Smash S01E05: Let's Be Bad (At Being Believable)
  • TUESDAY, MARCH 06, 2012

  • Posted by: Joe Puglisi

This week on Smash, the rampant sexism of the Monroe era meets our current leading ladies and their individual versions of being "bad"-- Julia beginning to cheat on her husband, Karen getting flirty with her boo's competition to milk them for info, and Ivy (in more straightforward version of bad) sucking at her job. But hey, this isn't Boardwalk Empire, why are we talking about anything beyond the surface? Eileens's assistant is driving a fancy new car, uh oh, he's just got poached by her rich douche of a soon-to-be ex-husband! Let's hate him, he's so mean! Don't worry, Derek is here to fix our frowns by "dancing" with Karen and making enough thinly veiled metaphors for sex to satisfy at least ten different porn scenes. Tom has another boring date because lawyers can't possibly be interesting to someone who loves jazz hands. I'm waiting for the credits because I'm already smashed (I wish).

Tom's date is going ah sorry I was too busy trying to figure out what restaurant they were in, new American-bistro? For Julia and (Brian? What's his name again?) it's easy, they're dining at the CHEATery. I'm guess the Joe D in Julia's Marilyn is going to be based on Mr. Swift, because everything in this show has to have a triple meaning. Julia is trying to be all pious but decides that seductively swooping her finger through his whip cream (I'm being being literal for once) is a totally safe "diner buddies" move. Too bad Julia is busy being all cute and ignoring the phone because Tom gets the call, her son is not just going to jail, he's already there in handcuffs, for getting caught in central park with his friend "Mason" and a vaporizer, and weed. Looks like he's destined to star in Hair. ROLL CREDITS!

Tom and his lawyer show up to bail out lil' Leo from his jail jam. "This is not CSI" says Mr. Law and Order, and his fast-talking lawyer-yness says otherwise! Did they fly in Dick Wolf to direct this performance? Stabler would sock this guy! Tom gets googly-eyed over his manliness, too bad the sex later is terrible. Whoops, gay spoiler! Tom doesn't really understand kids, so he sings Leo a Broadway song to cheer him up? What is this, lunchtime in the bandroom? Look, this kid is like 16 and listens to that rock music, he's not looking for an original number from Wicked to make him feel better.

What's up with Karen? Oh no, Dev has a hot, annoying reporter all up on his twig and berries, natch. Everyone that works at the New York Times is a babe, apparently.

Line of the evening goes to Julia, as usual. "You are EPICALLY grounded." I've not a clue what that means. "You're grounded, but also you have to fight 23 other children ages 12-18 in a giant death arena and have it broadcast on National TV." THAT'S epic. What does it mean to Leo, no Facebook? Not epic. Leaving the door slightly ajar so she can see what he's doing? NOT EPIC. Taking away masturbation privileges? CREEPY. Julia feels pretty guilty about pie with Michael, as predicted by her taking out Mr. Daniels instead of Mr. Lipton. If you were looking for the big reconciliation between Julia and Tea, THIS IS NOT YOUR WEEK, FOLKS. I know, I know, your JuTea fanfic suddenly isn't canon. Also if that exists, yikes.

Ellis moves in on Eileen, who suddenly sees his worth to use her computer AND spy for her. Oh Ellis. We don't even care about Tom, how do you think we feel about his assistant?

Sam the token goofy sports-interested guy walks into rehearsal and says something totally pseudo-possible about a sporting event. Knicks-Lakers, Kobe Bryant winning the game (bet the writers didn't predict Jeremy Lin). What's worse is that now we know in every scene he is going to be saying something sports related, and later, someone will be surprised that he's gay. Ugh. Back to rehearsal: whoa, Ivy screws the pooch on "Let's Be Bad" and Derek asks Karen to sing happy birthday to show her how it's done and she shoots a three at the buzzer. Ivy Lynnsanity is over! Karen Bryant is the new MVP!*

Derek has Karen teaching Ivy how to sing better, and of course Ivy and Karen get into it, because they are the Mario and Luigi of Super Smash Sisters. BUT WHICH ONE IS WHICH? WHICH ONE IS THE STAR?? "Don't get ahead of yourself [Karen]!" Ivy knows what she brings to the party, and what she has can't be taught (except through NBC shows. Always sleep with your boss! Boobs get parts! Tea and whiskey are good alternating indications of your current mood!) Julia is in the dog house for missing her son's potstravaganza, and turns to Michael for comfort. RUT ROH! Looks like whiskey isn't going ANYWHERE!

Looks like Leo's "epic" grounding doesn't include a revoking of computer privileges or playing music or any of the other comforts of the modern age. NOT EPIC. First of all, why does every TV show think it needs a fake Facebook? More importantly, if we're trying to be hip here, no child in the 2010s owns their own component stereo, nice try Smash. This kid is drowning in Zunes or my name isn't Tea Puglisi.

Derek looks less and less happy with Ivy's performance and she's getting nervous. She breaks down in rehearsal and everyone gets a nervous look? We get a glimpse of the whole scene in the show, with Arthur Miller being predictably dorky, lots of dancing that made me embarrassed to be watching this in front of my girlfriend, but Derek is not impressed by this revelry? Is this some sort of giant metaphor for the downfall of Ivy Lynn via drug abuse and the pressures of fame? Don't condescend to me, Smash! I've seen Mad Men, I know about foreshadowing!

Before a big fundraiser or some other bullshit political event that I'm too lazy to note, Karen and Dev discuss what I am sure is the meat and potatoes of the Smash-sserole. Marilyn as an object of desire, behind every man there's a woman, etc. etc, and I'm starting to wonder if there is more to applying Marilyn to today's world, or if anything has really changed, or if I even care. Let's just go to the party on the Intrepid (because New York). Dev sure seems to have a lot of New York Times ladyitorial friends! Karen is working on her Marilyn seductive tactics when she stumbles upon another candidate for Press Secretary. We've located the missle! Dev calls her Sherlock Holmes? Of course you think of a strong male detective, you sexist. What about Veronica Mars? Because K-bomb is really going for Marilyn: Full Throttle, they in the back of the car. Visually uncomfortable British dude alert!

Michael stops by Julia's home to talk, and Leo is a believable kid for five seconds as they interact. OK Smash. Just don't screw this up. They have dinner. Fine. Michael is drunk and says funny things about Julia's reefer madness. Warmer! Later, Michael seduces Julia with a song (no!), which is a lot of effort, but fine, it's cool, it's working, and they smooch pretty hardcore. Leo definitely sees this out his bedroom window because dude, you just sang a song on the stoop of his house in the middle of the night, you think that kid wasn't going to peek out and see why you're belting? Worst clanger** ever. MOMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

The previews: Emotional stakes get upped, maybe! Ivy's hyper-sensitive to drugs! Called it! Sam tells us more about the writer's shockingly thin knowledge of sport by getting excited by the new starting quarterback of the world-champion New York Rangers! I run out of exclamation points!

And finally, "the dish hits the fan!" - already the best line of the next episode and IT HASN"T EVEN HAPPENED YET. Now that's epic.


*I realize that Ivy would more likely be Kobe, the seasoned pro, and Karen, the Jeremy Lin underdog who defies expectations, but for the sake of the pun, and assuming less than half of you actually care who is a better/more experienced basketball player, I just went with it.

**New term I invented for half-assed cliffhanger. PATENT PENDING!

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