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Diatribe: Will Jack McFarland Ruin “SMASH”?


SMASHI’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.

TerryFallsHayes’ 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.

Will you?


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From → Diatribes

  1. I haven’t seen Hayes on the show yet–it’s waiting in the DVR–so i can’t say how he’ll do. I think he needs to step way outside of Jack, something very serious, to finally break free of that image.

    I did have a time with Messing that first season, because her character was kinda like Grace, with her gay BFF and all.

    But I agree, less guests stars unless they’re of JHud caliber.

    Uma who? That’s how I like to remember her time on the show.


  2. Barneysday permalink

    Isn’t McFarland one of the originators and producers of SMASH? BTW, I also love the show, watch it on HULU with limited commercials, and agree that Thurman’s exit was a highlight!


    • Jack McFarland was the character that Sean Hayes played on Will & Grace. The series grew from an idea by Steven Spielberg. It is also based on the book “Smash” by Garson Kanin.

      Looks like you’re not the only one watching on a “delayed basis”. The ratings for this week’s episode were BAD.

      Thanks for reading!


      • Barneysday permalink

        Duhh! My Bad! I meant that Hayes is an originator and producer of Smash. Whether his character will carry over into SMASH remains to be seen. I enjoy the show in spite of Messing, she is a whining character in her role, more so this year than last. I love Derek for his focus, and and Huston’s character for her passion.

        Not a real big TV fan, but SMASH and Scandal have caught my attention. Love HULU for the lack of inane commercials! One 15 or 30 second break every 8 minutes or so is fine with me.

        Thanks for a good piece


  3. Barneysday permalink

    We actually don’t have any cable TV. We watch everything on HULU, Amazon, or Netflix, and the sum total of these are less than 20% of the costs of monthly cable. HULU has the shows the day after the broadcasts, and only 1 commercial per break, every 6-8 minutes. What’s not to like, I say.


  4. I haven’t watched this week either, but I was excited to see him on his debut. I had to get over Debra’s “Grace-ism” those first few episodes but now I don’t see that. I’m hoping it’ll be the same for “Jack.” Sad to hear the ratings were not great. Maybe everyone was just really busy like i was. 🙂


    • I do have to say, as much as I love her, I’m a little more turned off by Jennifer Hudson’s character. I can’t put my finger on it. Of course, she’s amazing, but I just don’t know…


    • It seems to me that at least Messing TRIES to not be Grace Adler. Hayes, on the other hand, appears to be embracing the character that made him famous.

      I hope you’re right and I get over it quickly. I think it would be weird if this show hit the skids but GLEE continued to be a hit.


  5. Sean first came to fame in Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss and got rave reviews. I didn’t like him in it and from what I remember he was a lot like Jack when Jack was down.

    As for needing a favor – he doesn’t. He is the Producer of both Hot In Cleveland and GRIM.

    I voted other because I don’t watch the show but the gossip I read says that if the show continues it will likely be without Katharine. Sorry.


    • I remember him in Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss and it seems to me that he was playing Jack McFarland before he knew it was Jack McFarland.

      I do recall that he’s a producer on Hot In Cleveland but I didn’t know about GRIM.

      Thanks for reading!


  6. I have become a devout smash fan,Its really weird how much NBC promoted smash last year before the superbowl,and this year I was expecting the same thing ALOT of promos…if smash gets cancelled(which I’ve heard through the grapevine that they retouched the season finale that was a cliffhanger but turned it into a series finale)then tell FOX about smash and have it up against glee..NBC dont know how to take care of an ACTUAL good show.


  7. I like Smash too. And at first I was worried about Sean Hayes showing up, but his character became such a ludicrous actor it actually turned out quite funny. I hope he continues directing or producing whichever he is doing.


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