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Smash

NBC TV series SmashNetwork: NBC
Episodes: 32 (hour)
Seasons: Two

TV show dates: February 6, 2012 — May 26, 2013
Series status: Cancelled

Performers include: Debra Messing, Jack Davenport, Katharine McPhee, Christian Borle, Megan Hilty, Raza Jaffrey, Brian d’Arcy James, Jaime Cepero, and Anjelica Huston.

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TV show description:
This musical drama revolves around the Broadway theater community. The TV series follows a cross section of dreamers and schemers who are trying to create a smash hit musical that’s based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.

The musical is written by the successful Houston-Levitt team. Writer Julia Houston (Debra Messing) struggles to balance the relentless demands of Broadway with the needs of her family. She recently began the process of adopting a child with her husband Frank (Brian d’Arcy James) of many years, but her focus is torn when she has the opportunity to write another Broadway hit. Frank set aside his own career as Julia’s took off. With their son Leo now in high school, he has become restless. Frank and Julia strive to maintain their family life as her attention is divided between Leo, her new musical, and the return of old flame Michael Swift (Will Chase).

The other half of the team, composer Tom Levitt (Christian Borle), fights to help his old friend Ivy (Megan Hilty) achieve stardom after she’s spent years in the chorus line. He’s assisted by Ellis (Jaime Cepero), a smart young man who’s armed with charm, boundless ambition, and ruthless determination.

A rivalry for the lead role in the musical is between stage veteran Ivy and a youthful, inexperienced Midwestern beauty named Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee). Karen gets a fast education on how to navigate the shark-infested waters of the professional theatre world. She wants to win the role of a lifetime while also maintaining her integrity. Karen’s supported by Dev (Raza Jaffrey), her loving and supportive boyfriend who works in the New York City’s Mayor’s office.

Tenacious and legendary Broadway producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) discovers the “Marilyn” project and jumps on board with a brilliant director, Derek Wills (Jack Davenport). A brilliant but arrogant talent, Derek is also a cunning, egocentric bad boy — as well as composer Tom’s arch-nemesis. Driven by a passionate love of her art, Eileen must masterfully manage both the warring egos of her creative team and her musical’s skyrocketing budget — all while her ex-husband, Jerry (Michael Christofer), freezes her assets.
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Series Finale

Episode #32 — The Tonys
Leading up to the Tonys, each main player of “Bombshell” and “Hit List” perform an ensemble rendition of “Under Pressure.” With only 12 hours to go, Julia and Tom settle down to write their acceptance speech. Julia tells Tom that her lawyers want her to outline her relationship with Michael Swift to hopefully put an end to Frank’s case against her, but it only seems to be making it stronger.

While getting dressed, Ivy and Leigh watch a recording of one of Leigh’s old acceptance speeches; Leigh’s positive they’ll both win. When Ivy struggles to fit into the dress that fit her perfectly a week ago, she tells her mother she’s thinking of time off. Leigh laughs – what’s gotten into Ivy?! The Tonys will give her a career momentum she may never see again. Meanwhile, Derek’s holed up and drunk, too embarrassed to show his face in public after confessing to sexual bribery. Karen tries to cheer him up to no avail.

Jimmy gets cold feet about performing at the Tonys. With Derek missing in action, Jerry changes their awards show performance to “I’m Not Sorry,” with Daisy as the featured singer. None of the rest of the cast wants to work with her, though, as she’s being a prima donna. Ivy shows up and asks Karen where Derek is. Karen tells her he hasn’t gone out in weeks and she’s never seen him this low. When she discovers Jimmy has yet to pick up his Tony tickets, Karen calls to ask what’s going on. When he gets off the phone, it’s revealed Jimmy has moved out of his apartment – he’s even leaving his deposit behind.

Eileen finds Nick working as a short-order cook in a local diner; she tells him that he’s the only thing she’s got in her life at the moment, and – win or lose – she wants him by her side at the Tonys that night. Meanwhile, Daisy calls Jerry to tell him the whole cast of “Hit List” has staged a coup against her, refusing to perform her song. Jerry doesn’t care; if they don’t want to perform, Daisy will just perform “Reach for Me” solo. Jimmy stops by Tom’s place to ask Julia to accept Kyle’s award if he wins tonight. Realizing he’s planning a no-show, Julia tells Jimmy this is his big moment, and he has to stop self-sabotaging. Whatever it is that’s holding him back, Jimmy needs to confront it once and for all.

Ivy checks in on Derek, who seems to be getting worse. He’s struggling to take ownership of the wrongs he’s committed in his life, and even though they’re a source of anger and sadness for Ivy too, she still loves him. Ivy tells Derek to clean himself up and accompany her to the Tonys. Julia meets with Frank to confess the truth about her relationship with Michael. She met Michael years before Frank knew she did, and for much of their marriage he was there. Julia apologizes for not loving Frank “the right way,” and encourages him to follow his heart regarding their settlement. She won’t refute any of his claims. As she leaves, Frank grabs her arm and says, “Thank you. I’m pulling for you tonight.”

Off Julia’s advice, Jimmy puts on a tuxedo and surprises Karen at her place; he’s decided to go after all. Karen’s excited to see him and glad Jimmy finally came through, as he has a history of flaking. Ana is devastated she’s not going, but Jimmy surprises her – he has Kyle’s ticket and knows his deceased friend wouldn’t want them to go without her. As Ana rushes off to get ready, Karen kisses Jimmy. She thanks him, for everything, then rushes off to help Ana. Alone, Jimmy takes a nerve-wracking call, promising he’ll be there by midnight.

During the show, Jimmy and Karen comfort Ana as Daisy takes home the Tony for Best Actress in a featured role. It’s the fifth award for “Hit List” that night. When Ron Rifkin announces the nominations for best book, and Julia wonders to Tom if she could really be so selfless as to want Kyle to win instead of her; Tom jokingly says that historically, no, she couldn’t be… but people change. Jimmy breaks into tears when Kyle Bishop wins for best book. Through tears, Jimmy gives an impassioned speech in his friend’s honor, thanking Karen for making this night possible. Before leaving the podium, Jimmy has a special message for Julia: “You were right. It’s never too late.”

When the nominations for Best Original Score are announced, Tom and Julia commiserate together in their seats, joking that Jimmy’s going to win, so they need to get some alcoholic beverages in coconuts. It’s just like old times, and Tom and Julia are having so much fun, they don’t hear their names called. Shocked, they excitedly run up on stage to accept their award. Derek is nominated twice for Best Choreography and his name is met with boos and hissing. Although everyone assumes he’s absent, he runs onstage, having made a last minute entrance. He thanks voters for judging the work, not the man; then he dedicates the award to someone he truly loves, and to whom he owes everything – Ivy. Standing backstage, she’s conflicted by the show of gratitude.

Ivy finds Derek in the back of the theater, behind the audience. As Ivy attempts to tell Derek about her current situation, he puts her off one more time, saying he needs to do something. Derek pulls Karen and Ana out of the audience, saying he’s “making things right.” Backstage, Daisy prepares for her big solo, but Derek pulls her back – now that everyone hates him, he can do anything he wants. The whole “Hit List” cast, with Ana -and without Daisy – sings an a cappella version of “Broadway Here I Come,” which earns a standing ovation. As the crowd cheers, Jimmy kisses Karen and tells her he loves her.

Tom and Julia are walking around in the lobby, wondering if their Tonys mark their last hurrah, when Patrick Dillon approaches them. He congratulates them on their win, then asks if they’ve ever thought about writing for the movies? They are still a writing team, right? Julia and Tom look at each other for a moment, and then say yes! Of course they are. What an opportunity! As Patrick leaves, Julia encourages Tom to approach him, and thanks in part to the courage that comes with a Tony win, Tom asks Patrick out to dinner. Patrick tries to say he’s flattered, but not gay, but Tom kisses him before he can get it out. Patrick doesn’t exactly oppose the kiss! Tom quips, “That’s how all my straight friends kiss me,” before Patrick beats a hasty retreat.

When Ivy wins the Tony for Best Actress, Karen’s happy for her, but disheartened. In her speech, Ivy admits she didn’t think she would win, and thanks her mother for giving her the greatest gift – a life in the theater. Ivy can only hope that one day, she’ll give that gift to her children. Ivy says there’s nothing more special than the moment before a show, when the audience is full of hopeful anticipation, and anything can happen. She thanks everyone for believing there’s nothing better than live theater. In the lobby, Eileen comforts Karen, who’s worried she missed her shot. Eileen tells Karen she’s an amazing talent, and time is well on her side. An announcement is made; the award for Best Musical is about to be presented…

Rosie O’Donnell presents the Tony for Best Musical to “Bombshell,” capping off an amazing night for Eileen, even though “Hit List” won more awards in total. Eileen is beyond happy to have won – and beyond happy to be escorted by Nick. Calling Derek up to the stage, Eileen tells him Broadway will forget about his scandal – they just need him to do another show. At the after party, Ivy approaches Derek and asks if they can talk. In private, she tells him about her pregnancy, and though it’s unclear what he says, his actions imply Derek is willing to finally own up to his actions and take some responsibility.

Handing Kyle’s Tony to Ana, Jimmy pulls Karen aside to confess his shady past. A couple years ago, Jimmy gave a girl some drugs at a party and she took too much. He thought she died, and he changed his name and ran from the problem instead of taking responsibility, but today, he turned himself in. Karen freaks out, shocked by this revelation, but Jimmy assures her the cops said the girl was okay. She’s still alive! But he was charged with distribution of a controlled substance and will likely serve several months in jail. He posted bail that night so he could accompany her to the Tonys, but he has to go to jail tonight. He promised her he would do whatever to be the person she saw him as – and now he’s free to do just that.

At the bar, Tom and Julia flip on the TV to watch their song from the Tony Awards. They were so busy celebrating they didn’t get to see it live. Karen and Ivy perform a duet of the song “Big Finish,” and as this goes on, each character has a moment somewhere else around New York City. After a deep kiss, Karen tearfully says goodbye to Jimmy at the police station. Derek gently puts his hand on Ivy’s stomach. Julia gives her letter to the man for who it was intended – Michael. Tom looks proudly at his Tony, now resting on his home piano. And Eileen Rand stands triumphantly in her office, accompanied by her Tony, and more importantly, Nick Felder.
Courtesy NBC.
First aired: May 26, 2013

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What do you think? Do you like the Smash TV series? Do you think it should have been cancelled or renewed for a third season?

 

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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne February 25, 2014 at 11:43 am

C’mon people! Why do ridiculous shows like “Dance Moms” and other reality shows remain while shows that showcase real talent and wonderful theme(s) are cancelled??!!! That was one of the VERY few shows to which I tuned in to watch each week. Shame on you!

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Christine January 5, 2014 at 8:37 am

The TV series SMASH is the only one I have followed in years. I was shocked to see it cancelled. I know GLEE is popular but this was, as far as I am concerned, the adult version. It had the best of all worlds with quality music and drama…

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Dianne Fischer December 11, 2013 at 11:16 am

I loved the Show!! Great characters! The music was amazing. Please bring it back.
Not a show out there as good as this.

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Deidra Mercer November 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Sad to see this show cancelled. I enjoyed the music more than the story line and looked forward to the performances each week. All the stars had great talent.

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Emily Black October 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm

I wish they would bring this show back! The cast was fantastic and the music was amazing. I thought season 2 was even better than the first. The songs blew me away, especially those performed by Jimmy. He is such a wonderful talent.

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Linda owen October 9, 2013 at 2:03 am

Smash had great music and interesting characters, and I’m very disappointed that it was cancelled. It was one of the few shows I looked forward to seeing every week. I can’t understand how a show like this gets cancelled while so much c-r-a-p stays on the air.

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Fly4ever October 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Finally a great show. I looked forward to it. I was always totally entertained by the show numbers. Sure, the writing of the interaction between the characters was a bit weak, who cares? It was a stunning musical show. Better than watching the reality shows rate some average or worse singer and having to put up with a ton of commercials and comments from the judges…. you must be kidding… you people cancelled a great show for reality TV? Cannot wait for Amateur Hour shows to run the gamete…. I understand, for the networks, there is little budget needed to put them on and they can charge the sponsors the same… but come on…. Smash was Great!

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Michael H Hamilton August 1, 2013 at 10:15 am

I join the ranks of this commentary about Smash considerably too late, but hopefully early enough that the network “Ovation” will consider picking up and running with this show. It truly is a wonderful show with relatable characters and fun, wacky storylines tinged with dramatic nuance…perhaps melodrama is a better way to put it? Anyway, I love it, and I know so many others that Love this show. A facebook page was created and WORKED in order to save the show, but to no avail. Heck, the facebook page still grows everday, with new members contantly joining the fold of happy “Smash” fans.

It would be great if NBC’s loss could become “Ovations” gain. Bring the show back to life Ovation, and see how this effects your viewership. I don’t have your channel right now, but I would certainly upgrade my cable if it meant I could watch a new season of “Smash.”

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Michael H Hamilton August 1, 2013 at 10:17 am

I should have said “unhappy Smash fans”…my error, sorry. Also, I apologize for the few other typo’s that were made in this post.

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heidi July 23, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I love the show, it was so different. I love musical, so nice to see background. I was hoping it would continue. I don’t they moved it to different date, for thought that was bad for the show. I like the fact it not reality show or vampire or crime show.

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London July 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Honestly, I was hooked on Smash the first season, but the second season didn’t capture my attention as well, not saying it shouldn’t had been given one more shot, but thanks for the wonderful casting (Team Ivy) and a feeling of bing in New York at a real theater!

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Neal Kaufman June 29, 2013 at 2:33 am

SMASH should be renewed before the cast becomes contractually unavailable! The show was was well written, casting was perfect and the acting was “spot on”. Vocal performances were great. Maybe the ratings would have been better if the show had not been moved to Friday night! Let’s have one less reality singing show and keep this terrific scripted series! One can only wish . . .

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J&D WY June 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm

What a shame that Smash was cancelled. It was one of the best entertainment shows on TV! It’s sad that viewers just want all these stupid idiotic reality shows and vampires, and bloody murder shows. Very sad for us viewers that enjoy being entertained.

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Jean and Gus Sexauer June 13, 2013 at 8:45 am

We absolutely loved this show and are terribly disappointed that it is cancelled. We have never seen a broadway play and were able to get a taste of it from Smash. There are so many awful shows on TV that continue and a great show like Smash is cancelled; who decided this shows fate; I wonder. Sad…

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Gary Carter-Fish June 10, 2013 at 6:42 pm

I am devastated that this show was cancelled. I was a faithful watch and can’t believe that is is over! Isn’t there something th fans can do to bring it back?

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Millicent Williams June 10, 2013 at 2:05 pm

SMASH WAS A SHOW THAT BROUGHT INTO YOUR HOME A BROADWAY MUSICAL WITHIN A BROADWAY MUSICAL!!!! THE CHEMISTRY WITH ALL THE ACTORS WAS FANTASTIC!!! I DON’T CARE WHAT ANYONE SAYS I THINK KATHARINE MCPHEE WAS AMAZING!!! SHE IS A NATURAL MEAGAN HILTY WAS FABULOUS AS WELL. IT WAS GOOD TO SEE THEM FIHTING FOR THE SAME ROLE BUT THEN KATHARINE’S CHARACTER FOUND A MUSICAL THAT SHE WAS ABLE TO BETTER RELATE TO!!!
HOW DOYOU CANCELL A SHOW THAT BRINGS IN ANOTHER MARVELOUS TALENT AS MR. JEREMY JORDAN!! LOOK JUST BRING THE SHOW BACK ALREADY STOP MESSING WITH TRUE SMASH FANS!!!!! Sorry that I yelled so much but that is how much I miss this show.

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