Smash

No Mo’ Drama!

Hey guys, do you remember that time Debra Messing was a cast member on Smash? Sure you do! She dressed like she was playing the Witch in a community theater production of Into the Woods that was set in modern day Seattle. She had a son and a husband, both of which were figments of a long national nightmare. She played a semi-broken harridan, hell-bent on destroying anything she ever created like some Upper East Side Medea. Good times! So glad that’s over.

I've been reading a book by Gloria Steinem. Oops, sorry, not reading--I meant burning.

I’ve been reading a book by Gloria Steinem. Oops, sorry, not reading–I meant burning.

Now she’s co-starring in a new romantic comedy called “No Mo’ Drama(turg)” about the blossoming love affair between a handsome “multicultural” maverick and a priggish librarian named Marion.

Librarian or playwright?! I am SO CONFUSED!

What’s that? Oh excuse me, she’s actually portraying a playwright named Julia. Librarians have hats; writers have glasses.

Anyway, No Mo’ Drama is airing mini-sodes during regular episodes of the newly revamped television show Smash (you’re going to love it! It’s like if Felicity went to Tisch!).

For real, though, separating Julia from the action was the best thing that could ever have happened to her. I mean, when we first glimpsed her this season she was sequestered to Tom’s couch, chewing her own hair. Then, apparently, it became an important plot point that she had forgotten to write any actual words for Bombshell. That’s what happens when you go to the Phillip Glass retrospective at Lincoln Center; shit gets in your brain.

And so it was with some trepidation that I approached the dramaturg subplot in the last two episodes, because I felt like it was going to be even more Julia-bashing. Turns out, surprise surprise, it’s actually just You’ve Got Mail but with nerds! As with any romcom, however, the protagonists have to start out hating each other. Julia and Tom’s reaction to this hot-ass dramaturg is patently ridiculous. Hillary Clinton looked like she was having more fun at the Bengazi hearings than these two did.

Pictured (l to r) Eileen, Eileen's bangs, the Dramaturg, the dramaturg's pecs, JHud, JHud's Coretta Scott King wig, SOMEONE WITH NO FACE, Julia, Tom, Ann Harada.

Pictured (l to r) Eileen, Eileen’s bangs, the Dramaturg, the dramaturg’s pecs, JHud, JHud’s Coretta Scott King wig, SOMEONE WITH NO FACE, Julia, Tom, Ann Harada.

And the characterization of this guy didn’t help. Apparently, you can tell he’s a dramaturg because he uses pour-over coffee like some hipster asshat and has piles of books just sitting on tables around his apartment. He’s essentially me with a massively better hairline.

SMoving on! He spends the better part of the first episode just pede-conferencing around Times Square arguing with Julia like they’re a couple of tourists from Iowa looking for Guy’s American Kitchen. My favorite part of that whole scene was how Julia tries to defend her choices using some sort of hackneyed, secondwave feminism-lite and it’s ABSOLUTELY just Imagined Theresa Rebeck lip-syncing for her life. Sashay away with your domestic troubles, ma’am. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Julia (Debra Messing) and The Dramaturg (Daniel Sunjata) inexplicably fight in Times Square.

Apparently the Empire State Building and Central Park were booked.

Things do, I must say, take a turn for the better after the Times Square debacle. The Dramaturg (he has a name, I’m sure of it, but I can’t be bothered to learn it–I have a day job, dammit!) convinces Julia to write a new scene for the musical. It’s fine, I guess, although I was confused about why it was a scene between Marilyn and Mark Wahlberg from The Departed. But whatever, I love that movie.

I have to say, though, I’m glad that the most recent ep pushed the writing and such to the backseat and brought the romance to the fore because I don’t care about the dramaturg subplot. I am truly ambivalent about whether Bombshell is good or not; all I really care about is seeing attractive people kiss and be happy.

What Bombshell needs is a locker room shower scene.

What Bombshell needs is a locker room shower scene.

Which is not to say the dramaturgs or dramaturgy aren’t attractive.

My friend James called Daniel Sunjata the second best looking dramaturg he’s ever seen. And I believe it. Smart is sexy. And you know what’s even sexier? Telling me what the hell is wrong with Act 3.

Not knowing who James was talking about, I immediately wanted to text him and be like, “Dish! Spill! Imperative noun/verb colloquialism.” But I’ve been taking my meds lately so I restrained myself.

Instead, I started making a list of my own. I know a quite few very attractive d’turgs!  (I’m looking at you, Jeremy Stoller.) And, also, one very handsome sommelier. Which is neither here nor there but I included him because when am I ever going to make a list if attractive sommeliers based on an episode of Smash? (Answer: probably next week. Anything is possible on this show)

Oh! That reminds me. Skittle me this: The one sommelier I know always looks impeccable but always needs a manicure, which is strange because the focus of their profession is on their hands. (I’m sure a som would say the focus is on their minds and their mouths but this is a family blog and I don’t truck in that kind of saucy talk.) So the focus is on their hands. Sommeliers are like sign language interpreters for people who find it hard to communicate without a few drinks.

ANYWAY, back to dramaturgy. Another reason that I’m ambivalent about their process is that it seems to involve absolutely no research or actual textual analysis, but rather just banter and yelling, but WHATEVER. I will say, though, that if you change all the names in Hedda Gabler, as was The Dramaturg’s brilliant exercise for his acting class (why is he teaching an acting class, but WHATEVER), it’s, uh, still going to OBVIOUSLY be Hedda Gabler to anyone who went to 9th grade.

But… actually… now that I think about it (I try not to put any thought into what I say before saying it; that’s my processHedda Gabler kind of works as an episode of Damages.

Is the hot dramaturg a genius?!

Omigod my mind is blown. Someone bring me my smelling scarves!

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Smash

Paging Salome

Can I just start off by noting how refreshing it is to see Debra Messing’s Julia freed from her crazy woman schmata in Season 2 of Smash?  Last season she was drowning in shrouds and ponchos and bangles and scarves and oversized glasses (we get it: you’re a middle-aged woman who writes for a living. Your vision is poor. Let’s.  Move. On.  We get 44 precious Sminutes a week and you’re spending a half hour fumbling with your eyewear?  I digress.).

Julia (Debra Messing) is delighted because her back is to the mirror.

No one has ever looked this happy in The Shroud of Turin before.

We all know that she was the stand-in for former showrunner and noted accessory aficionado Theresa Rebeck, but by the time Bombshell finally opened in Boston, all of Julia’s lines were being delivered by a pile of wrinkled pashminas.

Theresa Rebeck's collection of scarves.

Theresa Rebeck won a Special Tony for dramatic scarf-swooshing

Worry not, though: new showrunner Josh Safran has banished the scarves, the loose-knit sweaters, the capes!  I imagine it was sort of like the end of The Wiz where Luther Vandross starts singing and all the black people get weirdly semi-naked and you’re watching it for the billionth time at your cousin Poochie’s house and you’re 9 years-old and you’re stealing side-long glances at your Aunt Beneatha, thinking, I feel like the pastor would not approve of this, but she’s just happily humming along because Luther Vandross is a saint and black nudity wasn’t a big deal in the 70s you guess…

INAPPROPRIATE.

INAPPROPRIATE.

ANYWAY, it’s nice to see the stunning D.Mess look stunning and not so much like the Bird Lady from Home Alone 2.  Smoving on.

Okay. Wait. That Bird Lady comparison was weak and imprecise. I’m pulling down the “No Shade” shade here, okay?

No Shade but Season 1 Julia actually dresses just like the one and only Meryl Streep. It’s like they’re the only two social pariahs frequenting  the most annoying boutique on the UES.  No, they don’t shop; they dither. Smeryl may be the best actress to ever live but she’s also that kooky lady who holds up the line at Ten Thousand Villages telling an incomprehensible story about some janky necklace whilst digging in her purse for her clownishly large glasses.

We get it: you cannot see, you’re obsessed with draping fabrics and your spirit animal is Nancy Meyers. Smoving on!

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