TV: ‘Smash’ may need its own “dramaturg”

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
Smash airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC
Rating: 2.5/5

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And we’re back… to the same old somewhat-satisfactory-just-not-that-great Smash. Oh how I didn’t miss you. I knew I would never be able to stop hate-watching the show. Totally called it.

First, let me just say the characters are a mess. Essentially all of these people are incredible Broadway actors – Megan Hilty, Christian Borle, Jeremy Jordan – and yet most of the time, their performances flop. The faces are essentially blank half the time (Karen!!!), the development is lacking and they need to stop mumbling the lines.

Second, this new director/ creator, Joshua Safran, was supposed to be heaven-sent; yet, we’re back to where we started. I fully admit that the premiere was fantastic but so was last season’s.

But, I digress…

Singing one of Jimmy’s (Jeremy Jordan) songs, “Good For You,” Karen (Katharine McPhee) envisions herself crowd surfing. What??!! It was just dumb and an excuse to show McPhee’s midriff.

Eileen (Anjelica Huston) has decided to hire a dramaturg, which is someone who will come in to help fix/ revise the book of the show. Why doesn’t Safran do this?

I cannot tell if I am going to loathe the dramaturg (Daniel Sunjata) entirely or somehow end up liking him. On the one hand, he’s incredibly egotistical. On the other, he’s lighting a creative fire under Julia (Debra Messing). But, if he ends up being Julia’s love interest, I may punch a wall.

The dramaturg – who I believe to be nameless as of yet – essentially hates everything about Bombshell, which, well, annoys Julia. However, I like that he’s stirring her up and making her want to writer better. I of course love the songs from the show, but I’m not sure about the book because that was never truly discussed in detail on the show.

Karen arranges for Jimmy and Kyle (Andy Mientus) to meet with Derek (Jack Davenport) about their musical. As adorable as ever, Kyle is overly anxious for the meeting while, annoying as ever, Jimmy sits and doesn’t seem to care. As they try to get their scraps in order, Jimmy realizes an important piece of paper was left in an old notebook which is somewhere Kyle orders him not to go back to.

Regardless, Jimmy goes to some shady looking house and gets the papers and is then attacked by someone in the house who says, “he has a lot of nerve showing up here.”

Hmmm… this would be very interesting if they actually ended up explaining it this episode instead of just introducing it.

Ivy (Megan Hilty) plans to audition for the role of Cecile in Dangerous Liaisons, and thank goodness. Ivy really needs to embrace her inner-diva and know how talented she is. She goes to Tom (Christian Borle) for advice, and he helps her realize that Cecile is somehow like Marilyn Monroe, thus she is, in turn, like Ivy. Huh.

Anyway, Ivy gets the role!! At least someone’s future is moving forward.

Derek tries to get back on Veronica’s (Jennifer Hudson) good side and show the people at The Wiz that he would be a good director; thus he arranges for Veronica and a producer to watch a staging of Bombshell number.

When Ivy comes to see him, Derek has her look over the scene because he is freaking out. However, she ends up fantasizing a scene in which she sings “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn, which perfectly fits the scene, for that love triangle is still painfully in existence.

As much as it kills me to say, Hilty’s performance was not great. I don’t understand what is happening with her and McPhee; both continually say the lines with barely any emotion attached – though McPhee is way worse than Hilty. Someone please tell her that the Kristen Stewart guide to acting is a terrible way to go.

At the dramaturg’s prompting, Julia wrote a new number involving Marilyn and JFK – “Our Little Secret.” It’s TERRIBLE. I understand it’s supposed to be something entirely new, especially because the dramaturg says there isn’t enough sex in the show, but it was just plain terrible. Ugh. I’ve never hated one of their original songs, until now. Maybe you do need outside help…

The producer from The Wiz thinks so too and walks out. Sucks for you, Derek.

Because of the preparation for that number, Derek had to cancel the meeting with Jimmy and Kyle, which upset Jimmy. However, all is well when Karen brings Derek to Jimmy and Kyle’s apartment later.

Here’s their idea: A poor boy only has his music until he meets this rich girl who ends up stealing his songs to become famous. Hmmm… I see potential. Maybe Bombshell will literally bomb again and this new musical will be the actual “smash.”

Veronica quit The Wiz and has decided to break out of her sweetheart image and do a one-night only show. Oh man, this is going to be great!!!!!! I love my JHud.

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