The SMASH Reality Index (S2, EP17)



By NineDaves and Linda Buchwald

Well, here we are. After two seasons, and countless hours spent away from the theater and in front of our televisions, we’ve come to the end of SMASH. For all our complaining (and we know there was lot), we truly wrote each and every one of these Indexes from a place of love. Sure, we yelled at our TVs from time to time. Threw things, once or twice. And there may have been a few “DAMN YOU SMASH” tweets that you could probably look up. But ultimately, we never really hate-watched the show, even when it was its worst (we’re looking at you, Rebecca Duvall). For us, SMASH was a chance to see a show devoted to the New York theater scene – the scene we immerse ourselves in every day – on national television. It was a chance to see theater actors who we adored on our screens week after week. To hear amazing new original musical theater compositions from talented theater composers for free. For that, we’ll always be grateful to SMASH.

But what we loved most about SMASH was the way it connected us to the greater theater community out there. On a typical Monday night (or Tuesday or Saturday or eventually, Sunday), our Twitter feeds became alive with commentary. Everyone from the 14-year-old drama club ensemble member in bumblefuck USA to the Tony-winning Broadway superstars had something to say about SMASH – which says just how much we all care about theater out there (and bad television).

Meanwhile, the response we got from all of you on our SMASH Reality Index added an entire layer to this insanity we were never expecting. So many of you reached out to us in support and praise (and sometimes lengthy debates). Actors in the show told us they were religious readers (Hi Ann Harada, Christian Borle, and Megan Hilty!). Creatives threw us support in ways we still can’t explain (Theresa Rebeck, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and judging from the line that some commenters think Hit List is overrated, maybe even Josh Safran himself!). New York Magazine’s – the inspiration for our pieces in the first place – picked us up (please, guys, don’t ever delete this URL). There was an overwhelming amount of love thrown our way, and we couldn’t be more thankful for everything.

So thanks again for sticking with us and SMASH. We’re really going to miss writing these (as nice as it will be to not have to plan our lives around a television show). And we hope you’ve enjoyed reading them too.

Without further ado, let’s get to SMASH’s final episode, “The Tonys.” And if you like what we have to say about the fake Tonys, we’ll probably have plenty to say on Twitter about the real Tonys on June 9. Join us, won’t you?

Totally True

  • As ridiculous as this “Under Pressure” opening is, at least we got to hear a second of Jack Davenport singing before the series ended.
  • One upside to having the fake Tonys at the Marquis Theater: the acoustics have to be better than Radio City!
  • Tom says that he loves Pasek and Paul, who were nominated in SMASH’s fake Tonys for their Last Good Year score. We want to hear that. In real life, they were nominated for their score of A Christmas Story, which is really good.
  • Pasek and Paul wrote songs for Hit List, so they exist as dual songwriters in the SMASH world, which kind of makes our heads hurt. But since Shaiman and Wittman do too, we’ll allow it.
  • Tom refers to Patrick Dillon as his future husband. Plus 100 because that’s how we refer to Christian Borle.
  • Leigh Conroy is watching Bernadette Peters’s Tony win for Annie Get Your Gun as if it were her own and everything is amazing.
  • Can we talk more about Leigh watching this Bernadette Tony win? First of all, it play on Ivy’s TV, meaning Leigh has it on tape. Unless Ivy has Apple TV or something and is streaming from her iPhone. But it looks too high quality for that! Second of all, Leigh’s actually watching it, pointing out how gracious she was! And then Ivy reminds her that Leigh forgot to thank her. Which Leigh did! Because it was Bernadette! Ahhh! This is amazing! Even if it also gets into that confusing realm of the line between the fake and real on SMASH.
  •  “If you can tear up a little, they love it!” Leigh tells Ivy, on what makes a good Tony acceptance speech. Plus 50 because we agree.
  • Ivy is convinced she’s not going to win anything. “I’m nominated twice, that always splits the vote.” Plus 10 because that’s what any award predictor would tell Ivy too.
  • Leigh thinks they won’t vote for Ivy in Featured Actress in a Musical because Leigh’s nominated there, and Ivy will instead go on to win Lead Actress. We agree!
  • Ivy’s having a hard time fitting into her dress, now that she’s pregnant. “Have you been stress eating again?” Leigh asks her. “Now’s not time to get fat, my dear!” Plus 500.
  • Ivy still has those pictures of Marilyn by her mirror. Plus 20.
  • Ivy’s thinking about taking some time off after her contract ends with Bombshell. Leigh, disagrees. “The day after I won my first [Tony], my career just skyrocketed. I had so many offers, I didn’t know what to do! You have to dive in. It’s all about momentum. You lose that – you may never get it again.” We hate to sound like a broken record here, but Leigh’s right again.
  • The New York Daily News did a piece about Daisy Parker called “Daisy Parker speaks about how she went from victim to vixen.” Looks like Bombshell aren’t the only ones with a good PR department!
  • The whole Hit List cast hates working with Daisy Parker now. It’s because she has red hair, right?
  • Bombshell is performing “Let’s Be Bad” at the fake Tonys. Good choice, but “Let Me Be Your Star” would have been a better one.
  • Jimmy still hasn’t picked up his tickets to The Tonys! HURRY JIMMY! YOU ONLY HAVE UNTIL 3!
  • “You guys outnumber her,” Ivy tells Karen, about Daisy. “If you don’t want to perform with her, you shouldn’t have to.” Does that really work? ‘Cause if so, the cast of A Little Night Music should have fought for “A Weekend in the Country” instead of that Catherine Zeta-Jones “Send in the Clowns” mess!
  • Jerry tells Daisy she’s going to do “Reach for Me” on the Tonys instead, since no one will perform with her. Guess that didn’t work, Karen! Great advice, Ivy!
  • Julia gives Jimmy a big pep-talk about not sabotaging himself and continuing on with his work and dammit, it’s kind of sweet.
  • “Well you don’t look good,” Ivy says to Derek, as he lies in a pile of his own filth. Plus 20!
  • Ivy asks Derek if he’ll be at the Tonys, and his response is perfect. “Oh yeah for sure. Spending the evening in a room full of sanctimonious pricks who have it in for me. Yeah, I’ll be there.”
  • Ivy tells Derek she loves him even though he’s treated her bad and she’s treated him bad and we guess that’s what love is like sometimes.
  • Julia meets with Frank (plus 100 every time Brian d’Arcy James is on the screen!) and admits that she loved Michael Swift and couldn’t let him go for much of her marriage. “And it wasn’t because I didn’t love you,” she tells him. “I just didn’t love you the right way.” Ultimately, she says she won’t refute anything Frank wants to do regarding the settlement and Frank grabs her arm and says “Thank you” and cries a bit and so we do.
  • Karen is nervous about how things are going with Jimmy. “You are a Tony nominee,” Ana assures her. “No matter what happens, no one can take that from you. Google Karen Cartwright and that’s what is going to come up from now until the end of time.” Actually, we hope it’ll be our recaps.
  • We have to agree with Ana that Karen looks beautiful (see, we can be nice to her).
  • Jimmy shows up after all! And he looks dapper in a tux!
  • Ana only needs to 15 minutes to get ready for the fake Tonys, because she’s a hipster.
  • The fake Tony art is actually pretty not bad! Plus 10!
  • Moments before their category is up, Leigh asks whether Ivy has practiced her “losing” face. Plus 10.
  • Plus 20 for Tony presenter Lillias White.
  • Daisy Parker wins Featured Actress for Hit List and everyone groans when they clap. Plus 5.
  • Anika Noni Rose didn’t win a fake Tony, but she send out a tweet of thanks, so there’s that!


  • Plus 20 for Tony presenter Ron Rifkin.
  • Kyle Bishop wins the Tony for Best Book, which everyone saw coming. Not that he deserved it, but anyone who died that young and was nominated for a Tony would win.
  • In his acceptance speech for Kyle’s award, Jimmy thanks the theater industry for “giving him something to love his whole life.” And dammit, that’s how we feel about theater too. Plus 500.
  • Plus 100 to David Lindsay-Abaire for this tweet. He didn’t technically lose to “that Newsies kid,” Jeremy Jordan, but it’s still a great tweet.


  • David Lindsay-Abaire is on fire. Here’s another SMASH-related tweet he sent:


  • Julia admits that she did want to win for Best Book, even though she said she didn’t. Plus 10!
  • In addition to Pasek and Paul, Jimmy Collins, and Tom and Julia, it turns out that Shaiman and Wittman were also nominated for Best Score – though we can’t hear for what show! Plus 50 because that’s a sweet little nod to the two guys who wrote so many of the original songs on the show!
  • Bombshell wins a fake Tony for best score!!! It’s like Shaiman and Wittman are winning a Tony for their work on SMASH, which they deserve. Plus everything.
  • Tom and Julia were so consumed with chatting, they didn’t realize they’d won a fake Tony for Best Score. LOL!
  • Side note: Linda watched the finale at her parent’s house in California and she legit cheered when Bombshell won best score, causing her whole family to explain to her that these awards aren’t real. Dave also cheered, but his dog didn’t ask questions.
  • Thanks for keeping your speech short and sweet, Tom and Julia! 2013 Tony nominees, take note.
  • Plus another 20 for director choreographer Kathleen Marshall presenting the Tony for choreography.
  • Derek wins a Best Choreography Tony for Hit List. Eh, we can’t argue against that.
  • Derek thanks Tony voters for judging the work and not the man. LOL. Plus 10.
  • Derek dedicates his Tony to Ivy. Take that Karen. Who’s his muse, now?
  • Lead by Derek, the Hit List cast revolts and instead of letting Daisy do her solo, they perform “Broadway Here I Come” like a scene from Stomp. It actually sounds amazing. Bravo.
  • This “Broadway Here I Come” version is pretty. But it’s very Pitch Perfect “Cups,” don’t you think?
  • Patrick Dillon asks Tom and Julia to write the music for a movie musical he’s working on. Awww! Jobs! We’re gonna work again!
  • Tom runs and asks Patrick out and kisses him and even though Patrick isn’t gay, AHHHHHHHHHH! PLUS 50!
  • Plus 20 for Marin Mazzie presenting the award for Lead Actress in a Musical. But where’s her handsome husband, Jason Danieley?
  • Ivy Lynn wins! All is right with the world! We forgive you everything, SMASH. Plus 1,000.
  • Ivy thanks the audience for coming to see her and we love her even more.
  • Actually, Ivy’s speech was pretty damn-near perfect. It reminded us that for everything SMASH got wrong, it was always a love letter to the theater. We would have totally rewound and watched that shit over and over again if it happened on the actual Tony Awards. Here, why don’t we just transcribe it for you, okay?
  • Wow. Okay, I honestly didn’t think I would win. Tom, Julia, Eileen – thank you so much for the chance of a lifetime. I’d like to thank my mother, Leigh Conroy. The magnificent Leigh Conroy. For giving me the greatest gift. And that is a life in the theater. I can only hope that one day I can give that gift to my children. For me there is nothing more magical than that moment, right when the lights go down, and the crowd is waiting in silence with anticipation of the show to begin. It’s a moment full of hope and full of possibilities. So I’d like to thank the audience for coming and for believing, like I do, that there’s nothing more important and special as live theater. Thank you so much!
  • Always the class act, Audra McDonad tweets her support to Ivy. Plus 10.


  • Former Tony host Rosie O’Donnell presents the award for Best Musical. Plus 50 because she’s always been Broadway’s biggest fan.
  • Bombshell wins the Tony over Hit List!!! Best episode of SMASH ever!
  • Eileen invites Derek to accept the award with them, which was oddly touching.
  • OH HEY REAL TONY NOMINEE WILL CHASE. Nice to see you again for two seconds.
  • Julia ends up with Michael Swift! True love, just like Debra Messing and Will Chase.
  • It’s time for the ANN HARADA LINE OF THE WEEK. “You didn’t see me in the ‘Big Finish’ montage, but I was sitting on my couch at home, eating ice cream, and laughing at the fact that I didn’t have to sit through that nonsense in person.” CONGRATULATIONS ANN!
  • As much as we hate this “Big Finish” song, we have to give props for Shaiman and Wittman including this gem of a line: “Just give them a big finish, and they’ll forget what happened before.” Not going to work on us, but we know that was your wish all along, SMASH. And for that, you get standing ovations.

Oh Hell No

  • Ivy, Karen, Jimmy, Ana, Tom, Julia, Eileen, Derek and Sam sing a cover of “Under Pressure” that, to borrow a phrase from some good friends of ours, is totally craptacular. The whole gang meets at the Marquis Theater, home of the fake Tony Awards, where they eventually stand in a line together repeating “Under Pressure” over and over again. It’s all very Rent (the movie). The only thing missing is the ghost of Kyle Bishop. And Tracie Thoms.
  • We’d say Freddie Mercury was rolling in his grave at this, but we’re pretty sure he did that already when they made We Will Rock You.
  • This is the second episode in a row starting with a pop/rock song and we expected more from the final two episodes.
  • Also, if ever there were a number where Ann Harada would sing, it would be “Under Pressure.” That’s Linda the Stage Manager’s entire life! Minus 50,000!
  • Meanwhile, let’s get back to the the fact that the fake Tonys are at the Marquis. Talk about a logistical nightmare! Minus 200 because that would never happen.
  • Turns out that whole sequence was a dream Tom was having. That’s no excuse.
  • Julia wakes up Tom in his apartment. Didn’t she move out? How does she still have a key. This isn’t Will & Grace, Debra!
  • Only 12 hours ‘til the Tonys and Tom and Julia have finished writing “the Tony number.” WTF is that?
  • Frank thinks that Julia was in love with Michael Swift from the moment she met him, and the only person who doesn’t seem to agree with that is Julia because she’s delusional.
  • Ivy and Leigh are getting ready for the Tonys in Ivy’s small ass apartment. Surely Leigh’s would be bigger, no?
  • Also, Ivy and Leigh look fabulous. But they’re dressed a little early, aren’t they? Doesn’t Ivy have to head over to the Marquis for run-through?
  • Karen brings Derek supplies because he’s a shut-in drunk now and no one cares.
  • Karen and Ivy run into one another at the lobby of the rehearsal studio. IS THERE NO OTHER REHEARSAL STUDIO IN NEW YORK?
  • Also, what is Ivy doing at the rehearsal studio? Wasn’t she just all dressed up for the fake Tonys? Minus 10.
  • Hit List was supposed to be performing “Voice in a Dream” at the fake Tonys, but Jimmy didn’t want to sing so they’re changing it up to “I’m Not Sorry.” This is super last-minute, isn’t it? They should be at the Marquis doing run-through by now!
  • Jimmy’s packed up his apartment, and his landlord says it “looks good” and asks where to send the deposit back to. Um… what? A NYC landlord is giving a deposit back? To Jimmy Collins, no less? This might be the most unrealistic thing they’ve shown yet! Minus 10!
  • This is the last episode of SMASH. Stop wasting our time with Nick. No one cares.
  • Tom tells Julia that he had hooked up with Kyle a few times, and she totally didn’t know. Congratulations on being the last person on earth to find out about that, Julia. Like, Jimmy totally told everyone at the bar that night! Which basically led to Kyle getting killed. Kind of surprising that no one told you!
  • Jimmy tells Tom that Kyle really liked him. Tom is flattered, but we still remember the fact that Kyle had a boyfriend. Minus 10.
  • Derek says even the food delivery guys won’t look at him. Like they’d know who he is or care that he offered an actress a part if she slept with him.
  • Jimmy gives Ana Kyle’s ticket to the fake Tonys. Why would Kyle have a ticket to the fake Tony’s? He’s dead! And if anyone would have that ticket, it would be his parents, wouldn’t it? WHERE’S CAROLEE CARMELLO?
  • We see shows of marquees for Follies and Evita. Man, it’s a busy night at the Marquis! Minus 50.
  • Among the other closed show marquees SMASH shows us? Porgy and Bess, Bonnie & Clyde, and How To Succeed when John Larroquette was still in it. You couldn’t show some actual running-showing on Broadway that could use the box-office boost? Minus 50.
  • Ana looks amazing for only having 15 minutes to get ready. Minus 10.
  • Ivy changed her dress. She’s now wearing a blue dress and even though it’s pretty, the black one was better. Minus 5.
  • Why is Jimmy’s speech for Kyle all about Karen? Minus 500.
  • These awards are happening so fast! Shouldn’t there be a commercial break by now? Or a musical performance? Some speech from the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League representatives, at least? Where’s Neil Patrick Harris with a bit?
  • Now that we mention NPH, who is the host of this damn thing anyway?
  • When Derek’s name is called during the nomination announcements, people audibly boo. Come on, the Tony audience wouldn’t be that rude. Especially when 10 seconds later, he wins the goddamn award.
  • Also, what was with Kathleen Marshall just announcing that Bombshell performance like that. There should have been a description!
  • The television audience is going to be really confused when the announcer says Daisy Parker will be singing “Reach for Me” and they get Karen, Jimmy, and the rest of the cast (including Ana!) singing “Broadway Here I Come.” Especially because no one seems to be mic’d!
  • Then again, there’s only like, one handheld camera in the audience, so it’s not like audiences at home are really seeing this anyway.
  • And again, that’s now how introductions for show numbers are done on the Tonys! Minus 10.
  • Jimmy and Karen end “Broadway Here I Come” with a kiss. Barf.
  • Oh please, like Audra McDonald and Sutton Foster would both miss the Tonys. Surely at least one of them would have been willing to cameo. How great would it have been to see Audra and Will Swenson at the fake Tonys? DAMN YOU SMASH FOR TAKING THAT AWAY FROM US!
  • As happy as we are for Ivy, Audra rarely loses a Tony.
  • Eileen, it’s the middle of the goddamn Tonys. Now is not the time to go and have a heart to heart with Karen Cartwright in the fucking lobby.
  • Wait, it’s Best Musical already? WHO WON BEST DIRECTOR? MINUS 500!
  • Jerry Rand went to the fake Tonys with Susan Blackwell? We love her, but that makes no sense. Minus everything!
  • Jimmy reveals to Karen that he was with a girl when she overdosed (but apparently didn’t die) and then he ran away and had to change his name. This is so Gossip Girl. Ugh, Josh Safran.
  • Jimmy is now going to jail for 6-18 months for possession of a controlled substance. BYEEEEEE GURL!
  • At the Bombshell afterparty, Tom and Julia are given a remote to see their number that they missed. We assume it’s going to be “Let’s Be Bad,” but apparently it’s this number that they vaguely mentioned writing earlier. And it’s a duet between Karen and Ivy? That’s not “Let Me Be Your Star?” Minus 100.
  • Where is the Bombshell music? WE WANT THE BOMBSHELL MUSIC!
  • Why would Karen and Ivy perform a duet at the Tonys? We could understand if this was a number for all the Tony Best Actress nominees (that would actually be brilliant). But then where’s Audra? Sutton?
  • And why does it say SMASH in big letters behind them? Is this supposed to be some sort of meta ending? It sucks.
  • The lyrics to the song say they are going to give us a big finish and leave us wanting more, but this song doesn’t do that at all.
  • Then, during the song, we see a montage of all the couples – Derek holding Ivy’s stomach, Jimmy and Karen kissing as Jimmy goes off to jail, Eileen and Nick, Julia and Michael – and we’re really disappointed that this is how they chose to end.
  • How come all the ladies end up in happy relationships with total creeps and poor Tom is left alone? Is it because he wants to date us? WE’RE AVAILABLE, TOM!

What’d you think of SMASH’s “big finish?” Did you hate the last five minutes as much as we did? Did you love the Tony results? Let us know in the comments…for the last time!

For more SMASH goodness, follow NineDaves and Linda on Twitter.

About DAVE Q 90 Articles
NineDaves is a part-time blogger, full-time tweeter, and all-around television-addict who spends way too much time thinking about what his Real Housewives’ opening quote will be. He’s so obsessed with TV, he’s basically like that kid from Willy Wonka. Only gayer.