Diatribe: Will Jack McFarland Ruin “SMASH”?
I’ve been enjoying the NBC series SMASH since its much-hyped debut last season but I’m quickly losing interest. This week’s episode may have been a turning point for me. I fear that the addition of Sean Hayes to the cast may be the moment that SMASH jumped the shark.
While the immensely talented Hayes has a large fan base, including me, I fear that he will never be able to break free of the Jack McFarland Curse. Having brought the character of Jack McFarland to NBC’s Will & Grace for eight seasons beginning in 1998 (he won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2000), try as he might Hayes has yet to find his next big role. Much like Henry Winkler was never able to distance himself from the unforgettable character that he played on Happy Days, Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, I assume that Hayes will always be “Just Jack” to most of us.
Another Will & Grace alumnus, Emmy winner Debra Messing who played Grace Adler on the popular series, is already playing an integral character on SMASH. Messing is talented and versatile enough to convincingly portray the character of Julia Houston, one half of the writing team behind the Broadway musical at the show’s core, without her comedic history influencing her performance. To me, the addition of another Will & Grace cast member muddles both performances.
Hayes’ SMASH character, Terry Falls, is supposed to be a big movie star who arrives in New York to play a serious role but no one seems to think he can do it. I have to agree. For me, seeing Sean Hayes on the screen will always be seeing Jack McFarland … he was just that good in the role … and it appears that Terry Falls won’t be all that different. Fortunately, if history repeats itself, his guest-starring role on SMASH will be short-lived.
Hopefully, the focus of the series will continue to be on the core group of characters including Karen Cartwright (portrayed by the flawless Katharine McPhee) and Ivy Lynn (the mesmerizing Megan Hilty) and any guest stars will simply be musical distractions … I suggest more Jennifer Hudsons and less Uma Thurmans.
Despite the addition of Jack McFarland, I’ll keep watching … for now.
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