Posted on 9:29 am,
May 15, 2012

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What did you think of last night’s ‘Smash’ season 1 finale? Listen in to hear the Hypable podcasters’ thoughts!

– Coty, Megan, Mitch and Jess all gather together to recap their favorite NBC show for the last time this season! Spoilers past here!
– The episode began with us viewing whomever was to play Marilyn walking on stage. What an odd way to start off a TV show, Coty remarks!
– Sneaky Bastard (Ellis) is fired. ABOUT TIME!
– Coty brings up many awkward topics, including his crying eyebrows and transformer headset.
– Mitch rejoices that he was sort of right in that someone became pregnant from all of the unprotected sex they’re having on the show. Megan claims to have realized Julia was going to be preggers a while back, but never said so.
– Mitch and Coty discover together that ‘Smash’ is based on a book of the same title!
– The hosts are split as to whether Ivy or Karen would have made a better Marilyn.
– We actually liked Rebecca’s performance in the original ending of Bombshell better than Karen’s performance of the same scene.
– The final number of the season was a little bit cheesy, while Ivy looked upon a handful of pills, leaving us with a bittersweet taste in our mouths until ‘Smash’s’ next season!
– News covers little snippets of what we can expect in season 2 this winter, including the length (“16-18 episodes”) and the new show runner, ‘Gossip Girl’s’ Josh Safran.
– BONUS: Mitch sings a ‘Smash’ rendition of “Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera.
– Thank you so much for sticking with Smash Chat for ‘Smash’s’ first season! Make sure to follow us on our Twitter account @Smash_Chat for updates as Season 2 develops, and when to expect new podcast episodes! Until then, see you in about a month!

This episode's hosts: Mitchel Clow, Jessica O'Neal, Megan Stoll, Coty Chanley

  • Kate

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    (I apologize for the messed up formatting. I type this in
    Word because the comments platform is so slow on my computer). Hold onto your
    hats, I’m gonna go on another critical spiel.

    Oh my gosh, you guys, hearing some of you praise the Karen
    character makes me want to bash my head against a wall.  My full explanation of my Karen dislike
    is in the comments of The Dumbledore Effect, in response to Mitch and Meghan
    calling her selfless (which was mind-boggling to me indeed). It’s just too long
    to rehash here. Anyway, back to the finale:

    Hey Derek, if you want to be an “artist” so badly, go paint
    yourself a fucking landscape. This is THEATER. It is ALL ABOUT
    collaboration.  This was so
    unrealistic. There is no way a director could have overruled the producing team
    and creative team and one of the leading investors (Nick Jonas) and put
    Eileen’s 7 MILLION DOLLARS at risk if she wasn’t onboard the choice of leading
    lady.  Even if Derek couldn’t
    relinquish his wet dream of Karen as Marilyn and still planned to make her lead
    the Broadway production, there is NO REASON why Ivy wouldn’t have handled the
    Boston run.

    So much for Eileen’s arc of being a confident, in-control
    producer who can wrangle the production competently. She was just shut down by
    Derek at every turn.

    This would have been the appropriate response for Eileen in
    the scene where they have asked Ivy to take over and Derek and Karen appear:
    Eileen: “Karen, you are a talented young woman. And Derek has great faith
    in you. However, I do not. You just disappeared and left this production
    hanging, and our director who has much more to be concerned about just had to
    go find you. This is unacceptable at this moment. Please go return that costume
    to wardrobe and get ready for your regular role. Derek, Ivy will be doing
    Marilyn tonight and for the near future. You have a problem with that, we will
    deal with that tomorrow. In the meantime, you will honor your contract and get
    back to work. Tom, Julia, enough of the needless melodrama we have been dealing
    with here – we need the finale. NOW.”


    “Howl” was so flat compared to Ivy’s version. I enjoyed the
    choreography, but really, close your eyes and just listen. I thought it was
    painful to listen to.  Karen just
    blends all the words together, but I like how Ivy enunciates. McPhee’s facial
    acting during that scene left a lot to be desired. I think Megan Hilty conveyed
    sexiness with ease, sounded and looked great. On the other hand during Karen’s
    performance, I am just very aware Karen is attempting to play Marilyn and looks
    a little absurd. Something was definitely off.  Besides, McPhee’s pop voice does NOT translate well to
    Broadway. Hilty has so much more expression and projection to her voice…I wish
    I could have seen what she could’ve done with the final song. I could hear
    McPhee straining at the end. Maybe Hilty’s performance would have elevated it
    beyond the terrible lyrics. I’m sure now that when I sing Happy Birthday to my
    little sister, a little part of me will think of a slurring drugged out woman
    who was sewn into a dress and purring “Happy Birthday” to the
    president. Whom she was banging. In front of his wife. How poignant, Julia.

    Guys, NOTHING went wrong during the preview?! NOTHING? What?!
    You’re asking the understudy who knew a good chunk of the material but not all
    of it to absorb EVERYTHING in 12 hours. I wish they would have allowed Karen to
    have the true Broadway preview experience: have her mess up a few lines, have
    the lights readjusted, check the blocking, etc. But no. We are bombarded with
    KAREN IS AWESOME anvils and I am rolling my eyes.  Karen’s vacant “where’d my bong go?” stare simply does not
    evoke Marilyn.

    Meghan, I don’t understand your Derek love. He was the
    Creepiest Creep that Ever Creeped during this episode, besides being a total
    asshole the rest of the season. 
    His “I see her in my head”, his line of “She’s mine now” and coming up
    behind her in the dark theater wings to zip up her dress while whispering “I do
    understand love”?  Creepy. As.
    Hell.  I was afraid he was going to
    start kissing her neck. I also think it’s horrible that he’s so “sensitive” and
    “caring” with Karen, when Ivy has had to go through so much more this season and
    really needs someone to give her a hug. Let’s do a comparison. 

    Karen: her boyfriend cheated on her. How sad. She has to
    learn a lot of blocking in a short amount of time. How difficult. 

    Ivy: her boyfriend cheated, her dream is being slaughtered,
    her boyfriend (whom she’s helped hone the show) thinks she’s not a star and
    goes to lengths to prove it, her mother (whose fame casts a shadow on her)
    isn’t supportive (when she’s not the lead), and when she screws up she loses
    her job. But when Karen divas out, Karen gets hand holding. If anyone’s life is
    falling apart, Ivy’s is all over the floor, and she’s not even getting a chance
    to prove she can work through it and deliver an awesome performance.

    This show basically tied the entire series up in a bow and
    handed it to Karen on a silver platter, from the role, to the friends, to the
    movie star loving her, the director loving her, having “it” from the
    minute she walked in.  It would
    have been FAR more palatable had they actually SHOWN Karen earn the role. But
    they didn’t. The only reason she got put on stage was because a director–who literally has hallucinations–
    decided he would cast her, despite the vote of pretty much everyone else,
    common sense, and any objective view of the situation. They even had Julia
    guffaw when Derek said Karen had “proven herself”…as a chorus member.
    That’s NOT “overcoming”; that’s being handed everything without having
    to work for it. How is that something to root for?

    I just don’t buy that in the real world of Broadway that so
    many people would waste their time and money on a green actress (who had never
    even been in a production as part of a chorus) and then proceed to hold her
    hand through the entire production. When they have a Broadway vet who knows the
    show better, and is totally capable of stepping in.


    • Megan Stoll

      I really like what you have to say, Kate! Maybe you should start writing for Smash – you could definitely improve on some of the crazy, ridiculous scenes that they have been writing recently.

    • Mitchel Clow

      It’s funny you should mention how unrealistic it is for Karen to get Marilyn, with her being so green, as we’re planning on talking about a news story where the creator of the show Theresa Rebeck debated whether or not just flat out giving Karen the role in the pilot was a good idea or not.

      It turns out that there was a real life occasion just like the one on Smash with the creators of “Catch Me If You Can,” who are also executive producers of Smash. They put their talented green actor in the ensemble, and eventually gave him the first lead role in “Catch Me!”

      Here’s the link for more on it if you’re curious!

      • Kate

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        The actor they’re talking about in that news story is Aaron
        Tveit. Considering I instantly recognized his name as an actor who’s been
        Fiyero in Wicked and had a recurring role on Gossip Girl, I don’t think this
        qualifies as a comparison to Karen (who had never even had a chorus role in a
        Broadway production). Plus, I doubt the production had an Ivy-equivalent male
        hanging around who already KNEW the role. Besides, my beef isn’t entirely with
        someone new getting a great role. It’s the fact we’re just TOLD over and over
        again how Karen is a star, and we don’t see her truly earning this praise or
        struggling over the course of the season.

        • Kate

           Whoops, my instincts were half right. His Gossip Girl arc was after Catch Me If You Can. But BEFORE Catch Me he did have leading roles in the Broadway productions of Wicked, Hairspray, and Next to Normal.

          • Jessica O’Neal

            Thank you for mentioning this. I recognized Tveit’s name from my Next to Normal CD, but I wasn’t sure when that role happened in the timeline of his career. 

    • Jessica O’Neal

      LOL! Tell us how you really feel, Kate. ;)

      Loved what you had to say about Eileen and the little bit of script you wrote out. It was so odd that no one *really* tried to fight Derek on his decision even though none of them agreed with it. There are always power struggles in these kind of situations, but somehow he got them all whipped. 

      Ugh! So mad at myself! I totally meant to bring up the question of how after all that stress of Karen learning the role in 12 hours how is it that nothing went wrong during the actual performance. I thought about it when someone was talking and then forgot. Grrrr….

      Everyone knows I am Team Ivy, so you know that I agree with you on thinking she deserved the part over Karen (I never saw *it* in Karen either. Don’t the writers of the show know the rule “show, don’t tell”? Lessons in Writing 101). It’s been too long since I saw Ivy’s performance of “Howl” for me to say which I thought was better, though. When I was watching Karen perform the song I kept asking if she was better or if it was the illusion of the staging. Not sure.

      Thank you for the comment, Kate!

  • Alyssa

    Honestly? I didn’t figure out that Julia was pregnant until you said it on the show. (I’m kind of… Unobservant. Totally out of it. Blind.)

    • smashy

      if she was able to get pregnant, than why did she and frank want to adopt?

  • StarKiddie

    I’m gonna miss you guys sooooo much over summer!!! I love hearing you talk about smash! I’m gonna miss obsessively hitting the refresh button on itunes after I’ve seen the episode. I’m gonna miss yelling at my ipod when i disagree with something you say:) And especially miss hearing you as excited as me whenever Bernadette Peters comes on screen! Listening to smash chat (and glee chat) is such a wonderful part of my week when, for a little while, i can tune out the stress in my life and just laugh. Thank you so much for creating this amazing podcast!!!! I love you guys!!!!

    • Jessica O’Neal

      Thank you so much!! This seriously means so much to us. 

      And don’t worry, we will be around during the hiatus. It won’t be every week like it has been, but there will still be new episodes of Smash Chat. :)

    • Mitchel Clow

      Thanks for all of your kind words! =]

  • Gianmarco Segato

    Yikes! Don’t know what to say given the commentary below. Finally got ’round to seeing the episode just now. My gut reaction is that it is really one of the best ones of the season. I felt they got back to (maybe were forced to in order to bring everything to a conclusion) focusing on the *show* and not all the sleeping around subplots. And it was infiintely better for it! I hope that the strength of this episode gives the creative team courage for next season to see how superior this series is when they stick to the unique subject matter at hand – the  making of a Broadway musical.
    Now, with regards to Karen as Marilyn. I’ll say this, even though I’m opposed, I thought they did their best to handle it well. I mean, no one (absolutely no one) other than Derek was sold on this idea. That was made very clear, so the writers were being sensitive to the fact that Ivy should have been the choice. I loved the scene between Derek and Eileen (sure, she should have asserted herself more, but at least it was made very clear as to whose camp she’s in); Julia and Toms’ angst over the choice…heck even Sneaky Bastard and Mr. Jonas’s disbelief in choosing Karen over Ivy. I’m trying to figure out why the writers/producers went with Karen.  Given the general disagreement of everyone over this choice, it must be partly purposeful, and in fact adds to our engagement with the show (if only to want to tear our hair out!!!). It also adds to the tension for series 2 – surely they can’t just settle into a “Karen is great” storyline again? This may have been the result for this season, but I’m really hoping next season will put more obstacles in her path because as Kate points out, it’s kinda unrealistic that she would have had such an easy path to fame. The cynical side of me says they went with McPhee because I guess to a segment of the audience, she’s a known quantity and in the end, this is all about making money for the network (hope that’s not the case).
    Having said all that…I *so* much would have rather heard Ivy (Hilty) singing the final song. Yeah, the lyrics are a little trite perhaps, but I think they struck a good balance between a completely downer ending with Marilyn dying vs. some kind of ridiculous gospel number (that whole scene with Tom and Julia was quite hilarious!). I really loved the way that number was staged with the slightly faded flashes of the shadow Marilyns in the background. That was extremely inventive and visually quite something.
    Overall, a fitting series end I thought. No idea where they’ll take it all for next year…looking forward to listening in over the summer to the latest breaking news.

    • Mitchel Clow

      I’d have to agree that a lot of what made this episode so great was that they were forced to get away from that soap opera kind of drama.

      LOVED the shadow Marilyns too! Thanks for commenting so much this season! Even though I don’t get a chance to comment back on every interesting point you bring up, I promise you that I always read every bit of every comment!

      We’ll see you in about a month! =]

    • Jessica O’Neal

      “I hope that the strength of this episode gives the creative team courage for next season to see how superior this series is when they stick to the unique subject matter at hand – the  making of a Broadway musical.” – YES! This is exactly what brought us to the show and gave us excitement for it. All the side drama is necessary and good, but it should be just that – SIDE drama. 

      The entire time Karen was singing that final number I was enjoying it, but I also kept wanting to know how Ivy would sound singing it. Sigh. Oh well.

      I really hope they give Karen more obstacles next season, too. She was too cookie cutter this season. All we heard was how great she was, but we never saw it. There is a reason that “show, don’t tell” is shouted at writers until we want to pull our hair out and scream back “I KNOW!!!” 

      As always, thanks for your comments Gianmarco. You are awesome!

  • mel.penn

    First of all, I just want to congratulate you guys on making such an awesome podcast. I have been somewhat of a lurker around here and I just have to say that this podcast has been one of the few things I look forward to after each Smash episode.

    I know I haven’t been commenting much but here are just some things that has been floating around in my mind for practically the whole season:

    I wish the writers would employ a little bit more subtlety…we don’t need to be explained everything in such a heavy-handed way. Case in point: the possible pregnancy arc. That thing almost came out of nowhere. I mean, that plot line popped into my head ever since Julia and Michael slept together but I thought (and had hoped) that Smash wouldn’t go there…I don’t know…I just wish they dropped a couple subtle hints across the previous eps instead of that ‘I haven’t felt this way since I had Leo…’ thing. Then again, when has Smash ever been subtle?

    Or you know, that upset stomach could have just been due to those fish and chips Leo got her.

    Oh, and I also agree about how they failed to give us reasons as to why certain characters do the things they do. I’ve taken to just imagining scenarios and making them my personal canon.

    This is my take on the whole adoption thing: Julia and Frank tried to expand their family years before but it hadn’t been easy (Leo could have been a difficult pregnancy as well)…they could have tried but maybe lost the baby…which increased the tension (guilt/denial/whichever) between the two…which then drove Julia to the first affair with Michael. Years go by, Leo grew into a teenager, and they finally decided to just go through with an adoption because they wouldn’t want to put themselves through another possibly risky pregnancy.

    *I clearly am thinking too much about this XD*

    Anyway, the finale was a good episode and I am looking forward to S2. There were parts that I loved (Ellis getting fired) and parts that were ‘meh’ (the Ivy/Dev/Karen thing) but all in all, a pretty decent season ender. Now, I have always been Team Ivy…but I think Karen did a good job in the end. That song in the end was good, especially the staging and orchestrations, but the lyrics could have been better. I let this pass since it was supposedly written in a hurry, but yeah…it was a good song and was sung well (but I couldn’t help but wonder how Ivy would have done it though).

    And I don’t think that the whole Karen vs. Ivy is over. Karen was the understudy so it was logical for her to go on that night and most probably during the duration of the previews. The question though is ‘Would she be carried over to the Broadway production?’ Cast members change all the time…

    The season on the whole was okay as well but I can’t help but feel disappointed somewhat. Maybe because I had such high expectations for it? The initial draw for me had always been the theater aspect of it. What really cemented my loyalty for the show has been the cast. Messing and Davenport were already in my list of TV Actors to watch out for…but the ones that got me really excited were Hilty, Borle (Tom is totally my fave character), and d’Arcy James. These three are possibly some of my favorite B’way actors and to see them do their thing on national tv is just awesome. My one complaint though is why they made d’Arcy James into a boring chemistry teacher. I mean, I get that not everyone is from the theater world but can’t they just let the man sing? Raza did get his Bollywood number, didn’t he? The guy seriously has a great voice (best among the male cast, I should say…but that’s just my bias showing)…so use it damn it! And no Rock Band business ever. I cringed at that scene. I was totally waiting for him to burst into song all season long: a song battle with Michael or a duet with Julia.

    Anyway, I just hope that Smash just tones down on the soap opera-ness (less bed-hopping and the like) in S2 and focus more on theater. Personal lives can be shown but please pace it out a bit. Julia’s storyline alone is worth at least 2-3 seasons. And also: more sympathetic characters. Not perfect (and not in a Devil’s spawn kind of way either)…just sympathetic.

    And I understand that theater is almost synonymous to high drama, but I wish they’d show more of the crazy-fun side to it. I’ve been in a few amateur productions and yes, they are stressful and demanding, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that they were probably the best times of my life. This has been shown through the ensemble members (Bobby, Jessica, Sam…) but it’s not enough to counterbalance the drama going on.

    *I realize that this has become a wish-list of some sort so I’ma just stop my rambling. I just hope this was coherent enough (I’m sleep-deprived as of the moment)*

    But just so you know, I am so glad that you’ll be continuing with this podcast. Can’t wait to hear from you guys again :)

    • Jessica O’Neal

      Thank you so much!! I am glad that you decided to comment, you had some really GREAT things to say. You pretty much captured my feelings on Karen as Marilyn perfectly and I am glad that you agreed on my frustrations with their lack of subtlety (your Julia backstory was awesome!). Actually, I pretty much loved everything you said, lol.

      Thank you for listening and I hope that you will keep commenting. :)

    • Mitchel Clow

      I feel ya on the sleep deprived part, honey!

      I think your theory on Julia’s pregnancy with Leo being a difficult one makes a lot of sense. I doubt they’re ever going to even bring up the adoption again though, unfortunately, seeing as bigger issues have arrive in Fulia’s relationship (yes, I did just create a couple name for them! haha)

      Have a nice summer if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere! We love us our Aussies and New Zealanders too! =]

  • Amanda Cora Jones

    So I know this doesn’t really have to do with Smash, but it was mentioned on the show so I thought I would solve the mystery. The movie The Invisible is based on a novel of the same name by Swedish author Mats Wahl. There is a 2002 Swedish film based on the novel that stays closer to the story line. I’m a huge fan of the book and quite liked the movie. 

    • Mitchel Clow

      It’s a great movie! Thanks for the fill in-I couldn’t seem to find that information when I looked for it a long time ago.

  • Misscaitywhite

    Hey Smash Chat!  I was wondering if you guys have ever thought about having someone on the show who has perspective on the business in real life.  I am a professional actress currently building a career in NYC.  I watch Smash every week mostly to support the Broadway performers and I think I have an interesting perspective that hasn’t really been explored yet on your show.  If you are interested, you can contact me via twitter @misscaitywhite. Keep up the good work.

    • StarKiddie

      yyyyeeeesss!!!! I’m moving to NYC next February to study musical theatre at college and i would loooooove to hear you on the show! I love hearing Broadway people talk about Broadway! Please Smash Chat? Pleeeeease?!?!?!

  • Liliana Baptista

    I thought Ivy was trying to psych Karen out of the show when she told her about the affair…

  • Seesaw

    Hey guys, just wanted to see if anyone else noticed that Eileen was holding her iPhone upside down when she was talking on the phone (after sneaky bastard handed it to her). Love how Anjelica Houston was probably like “oh shit” when she realized it was, but didn’t break character.

    • Mitchel Clow

      Haha didn’t notice that, good catch!

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