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Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Star Is Not Born.

Are any of you out there familiar with an actress named Megan Hilty?
She has been a regular cast member on the hit NBC series "Smash" this past year.
For those of you who have been watching it, she was the blonde
who was in direct competition with the dark-haired girl for the part of
Marilyn MONroe in the show's attempt to put on a musical based on Marilyn's life.
Throughout the series, she has been the one who has been designed as the one
you're not supposed to root for.
She sleeps with the director to advance her chances, which the dark-haired
girl wouldn't do.
She is portrayed as conniving at every opportunity.
Now, there is nothing wrong or necessarily dismaying about being cast as a
It happens all the time.
Her character is a wonderful singer, and a terrific actress.
But when it is crunch time, and the decision has to be made, they go with the
dark-haired girl to play Marilyn.
After this decision is made, there is this very dramatic scene between Megan and
the director she's been sleeping with, where she asks him why the dark-haired girl
got the part and she din't.
After all, she's a blonde, and everything.
And the director, quite tellingly, has to explain to her that the dark-haired
girl is a star, and she isn't.
Now, this puts everything in a different light for Megan Hilty, much less the
character she plays.
It's more than just her being the villainess.
It's telling the character, and the actress, that she isn't a star.
On national television.
If Megan has any kind of sensitivity, she has to realize how much she, Megan,
has been dissed.
On national television.
It had to be a major body blow.
I'm sure that when she read the script, and realized that she was powerless to do
anything about it, she was crushed.
And I felt really badly for Megan the actress, while still maintaining the disdain
I felt for her character.
What a terrible thing for an actress to have to carry around.
Because, of course, they ALL want to become stars.
This set her back at least five lengths, if not in fact, out of the race entirely.

So like I said, I felt really badly for her.
Until this past Fourth of July, when she appeared on "A Capitol Fourth",
the huge patriotic songfest and fireworks display they have on PBS every year.
Megan Hilty was the opening act.
Where somebody who is not a star would find herself.
This part already made sense.
And she sang her patriotic heart out in a fairly standard medley of patriotic
songs, while the stage was draped with red, white, and blue bunting, and American
flags were all over the place.
She got to the part where she sang George M. Cohan's "A Yankee Doodle Tune",
which was prominently featured in the musical "George M.!, where Joel Grey
sang it.
She reached the concluding lyric, which went:
"Hey Sousa, won't you write another march,
Yours is such a melody divine(she sang "sublime", making it a false rhyme) ,
You can have your "William Tell" and "Faust" and "Lohengrin" as well,
But I'll take a Yankee Doodle Tune for mine!"
To paraphrase Neil Simon from "The Sunshine Boys", referring to the
late Sol Burton, the songwriter who died in Variety, she rhymed
"sublime" with "mine".
No wonder she's dead.

And the last line, according to Megan, included this interpretation:
"You can have your "William Tell" and "Faust" and longer in as well"

Longer in.
Longer in.
She sang "longer in"
I went back and checked the Tivo three times.
Longer in.
It might have even had a sexual connotation that way.
Who knows?
She had no clue what "Lohengrin" was. That it was an opera.

Now, I suppose we all make similar mistakes.
I once mentioned that my sister, at my Bar Mitzvah, sang the line from
"Do Re Mi" "sew, ulneeda pulling thread".
And that she thought that "minjulepa" was a word.
As in "You give my old minjulepa kick.....Mame"
Or how I didn't know whether Janis Joplin was singing "freedom's just another
word for nothin' left to lose", or "breathin's just another word for nothin'
left to lose", for which my sister, the "ulneeda" and "minjulepa" purveyor,
never let me hear the end of.

But then, we were adolescents.
And we didn't have access to the Internet, where all of these answers await.
And we weren't going on national TV, where millions of people would be watching,
with, literally flags flying behind us.
And we had no star-studded ambitions.
A star does her homework.
Megan Hilty did not do her homework.
Megan Hilty was a blank slate.
I almost tried to give her the benefit of the doubt.
That she had been so traumatized about being portrayed as not being a star that
she had simply given up trying.
But this was such an affront to anyone who had heard the song, or knew of
George M. Cohan, or opera lovers in general, or admirers of good lyrics, or
Lohengrin, that my benefit of the doubt is not forthcoming.
She was so clueless, that unless she happens to read this, she'll probably
never even know what she did.
You can Google it, and witness this desecration for yourself.

I told you that this would relate to music on TV, and that it would be really bad,
and that should prepare us for geting back to more Dishonorable Mentions for
"Worst TV themes ever"


My book,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or
Happy Days.
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Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at



  1. I saw Megan Hilty in "9 to 5" on Broadway, playing the Dolly Parton role. She was terrific. I think she is star material -- I guess we'll have to wait and see.

  2. I guess I saw Megan Hilty in "9 to 5" on Broadway as well.
    I loved the show, and my only memory of her was that she wasn't Dolly Parton.
    And since we didn't know the songs going in, who knows how many lyrics she loused up?

  3. You could be qualified for a complimentary Apple iPhone 7.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."