Over the course of a single season, Smash has gone from the show that was supposed to save NBC to the show every entertainment writer in America loves to hate. But not me. No, indeed. I don’t love to hate Smash. I just flat-out love Smash. I mean, sure, there are moments in every episode when I have to pause in bewilderment and gather my my giggles in my WTF Basket, but it’s like Sam said back in “Tech”: “[Broadway] is joy one day, and it’s gone the next. It’s like a religion and I don’t apologize for wanting to be a part of that.” And neither do we.
So to prepare for tonight’s finale, we’re counting down Smash‘s best and worst moments from season one.
Best: Smash lets its gays do more than hold hands — You’d be hard-pressed to name a primetime network TV show that gives same-sex couples equal opportunities for physical affection. We see that double standard every week on Glee when Rachel and Finn go full-on forty-second frencher before every commercial break while Kurt/Blaine and Santana/Brittany take turns giving each other pedicures. But Smash gave Tom not one, but two super-hot boyfriends and let him makeout with both of them on-screen.
Worst: Leo says words out loud — How old is Frank and Julia’s kid supposed to be anyway? In the early episodes, he talked about getting an adopted sister like he still believes in Santa Claus, and then he got carted away to the big house for smoking weed in Central Park like two weeks later. Whatever. That’s not the point. The point is, the poor kid’s line delivery is second only to Bobby Draper’s in terms of cringe-worthiness. Also, maybe I’ve been deceived by Chuck Bass and Nate Archibald, but this kid sure doesn’t look like he lives on the Upper East Side.
Best: The camera has a love affair with Megan Hilty — Yes, Megan Hilty is a real-live Broadway star with a mesmerizing voice, but also she is nearly Jessica Rabbit-levels of curvaceous. The way the camera can’t decide whether or not it wants to hug her face or pan out for a full-figure view is pretty much how I feel during every episode. I also feel a little bit like Eddie Valiant, only a lesbian: “You don’t know how hard it is being a woman looking the way I do.” “You don’t know how hard it is being a woman looking at a woman looking the way you do.”
Worst: 1,001 nights is still not enough time to recover from “A Thousand and One Nights” — Dev and Karen co-hallucinating themselves into a Bollywood number co-starring every person on the show? Smash ain’t a cheap show to make, y’all; you don’t think there’s a better investment that seven badrillion dollars worth of superfluous costumes? And for what? We could have had another drunken duet of Ivy and Karen in Times Square for a fraction of the cost and quadruple the fun.
Best: Ilene hands Ellis his ass on the regular — Even as just a plot device, Ellis is annoying, but his smug little mug makes him almost unbearable. And in the early days it looked like his slimy climb to the top of the ladder was unstoppable, but then Ilene finally delivered some fine-tuned zingers and a reality check and Ellis shut his dumb mouth, except for the part where he answers Ilene’s phone.
Worst: “I’m in tech!” — By the 35th time Karen shouted “I’m in tech” at Dev after his proposal, all I could hear was Janis Ian from Mean Girls going, “Say crack again.”
Best: Ivy sings “Second-hand White Baby Grand” — Nothing is a more meta-illustration of Smash‘s trajectory than Megan Hilty’s performance of “Second-hand White Baby Grand.” After a full day of not-quite-right performances and superstar egos and crying and wailing and gnashing teeth, Ivy performs a Broadway ballad with nothing but piano accompaniment. It’s so magical that everyone — in the on-screen studio and in the audience at home — remembers that at the end of the day, it’s all about the music.
What do you think were Smash‘s best and worst moments this season?