Smash – “Let’s Be Bad” – Recap (Updated)

Here’s your discussion post for “Smash” – “Let’s Be Bad”.  Recap will be posted later. In the meantime…discuss!

This week’s episode of Smash, “Let’s Be Bad,” is possibly my favorite one to date. One of its strengths is that it set up a lot of interesting plot points, which had me looking forward to the rest of the season so I can find out how those plot points will pan out.

The episode opened with producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) discovering that her erstwhile husband Jerry found a new way to throw her plans for Marilyn the Musical off track. Jerry failed to prevent Eileen from getting funding for the workshops—because she sold that Degas to Lyle West (Nick Jonas) in the previous episode—so he stole her assistant instead, leaving Eileen paralyzed. Her assistant runs her whole operation and knows how to do everything, including fix Eileen’s computer when it’s not working properly. Luckily, Eileen’s problems end when Tom’s (Christian Borle) assistant Ellis Tancharoen (Jaime Cepero) arrives. Ellis was only supposed to deliver a book on Marilyn Monroe’s life to Eileen, but he ended up offering to help her around the office while Tom is helping Julia (Debra Messing) finish the book, presumably because Tom doesn’t need much assisting during this time. I can’t wait to see what will happen between Eileen and Ellis, because the latter knows about Julia’s affair with Michael Swift (Will Chase), which could make things…complicated, to say the least.

Speaking of Julia and Michael, Julia finally fell off the wagon in this episode. Michael was not-too-subtly chasing after Julia from the beginning of this episode—and, after a stirring rendition of the Donny Hathaway classic “A Song For You” towards the end—finally manages to get Julia to give in to her feelings for him. Julia will most likely come to regret that decision in the coming weeks, because her teenaged son Leo (Emory Cohen) witnesses her locking lips with Michael. Julia also has a lot on her plate in this episode, because aside from being under mounting pressure to fine-tune the book for Marilyn the Musical, she also has to discipline Leo after he’s arrested for allegedly smoking pot in Central Park with friends. Said arrest could hurt the adoption Julia and her husband Frank (Brian d’Arcy James)—whose absence this week was explained by Julia saying he went on a teachers’ retreat to renew his license. Kindly recall that in a previous episode, Frank expressed a desire to return to work while waiting for word on their plans to adopt a baby.

It was nice to see the spotlight on Debra Messing’s character this week, for the most part. But that’s not to say Tom didn’t have his own moments in this week’s installment of Smash. It was he who came to Leo’s rescue when the poor kid couldn’t reach his mother by phone when he landed in the slammer. (Julia, by the way, was hanging out at a diner with Michael, under the guise of talking about some of his scenes as Joe DiMaggio in Marilyn the Musical.) I thought it was funny that as Leo was sprawled on his living-room couch, apprehensively awaiting his mother’s arrival, Tom was turning Leo’s ranting into song. Later on in the episode, Tom kept up a running commentary while Julia was on the phone with Frank. Tom and his lawyer date from last week also hung out more this week—and even tumbled into bed together—only to discover that they didn’t have as much sexual chemistry as they thought they would.

However, two people who I thought might have some potential for a long-term hookup are Tom and Sam Strickland (Leslie Odom, Jr), a member of the show’s chorus and Ivy Lynn’s (Megan Hilty) best friend. I guess my gaydar must really be nonexistent, because I didn’t realize Sam was gay when he first appeared in last week’s episode. (Remember that scene in which Sam, Michael and Ivy were hanging out at a sports bar and bemoaning their love lives?) I thought Sam was so flirting with Tom before rehearsal, when the former tried to get the latter to talk about sports. I may be in the minority here, but I wouldn’t be mad at the writers if they decided to explore the sparks between those two in future episodes. I think, potentially, there could be a great storyline in there for Tom. Having said that, I think John is way cuter than Sam, but that’s just my personal preferences talking.

Could the writers of Smash have read my recap of “The Callback” and decided to give Dev more screen time and an interesting storyline as a result? Because this week, viewers discover there’s more to Dev than just being Karen Cartwright’s (Katharine McPhee) boyfriend after all—he’s very gung-ho about his work and almost single-minded in his pursuit of a promotion to Press Secretary. Also introduced this week is an attractive female reporter named RJ Quigley who works with Dev. I smell trouble for his relationship with Karen and the beginnings of an interesting storyline for Dev, apart from said relationship. I hope the writers pursue it because I want to see more of Raza Jaffrey. Not only is he a good actor, but he’s actually kind of smokin’. (Did anyone else freeze-frame the scene in which he was shrugging into a white button-down shirt?) Having said that, why is it that a lot of the plot points unfolding in this show have to do with infidelity in some way, shape or form? Not that I’m complaining, but it kind of makes me wonder if the writers have any other rabbits in their hat. If they don’t, their magic act could get old really fast, if you know what I mean.

Meanwhile, the rivalry between Karen and Ivy heats up as Derek (Jack Davenport) singles Ivy out in the middle of rehearsal for not performing up to par. He then asks Karen to stand up and demonstrate what Ivy should be doing and adds that Ivy should work with Karen to improve her singing, further humiliating her. As expected, our Marilyn doesn’t take well to that. Ivy initially goes along with Derek’s orders, but she eventually lashes out at Karen when her frustration gets the better of her. However, Ivy should have been more grateful to her one-time rival, because Karen actually helped her knock the “Let’s Be Bad” performance out of the park. Although after she was done, Derek still didn’t look very impressed, which hurt Ivy’s feelings. Towards the end of the episode, she barges into his apartment and confronts him about his behavior towards her in rehearsal. Derek just explains that in rehearsal, he’s focused on making Marilyn the Musical the best show he can—and that’s why everyone, even Ivy, is invisible to him while he’s in the rehearsal room.

Karen reacts to Ivy’s put-downs by releasing her inner sex kitten with a stirring take on “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” Again, I have to comment on Katharine McPhee’s voice these days. It’s so much more controlled, fuller and rounded than it ever did in her Idol days. Back then, she sounded shrill whenever she tried to reach for a high note. Now, however, Katharine sounds absolutely beautiful when she does the same thing. Anyway, Karen’s unleashing of her sexier side actually helps Dev at work—she inadvertently hits on his rival for the position of Press Secretary, and tells Dev about it. For some reason, he chooses to overlook the fact that his girlfriend was making eyes at another man and just focuses on the fact that she managed to find out who he’s up against. I don’t know what will happen next, but I’m hoping we’ll get to see Dev fight for his promotion, and how that fight will affect Karen and her quest for Broadway stardom.

Speaking of Broadway, viewers got their first real look at what the finished Marilyn the Musical will be like if it hits the boards via the “Let’s Be Bad” performance. We’ve seen Karen and Ivy dressed up and singing as Marilyn before, but we’ve never seen them do all that while acting and delivering lines—until this week. Watching that performance and seeing Ivy-as-Marilyn interact with the other actors made even me excited about the possibility of Marilyn the Musical actually making the Broadway stage.


“Chemistry” promo

  • ridingdx

    This show is just getting better and better. It started off really slow but I feel like it’s really taken off now. I hope more people start tuning in, I’m honestly having a blast watching this show now!

  • Pietro Matos

    “Let’s be bad” number was incredible. I wanna watch the whole play right now!!!!

  • Anonymous

    The acting in the “Bad” number was just outstanding.

  • fan

    Katharine was so SEXY tonight. Her sultry version of It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World was AMAZING. You can listen to the full version here:

  • Kirk Wilson

    Oh my god this episode was all kinds of drama! It was amazing though! and both big numbers were great, LBB & Its A Man’s Man’s Man’s World! CANT WAIT FOR NEXT WEEK!

  • Anonymous

    I want to love this show. It has a lot going for it. Good premise, talented performers and some fine musical numbers. However, there is a huge weakness–which is going to be it’s undoing. The writing. It’s weak. They need the same caliber people that write for The Good Wife. TGW is a night time continuing drama with the soapy aspects–but the writing is top notch. Its smart.

    The writing on this show is so predictable and cliche–it’s almost laughable. For instance, the Debra M character actually kissing her ex lover in front of her kids window–and he sees the whole thing. What a shock. There is no way a character that is supposed to be bright and a good mother would do that. (And the old boyfriend bursting into that song–did not work at all–LOL)  Lots of other examples–but I’m too tired to list them all.

    Suffice to say, they are plot-driven story instead of character driven. Kiss of death. And some of the soapy stuff is done better and more cleverly on a daytime soap.

    If this show gets picked up–Speilberg better find better writers

  • Anonymous

    Lizbeth, I have to completely disagree.  This is one of the smartest dramas I’ve seen on TV in a long time.  Acting, singing, plot, all are excellent.  I think it will be picked up for another year- ratings are edging up, and will continue to do so. 

  • Pixie Baker

    I was merrily watching half-heartily tonight when Debra M’s ex broke out in song…I died laughing….is this for real???  I think I am finally throwing in the towel on this one…..*sigh* I really wanted to like it…………    

  • Anonymous

    Yes, thankfully there are still romantics…

  • Tuki

    This show is getting exciting. I enjoyed the whole hour but still don´t care for Julia´s backstory.
    Other than that it was awesome. Kat´s performance of IAMMW was amazing. I think Karen is finally coming out of her shell.
    Ivy was fantastic on Let´s Be Bad but still think Derek does´t care one bit about her. He clearly said it in fact. Can´t wait for next week!

  • songsungblue

    It’s ironic because bad writing is also sinking Glee. Why is it SO HARD to find decent writers?  The writing on Smash is just getting worse and worse.  The ideas are tired and telegraphed. They were possibly fresh in 1987 – no, not even then.  

    God. Aggravating.  So NBC, you sink millions into this show [not to mention trying to get moribund Kat McPhee to do something anywhere near emoting. But that’s another problem] and you can’t throw a few thousands at a writing staff?  They have themselves to blame for the pile of elephant doo-doo this show is becoming.  

  • Anonymous

    IMO, the writing is one of the strong points of the show.  It’s smart, sophisticated, and edgy.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    There are weaknesses in this show, but I’m still watching for three reasons.  The musical numbers are really outstanding, and I love the Derek and Tom characters and the actors who play them.  I’m hoping that it won’t turn out like Glee for me – that I ignore any plot or story lines, and just tune in for the music.

  • Anonymous

    For me, it’s Derek and Julia.  These 2 characters are perfectly cast…

  • gabriel oak

    Let’s Be Bad was the best number of the night. Just as the Bad Wolf number was last week. And both featured Hilty. Meanwhile McPhee’s sexy song was laughable. 
    I wish Debra Messing were a better singer because I’d rather watch her sing than McPhee anytime. 

    Did anyone groan when they showed the son watching his mother kiss her ex? This is yet another predictable moment of the show. 

    I do like Derek though because he seems to be messing with everyone’s head so I at least don’t always know what his motives are.

    Tom continues to charm.

  • gabriel oak

    What do you find smart about this show? I’d really like to know.

  • Anonymous

    Why did you think McPhee’s song was laughable?  I thought she did a great job!

  • Anonymous

    IMO, for the most part, the plot is well-written.  In any book, movie, play, etc., there will be parts not as skillfully written as others, but for the most part SMASH is a well-written drama; very refreshing, indeed.

  • Kariann Hart

    I finally got my hubby to watch it and he said there were parts that were very good.  He liked Kat’s sexy number and found the plot fast moving.  Will he give up watching his favorite sports on TV?  No, but at least he has an idea of why I really like this show – soap opera – and look forward to next week’s episode!

  • David I-Chen Lin

    LOL people are still having such different opinions on this show. I personally LOVE it and think the writing it very smart and well-done in most parts. It could be even better but that’s a good thing, that means the show will only get better. This episode was AMAZING.

  • Nancy Kivlen

    Katharine McPhee is fantastic in this. Her number tonight really showed off her amazing voice, but also her acting talent. Good for her.

  • Anonymous

    I love this show!  I wouldn’t mind if it just showed the stage and rehearsal and production part of the play.  I’m happy if they never went home! 

    Love Karen, Derek, Tom, Ivy characters.  Love when Tom is at the piano and singing.  Not feeling the Debra Messing character when she’s not with work people.  Like the chorus people.  Hate Ellis.  Don’t get Michael either.

  • Anonymous

    LOL. I enjoyed this episode too, but I also wouldn’t mind if they never went home (unless they went to Derek’s house!)  The best scenes are definitely centered around the musical and the rehearsals, which is OK, since that’s the show’s main focus.  When they try to delve into the personal lives of the various characters, the writing becomes a bit trite. Messing’s story could have unfolded in a more interesting way, and that final scene tops my list of “When not to break into song in a musical”! Then there’s the Tom/hot lawyer relationship which is as boring for me as it is for them.  But weak side plots aside, I still love the cast and find the overall story very entertaining. This is one of the few shows that I actually look forward to watching, so they must be doing something right!

  • sue

    I seriously got bored with this show weeks ago and stop watching. Singing show fatigue syndrome, lols. Maybe the show is worth watching again online.

  • Anonymous

    I like the show; it’s nice to see a drama where decomposed remains are not the lead-in.  I do, however, find some parts work for me and others don’t  for some reason Debra Messing’s home life doesn’t work for me.  It just doesn’t; it isn’t really believable for the character.  There was one scene tonight I could not figure at all: when Kat was semi-rebuffing sexual moves while eating out.  Why was that scene there? 

  • Anonymous

    Finally caught up with the show. I like this show. I think I must have missed a story line somewhere. Y is Debra’s family so desperate to adopt a baby now when their son is already 16 years old.  Great singing. I didn’t like Ivy Lynn in previous episodes cause she’s always had that jaded quality about her but the number she did tonight was great. I think the director sleeping with the star is an old old stale story line. Its so boring. Warming up to Tom. Didn’t like him in previous episode cause he’s seems so whiny. There was less in this episode. Tom’s assistant is a creepy character. It’ll be interesting to see if he’ll get any creepier. The best thing in the show is Kat. She’s got that it factor. She and the producer lady (she won me over with all the drinks she threw at her husband) is the main reason I’m watching the show. 

    I just wish people and the media would stop comparing this show to Glee. They are both so so different. Even the style of singing is different.

  • Tess

    I agree…this show has a tendency to be bi-polar…moments of excellence coupled with excruciatingly bad.  And, the breakdown points are usually when it focuses away from the Marilyn bits and onto the lives of these people.  I’ll also compare it to The Good Wife where, in that drama, you get only get seconds of real life that keep you guessing about the characters…and the characters rarely do the predictable.  Here everyone has an expected “part” to play and some of the scenes….though there for future reference…tend to leave you with the “huh”.  It’s still not appointment TV for me and I don’t wait sitting on the edge of my chair for the next episode, but if it pops up on my screen I wouldn’t flip the channel.  Besides, I can get Hawaii 5-O online. 

  • Anonymous

    A big mix of good and terrble. Terrible: Dev’s plotlines, Messing’s family.
    Too bad Tom is portrayed as gay. He and Ivy have the best chemistry of any pairing on the show! And the actor playing Tom was involved in a big (straight) love triangle on Broadway.

    Kat slightly reminds me of Steve Jones (from XF) with the deer in headlights thing.

  • Anonymous

    Oh I disagree! Last nights show really pulled me in for good, I love this show – its smart and fun

  • Tuki

    I actually think that Karen and Derek have one of the BEST chemistry on screen. That short scene were they were dancing close together was HOT.
    I can´t wait to see their story evolve. Dev is not as perfect as everyone thinks, he was a bit of jerk with Karen last night.
    Can´t wait for next week!

  • it’s me

    kat(karen) was amazing in Its a man’s man’s man’s world!  people need to realize that she is supposed to be this wide eyed girl from Iowa who is incredibly talented who trusts everyone.  she needs to realize people only care about themselves. hope she lets loose in the next episode!  i wanna see karen show some emotion!

  • Nele621

    Megan and Kat were both great last night. I’m glad the show always gives them equally good performances. How has Megan not become a huge star? She is so good.

    Movies and tv shows always have predictable scenes. I get annoyed time after time, but it’s something they just do.

  • Anonymous

    I finally caught up on all the episodes over the weekend and have to say this show has a great deal of potential. The storylines are starting to develop and some are more interesting than others at the moment, but it takes time to see where they are all going.

    Kat is stunning, the camera loves her! I’m very impressed with her acting skills so far and her voice is as beautiful as it always was.

  • Anonymous

    “There was one scene tonight I could not figure at all: when Kat was semi-rebuffing sexual moves while eating out.  Why was that scene there?  ”

    Karen found out that the guy she was flirting with was her boyfriend’s main competition for the press secretary job.

    It also illustrated that she was trying to be the sexual personna she had been practicing in her bedroom earlier. She is as threatened by the reporter RJ as Ivy is by her.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    I thought Sam was straight too but I have zero gaydar.

  • RockiDreams

    Enjoying this show more and more each week.  I could do without the Messing mess.  How stupid can you be kissing someone outside of your house while son is there.  DUH.  Only part I did not like.  I look forward to it each week.

  • DianaL

    exactly.  She is playing the character perfectly.  Even saw a top critic complain about her “maudlin” performance — but I find the character totally believable.  No need to change a thing.