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Smash recap: The Dramaturg

Eileen brings in a dramaturg to work on Bombshell’s troubled book; unfortunately, he and Julia get along like Sharks and Jets

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Will Hart/NBC


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Okay, so that subheadline is a little misleading. Julia and Peter the Dramaturg’s conflict is entirely one-sided — she categorically refuses to listen to any of his (reasonable, politely expressed) ideas, even though in season 2’s premiere she flat-out admitted that she knew her show’s book was a disaster. If the de-scarfed writer really is supposed to be a stand-in for ousted showrunner Theresa Rebeck, Smash‘s assessment of its creator is getting harsher every week. The last time we saw her, Julia was a pathetic mess who could barely scrape herself off her best friend’s couch; tonight, she reemerged as a stubborn, wildly unpleasant diva whose inflated ego is hardly justified by her body of work.

But Smash being Smash, you just know that Julia’s eventually going to realize that Peter has some good points to make, and that compromise is an essential part of creation. (You think she’d know that already, given the fact that she’s already written a couple Broadway shows, but whatever.)

And it’s also clear that Julia and Peter are going to end up bedding each other within, oh, three episodes — maybe even on that rehearsal room sex couch where the lyricist and Michael Swift re-consummated their affair. Note the new pair’s “banter,” which recalls the weirdly hostile chatter between Karen and Jimmy last week — only in this case, it’s Julia who’s constantly insulting and belittling her sparring partner. Peter takes these jabs like a champ, barely deigning to return them, which automatically makes him more sympathetic than Julia.

Speaking of sympathy: Professional punching bag Ivy Lynn has decided to keep chasing that ever-moving line for a little while longer, despite last week’s crisis of confidence. She’s just sung a bit of opera (man, Megan Hilty is talented) for yet another ensemble audition when suddenly, the perpetual chorus girl has a flash of inspiration. Ivy asks the casting director — real-life theater bigwig Bernie Telsey, who discovered Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel while casting Rent — if she can audition for an actual part as well. The show she’s trying to get into is Liaisons, a musical version of Cruel Intentions Dangerous Liaisons; the part she wants is Cecile, an ingenue played by Selma Blair.

Meanwhile, Jimmy and Kyle stop drinking and smoking pot just long enough to head to work, where Karen shows up to announce that Derek wants to meet with them. (Any Iowan worth her weight in corn knows that you can’t just pick up a phone to deliver this sort of news, and anyway, Karen didn’t grow up using phones on the prairie. Mother considered them vulgar.) They’re going to get together after Bombshell rehearsal that night. First, though, K&J will have to find a way to assemble their random group of songs into an actual musical with a plot, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

NEXT: You’re telling me “The National Pastime” isn’t sexy?!