Ousted Smash Creator Theresa Rebeck Slams Season 2 as a 'Complete Disaster'

Smash Season 2Smash creator Theresa Rebeck is not a fan of the show’s second season.

Rebeck, who departed NBC’s musical drama at the end of the show’s rookie season, has offered her first critique of Season 2. And it’s far from glowing.

RELATED | Smash Series Finale to Include a [Spoiler!] and a [Spoiler!]

In an email exchange with Buzzfeed, Rebeck took issue with a January story the site posted about Smash‘s Season 1 struggles, writing, “If in fact Theresa Rebeck was the problem with Smash and the train wreck it became, wouldn’t things have gotten better instead of drastically worse once she left?”

Rebeck went on to call Smash‘s poor Season 2 ratings performance (which led NBC to banish it to Saturday’s) the least of its problems. “Most media reporters would agree that the second season is a complete disaster,” she wrote. “and that the troubles of a once promising show go far beyond faring poorly in the ratings.”

Thoughts? Chalk up Rebeck’s mini-tirade to sour grapes? Or does she have a point? Weigh in below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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142 Comments
  1. Josh says:

    She created Ellis. She loses all credibility forever. And her plays are awful.

  2. Drew says:

    The first season of Smash was a lesson in how to completely destroy a series with a lot of potential. Nearly every decision, from character arcs to wardrobe was a complete failure. Ivy was unlikable. Karen was too naive. Julia was a cheating liar with an annoying family and ugly scarves. Dev was a waste of screen time… why put a politician on a show about theater? Everything was a mess. And that’s not even including the Ellis factor. If this woman is claiming some sort of victory over that season, she is just proving how horribly out of touch and untalented she is.

    Season 2 has problems, don’t get me wrong. Jimmy should have been written with a way more depth (something which also could have been improved in the acting). Kyle was pointless and annoying (the guy who can’t write suddenly taking ownership of the show which only went forward once they ditched all of his work). Yeah, there are a lot of issues, but a lot of the drama is also more natural. Julia and Tom growing apart. Karen using her connections to get Hit List off the ground (which a lot of people say is unrealistic, but it’s not like she took the show to Broadway herself. Networking happens all the time). Ivy getting the Marilyn role back seemed natural, and it happened after they repaired the mess of a character that she had become.
    People complain about having multiple shows within the show, but in season 1, way too much time was spent on useless garbage that had nothing to do with putting on a play. Adding more shows this year allowed them to explore different sides of the industry, while also allowing them to stay on a stage even when one of the shows was having a slow week.

    I can’t believe I’m defending the show. Season 2 is nowhere near my list of really good shows. But it is leaps and bounds above the train wreck that was season 1.

  3. sarah says:

    I am enjoying Season 2, I liked Season 1 too.

  4. cara says:

    Surely Season 1 wasn’t good but has Season 2 made any improvement? Season 2 added a second musical but character wise, they didn’t add anything interesting. On the contrary, we had to watch “Jimmy” on the Hit List side. I don’t know why they thought that the show would be better with such a character.

  5. Kate'shomesick says:

    It’s not that they didn’t fix what was wrong with season 1, it’s just that they added new problems…Jimmy could have been a great character if the writing had been better. The same goes for Kyle (whom they kill of the second he was starting to be likeable)…the writing is SO uneven. For Tom and Julia to be at each others throats like that, the Tom/Sam storyline, Kyle sleeping with Tome and vice versa, Derek showing no progress by still making him hop on and off the Ivy and Karen trains…

  6. Stuart Yael Gordon says:

    I suspect NBC/Comcast has delayed officially announcing the cancellation of SMASH because they intend to take Bombshell to Broadway, with Hilty. Have you HEARD the soundtrack? Start to finish better than anything currently on Broadway and possibly one of the best scores ever. Now if only they could find a dramaturge to assembly the script from the bits and pieces we’ve seen..

    By the way, as far as Hit List, aka Low-Rent goes, I have no interest in ever seeing it performed.

    Oh, and BTW2 … Will Chase was nominated for a Tony yesterday!

  7. KevyB says:

    Isn’t this a textbook example of the pot calling the kettle black? Sweetie, you’re both terrible!

  8. Sher says:

    appreciated Karen’s consistent strength as a person in her character. Again, as the nice one, she is consistently treated not very nicely by the men -Derek, Dev, Jimmy, etc. this season. Every one of them says something in a nasty tone to her. This isn’t happening for Ivy. ??? There is never a sense of who her character in Hit List is. It is completely vague, which isn’t fair to her, in building her character’s relationship to the role. I have been bored by Julia’s two dimensionality-she is reacting in a rant , then a switch to its opposite, pure wisdom driven talent. In both she is less coming from embodying character than playing a scene. More time was given to her than anyone else, so I figured out that maybe Josh Safran thought she was the leading lady. I am still angry that Ivy as a character was allowed to try to destroy Karen on opening night in Season 1 and then with only a few not so sincere words, is given one success after another. This gives a message that what you do to get what you want is fine as long as it works.This season would have been much more interesting if there had been some growth for the characters, coming out of their
    edgy situations in Season 1 . Instead there was no continuity on the real and deeper level,
    which I believe is what keeps a viewer hooked.

  9. Sher says:

    Error-not Dev for Season 2

  10. Anjan Behera says:

    Agreed! Season 2 is a MESS…and a BIGG ONE! It’s ruined characters and the new additions aren’t quite interesting either. Karen leaving Bombshell just coz things weren’t going her way is proof of sad and immature writing. Now if things go bad in HitList, she’ll quit that too eh? Turns out Ivy was the sanest of them all! At least she knew what she wanted from the very start. And Julia’s character has soooo much potential…she’s being underused!

    Compared to this, season 1 now feels golden!

  11. Vicki says:

    First season was fabulous. Second season not worth watching. Gave up about a month ago.

  12. jay says:

    Season 2 was a slight improvement over S1. If for some strange reason there is a S3, the showrunner needs to get rid of Karen/McPheen and Jimmy/Jordan.

  13. Charlie says:

    I’m fascinated by the dialogue this show has created, despite its obvious shortcomings. I’ve been a loyal viewer from the start, though the move to Saturday night sucked in that I’ve had to find other ways to watch. The strength of the show obviously is the music; the writing and plot lines have been wildly uneven. I’ve liked the story lines in Season 2 more and the music more in Season 1. Season 1 definitely had some dead-end storylines (Uma Thurman, Julia’s marital woes, Karen and Dev’s relationship). While Jimmy’s character is truly unlikable, it gave Karen something more to play off emotionally. And one of the more interesting new relationships in Season 2 was Jimmy and Kyle; I’m going to miss Kyle if he’s killed off. And I liked the arc of how the “marriage” between Julia and Tom has fallen apart — realistic in that even two nice people can break up because of career ambitions and ego. And I liked how Karen and Ivy evolved to drop the hatchet and at least respect each other. Of course, not everything story-wise has been great in Season 2. Jennifer Hudson was a waste (though I did enjoy Liza’s cameo), and Derek’s character has definitely been put through the grinder. Maybe he and Karen are going to hook up after all, which I agree should have been a bigger storyline this season. Maybe I’m all over the map, much like the show has been. But I will miss it when it’s gone, and my TV viewing choices will once again be relegated to whatever HBO is showing.

  14. Alan says:

    I love SMASH! I love Season 2 I love Jimmy and Kyle. I love this show and I hope it is on next season… The only thing I hated that Kyle was killed off but Kyle left us with a beautiful song called: “The Last Goodbye” and I hope it gets air played the song is for sure awesome. I love “ALL” of the casts on SMASH…. This show is SMASHING “AWESOME”
    Please keep Smash on for another season it is one of the best shows on TV….

  15. V says:

    My one hope for the season was that they would take one episode and show all of Bombshell. I know it was a stupid hope, but it’s the only, and I do mean ONLY thing that would make this season marginally better.

    I haven’t watched a show this bad in a very long time, and I watched all ten seasons of Smallville.

  16. Cathy says:

    I loved the first season of SMASH. Part of the problem with season 2 was that it was stated that it would start in Sept and did not, by the time it did start months later many followers had stopped looking for it to ever come back. It was very obvious that the writing in season 2 was different than 1…and not in a good way. Season 2 had way too many different story lines all going at the same time….every week, every character had some kind of new major issue. It seemed like the writers did not know what to do so they threw in everything they could possibly think of…..too much & it became overkill. It became totally predictable. What a shame because I did enjoy the first season.

  17. dance 10 says:

    i think season two is a lot better, hit list is ok but a slight hotmess especially seeing it transfered, i think problem was the show was a vehicle for mcfee and she didn’t quiet delivery marylin ,hilty is the star of the show and is a rounded character, painting mcfee to perfect, and shes become blander in season 2

  18. Titina says:

    I think Theresa Rebeck is absolutely right!
    Season 2 has been a complete disaster no thanks to Josh Safran. Why did they hired him in the first place? Just by introducing the new characters such as Jimmy & Kyle, it ruined the show and it completely changed the dynamics of it.

    Too bad because even though we all know S1 had flaws (like Ellis, Michael Swift) overall, the story made more sense and it was more cohesive.
    The pilot and the S1 finale were FANTASTIC!
    This season is all over the place. So sad how this promising show got ruined. Plus he destroyed the wonderful chemistry between Karen & Derek. Those two were the heart and soul of this show but he never went around it the way it should have been.
    I hope Kat Mcphee & Jack Davenport get to work together in the future! That kissing scene they finally got to do was HOT..

  19. vivianna says:

    i think both seasons were awesome the people who cancelled it were just plain dumb and didn’t see the importance of the show to the viewers. It was a show that helped most teenagers discover who they were and wanted to be.

  20. Sharon Hultman says:

    I loved the whole idea of a TV series about Broadway musicals, and I truly enjoyed both seasons of Smash. I am truly sad that it has been cancelled, though not necessarily surprised. I watched both seasons on Hulu, not network TV, and although that was good for me, I probably didn’t contribute anything to the network ratings to support it. We need a different business model for television shows that allows those who really like the show, but not the network television system, to play a bigger role in what gets produced. I am pleased that Netflix, for instance, has picked up the highly popular Arrested Development program as an “original” series. We need more of this type of entrepreneurship in programming development.

  21. pete says:

    Smash was always at its best when showing the back stage goings on and the musical numbers. It also did a great job switching between reality and the song in your head (see over the rainbow from the pilot). But I have to disagree with Ms. Rebeck that season 2 was worse than season 1. She dug such a huge hole making every character so thoroughly unlikeable that most of season 2 was spent fixing her mistakes. As a result, we had precious little of the backstage stuff that was so wonderful. Why couldn’t we have had a couple of love stories mixed in with the creative going’s on in a musical. Why did everyone have to be so deceitful and evil. It made you hate everyone. Also, she was responsible for undeniably the worst casting choice of the show. Ms. McPhee, although lovely and a good singer was wallpaper on the screen. Her one expression – a dull eyed stare – was the worst thing about smash. Think how much better it would have been if she was the girl who had ben in the chorus for 10 years and Ms. Hilty had ben the breakout star. That alone would have saved the show.

  22. k-girl says:

    One thing none of you understand is that Jimmy has problems; I like that he is not as perfect as Karen. I love how she makes him want to be a better person. If we think about it, we all don’t experience life the same. Some people go through a lot of messed up stuff and I loved how Jimmy portrayed a dark side of broadway that many people may not know about. Drugs are real and they are everywhere! Im sure if we all knew what our favourite celebs do after their shows, we might hate them as much as we hate Jimmy.

    I feel like Jimmy brought something Ellis couldn’t. He was stubborn, but towards the end, he started trying to fix himself. Will really miss the kind of passion and energy he brought to the show. It goes to show that many girls choose messed up guys, like Karen. And for some people who say she should’ve ended up with Derek!?? That’s just nasty!

  23. Lea Ann Luce says:

    I didn’t get to see most of season one as I fell in love with it at the close of the season. I did get a little tired of Jimmy’s tirades but his musical performance was fabulous. I have never seen such talent all wrapped up in one show and that goes for the role of producer lyricist book & choreography. I loved watching the whole musical come together . I just can’t take a taxi and go see a Broadway musical… so please don’t take this subject and story and performances away because it brought me real joy. It is definitely worth fixing!!!! Please don’t cancel.!!!

  24. Rick Finbow says:

    Wow, everyone’s a critic!! I enjoyed the first season because of the Talent it showcased, choreography, vocals and acting. In season 2 that all went away. less musical numbers, vocals were weak but hey, it brought Broadway back to TV!! Entertaining it was!!!
    That’s why I watched, to be entertained! I have not watched a series on TV in years.
    Go see a Live Broadway show!!!

  25. Ian says:

    Season 2 is an unrealistic MESS! Why is Jennifer Hudson here? Why are 2 emo lads feeling so entitled to have their li’l show on Broadway?? Why oh why is Karen so enamored of a scary drug user guy?? Why are people allowed to quit at will – then Oh! They’re back! And wasn’t the Valmont thing a straight play? Then suddenly it’s a musical?

    And while i love love LOVE Sean Hayes, the stunt casting is not needed! That just insults the audience & goes against what the show within the show – Bombshell (which was the name of a few books about Jean Harlow, but whatevs) – had to cast a “star” or no one would come see it. SMASH did the same thing, i am just waiting for whats-his-name who played Will to show up and we can have a Will & Grace revival!

    It is unfocused, it is ridiculous, and i know now why it was canceled. Which bums me out, as it was one of the few things in my pathetic life that cheered me up. Season 2 just feels like a different show. Written by monkeys, no offense to any simian creatures.

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