SMASH'cap! Art Isn’t Therapy; It’s Exploitation
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Well kids, that’s it. The inaugural season of SMASH is complete. It’s been pretty strong, as far as first seasons go, and I’ll definitely be looking for it when the second season starts. I imagine I won’t be the only one, as the bastards left us with one hell of a cliffhanger. There has been one dramatic promotion after another—with mostly anticlimactic results—and they finally delivered, but there’s a catch: it was thirty seconds before the end of the season finale! So, it looks like we’ll have to wait a while before learning Ms. Ivy’s fate—a long while, in fact, since the second season will be a midseason replacement, too. I haven’t heard whether or not Megan Hilty signed on for season two, so no answers there, either. Interestingly, the actress just played Lorelei Lee in the Broadway Encores production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, to rave reviews. (The New York Times ranked her performance in the role higher than Carol Channing and Marilyn herself, so I guess they’re Team Ivy.)
The finale opens in the Boston theatre, where we see Tom and Julia making last minute—like, fifteen minutes before curtain, last minute—changes to the closing number. They have what they need, and race backstage to get the pages to Marilyn. We see people telling mystery Marilyn to break a leg, and just as they’re about to make the big reveal, damn, cut to twelve hours earlier. I guess it was too much to hope that they’d cut to the chase regarding the surrounding drama and let the television audience preview the musical, then give us a glimpse into the after party. Fair enough—give the audience too much closure, and what’s the incentive to come back next season? Instead we find the production team standing on the stage yelling at each other. There’s nothing new here, but this time the stakes are raised—they have half a day to decide who’s Marilyn and prepare her to go onstage. Ivy’s the obvious choice, in regard to preparedness, but the decision’s ultimately up to Derek, and he doesn’t know. Naturally, the entire cast is outside eavesdropping, but the only information they’re able to glean is that Derek storms out. (What’s the theatre without dramatic exits?)
Derek heads to the costume department, seeking inspiration from Marilyn’s wardrobe, and in a series of