Smash Season 2 Review “The Nominations” & “The Tonys”

Smash Season 2 Episode 16 & 17 The Nominations; The Tonys (7)

So, it finally died. Smash, despite its memorial weekend reschedule, went out with an over-long, dreadfully boring and surprisingly song-light whimper, rather than the spectacular musical extravaganza it could easily have been. I cannot fathom why the team behind this show about Broadway musicals didn’t think it appropriate to, in their final hour, provide the show’s loyal and defensive audience with a show-stopping finale.

The episodes centred on the race to the Tonys, and the slightly unlikely domination of both ‘Hit List’ and ‘Bombshell’ in awards season. There was an awkward sense throughout that the writers were desperately trying to balance awards out between the two shows, so as not to bring anyone down in a show essentially about two competing teams that shared an alarming amount of cast and crew members over the two seasons. Then again, the business of Broadway is one of the interesting things Smash always had on its side, and the Tonys seems like a fitting end to the series.

But I really would have liked more songs – more big Broadway numbers that occupied the beginning few episodes – and less of the soap opera storylines that fans have been complaining about for a season and a half. You get the sense that the creative team behind Smash, when it came down to it, didn’t give a snuff what their audience wanted, and would present their own convoluted vision of what the show should be to the bitter end. Even storylines that were dead and buried, like Julia’s estranged husband and illicit affair, were offered precious minutes in this finale – I was surprised we weren’t treated to an Ellis cameo!

There was so much wasted time – Tom’s new love interest, showing the entire awards ceremony and the endless tributes to Kyle’s memory – and none of it mattered to the vast majority of fans. When your television show has spectacularly crashed and burned and been moved to the weekends before being unceremoniously cancelled, why not give the fans what they want? What we wanted (though I speak primarily for myself) was a Tom and Sam reunion, a reprise of one of those brilliant original songs we haven’t heard since the middle of season one and some kind of resolution to Derek and Karen’s relationship.

But it did do some things right. Jimmy, surely the most hated character in the history of television (maybe that’s a bit extreme), finally got some self-awareness and turned himself in for a crime we nothing about until 5-minutes before the closing montage, Ivy got her man, Derek redeemed himself but going to the press and reinstating Ana to ‘Hit List’, Tom and Julia rekindled their creative partnership and the right awards went to the right characters. Ivy and ‘Bombshell’ won out over Karen and ‘Hit List’ but, as Eileen assured the young starlet, time is on her side.

But it didn’t feel like enough and, while I’ll miss Smash as something I spent 18-months watching, this lacklustre send-off dulls the pain a little. It was never going to get better, the lack of changes made after season one proved that, and it was better for NBC to kill it quietly than to let it continue on the downward creative curve. I enjoyed the show a lot at times, and still cared about what happened to some of the characters in the finale, so it’s a shame it couldn’t take off and be the phenomenon that was promised when it premiered back in 2012.

What did you think of the episode? Did this finale satisfy you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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