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Smash recap: Let's Be Bad

Terrible Ellis has a surprisingly small part in this ep about theater people behaving badly

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Will Hart/NBC


TV Show
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In Season
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Want to know what happens when Smash characters stop being polite and start acting bad? Just watch tonight’s episode, in which nearly everyone misbehaves. Julia’s son Leo gets arrested for [being next to someone who was] smoking pot in Central Park; Derek purposefully humiliates his leading lady; Ivy continues her descent into the Unsympathetic Character Valley; Karen wears a red dress. And, oh yeah, Michael and Julia totally make out in full view of the Lord, Carroll Gardens, and Leo himself.

Despite all this naughty behavior, watching this installment of Smash felt a little like listening to Michael Jackson insist that he’s bad, he’s bad, he’s really, really bad — that is to say, something about it just didn’t seem right. Maybe it’s because with one glaring exception, tonight’s musical numbers didn’t really work. Maybe the show is just getting too soapy too soon. Maybe I’m simply miffed because Julia was basically scarfless the whole time. Whatever the reason, I still haven’t lost faith in the show — it’s natural for a new series to take some time to find its footing. Though the promos for next week’s episode, in which Ivy may or may not develop a drug habit, aren’t exactly reassuring.

But that’s a topic for another time. As our story begins, there’s trouble brewing. Eileen discovers her assistant has abandoned her for Jerry; Ivy, meanwhile, arrives at rehearsal to find Derek doing some dirty dancing with Karen. (Look at those lines! I bet she’d nail the lift.) And then there’s Michael, who talks Julia into meeting with him at a diner that evening. Ostensibly, he wants to talk about a new scene between Marilyn and DiMaggio — he doesn’t want Joltin’ Joe to come off like “a complete tool.” But really, Mr. Swift is just looking to spend time with his ex-lover. By the way Julia sticks her finger into his pie, it seems like she’s not exactly rejecting his implied advances. That ended up sounding a lot dirtier than I meant it to.

I’m forced to seriously question my love for Tom when we learn that he’s the type of person who won’t just put his damn phone on vibrate. As Tom and Cute Boring Lawyer John nosh, they’re continually interrupted by the composer’s ever-buzzing mobile. Those buzzes happen to be a welcome distraction; Tom’s clearly starting to think that John is more boring than cute. Their date abruptly gets spiced up when John bluntly asks Tom if they’re ever going to have sex — and then Tom gets a call from Leo, who’s currently being detained by the NYPD.

Tom and John head to the station, where a policewoman I’m going to call Officer Lockstock tells them that Leo and his friend Mason were caught with a pot vaporizer in the park. John immediately starts firing questions at Officer Lockstock, using his amazing lawyer skills and piercing eyes to get Leo off with a warning. The more he exerts his power, the more interested Tom gets.

NEXT: “She’s Gonna Kill Me Twice:” an epic ballad