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‘Smash’ overhaul continues as they get rid of… the scarves

anne_t_donahue
omg! TV
December 7, 2012
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Fans of "Smash" know that Julia Houston's (Debra Messing) wardrobe was one of the most maligned elements of Season 1. (Seriously, it was that bad.) But despite the frequent appearance of oversized knitwear and gargantuan scarves during the first season, new "Smash" showrunner Josh Safran has announced that in addition to casting and storyline changes, Julia's look will also get a makeover.

"Coming into a show second season where there was so much discussion about positives and negatives about the first season gives you a rare chance to step back and go, 'What can I change?'" Safran told Entertainment Weekly on Thursday. "So we were able to revisit things like the [scarves]. We address it head on."

Of course, Julia's scarves are hardly the only aspect of the show that needed addressing. While "Smash's" first season boasted the musical talent of former "Wicked" star Megan Hilty (Ivy), other characters lacked key traits such as believability or well-written dialogue. Case in point: Leo Houston (Emory Cohen), a teen obsessed with his parents' adoption of a Chinese baby, and who turned to the dark, dark world of marijuana in the wake of their separation. His actions were trumped by those of Ellis Boyd (Jaime Cepero), who poisoned Uma Thurman's Rebecca Duvall with peanuts so that Karen (Katherine McPhee) could take her place onstage. Why? No one knows -- but his character was dismissed at season's end. Much like Cepero, who won't be back for Season 2.

See also: Megan Hilty happy to take on body stereotypes for 'Smash'

In fact, Cepero is just one of several actors who won't return in the second season, along with Cohen, Brian d'Arcy James (Frank, Leo's father), Will Chase (Michael Swift, Julia's lover), and Raza Jeffrey (Dev). Instead, viewers will get the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Liza Minnelli, Sean Hayes, and Bernadette Peters, who will hopefully bring "Smash" some strong, realistic characters (or at least ones who don't obsess about their parents' relationship so much, Leo).

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See also: Jennifer Hudson's son is a 'Smash' on set

That said, "Smash" will need to to make more changes than just scarves and casting to make it a different, better show. But while an overhaul may win it more critical acclaim, Safran would be wise to still appeal to the original fan base. Thanks to podcasts like Julie Klausner's "How Was Your Smash?" and Rachel Shukert's weekly show recaps, "Smash" established a cult following who adored the ridiculousness of the series -- Bollywood dance numbers and bowling alley sing-a-longs included.

Here's hoping that in addition to enlisting big names, dismissing smaller ones, and leaving scarves by the wayside, "Smash" writers remember to create story lines that rely on more than just a rendition of the theme "Let Me Be Your Star." The best kind of TV shows maintain an air of self-awareness while still creating memorable characters. At the very least, they incorporate guests into the narrative organically, as opposed to using them simply as a publicity stunt.

What do you think of these changes? Are you sad to see Ellis and Leo get the boot? And, more importantly, will you miss Julia's scarves?

"Smash" returns with a two-hour episode on Tuesday, Feb. 5 on NBC and CTV.

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