Sunday’s series finale of Smash was a mix of emotions for me. On the one hand, there was so much wrong with this show — in both seasons — that I’m not surprised in the least that it was cancelled. But I am a theater buff, and I still love the idea of a show that celebrates this art form, and in the second half of the season, the show did get exponentially better (especially considering how much it disappointed me before).
I can’t say the finale was perfect. In the last few episodes, we seemed to rush through as much as possible: getting Hit List to Broadway, their dealings with Eileen’s ex as producer (for someone who caused so much trouble for Bombshell, he was apparently a breeze to work with for the newbie show), Derek’s downfall and Daisy’s rise to fame, and ultimately the reactions to and response to the Tony nominations. All of this was there, just condensed and fast. Had the show eliminated the beginning quarter of the season, the time it wasted with Jennifer Hudson, perhaps we would have had more time for this part of the series. Unfortunately, we weren’t so lucky.
On the bright side, we did get a clear closing on the series. Whether the writers knew that there was no way the series would get picked up again when they wrote the finale, I’m not sure, but they clearly made this a series finale. Ivy’s speech about live theater really moved me as someone who loves theater. Plus, everyone got their happy ending: poor Kyle got his Tony, Jimmy got redemption, Ivy got her Tony and a happy ending with Derek, Derek fixed his mistakes, and Julia and Tom are partner’s again. The only thing I can say that disappointed me was that Julia ended up back with Michael Swift; I thought she closed up her story with her husband well, and had closed the door on both parts of that past.
Plus, we got a Chicago-esque finale duet (though the splashy lights were a little more Chicago the movie than Chicago the stage show). It was a fun way to sign off the show, and it was nice to see one last piece of original music.
But there was so much I’m still left with: First, Karen was obnoxious with her loss. Ivy’s been in the business for years, and Karen’s a fresh face. Doesn’t she know this wasn’t her one shot? And what about best director? Tom obsessed over this week after week, and we never even found out who won! And did anyone else miss some musical numbers? Even if we saw the same ones from earlier this season (or last season), it really would have given us the Tony experience.
And what about the Tony experience? To me, I’m still rather disappointed to say good-bye to Smash, considering its potential. Had this show been better — and had it gotten a better following — there’s so much the network could have done to hype up such a big moment. What about announcing the nominees and letting the fans vote for the winner, announcing the fan votes during that Tony’s episode? Of course, given that Smash really didn’t strike a chord this season (Julia’s development alone was a redeeming factor for me — until that Michael Swift scene, anyway), there was no real way to do this. We’re lucky NBC showed the rest of the season at all. But it would have been such a fun, interactive way for Smash to really make an impression with its fans.
I’m certainly one of the few, but I’m disappointed to see Smash go. Will I miss Jimmy and some of Karen’s whiny nature? No. But the music, the choreography, the voices (my god, I might have to move to New York if that’s the only place I’ll ever hear Megan Hilty sing again — she’s incredible) I’m going to miss. It was a unique show, flaws and all. I’m disappointed we just saw Smash‘s closing night.