‘Smash’: ‘The Dramaturg’ leaves audiences disappointed as ratings continue to drop

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What was set up to be an uproarious cheer ended as a disgruntled groan as Smash debuted its first disappointing episode of its second season.

The episode, given the appropriately boring title “The Dramaturg” (for those who might be thinking “a what?” A dramaturg is someone who helps with the research and development of plays and/or musicals), begins with an over-auto-tuned rendition of Drew Gasparini’s “Good for You” sung by Karen Cartwright in a dream sequence from Jimmy and Kyle’s musical, Hit List. (Gasparini, an up-and-coming theatre composer, is a member of the real-life Hit List writing team, who has penned shows like the award-winning musical Crazy, Just Like Me.)

Jimmy and Kyle are busy at work preparing their pitch for director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport), who decides to make a surprise visit to their loft after forgetting who they were at Bombshell’s rehearsal studio only hours before. Awkward.

Hit List is all about a boy who is barely surviving on the streets until he meets a girl and has a one-night stand. She disappears, stealing his music in the night…but he’s totally fine with it because he fell in love with her.

And, as Jimmy tells us, everyone dies at the end. It’s a shame that Jimmy wasn’t present for the awkward original ending to Bombshell. Words from the wise: no one claps when someone dies at the end of a musical.

Elsewhere, in an effort to salvage the book of Bombshell, Eileen brings in a dramaturg with few Broadway credits to his name (or, at least, according to IBDB) to assist Julia.

And, not surprisingly, Julia is in denial over the dramturg’s suggestion during an argument between them that she focused too much on DiMaggio because she was “in love with the actor who played him.”

Inspired by the dramaturg’s harsh remarks about the lack of heat in her sex life, Julia forces Tom to write a mediocre JFK and Marilyn musical number, featuring British theatre star Julian Ovenden as Kennedy.

But what is surprising about all of this is Julia’s resistance to everything the dramturg and Eileen say. Eileen tries to convince Julia that bringing in the extra help can only make the show better. They are trying to spare Julia even more embarrassment, and yet she keeps bringing more upon herself. When she picks a loud verbal fight with the dramaturg in the middle of Times Square, it’s as if she’s begging the entire theatre community to think she’s lost her mind.

Amongst these failed surprises are a few real ones, including the extreme namedropping (hello, Jenn Damiano and Joe’s Pub) and Ronnie’s reveal that she is leaving the revival of The Wiz for something that will make her lose her label as “Broadway’s sweetheart.”

But perhaps the most surprising moment of last night’s episode was when Ivy (Megan Hilty) talked her way into an audition…and actually lands the part. She may have been slighted for the role of Marilyn but Ivy is joining the cast of a new comedy, Liasions, in the lead role of Cecile. (Later this season, special guest star Sean Hayes will star alongside Ivy in Liasions.)

Ivy also performs a heartbreaking rendition of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” during a fantasy sequence involving herself, Derek, and Karen.

Similar to last week’s episode, the characters are still moving on, but are doing so at an almost painfully slow pace. What should have been an episode about a dramaturg inspiring tons of change to Bombshell only resulted in the addition of one “sexy” scene.

At least Ivy finally had a well-deserved moment in the spotlight.

Are you excited to see what Hit List will become? Do you think that Julia will finally move past her personal life for the sake of Bombshell? Let us know in comments!

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