Is “Smash” Superior To “Glee”?

I’m getting a little tired of reading tweets and blog posts and online critics’ reviews that compare “Glee” unfavorably with “Smash,” the new NBC show about the making of a Broadway musical. Tim Goodman’s remarks are typical: “Where ‘Glee’ is a tonal clash of styles that was admirably ambitious in its first season, it’s a creative mess at this point, content to be pop-culture candy haphazardly tossed together in the hopes of being passably funny, superficially dramatic or treacly. ‘Smash,’ on the other hand, looks and feels like a well-written, tightly focused adult drama.” While I have already said that I can’t judge “Smash” based on one episode, I can say that I was confident from “Glee”‘s first episode that it was going to be fun, peppy, and a pop-culture phenom — all of which it has consistently turned out to be. Yes, it has problems. This week’s Michael Jackson tribute points to one of them: the lack of an African-American male among the choir kids. (Darren Criss as Jacko wasn’t post-racial; it was post-sanity.) But “Glee” consistently delivers joy and jokes. By contrast, the pilot of “Smash” suggests all kinds of problems that are going to have to be unravelled before I can agree with Goodman that “Smash” is off to “a hell of a start.”

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