Smash Recap - The Dramaturg

Smash Recap - The Dramaturg

SCENE: A small, dingy writers room cramped with EXPERT SCRIPT SAVERS all staring blankly at the walls. They’ve been here for days.

SCRIPT SAVER #1

What if, for this struggling series about a musical in which the musical numbers are fantastic, but everyone openly mocks the story and the dialogue so we’ve been hired to step in and fix those parts, our central storyline is that the struggling musical has someone come in and fix the story and the dialogue, but not the songs because those are brilliant.

SCRIPT SAVER #2

Perfect! But what about this other storyline about the new musical written by the rough Brooklynites who are discovered by Karen who then commandeers the songs to make it all about her? What should that musical be about?

SCRIPT SAVER #3

How about it’s a about a rough kid who writes brilliant songs, but can’t find any success until a self-centered girl comes along and steals them all for herself so she gets famous while the poor kid dies.

SCRIPT SAVER #1

So, our central storyline will be art imitating life while our second storyline is art imitating life within art?

SCRIPT SAVER #3

Exactly.

SCRIPT SAVER #1

Brilliant.

SCRIPT SAVER #2

Perfect.

SCRIPT SAVER #3

So Meta.

Aaaand scene!

And this is how I believe the season plotting went down so many months ago, with no real thought towards creating original plot points, but just kind of looking around at their circumstances and then writing it down. The Keyser Soze Method, if you will. But, you know what, it kind of worked.

It would have been ridiculous for Smash to pick up this season, a completely changed program, with no mention of the mess it used to be. So, by working in its real life struggles into the storyline they are allowing that they’ve made some mistakes, but making it perfectly clear that they’ve changed.

At least that theory works with the dramaturg storyline. The new musical plot is just lazy writing. Although, perhaps it’s easier for Katherine McPhee if she doesn’t have to worry about playing too many different characters.

Snideness aside, if you compared “The Dramaturg” against any of the episodes (after the pilot) of last season, there is a remarkable difference. It’s still campy enough (I’m looking at you Mr. Kennedy), but it finally seems to be taking itself seriously and, therefore, forcing us to take it (kind of) seriously.

The premiere was all about saying goodbye to characters no one ever wants  to see again and this week was about introducing a character everyone wants to see a lot more of; the titular dramaturg. Peter (Daniel Sunjata) came in, all pouty lips and intense stares and read off the kinder messages from Smash message boards to a horrified (but into it) Julia. Julia believed she has a say in the hiring of Peter, because Julia is silly and still somehow thinks that the story isn’t that bad (considering Julia’s character was created as a stand in for creator and former show runner Theresa Rebeck, I’m sure this is endlessly amusing for the remaining staff that served under her reign).

Peter’s main argument about the show is there isn’t enough sex (did the double-entendres of “National Pastime” go over his head? That’s worrisome) and suggests that perhaps Julia was too busy enjoying the heat to put it into her script. He also argues that painting Marilyn as a woman trapped between success and the desire to have a family is the wrong avenue to peruse. Julia disagrees because basically she just used her life and substituted Marilyn for herself so she gets a little defensive when people criticize it (Just like Theresa Rebeck did last season. This show is a freaking onion, guys. So many layers).

So, to prove him wrong Julia writes the least sexy scene ever in which Kennedy basically forces himself upon Marilyn and everyone acts like it’s the second coming of Sondheim. Thankfully, Peter is still speaking for the fans and points out that it’s horrible. Julia is horrified again, but even more into it, and I’m guessing their writing sessions will become pants less in at least two episodes time. (Side Note: With all this sexy talk I hope they do a reprise of “National Pastime” because as much as I make fun of it I kind of love it and if they don’t play it soon I’m going to be forced to download the “Bombshell” soundtrack. Oh, who am I kidding, I’m gonna download it anyway).

In less layered storylines, Derek attempted to show the producers of “The Wiz” (Side Note: I have  the suspicion that they chose “The Wiz” for JHud’s musical because it’s the only one they could think of with a black cast. Because seriously, she looks good, but she doesn’t look 14), that he could be family friendly until his showcase was crashed by Julia’s dirty presidential rape scene. So instead, JHud enlists Derek to direct her one woman show to help cement her as a serious, adult Broadway star. What fun.

But that’s not the only side project Derek is working on because he finally met with wonder duo Jimmy and Kyle who, when they’re not fighting crime, write really depressing musicals onto cocktail napkins.  Jimmy finally seems to be interested in this shot because he takes a beating in order to retrieve an integral scene (that never gets mentioned in the pitch). Why was he roughed up? Who knows. This is Brooklyn. People just punch you in the face if you break into their house in the middle of the night to steal a drunkenly scribbled scene of an incomplete musical. It’s like marshal law out there. But the scribbling was apparently genius because after a weak plot summary (that concluded, “And there’s a bunch of other characters too”) and with no ending except “everyone dies” he agrees to give it a shot.

Mr. Wells has a lot on his plate. Maybe he can borrow some pills from Ivy.

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Filed under: Smash, TV; Recaps

Tags: NBC, Recap, Smash, TV

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    You make a good point about how bringing the dramaturge on the show is a sly admission of how they are trying to change the show. I think that the changes they made to Bombshell were awful, but I think that is just setting up a collaboration between Peter and Julie that really works.

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