In with the new and out with the old. That appears to be the direction Smash is taking as the NBC series preps for its second season, which is expected to arrive early next year. Yesterday, we learned that (at least0 three new characters are set to be added to the Broadway-themed drama series for Season 2, and casting is underway for those parts. Today comes word that two recurring characters from the first season are on their way out.
Normally, a character's exit is considered bad news, but I doubt I'm alone in seeing these as two big exceptions to that rule. Smash had a solid first season, but it wasn't perfect, and two less than stellar aspects of the show were characters Dev and Ellis. This is not a sight against either actor so much as it has to do with how their characters were used. Raza Jaffrey's Dev was an aspiring politician and Karen's (Katharine McPhee) boyfriend. Aside from the scenes he shared with Karen, his story felt a bit out in left field most of the time, and twisted into a cringe-worthy arc that had him randomly sleeping with Ivy. Over-drama, if you ask me.
Meanwhile, Jaime Cepero's Ellis veered a bit into cartoonish territory as he was constantly scheming. I can get on board with an intentionally unlikable, sneaky character who causes problems, but Ellis never quite fit into the tone of the show. So, EW's report that both characters are on their way out isn't exactly bad news. The site says we might see one or both characters in Season 2 as part of their character wrap-up within the story but beyond that, their sources say the plan is for neither character to play much (if any) role in the new season. NBC has declined to comment on this.
This seems like an improvement, and one of a few that could be made. On that subject, I'm also hoping we'll see a change with the implied pregnancy twist tied in with Debra Messing's character Julia. I had a hard time feeling all that sympathetic toward Julia over that whole affair ordeal in the first place. I think that comes largely from the fact that we barely had a chance to get to know her as a character before she was engaging in a brief but steamy love affair with Michael. Regardless of whether or not he was an old flame, they're both new characters to us and she seemed to be in a good relationship with a husband who loves her, so seeing her dive into bed (or couch) with another man and then tearfully beg for her husband's forgiveness made it a little hard to get behind her, at least from my perspective. Seeing as she's not painted as a "bad" character, I don't understand what we're supposed to think about that, but a possible baby seems like an obvious way to drag out an already annoying plot aspect of the show. Or am I in the minority here? Thoughts?
We'll have to wait and see if that situation is changed/altered between now and Season 2. Maybe what she thought might be morning sickness turns out to be a bug. Or is that too optimistic?
As though reading my mind, EW posted the following update to their story:
UPDATE: Brian d’Arcy James, who played Julia’s (Debra Messing) husband Frank, and Will Chase, who played Julia’s former lover Michael, are leaving Smash, too. In the finale, Frank saw Julia comforting Michael on stage and assumed the duo were back to their old, ahem, tricks.
Both Julia's husband and Michael are leaving the show! I suppose that resolves that issue. It should be interesting to see how that is worked out within the story. Maybe this will help clear the slate for Julia going into Season 2.