Television: Smash, "The Nominations; The Tonys"

And now we say our sad farewells to Smash, which after two seasons is closing its curtains. The soapy musical was unlike anything else on television, which isn't always a good thing, though here I think they simply failed to find their audience. Or maybe they did find it, but it wasn't big enough to sustain the show.

As the series ends, we have Karen in Hit List going up against Ivy in Bombshell. Both shows are on Broadway, and both are gunning for Tony noms (and, ideally, awards). The writers of Smash tend to be very diplomatic—they like it when everyone wins so no "team" has cause to complains—so going in (I'm blogging as I watch) I'm curious to see if there is a tie of some kind in the future.

Things start off with Karen winning the Outer Critics' Circle award, and Tom getting the same for Director. Or, rather, here is at least one tie: Derek and Tom are co-winners. In fact, Hit List all but swept, with Bombshell winning only two.

However, Hit List is on the verge of sinking as Ana's lawyer starts swinging with a wrongful termination lawsuit (remember the Daisy thing?) days before the Tony noms. And in the meantime, Ivy is trying to decide whether to keep the baby—though when she tries to tell Derek, he gives her the brush-off; he's got plenty on his plate as it is.

Karen tries talking to Daisy, but of course Daisy defends her reasons for sleeping with Derek and then blackmailing him into giving her Ana's part. After all, Daisy has worked ten years to land a leading role . . . And when all else fails, I guess?

I was hoping in all this to be able to ignore the ongoing farce between Tom and Patrick Dylan, which is ridiculous without being all that funny. But it won't go away.

We also get a look at the escalating hostilities between Hit List and Bombshell as the media gets involved, printing quotes out of context, and fans take camera-phone video of ill-considered remarks. (Pervasive ideas include: Julia wrote more of Hit List than Kyle did, the only reason Hit List got so much attention is because Kyle died, Ivy is a mere imitation artist as opposed to a real actress, Bombshell is traditional and safe whereas Hit List is new, fresh, and edgy.) The Outer Critics' Circle luncheon ends in a roundtable of people spewing invectives at one another until Mama Eileen makes them all go sit down and behave.

Derek sets Ana up with a big audition (without her knowing, but when she finds out she decides to go public with her lawsuit against him . . . or threatens to . . . then changes her mind). When Ivy overhears Ana talking to Derek, she decides against telling him about the baby: "You've never done the right thing, Derek. And you never will." Well, he can't if you don't give him the chance.

Tony Noms: It's Kyle versus Julia for book. Tom versus Derek for director. Ivy has one for supporting actress in that Liaisons show and one for best actress for Bombshell. And of course Karen has a nod for actress as well. Totals: Bombshell 12, Hit List 13.

And just as Derek gets three nominations, he opts to come clean to a reporter.


A ensemble version of Queen's "Under Pressure" proves very uneven.

Jimmy decides not to perform at the Tonys and fails to pick up his tickets for the show. We discover he's since packed up his apartment in preparation for a getaway, though Karen makes him promise to pick her up and go to the Tonys together.

And Derek? Holed up in his apartment, refusing to leave. When Karen can't draw him out, she sends in Ivy.

Seems like everyone's having to face up to something as Julia talks to Frank about her relationship with Michael. And Eileen finds out Nick has been released from prison some three weeks prior and tracks him down to get some closure.

Oh, and none of the supporting cast wants to perform with Daisy at the Tonys, so Jerry gives Daisy a solo. Birds of a feather . . . Fingers crossed she crashes and burns. Though she does end up winning a Tony.

Hey, remember when Ron Rifkin was on Alias?

Kyle wins for Hit List! Guess the writers of Smash wanted to make sure Kyle (and Jimmy) got his happy ending. Jimmy's acceptance on Kyle's behalf gets dangerously close to derailing when he starts talking about Kyle meeting Karen . . . But he manages to pull it together.

Yeah, that's your incidental music, dumbasses. (This is me to Tom and Julia when they win for Bombshell and are too busy chatting to realize it.)

Derek wins for choreography for Hit List. And thanks Ivy in his speech, saying she was the one who convinced him to go to the Tonys at all . . . And saying he loves her very much. (He also thanks the Tony voters for judging the work and not the man.)

Then Derek yanks Daisy from her solo and puts Karen and Jimmy in to perform. After all, if everyone already hates him, Derek figures it doesn't matter what he does any more. The number grows into an a cappella ensemble, very nicely done.

And then Patrick Dylan hits Tom and Julia up to write a movie musical. Tom, having developed a crush on PD, lands a kiss on him . . . And concludes PD isn't gay. (Well, and PD tells him, just to be clear.)

Ivy Lynn wins for best actress, which in the end makes sense because Smash began with Bombshell and should end with it, too—end with its success, and the unqualified success of one of its stars. It wins best musical as well.

The show coulda ended there. But it continues. Ivy talks to Derek and tells him about the baby. (And where am I going to get my Jack Davenport fix now, I wonder?) And Jimmy tells Karen about an O.D. he witnessed five years ago and that he turned himself in . . . Which is why he was clearing out his world. He's looking at some jail time. Julia gives Michael the letter about how much she's always loved him. Nick comes back to Eileen. Yes, "coming clean" is definitely the theme of this show.

And then we get a weird Ivy-and-Karen Smash duet? (I only say it because the big, lighted SMASH sign is hanging behind them.)

Well, we can't say they didn't give us some closure—at the least we get a sense of everyone's potential, the general directions of their lives. And we can't say Smash didn't entertain us. Sure, it was sometimes silly, sometimes downright dumb, but it was always fun. I'll miss it. There's nothing else like it on television, and considering how it floundered enough to make networks hesitate to take such a risk, there may never be again.

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