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TV Recap

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

'Smash' Recap: Episode 5, 'Let's Be Bad'
Photo Source: Will Hart/NBC
The drama heats up in the pre-opening sequence of the fifth episode of "Smash," which is daringly titled "Let's Be Bad." The war between producer Eileen (Anjelica Huston) and her husband, Jerry, rages on as he steals her assistant. Derek, the nasty British director (Jack Davenport), openly flirts with Karen (Katharine McPhee). Maybe he's tired of Ivy (Megan Hilty), with whom he's been sleeping. Tom (Christian Borle) and his new boyfriend John (Neal Bledsoe) discuss having sex, while Tom's songwriting partner Julia (Debra Messing) and "Marilyn" leading man Michael (Will Chase) seem to be rekindling their old romance, even though they are both married to other people. Then we're entering a whole new area when Julia's teenage son, Leo (Emory Cohen), is arrested for smoking pot in Central Park. And that's all in the first few minutes.

After the opening titles and the first commercial, we're in the Westway Diner, where I've spend many a rushed meal before a Broadway show. Julia and Michael are sharing apple pie and ice cream while Julia's husband is conveniently out of town at a teachers' conference. While this pair is making goo-goo eyes, Tom and John rescue Leo from a night in jail. Tom then subjects the boy to some awful parody show tunes and lectures Julia about staying away from Michael. She's got a family and everything, and where are those scenes for the "Marilyn" workshop she's supposed to be writing?

The romantic subplots thicken the next day as Karen runs into her amour Dev (Raza Jaffrey) chatting up a pretty reporter and tries not to act jealous. Ellis (Jaime Cepero), Tom's scheming assistant, sucks up to Eileen, and Sam (Leslie Odom Jr.), the chorus guy who makes a big deal of being a sports nut, introduces himself to Tom, who is turned off by his jock talk. What a weird scene. Wouldn't an ensemble member have met the composer several weeks into a workshop? And would he immediately start talking about the Knicks during rehearsals of a Broadway show? The writers obviously want us to think that Sam is straight, so they can shock us several scenes later when it's revealed that he's gay.

Derek continues to humiliate Ivy by having Karen demonstrate how a song should be sung. What is up with him? Last week he was browbeating Karen, and now he's using Ivy for a doormat. Self-esteem issues, anyone? We break for that great J.C. Penny commercial from the Oscars, with Ellen DeGeneres in Edwardian fantasy costume and the wonderful Jane Carr as a fussy sales clerk.

When we come back, Ivy and Karen have their first bitchfest scene as Ivy informs Karen that she knows what she brings to the party and though she's get a lot on her plate, she can handle it. Then I get hungry from all the food and party metaphors. Sad music plays when Julia speaks with the adoption agency and learns that Leo's arrest might jeopardize her adoption. She gives Michael the cold shoulder, but you know she wants him back in the sack.

Next day at rehearsal Tom gets all bitchy with Michael. Subtext: Keep away from Julia; she's got a family, you cad. We switch into the big production number for the week, which actually contains some dialogue, giving us a tiny hint of what the "Marilyn" musical might look like. Ivy and Marilyn's parallel stories of dealing with the stresses of stardom blend together, and the number captures the wild ride both are on as the chorus dances around Ivy, overwhelming Marilyn and manipulating her like a puppet.

As Dev and Karen prepare for a big party, he whines about not getting a promotion at work. In order for McPhee to have her big "American Idol" moment this week, Karen persuades Dev to go ahead to the party, allowing her to have another psycho sequence, crooning "It's A Man's World" while humping a chair in her underwear.

Ivy confronts Derek about his cruelty during rehearsal then goes to bed with him. What is wrong with this woman? I could have told her: Never mix love and work. Then we cut to Tom and John in bed, laughing about what terrible sex they just had. So does this mean that Tom will drop John, overcome his aversion to sports, and go out with Sam, because he's the only other gay character?

Julia tells Michael that they can never be lovers again, he responds by singing a song to her on her front stoop, and before you know it they are passionately kissing. As I am thinking, "Don't they have any discretion or common sense?," Leo—duh—sees them from his window. The writers have read my mind. The episode ends with the kid watching the kiss.

Next week: We are promised that "the dish will hit the fan," whatever that means.

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