I’m truly flummoxed by the amount of snark I am seeing on the Web about last night’s Smash finale. After writing half my recap in a dreary stupor at 3 a.m., I surfed around a bit to find that people are downright vicious about how this season ended. Well, they weren’t watching the same show I was. Oh, I can and will bitch and snark about some of the most hilarious and trite parts of it, because that’s fun of course, but overall it seemed that the series was starting to find its footing. Realizing that the show is the thing. Not who got laid. Not who snookered whom last night. The – show – is – the – thing. It should have been from the beginning with this frustrating series. Glorious things can happen in a theater, when everyone remembers to put on their big boy pants.
Most of the characters did just that last night. Most started to come to the realization that their little fantasies need to end: the tough choices have to be made, the crappy things have to be said, the risks have to be undertaken. I nearly cheered when Derek ran backstage to rifle through all the Marilyn costumes to cut the Gordian knot and make his final call. Is it hokey? I don’t think so. Have you ever been stuck on a decision and looked through an old diary? Photos? Blog posts? Tumblrs? Emails? This was his version of that. Somewhere between all the rotating casts Derek remembered that art can and should thrive on instinct: that with all other things being equal, you have to trust your gut. His gut said Karen. So Karen it was. Finally. Someone had the glitzy balls to just say it and DO it and take no bull about it.
And now we are where we knew this was going from the beginning: the 42nd Street makeover, the update for a new era. She’s going out an understudy and she is coming back a star, with some unbelievably high hurdles (learning half a show in a day, including cues and such, is a little much to take but juuuuuuust left of believable enough to skate by) to clear. This is what this show was meant to do, right? Give us a look at how it happens: how a nobody comes from nowhere and rises to the top.
That’s showbiz, kid.