Smash Series Finale: And the Tony Goes to...

Smash-Series-Finale-RecapDrama, drama and more drama — of the baby-daddy, divorce, drug-crime, possibly gay movie-star, Tony performance mutiny switcheroos and early-prison-release variety, to name a few — went down in the Smash series finale. But as befits a series about the inner workings of a pair of dueling Broadway musicals, most of the real tension centered on the winners, losers and performers at the Tony Awards.

Whether you were #TeamKaren or #TeamIvyLynn, #TeamBombshell or #TeamHitList, #TeamJulia or #TeamDeadGuy, there was resolution to be found. So let’s get to the business of recapping the action!

Hour 1 — “The Nominations” — might just as well have been called The Jimmy & Derek Acts of Contrition Tour, since the two possible endgame prospects for the show’s dueling leading ladies needed some light reupholstering before they could be moved into Barbie’s Dream Castle, so to speak. Let me try to boil down the action as succinctly as possible:

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* Tom managed to offend possibly gay movie star/Tony nominating committee member Patrick Dillon (Brothers & Sisters‘ Luke Macfarlane — lookin’ good) by rudely checking his cellphone during a show, and then later by smashing a bottle of Petite Sirah in Patrick’s lobby (and onto Patrick’s very nice khakis). (Backstory: The wine was supposed to be a meal culpa gift via delivery, till Eileen informed Tom that gifts to potential nominators were strictly verboten.) Was something flirty afoot, or was it all in Tom’s active imagination? Hrmmm. Also, Tom and Derek tied for Best Director at the Outer Critics Circle Awards, with the former graciously thanking his predecessor/frenemy even though the two of ’em “go together as well as Lena Dunham and a bra,” he joked.

* Karen, meanwhile, demanded that Daisy quit Bombshell (on grounds that she was a blackmailing skank) and give the role back to Ana, but the charismatic redhead noted that it was her mission to be a Broadway star, not a good person. Ana’s lawyer threatened to expose the real reason behind her firing, but when Derek used his influence to score Ana a plum role in the touring company of Once, she reluctantly agreed to let him get away with his treachery. Ivy Lynn, though, overheard the convo, and in the moment decided not to tell Derek that she was pregnant with his child. “You’ve never done the right thing, Derek, and you never will,” she said (or translated into Twitterspeak, “SMDH”). And so Derek, sitting down for an interview with Michael Riedel, finally decided to pay for his sins: He confessed to giving Daisy the role of The Diva in exchange for her sleeping with him. “Ana Vargas was collateral damage. I’m sorry.” Whoa!

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* Ivy Lynn’s undisclosed pregnancy hormones had her shooting off guns of harsh truth, leaving Bobby wondering if she was back on pills. “She Black Swanned once before — and that was only Boston!” he exclaimed, reaffirming why I’ll miss him most of all in my post-Smash life. When Ivy overheard that Jimmy and Karen had described her performance as Marilyn as mere “imitation,” she blurted this doozy: “The only reason Hit List made it to Broadway is because Kyle Bishop died!” Harsh, but kinda true, no? Alas, the moment got captured on somebody’s iPhone and blew up in Broadway circles. Simultaneously, Jimmy screeched at Julia that she needed to stop paying tribute to Kyle, because everyone assumed that meant she’d written half of Hit List‘s book. (Man that kid is an INGRATE! Also, before he met Julia, everyone had agreed Kyle was a terrible writer, yes?) But since Jimmy had an emerging cold — bringing to life this cough was not Jeremy Jordan’s finest acting moment on the show — he was forced to take a night off from Hit List, and Karen got him a ticket to watch it from the audience. This somehow led to an A-Ha Moment, where Jimmy apologized for being dreadful. After Kyle’s death, “I was just afraid to let someone else get close to me!” Jimmy whined, as Karen melted/looked blank. Ugh…sorry Jimmy fans, but all episode long, I kept hoping a piano would fall on his head. He’s just THE WORST, and his sudden show of warmth toward Karen felt like a case of too little too late. Okay, if not a piano to Whinyface McSmarmypants’ head, how about a Gloria Steinem cameo where she comes in to give Karen a course in Intro to Self-Respect?

* Oh, did I mention the writers tried a little prank where it looked like Ivy Lynn didn’t get nominated for Lead Actress for Bombshell? I was thisclose to taking a Louisville Slugger to both my TV sets (even the one in the bedroom I wasn’t using), but then it was just a case of “Oops! I forgot to read one of the names!” from announcers Christine Ebersole and Cheyenne Jackson.

Okay, so on to Hour 2 — “The Tonys.” Why keep you in suspense when all you want to know is WHO THE HECK TOOK HOME STATUETTES? Without further ado, the winners are…

Best Book for a Musical: Kyle Bishop, Hit List (I enjoyed Jimmy recounting Kyle’s collection of failed musicals’ playbills, how his dead writing partner scrimped to save money to see Bombshell in Boston, and how his scoring Karen’s autographed changed the courses of their lives. ‘Twas a nice nod back to some of the better-sketched details of Kyle’s past. But if I’m being honest, Jimmy’s sobbing delivery made me feel more annoyed at him than sympathetic.)

Best Score: Julia Houston and Tom Levitt, Bombshell (Loved Tom and Julia discussing cocktail options then registering shock when they looked up and realized everyone was cheering for them!)

Best Choreography: Derek Wills, Hit List (Derek’s whole, “thanks for judging the work, not the man” speech was realistic, but I wish they’d infused it with some of his acerbic humor.)

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Daisy Parker, Hit List (“That bitch!” –a mental aside brought to you by Ana Vargas) (In all seriousness, though, how cool was it to see Mara Davi’s tiny but really mesmerizing turn in the season premiere get rewarded with a more extended arc later in the season? Kudos, Smash producers!)

Best Lead Actress in a Musical: Ivy Lynn, Bombshell (I can’t lie…I let out a squeal of delight when Ivy Lynn got her statuette…and her speech — a thanks to her mom for the gift of “a life in the theater” and Broadway audiences “for believing in live theater” was a true thing of beauty, not to mention one of Megan Hilty’s best moments on the show.)

Best Musical: Bombshell (Kinda predictable, since the show couldn’t end with a triumph for….Jerry! Eek!)

Best Dressed: Karen Cartwright…damn that pink strapless confection with cascading poofy bottom was absolutely amazing.

And how did everyone’s story arcs wrap up?

* Eileen discovered that Nick had gotten early release from prison, tracked him down to the greasy spoon where he’d started working, handed him a tuxedo and brought him as her date. Girlfriend got a Tony, a hot Nick, and the alluring scent of bacon in her nostrils. Now if they’d just allowed her to throw one more cocktail into Jerry’s face, I might’ve wept tears of happiness as the credits rolled.

* Jimmy packed up his apartment and looked ready to roll out of NYC — and skip the Tonys — but Julia was all “stop sabotaging yourself, beyotch!” (Confession: I added the “beyotch” part.) After the ceremony, Jimmy took Karen outside, sat her down, and made me worry he was going to (gack!) propose. But nope, instead he confessed how he had once done drugs with a girl at a party, she’d OD’d and he’d left her to die — an act that had haunted him ever since. And so, to be able to become the person Karen saw in him, he’d confessed to the police, discovered the girl had survived unscathed, but been slapped with a 6-18 month prison sentence. (Cue: Smash fans spending the next 12 months writing Jimmy-in-prison fan fic.) And thus we left Karen and Jimmy kissing in the street — and a happily ever after. (For me, happily every after won’t last till the holidays, but I’m a pragmatic sort when it comes to long-term relationships. If you want them to make musical babies and win Tonys together 4Eva, I have no quarrel with ya!)

* Derek holed himself up in his apartment, all morose and drunk and unresponsive to Karen’s help. So Ivy Lynn came to the rescue and demanded he come to the Tonys. “Oh, and take a shower — it smells like a dive bar in here,” she meowed. After the show, we saw her worldessly break the news to Derek that they were about to become parents — and he gently nuzzled her shoulder. Maybe these two crazy kids can make it work? As long as she accompanies him to all future casting sessions, I suppose.

* Frank went nuclear in his divorce proceedings with Julia — wait, that wasn’t done yet!? — and she finally confessed to him that she’d loved him, but “not in the right way,” because she was drawn to Michael Swift for most of their marriage. Thus, she agreed to not “refute anything” in court, and somehow, that healed the wounds. In an insane twist, though, Julia ended the series showing up at Michael’s door — reuniting the most unappealing adulterous couple of the entire 2011-2012 TV season. (Plus, last we saw Michael, he was borderline stalkery.) And here I was hoping single Julia and single Tom might ride off into the Los Angeles sunset together! That’s how I’m gonna choose to envision them, actually.

* Tom, “egotistically emboldened by my recent and well-deserved win,” planted a kiss on Patrick Dillon, who exclaimed he was straight. “That’s how all my straight friends kiss me,” Tom shot back, the clever boy. At the very least, Tom (along with Julia) ended the series set to meet with Patrick on “developing a big-screen musical.” (Methinks that’s code for busting open Patrick’s glass-closet door, but that’s just how I’m wired.)

* Oh, and while Hit List got beat for Best Musical, Karen, Ana, Sam and Jimmy scored a victory when Derek tricked Daisy into missing her solo number during the Tonys telecast — and the quartet (backed by the entire Hit List chorus) performed a stellar “Broadway Here I Come” accompanied only by their own hand claps and foot stomps. Yowza, that was good!

* And then Ivy Lynn and Karen closed the show with a rousing rendition of “Big Finish” (not about a well-endowed man from Finland, FYI). Yeah, the frenemies were in full enemy mode last week, but time, or series-finale convenience, heals all wounds. The razzle-dazzle of it all reminded me of all the enjoyment I’ve gotten from this flawed, fun, infuriating, dazzling NBC musical drama — and offered a final chance for #TeamKaren and #TeamIvy fans to bury their hatchets (or engage in one final debate). So with that, I turn things over to you…

What did you think of the Smash finale? Were you happy with the outcome of the Tonys? #TeamKaren, #TeamIvy or both? Grade the finale below, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Monte Christo says:

    Thank you, Michael Slezak, for being a great recapper. Your recaps were prompt, clever, and funny. They added to my enjoyment of the show.

    At least ending at Season 2, I can think that Jimmy displays his usual charm in jail, and is dead within a week.

    I was disappointed that Jesse L. Martin never got to sing. And why was he absent for Hit List’s awards? And why did he and Julia break up?

    I must also be one of the few people who liked Daisy Parker getting an award. She was a great character introduced too late. I like Mara Davi, and wish she had had a bigger part. Daisy and Sam were my two favorite characters in Hit List.

    Ivy, Tom, Eileen, Bobby, Agnes, Scott, Derek, I’ll miss you. Good luck.

  2. s1monetz says:

    Ohhhh WTF and I was hoping and waiting for Sutton Foster to show up and win the fake Tony!
    That would have been a real cliffhanger and a way to avoid all these discussions!
    IMO it was a bit unfair to make Ivy win the Tony, leaving Karen basically with nothing, firstly because I couldn’t care less about her redemption, just because something happened in S1 doesn’t mean we can forget it in S2, so I guess Karen deserved more recognition! Secondly, I would have made Sutton Foster win simply because after two seasons I was hoping that they could cut the rivalry off once and for all, leaving the two leading ladies TWO LEADING LADIES. This way was they made Ivy the ultimate star and Karen the ultimate biggest loser.
    Oh and of course I hated the end-games, but that’s another story.
    This being said, I’ll forget this show even existed in 3-2-1….

  3. Joel V says:

    I love that they presented potential storylines should the series ever get picked up again.

  4. redjane12 says:

    So Smash may have been a flawed TV show (silly writing at times and falling into too many cliche storylines) but considering the utter rubbish that most new network TV shows were this season, I feel it was judged too harshly and its low ratings aggravated by NBC’s frakking with its scheduling.

    At least it was well produced (it looked glorious and had fab clothes once Julia abandoned the scarves), had some great characters (and some awful ones inc. Ellis and Julia’s son and hubby last season and Jimmy this season) and pretty well acted show. And true to itself as a campy musical-inspired drama. Yeah, it’s easy to mock esp. being a musical but it was fun, the musical numbers were pretty good to not bad (the all cast Under Pressure was brilliant). It’s a shame some of the storylines had to be rushed with the show cancelled… Douche Derek’s redemption was rushed to fit in the finale (in my opinion his confessing to the journo was totally OOC and would never have happened as it did) and it would have been more fun to have him grovel to Ivy Lynn over a whole season to get access to the kid (and her bed).

    Still I had fun with Smash which is more than I can say for most other network dramas this season…

  5. Brantley says:

    I know this is bring picky but who won for best director? Did they even announce it?

  6. Al says:

    For me it was king of fail. I wished for Karen to end up with Derek but I figured few episodes ago it won’t happen so I could get used to this thuoght. When it comes to music and performances I was team Ivy and team Karen :) Why I did not like the finale is, because it was more naive and more far fetched then all previous episodes alltogether (I kind of no wonder they cancelled series), in finale so many happy momments, Derek suddenly becoming saint, Jimmy (who I really don’t like) becoming resonsible adult, Julia’s husband thanking her for telling him the truth (yeah sure, in real live when you hear your soon to be ex suspouse was thinking all the time about somebody else and actually did not love you in a way – you’re the one and only – gives you thanks and grateful stares :/), I wanted piano to fall on Jimmy since the beginning of his role in series, I hated that momment ‘oh we forgot one name, Ivy is nominated too, I was closer to beliving that babies come out of nowhere to their parent’s when I was 5 y.o. then to belive she won’t be nominated, there were planty more momments I did not like but I will remain silent abut them, actually no, one more small, tiny thing that irks me, wht the hell Ana told Karen ‘I need your help with something’ then went to Derek tell him that he again will escape consequences of his action, while Karen was standing little behind her and listening to her blabing, that was SO helpful, Ana could do it by herself, why she took Karen with her??? Those are small things that sometimes iritate the most.

    All in all, I am sad it got cancelled as I loved Ivy and Karen musical performances and I liked tention between Karen and Derek which I have not seen between Derek and Ivy. I want to belive that news about cancelation pushed them to came up quickly with closure, so they came up with the baby and Jimmy giving himself up to jail so Karen could be with him, and Derek could end up with Ivy. I belive that if there would be few (or at leas one more season) Karen and Derek would be an end game – also that also would be naive, because he would not eaisly change for Karen too.

  7. John Fuller says:

    I think that NBC should be boycotted for cancelling a good show like SMASH. I love that show and the characters. It was an excellent show. Too bad for NBC that they STINK!!!!!They don’t know when they have a good thing. SMASH was a show that was very well written and acted. The characters were well played and I commend them all for a job well done.

  8. Amazing Finale! Smash will be missed. but at least, was a really great finale.

  9. sa says:

    Loved the finale and I adored the hand slapping;/foot stomping version of Broadway Here I Come. If I had seen that in an audience it would have immediately made me want to go buy tickets to the show.

    I am a Karen fan but I was okay with how it turned out. Ivy has been in the business for a long time and Karen is new to it. I liked the fact that Ivy won. I also loved Eileen calling Derek up on stage for Bombshell because let’s face it- he was a huge part of the success of that show.

    Overall I enjoyed the finale and wish the show could have found it’s groove a little sooner so it could have stuck around.

  10. TV says:

    Karen can sing and dance, Ivy lynn can kinda sing and can’t dance to save her life. Jimmy had an awesome voice. Karen and Jimmy sounded awesome together. There was a lot of awesome talent on this show and anyone that couldn’t see that, than they should go watch glee or something else corny like that.

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