Though one might think my sole talent is monkey and poop jokes, I'll have you know I'm actually extremely talented in one other area: ACTING!! Before I became America's most unbeloved TV columnist, I was a practitioner of the THE-UH-TAH. (That's "theater" for those who don't speak "annoying.") What roles did I play? WELL! Ever heard of a little play called Hamlet? Me neither. Sounds dumb and boring. HOWEVER! I have auditioned for many of the great community THE-UH-TAHS and once came very close to scoring the role of Eva Perón in the Dubuque Little Theater production of Evita. Ahhh... I remember the audition like it was yesterday... (INSERT WAVY "DREAM" LINES HERE).
I walked onto the empty stage and faced the musical's director, producer, and pianist. Clearing my throat, I announced, "I am Wm.™ Steven Hump-Me and I am here to play... EVITA!" (I did that last part with an elaborate hand flourish.) Apparently, I'd yet to impress them, because I heard the director mumble, "Okay, Mister... 'Hump-Me,' was it? Let's start with a song. Do you need accompaniment?" "Ohhhhhh, no, no, no, no, NO!" I laughed. "I brought my own!" And running offstage, I returned wearing a huge marching band bass drum, which I began loudly banging while skipping around the stage singing, "I feeel pretty! OH! So pretty! I feeeel pretty and witty and GAAAAAAY! And I pity..."
That's about as far as I got with that particular audition. Obviously, my talent was too huge for Dubuque.
Anyhoo, I was reminded of my glory days in the THE-UH-TUH after watching the premier episode of Smash (debuting Mon Feb 6, 10 pm). Produced by Steven Spielberg, this dishy new series revolves around the backstage antics of a Broadway musical, and... WAIT! DON'T WALK AWAY YET! It's not as terrible as it sounds! Debra Messing of Will & Grace stars as... WAIT! STOP WALKING AWAY! Give me a second! Messing is one half of a Broadway songwriting duo penning a musical about Marilyn Monroe, and... OKAY FINE, WALK AWAY. This is getting waaaay too hard to defend.
For those still reading (thank you, BTW): Before Messing and company can get their project off the ground, they have to battle a money-hungry producer (Anjelica Huston), a temperamental/horny director (Jack Davenport), TWO competing actresses (Broadway's Megan Hilty and American Idol's Katharine McPhee), and a world (The World) that thinks this is just the most terrible idea ever.
HOWEVER! As it turns out, Smash is a pretty dead-on account of the petty backstage shenanigans that transpire on Broadway—and, to a lesser degree, theaters across the nation. Its characters are hilariously earnest, the music is pretty good, and everything is super-glitter-coated with a heapin' helpin' of GAY (in a good way). If you can make it past the first 20 minutes, there's a good chance you may get hooked on its soapy charms. So unless you'd rather dig your eyes out with a rusty railroad spike than watch anything that has to do with the THE-UH-TUH, maybe give Smash a shot.
It's somewhat better than me skipping around, banging a bass drum, and singing "I Feel Pretty."
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1
8:00 CBS SUPER BOWL’S GREATEST COMMERCIALS Because homophobic Snickers ads are SOOOOOO FUNNY! ☹
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2
8:30 NBC PARKS AND RECREATION
Leslie vows to get Ann a date for Valentine’s Day… or… or… something else will happen!!
11:00 MTV I JUST WANT MY PANTS BACK
Debut! A twentysomething New York City slacker goes on a quest to retrieve his favorite pair of pants from a one-night stand.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3
9:00 NBC GRIMM
Nick discovers a black-market scheme that provides monsters with human organs. Umm… hello? That’s called capitalism.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4
10:00 DIY THE VANILLA ICE PROJECT
Vanilla Ice and his crew redesign a kitchen. “Yo, VIP! Let’s kick it—with a granite countertop.”
11:30 NBC SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Hosted by the hunky (if not extremely likable) Channing Tatum!
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5
3:00 NBC SUPER BOWL
Madonna will be singing! (And apparently there’s some sort of “football game” going on as well.)
10:00 NBC THE VOICE
Season premiere! Xtina and the gang return for another season of promoting the careers of people who will never become famous.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6
10:00 NBC SMASH
Debut! It’s like Glee—except 40 percent less annoying and 63 percent more gay. (In a good way!)
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7
9:00 NGC DOOMSDAY PREPPERS
Debut! How crazy people prepare for civilization’s collapse. (Actually, I’m stockpiling Totino’s Pizza Rolls.)
9:00 ABC THE RIVER
Debut! A wife goes with a documentary crew to the creepy Amazon to search for her missing husband. (Needs more show tunes.)
I feeeel pretty (on Twitter): @WmSteveHumphrey