The first season of Smash was often a fever dream-mess with bizarre forays into karaoke bar baby showers and elaborate Bollywood musical sequences. Viewers turned from loving to watch to loving it to hate-watch it, taking to twitter and social media each week to dissect the craziness. Well, Smashionistas, executive producer Steven Spielberg, who initially came up with the concept for Smash and pitched it to NBC’s Bob Greenblatt when he was at Showtime, had zero idea that this had become a phenomenon and even led to a popular New Yorker piece by TV critic Emily Nussbaum. “No I didn’t,” admits the Lincoln director, who actually watched Smash dailies on the set of his Daniel Day-Lewis epic. “Well here’s what’s great about Smash: it’s not a procedural. It’s not medical. It’s not cops. It’s not legal eagles. It isn’t a sitcom. So it does defy what is commercial and popular today. But that’s what Bob Greenblatt wanted to do when he came in and was offered NBC. He wanted to take his cable sensibility and bring it to network television and I think he’s succeeding admirably.”
The director says he was more aware of the audience’s hatred towards manipulative, sweater-vested assistant Ellis (Jamie Cepero) and the scarf-heavy, fortune teller-ish wardrobe of Julia (Debra Messing). Says the director, “I don’t follow it personally but I’m told everything. So I certainly knew about it, I just don’t follow it. I have a choice—I can either watch all the dailies or I can follow the social media. I can’t do both.” Fair enough.
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