Welcome back to "Smash," where we meet cute with Karen, who is imagining herself wearing 1/4 of a shirt and performing a fully staged number from "Hit List," the musical that Jimmy and Kyle are writing that doesn’t really exist yet. Derek is condescending and unimpressed, but Karen remains undeterred. She is going to get Jimmy and Kyle a meeting with Derek and make this musical happen.
Meanwhile, Derek is just straight hustling—rehearsing "Bombshell" and begging for his job back at "The Wiz"—because he still looks like a jerk with all those chorus girls suing him. Tom and Julia are meeting with a dramaturg at Eileen’s behest, which is making Julia act even more crazy than usual. Ivy is auditioning for a musical version of "Dangerous Liaisons" while Ronnie is fighting to get "The Wiz" off the ground, and Jimmy is being mysteriously messed up and Kyle is being all sunshine and nervous energy.
By the end of things, Ivy has a miraculous new gig, Ronnie has quit "The Wiz" because she wants to rebrand herself as a bad girl—and Dorothy totally does not help with that—Derek is on board to help develop "Hit List" and Peter—The Dramaturg for whom this episode is named—has pushed Julia in new directions. But are they good? Well, we’ll have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, let’s check in with the awesome, the awful, and the inexplicable from this week’s episode.
Is this a musical, or just a pleasant pop song?
While he’s humoring Karen and listening to Jimmy’s songs, Derek complains that though he hears some very nice pop songs, there is no actual story apparent to him in the music. Which is, you know, exactly what we’ve felt like at any number of Monday night musical theater concerts here in NYC—the songs often sound real pretty, but nothing makes sense. Points for accuracy when it comes to representing the experience of hearing new musical theater, "Smash"! Sure, it’s obscure, but at least it’s accurate.
Jenn Damiano and Jessie Mueller, WHAT, WHAT?!
Okay. So. Maybe they’re not "names" the anyone outside of NYC even recognizes, but don’t think we didn’t scream and shout with genuine glee when Jenn and Jessie were named dropped by Ivy as Broadway’s big names.
Andy Mientus is cute. And Kyle is like a sweet, earnest ray of sunshine on a cloudy day—you know, with crooked hair and buckets of nervous energy. We love how bad he wants this musical thing to be real and how he rolls with Jimmy’s jerkery and still loves him a lot anyway. We also genuinely love the moment where he nervously smooths down his hair before he opens the door for Derek because how super adorable and endearing is that?
Let’s say Dramaturg 100 million times, shall we?
Because clearly, if we repeat the word enough times, people in Middle America will not only miraculously understand what it means, but find this whole inside-baseball concept totally fascinating and worthy of at least an hour of their attention. And while we’re at it, let’s just act like hiring a dramaturg is a) totally horrifying and uncommon and b) totally the same thing as hiring a book doctor. Accuracy be damned.
The Backslide of Ivy
As if straight up asking the most important casting director in the biz if she can audition for a different/bigger role wasn’t bad enough, then she runs to Derek for advice and instead ends up performing another horriculous musical number about how Derek doesn’t love her and that’s really awful and sad and stuff, all while staring forlornly at Karen and being jealous again. Why is this Ivy back and when can we get rid of her—and her shellacked curly tendrils—again?
The JFK Number
After Peter The Dramaturg tells Julia she can’t write something sexy, Julia counters with a new number for "Bombshell" that is all about sex. Too bad it’s both totally unsexy and absolutely terrible, and not just because the actor playing JFK has a really bad fake Boston accent. The icing on the cake is, of course, the moment where JFK tricks Marilyn into entering a bedroom with him and she acts all upset that he’s just like all the other men who only want her for her body but then, in the very next second, lets him take her dress off and get her in bed anyway. Take that, Peter the Dramaturg!
Jimmy’s Complete 180
First Jimmy is interrupting Derek’s private rehearsals and being all enraged that Derek isn’t making more time for him. Then, he’s refusing to answer the door and acting like he doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about Derek Wills. And then, approximately four seconds later, he’s telling Derek he’s cool and thanking him for keeping his promise and coming to meet with them. What, exactly, was in that beer he was drinking?
Why do we know so much about Peter The Dramaturg’s drinking habits?
First he’s going on about how he’s a coffee nut and describing his very serious brewing methods to Julia who looks mortified—not because this conversation is ridiculous, but because she only likes tea—while he swirls around a Chemex brewer like anyone who isn’t crazy knows what that is. Then he’s lecturing a table full of academic-looking folks about the flavor composition of the wine they’re drinking. Because… why? Are they trying to tell us he’s a snob? Isn’t several pages of dialogue on beverages kind of a circuitous way to get to that fact? Are we missing something?
Is that another Russell Crowe Joke I’m hearing?
After a shakedown in the street, Julia rants about how Russell Crowe is "more collaborative" than Peter The Dramaturg who she hates. Then immediately after this, we cut to a scene wherein Jimmy, high as a kite, teases Kyle about looking like the crazy guy in "A Beautiful Mind." Because clearly one Russell Crowe joke is just never enough. Maybe next week Jerry can make a joke about Eileen throwing drinks like Russell Crowe throws phones, just to complete the trifecta and keep things fresh and relevant.
The Mysterious Troubles of Jimmy Collins
Just in case you guys hadn’t noticed Jimmy Collins is a bad boy, we’re really going to beat you over the head with it. We’re going to show him getting high before a meeting and drinking and interrupting other people’s meetings with his bad attitude. But just so you don’t get too comfortable with Jimmy’s badness—lest you think it pat and run-of-the-mill—we’re going to throw in a story about some Bad Place That Must Not Be Named and some Strange Dude No One Has Ever Seen who may or may not beat Jimmy up offscreen. Now there’s even more drama and intrigue to consider, guys. Isn’t that interesting?!
Laura Motta and Aileen McKenna blog as Lucky and The Mick on their Broadway-themed blog of insanity, The Craptacular.