Roughly Speaking podcast: Halloween special: Best of horror movie music (episode 168)

'Smash' recap: Episode 5, 'Let's Be Bad'

“Smash” is more fun when it’s being bad. NBCturned up the drama and the music this week, giving fans a reason to not give up on the show just yet. The opening scenes set the stage for the hour, with Eileen learning that her assistant has gone to work for her soon to be ex-husband. Back at the workshop, Ivy walks in on Derek and Karen rehearsing one-on-one. Feeling threatened, Ivy asks with quite a bit of attitude, if she’s late. “No, Karen was early,” Derek replies bluntly. 

We learn that Julia’s husband, Frank, is conveniently out of town. Michael asks to meet up with her after rehearsal to discuss his role of Joe DiMaggio. She reluctantly obliges. Trouble ensues.

Later that night, while Julia is busy eating apple pie and ice cream with her ex-lover, her son gets arrested for smoking pot. He’s not much of an actor, and his return to the show was one of the letdowns of the night.  Because he can’t reach his mom’s cell, he ends up calling Tom, who with the help of John gets the charges dropped.  Tom warns Julia that she’s “playing with fire” and missing her son’s call from jail was her wakeup call.

Ivy is an emotional wreck through most of the episode, albeit a wreck with a great voice and stage presence. Derek yells at her during rehearsal for not channeling Marilyn and calls on Karen to show her how it’s done. Ivy plays cool, but at their private coaching session, she lets Karen know she doesn’t need to “take singing lessons from a chorus girl.” 

Ivy’s impressive performance of “Let’s Be Bad,” garners praise from everyone — well, everyone except Derek. She later drowns her sorrows in alcohol and shows up drunk at Derek’s place. He tells her it’s all business and asks her to stay the night.  Poor girl, she really still believes she’s in an actual relationship. 

Meanwhile Karen once again whines about not being sexy enough. She tries to emulate Ivy by undressing and singing “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s Man’s World” in the mirror.  The"Glee"-like performance was so very awkward.  It is so hard to root for Team Karen when she pulls silly stunts like this.  This was bad. 

Meanwhile, Michael shows up at Julia’s house and ends up staying for dinner. The two end the night in a passionate kiss on her front stoop. How romantic! Except for the fact that both are married and Julia’s son witnessed the lip lock from his bedroom window. 

Riddled with clichés and poor song choices, the last few episodes of"Smash"have been somewhat of a letdown from the premiere, but last night I was reminded of why I like this show. There was still too much Karen in this episode, but I guess that won’t be changing, since she is technically the show’s star. Guess I’ll be joining Team Ivy!

Lesson from this week: Loyalty doesn’t exist in the world of theater. And according to Derek, neither do feelings. 

Ultimate Schemer: Ellis is now working to get in good with Eileen. Julia better watch out!

Best reason to be true to yourself: Karen’s rendition of “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” You’re trying way too hard Karen.

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