I haven’t even watched this weekend’s “SMASH” episode because, despite all evidence to the contrary, I do have a life and I try to spend that life’s Saturday nights doing things like attending real theatre, you know, LIVE. So, I watch “SMASH” after the fact. But, I’m not watching this week’s episode until next week’s airs, because if a creative team faced with a whole slew of characters that viewers would love to see smashed (so to speak) beneath the wheels of a moving vehicle chose instead to crush Kyle, then that is a creative team for whom I can no longer make either time or excuses. If you’re going to kill off people, start with…
…Karen – although how anyone would be able to tell the difference between her being alive and dead with the total blankness/absence that is Katherine McPhee’s non-acting is BEYOND me. Then, off Julia before we have to suspend any more disbelief about her history of hook-ups with men waaaaay out of her league. Puhhleeeasseeee.
“SMASH” has fallen prey to what I think is symptomatic of a larger delusional disorder. As a culture, we don’t really value or honor relationships unless sex is involved. This screws up and skews everything. When the show began and now and again as it has progressed, I thought the writers were going to explore the nature of non-traditional relationships – by which I mean, the intense bonds that can happen between people who are not a “couple” carnally involved. Tom and Julia were a great example. And I thought there was going to be a bond of “been there, done that, in the trenches, begrudging respect” between Ivy and Karen. The whole Jimmy and Kyle thing showed some promise too(and its possibilities totally obsessed me), because there are MANY relationships in this world where two people are – in every way but sexually – in love with one another, and those are particularly fascinating and problematic and painful and DIFFICULT when one of the partners is sexually attracted and the other is not. But no, “SMASH” – you’ve gone all stupid cliché and de-valued those relationships by getting all ridiculously soapy with the who once slept with whom and blah blah blah. In particular, it is perfectly clear sub-textually (because Andy Mientus and Jeremy Jordan are real Broadway actors) that Jimmy has always known Kyle was in love with him and used that to his advantage. WE ALL KNOW THEY’VE HAD SEX AT SOME POINT (believe me, it happens more than you’d think) – probably when Jimmy really feared losing Kyle’s enabling or support – so, why not explore that too? HMMMMM? I’LL TELL YOU WHY – because, apparently, only if you have sex does a relationship deserve to be honored?!
SMASH THAT SHIT!
I can’t waste any more energy trying to fix “SMASH” when they won’t listen to me. I have QUITE A BIT of experience with relationships that are not honored by the culture – or, sometimes, and worse, not honored by the people in them – and the ways in which that can screw with your head and your life and your ego and your perception of yourself and your worth. I have long been an expert at loving people who don’t exist; or, rather, thinking I was loving what was best in people while ignoring what were their actual, day-to-day methods of operation. I hasten to add that I in no way blame those I loved for not being who I thought they were – that’s on no one but me – but – look, here’s the point, I’ve loved a lot of people it turns out I’d never really met – and I’m not just talking about my affection for the dead, like Marlon Brando and James Dean. And I’ve made many a mess of things, but I STILL think it is better to see the pure Light and Love in people no matter how they try to hide it, and I STILL know that there are soul connections which don’t fit into our cultural definition of “relationship” which are worth having, worth fighting for, worth living through, even if, in the end, they are too much for some (or, too little.) I have no regrets. (Well, maybe a few.) It’s not an easy path, but sometimes, you find treasure.
Speaking of which, there are those occasions where such relationships do work and become priceless, glorious life treasures. We call those relationships “friendships” – but that is such an inadequate word for a bond forged in Love, Light, and the steely truth of total acceptance. Today is the birthday of a friend of mine (again, that word is so inadequate) who has known me since I was a terrified, angry, hidden behind a shell of vitriolic barbs soul, and stood by me as I became this existential-ly doubting, introspective, nearly shell-free open book of a walking wound with a spine of steel. She knows all my secrets. She keeps them. She calls me on all of my shit. She forgives me all of my trespasses. She makes fun of me for how often and easily I cry. She SEES me and still loves me. She gave me my songs. She never falters in her loyalty or understanding. She is one of the loves of my life. She is – though I never have a point nor do I believe in points – today, my point. Because when I look back at the end of my life on the loves I’ve shared, I am relatively certain that among the most intense, the truest, the longest, the most enduring and honest and light emitting of those will be this love I share with my Alison. Happy Birthday, my dear, dear . . . friend? It’s the only word I have.