnings to stay out of it.

Derek has decided to cave and just do the show Veronica would feel comfortable with, thus Jimmy’s new fantastic song that he and Karen are so happy about – they actually smile – is no longer needed, sending Jimmy into his macho manly anger mode, so he storms off.

I am more than done with Jimmy’s wannabe-bad boy, careless attitude. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Yeah, I just said that. That’s HOW done I am with Jimmy.

Not only does the character lack any depth, Jordan, as much as it may kill me to say, does a terrible job acting on this show. All he does is act, poorly, drunk/high, yell or look uninterested. Jordan was nominated for a Tony for his work on Newsies, but his performance on Smash makes that reality seem impossible.

Worse than his acting, however, is Karen’s. All I have to say is that she acts like Kristen Stewart to show how terrible McPhee’s performance is. She’s pretty monotone for her dialogue and her face lacks any emotion 80 percent of the time.

But I digress…

Jimmy goes missing after Derek’s rejection. Karen finds him high on some drug that he thinks he’s cool for doing, but she convinces him to return to the theater to show that he can handle rejection. Oh really? The kid who is obviously high is able to handle rejection well. Ok.



On the way back into the theater, Jimmy and Karen kiss, and it’s awkward. Not only is the kiss itself awkward but then Karen follows with, “Let’s try that again when you’re not high.” Aaaahhh! I’m so done with the both of them.



After talking with Peter, Julia finally realizes something is wrong with the play. It doesn’t work because she’s trying to convey it through Marilyn’s point of view when she actually relates much more to the men in Marilyn’s life. Thus, the show must be done from the men’s perspectives.

Now that is interesting. You mean society isn’t misogynistic enough already?

What is not cool is that Peter is already starting to make moves on Julia. Stop it. Now.

Last minute, Veronica decides to do Derek’s sexualized version of “I Got Love,” and it’s fantastic. Then she performs Jimmy and Kyle’s song “I Can’t Let Go” and blows the house away. JHud’s performance is top-notch all of the time and no one can deny her vocal abilities. The two points out of five for this episode are only because of JHud’s two performances.

Veronica invites Jimmy and Kyle on stage – and let the fame battle begin.

Ellis1Bombshell is free to run on Broadway but not with Eileen as producer. Instead, Jerry will take over. Apparently, Jerry paid Ellis off to get the file on Nick so that Eileen would be out and realize that she needs Jerry. Watching the episode, I missed this Ellis quip but Tumblr and my friends are ablaze at the notion of his return and I have the same sentiments.



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