A Backhanded Farewell to Smash

by Keidra Chaney

What can I say, Smash. It’s been a ride. We’ve been through a lot together in the past year and a half. I was there with you from the heady heights of the pilot (that frankly promised an ENTIRELY different show, one that had way more in common with Fame than Glee, IMO.)

I stuck around even when the show got really ridiculous. I stayed when it devolved into some weird Glee-meets-All-About-Eve fanfiction, and nearly drove me to substance abuse to help me understand the It Factor of Katharine McPhee that I just wasn’t seeing. I stuck around through Ellis and his mustache twirling-villainy, all of Julia’s pointless storylines – her creepy son, her boring affair, all of it. Uma Thurman’s peanut allergy (what was her character’s name? Oh who cares.) I stayed through the BOLLYWOOD ROUTINE. Actually, I think that is what almost pushed me into an Ivy Lynn-inspired drug binge.

I swore I would not watch season two, and I did anyway. I said it was because I needed to see Megan Hilty’s character actually win at life for a change, but it was more than that. I stuck around through rat-faced Jimmy’s multiple tantrums and abusive boyfriend behavior, through the bootleg Rent storyline that prominently featured two actors from the original cast. Probably of the most awkward moments in recent TV history was Jesse L. Martin talking about the having the cast of Hit List do a table read in honor of poor, dead, Kyle IN FRONT OF A RENT POSTER. Think about that. Actually, don’t. Your head will explode.

I don’t know why I stuck around for so long. Oh wait, yes I do. Twitter. As the quality of Smash plummeted, its entertainment value skyrocketed. There’s been some blog posts about the hate-watching phenomenon that seems to have emerged with Smash, and I will admit I was a part of it. It’s hard to resist hilarious Twitter exchanges like this:

and this

But I honestly think for many people the hate-watching did come form a place of love. Whether it was love of Broadway, or musicals in general, or for the show that Smash could have been. Through it all, I do think there was a good show in Smash trying hard to get out. There was so many talented people on the show doing the best they could with the inconsistent material they had. Even I will admit Jeremy Jordan is a fantastic singer, even if the character of Jimmy is a “human garbage can” as one Smash fan described him. While Nashville seemed to find a way to integrate music and melodrama without sacrificing some level of realism, Smash went full on camp, and really suffered for it. Still it says a lot about the actors and the potential of the show that I still think about what an imaginary third and fourth season would have looked like: Victor Garber, fresh from Deception, showing up as Ivy’s dad, Samantha Barks doing an arc as a West End superstar being brought on to Hit List.

Man, the Smash in my head was FABULOUS. Sigh.

So, farewell, Smash. Farewell, snarky Smash fandom. And hello Saturday nights. Guess I get those back.

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