We're sick of everyone saying that 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:
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 of each other in large groups, while still maintaining our interest with side relationship dramas, very much how the Braverman chaos unfolds each week.
Will & Grace/Ned & Stacey/The Starter Wife
Almost every Debra Messing TV vehicle applies here. Messing's Smashcharacter 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 & 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 a 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 Aaron 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 Parker and 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's not much more of an apt comparison. In fact, we'd be surprised if Smash didn't eventually contrive a way for McPhee and 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, Katharine McPhee was a young optimistic 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).
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