This past Sunday the Broadway-themed show Smash aired its series finale. After a lackluster first season, tenuous renewal, and falling ratings despite fan campaigns to save the show, NBC has signed the “Do Not Resuscitate” order for this floundering series. The writers seemed conscious of the fact that they would likely not get a third season, though, so we did get a decent finale for the show.
Much of this season has followed the competition between Bombshell, the musical created during the first season, and Hit List, an edgy Off-Broadway show, as both open on Broadway just in time for Tony nominations. The competition between the two existed because they were the forerunners for the coveted “Best New Musical” award and because Bombshell‘s former director and leading lady both left the show and went on to do Hit List. This set up the two shows as rivals in the eyes of the press and fans, and neither production wanted to come out as the loser in the eyes of the public.
Depicting the politics and subtle campaigning of the production teams was one of the best things the show did. They were showing more than just the romanticized vision of the creative process with its sleepless nights and last-minute inspiration that somehow always works out in the end. This season gave a small peek into more of the business side of Broadway and how hard everyone works on a show, not just the cast and creative team and it was nice seeing the producers and publicists get some appreciation. The show definitely could have benefited from more of this and less relationship drama, but it was a pleasantly prominent part of the story.
Speaking of relationship drama, most of it ended up being decently handled in the end. The romances reached new levels of honesty with each other without being too sappy (and miracle of miracles, no weddings or proposals!); the friendships were mended with a little give and take on each person’s part; and some of the characters even ended up without a boyfriend or girlfriend being used as a way to tie up their storylines.
What I was most happy about though was that someone finally made Derek own up to what an awful person he’s been and take responsibility for his actions. Karen, Ana, and Ivy all finally said what (I hope) everyone in the audience has been screaming at their TV this whole time: “You treat women like they exist for your enjoyment and don’t care except when it comes back to bite you in the ass.” You know, in so many words. It was high time someone said it and I’m glad the writers weren’t going to let him get away with his crap because it seemed before like they were trying to say his behavior was acceptable.
It’s been a rough ride with this series with a lot of lows, some really great highs, but mostly underwhelming middles. As such I can’t say I’m too sad to see it go, except for the wasted opportunity it represents, but I will miss seeing Broadway actors and musical numbers on TV each week and the finale did a pretty good job of closing the show.