Tonight is finally here, the season finale of SMASH. I’ve watched religiously for several months, awaiting the show’s climax and trying to determine who will play Marilyn Monroe in the faux Broadway musical now known as “Bombshell.”
For weeks, Ivy (played by Megan Hilty), was the only obvious choice. After all, Hilty personifies what loyal Smashers would visualize as a modern-day Marilyn Monroe. But with several wrenches thrown into the plot, including Ivy’s pill-popping habits and strange, drunken scene in “Heaven on Earth”, as well as Karen’s hot, but insecure boyfriend Dev and his possessive tendencies followed by a predictable indiscretion with Ivy, it’s likely the underdog may now take the title. Will Ms. Iowa (played by Katherine McPhee) really be cast in the lead role of Marilyn, while theater veteran Ivy remains in the ensemble?
|Megan Hilty as Marilyn–photo courtesy of news.instyle.com|
As I wrote in SMASH last month, I’ve become a devout follower, and my personal preference for the star has changed from week to week. I thought by now that I’d have my favorite figured out, but I don’t.
Both candidates are strong performers, triple threats, and could pull off the sex-kitten role. Despite Ivy Lynn’s bitchy character, and her catty, backstabbing moments with fellow performer Karen Cartwright, still, I want Ivy to catch a break. As once a performer myself, I remember how difficult the rejection can be, and despite talent and determination, even the most dedicated like Ivy can walk away from the stage and never look back. The pure feeling of defeat may cause the greatest defeat of all–quitting.
As for Karen “Iowa”, or the newbie, she brings a certain freshness and innocence to the role that a seasoned performer like Ivy couldn’t any longer. Less like Marilyn in a physical sense, her vulnerability may be closer to the real character’s than Ivy’s. But unlike Ivy Lynn, her waif-like body type isn’t believable as the curvy, voluptuous glamour girl that Marilyn was.
|Katharine McPhee as Marilyn–photo courtesy of news.instyle.com|
Even though critics have slaughtered the hour-long musical drama from week to week, season two will begin filming in July. It’s a sure thing. Perhaps the series will redeem itself, and phase out some of the weak and unnecessary subplots for next year. One guarantee–tonight will bring a cliffhanger episode, leaving even the haters wanting a viable outcome, and tuning in next fall.
Will Julia, played by Debra Messing, keep her hands off former lover Michael (Will Chase)? Can she remain faithful, save her 18-year marriage, and stop blaming her musical writing partner Tom, played by Christian Borle for its almost demise?
Can director-choreographer Derek (Jack Davenport) stop trying to sleep with every leading lady? I’ve asked myself the question, “Was a real dancer/choreographer not in Smash’s budget?” Typically, most Broadway choreographers can at least demonstrate the dance steps.
Will Dev (Raza Jaffrey) come clean with his now fiancee Karen, and confess to his steamy one night stand with Ivy? Or will the couple move on through months of wedding plans, only for heartache on the day of?
Will the Ivy Lynn-Karen Cartwright feud come to a head as the musical approaches a real opening night, and as one of them is cast in the coveted role of Marilyn? Hopefully, yes, and thank Smash for peanut allergies. Nothing was believable about Uma Thurman playing the role of Marilyn. Period. I’m still not sure that I understand the notion of a six foot tall woman acting as Norma Jean. What was their thought process in casting her to begin with?
Although Hilty’s Marilyn has my vote, quite honestly, I’ll be satisfied if either Ivy or Karen take the role. Please, for Smash’s sake, no more towering celebrities attempting to sing and dance. On Broadway, there’s nothing worse than a non-singing or dancing actor being cast in a singing and dancing role. It’s physically painful to see and hear.
All hate-watchers aside, the curious and curiouser will tune in tonight.
Whatever happens, it will set the stage for the next season, until the curtain rises again.
Who’s got your vote?