TV: ‘Smash’ series finale

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
Rating: 1.5/ 5

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As much as I hate to admit it, I am going to miss the crazy awfulness that is Smash. It definitely does not deserve a third season because if they cannot figure out some character development in two seasons then I doubt a third will help. However, I love the angelic voices of Megan Hilty and Jeremy Jordan and just want to hear them single wonderful songs each week. Here’s hoping they return to Broadway — where they truly belong — as soon as possible.

I have two episodes to review so stick with me since this is my last time to review the show and pick out the insane moments.

The finale begins with Ivy (Megan Hilty) singing “Feelin’ Alright,” which perfectly matched her situation. Congrats writers. You managed to do what Glee struggles with every episode.

Throughout both episodes was an incredibly tedious storyline involving Ivy’s struggle to tell Derek (Jack Davenport) about the baby. Why she ever even had to be pregnant is a mystery. I think it’s a terrible way to end her storyline. I thoroughly hate this and couldn’t stand that it comprised 80 percent of Hilty’s screen time.

Tom (Christian Borle) breaks a big rule in theater: checking your phone during a performance. What a faux pas. Honestly, I don’t care if you are anxious to check the Outer Critics Circle nominations. I’m sick of you obsessing over being a director. He even manages to annoy Patrick Dillon (Luke MacFarlane), someone he has a major crush on who also happens to be on the Tony nominating committee. Throughout both episodes, there is so much pointless back and forth between these two characters. Sure, Borle shined and was hilarious but that is because he’s fabulous. However, I could have done without this storyline.

Karen (Katharine McPhee) confronts Daisy (Mara Davi) about making the better choice and leaving the show so Ana (Krysta Rodriguez) can come back, even though she has filed a wrongful termination suit against Derek and Jerry (Michael Cristofer). Of course, Daisy says no, mentioning that after 10 years of being in the theater, you do what it takes. You were in the chorus, not jail.

Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan) is determined to get Kyle a Tony, which means getting him press and bashing Julia (Debra Messing) for making it seem like she was heavily involved with writing the show.

Speaking of Julia, her divorce is suddenly a storyline again. This honestly came out of nowhere. Frank (Brian d’Arcy James) is set on taking everything from her for ruining their marriage. To skip over this nonsense, she tells him the truth about her relations with Michael Swift (Will Chase) — remember him? — and all of a sudden Frank is chill. There, I just saved you a ton of agony that no one needed to endure.

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 11.42.34 PMAna sings “If You Want Me” for an audition for a Once tour, and, of course, is brilliant. I love her voice and so desperately wish she had sang more, especially those Diva songs that Daisy sang. Ana finds out that Derek set up the audition, which deters her from taking it but eventually she accepts it.

Now we come to the OCC Awards ceremony. Julia acts all high and mighty — which she does for the rest of the show — by dedicating her award to Kyle — and now my head hurts from all the eye rolls — and Tom makes an incredibly awkward statement involving Lena Dunham and bras.

I would like to take a moment and rant about the fact that Daphne Rubin-Vega and Jesse L. Martin — who mysteriously vanished without a proper write-out — NEVER SANG. Why on earth would you bring them on and not have them sing?! You’ll let Debra Messing sing, yet you won’t let two original Broadway cast members of Rent sing?! Look at your life; look at your choices.

Speaking of missed opportunities, there was entirely too little Bobby (Wesley Taylor) in the finale, let alone the series. Every scene he was in was full of sarcastic wit that I always loved. Spin-off anyone?

And here is what we have been waiting for the entire episode: the Tony nominations, with Bombshell getting 12 nominations and Hit List getting 13.

Derek was nominated for Choreography for his work in Hit List and Bombshell. Kyle and Julia get nominations for Best Book. Both shows get nominations for Best Original Score. Tom and Derek both get Best Director nominations. Ivy and Leigh (Bernadette Peters) have both been nominated for Best Featured Actress, with Ivy’s nomination from her work in Liaisons. Guess what? Daisy was also nominated… I’ll leave it at that. Even more of a surprise came when Karen was nominated alongside Ivy for Best Lead Actress. Apparently “actress” is taken very lightly.

tumblr_mnkpw20ENL1r88mw9o5_250To start the very last episode, “The Tonys,” the entire regular cast — even Julia, Eileen (Anjelica Huston) and Derek — sings “Under Pressure.” I could have done without Julia and Eileen, but the rest of the cast was great. I actually liked it; go figure. And did anyone else catch that Rent tribute with the way the cast stood in a line on stage? Anyone else annoyed with the amount of Rent allusions?

Leigh Conroy shines as she prepares Ivy for the Tonys by making her watch her own old acceptance speech — an actual tape from Peters’ win for Annie Get Your Gun. I have never loved Peters more. This scene was top-notch. Her character was well written tonight. Peters and Hilty work excellently together.

Derek went public about how Daisy got the role of the Diva and sulks in a messy apartment for weeks. Not even his muse can snap him out of it, but Ivy manages to convince him to go to the Tonys.

Eileen and Nick (Thorsten Kaye) get back together, and I utter an incredibly apathetic sigh.

Jimmy packs up the apartment, making us think he is going to skip the Tonys. However, he shows up last minute to take Karen and gives Kyle’s ticket to Ana who can apparently get ready for the biggest award show in the theater world in 15 minutes. By the way, I need to take a second to mention how FANTASTIC Jeremy Jordan looks in a tuxedo. Yumz.

And now we have come to the main event: the Tonys where there is no host and a thousand and one cameos from the theater world. Daisy wins over Ivy and Leigh, so obviously it’s a dream sequence because there is no way in reality that would EVER happen. Tom and Julia are too busy being friends again to hear that they won the Tony. Derek wins for Choreography for Hit List. Kyle wins for Best Book and Jimmy finally shows he can act and gives a very moving acceptance speech.

I understand the importance to make another connection to Rent by having Kyle win for Best Book as Jonathan Larson did, however I think it should be the opposite. The score for Hit List dances circles around Bombshell and I don’t think anyone can make a fair judgment on the book because we never get to see more than the musical numbers.

tumblr_mnkhe5U1ao1qi9h09o3_250Derek finally mans up and gets rid of Daisy. For their Tony performance, the Hit List cast does an a cappella version of “Broadway, Here I Come,” and I loved it. I have always loved that song and I’m glad I have a new version to love and listen to over and over again.

After the previously mentioned pointless storyline between Tom and Patrick Dillon, the two kiss, even though Dillon is supposedly straight. I assume Safran thought he had a chance at a third season and was going to pursue that romance then. Oh well.

The moment I have been waiting for since the beginning of the show finally came: it has been proven that Ivy is better than Karen for she wins the Tony!!! IVY WINS!! I would have thrown a fit if Karen had won. At least the writers got one thing right. I can’t wait to actually see Hilty accept a Tony one-day, and hopefully it’s soon!

Rosie O’Donnell appears again for some reason to present the Best Musical award, and it goes to Bombshell. Personally, I’ve come to love Hit List much more than Bombshell, but I don’t deny it would probably make for a great show.

Because he was lacking a troubled past, Jimmy tells Karen he once watched a girl overdose and just ran away. But because she makes him want to be a better person, he has finally turned himself in, but things are even better because she didn’t even die! However, he will get six to 18 months jail time. Talk about throwing in unnecessary, last minute storylines. This literally came out of nowhere! But I guess we are supposed to assume Karen will just wait for him until then.

Though no words were said, we see Derek touching Ivy’s belly so it’s another safe assumption to say that those two will raise a very messed up, egotistical child. And in other horrible storyline wrap-ups, Julia goes back to Michael Swift!!!!! WHAT?! I have lost the ability to even try to rationalize the writers’ decisions.

All the wrap-ups happen while Karen and Ivy sang “Big Finish” at the Tonys, a number that apparently Julia and Tom wrote in seconds and is apparently supposed to be the Tonys’ closing number. The song was very Chicago-esque, which I loved, but let’s talk about those less than subtle lyrics: “Let’s give them that big finish/ And leave them wanting more/ Hear the angels shout ‘Encore!’/ Yeah we’ll leave them, leave the people wanting/ More!”

942689_448170988608065_1487317160_nWell played Shaiman and Wittman.

And that’s all folks. No longer will we reconvene to discuss our hatred and addiction to this terrible awfulness. I’ll miss the songs more than anything. I will not miss the horrible acting and shoddy writing. What will I remember the most from my time with Smash? The stinging reminder of a show that had so much potential — it was about the Broadway world! — but crashed so badly. One can only dream that someone will get this idea right.

What were your thoughts on the series’ wrap ups? Will you miss Smash? Let me know @buzzlightmeryl.

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