'Smash' Recap: Let's Be Bad - Rolling Stone
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‘Smash’ Recap: Let’s Be Bad

Nobody beats Broadway when it comes to drama

smash hinty

Megan Hilty as Ivy Lynn on NBC's 'Smash.'

Will Hart/NBC

Busty blonde Ivy Lynn may have established herself as Queen Bee last week, but that doesn’t mean she’s sitting pretty. In fact, it looks like she may be about to learn an age-old lesson: The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Ah, Smash is finally finding its groove.

Trouble starts when moody lothario Derek – aka Mr. Love-to-Hate director – pulls cutesy chorus girl Karen Cartwright aside to practice some one-on-one moves. While they’re dirty dancing, wannabe girlfriend Ivy walks in and doesn’t like what she sees. Nobody puts Ivy in the corner! But they sure can make her want to slither off there on her own . . .

While one ego is being deflated, another is ballooning, as Michael talks Julia into joining him for dinner to discuss his role in Marilyn: The Musical. Over dessert, the former lovers banter about whether the show is a love story, leaving plenty of room for innuendo and goo-goo eyes. Julia gets so caught up in their “conversation” that she ignores her ringing cell phone. Let the drama begin!

At the same time, Julia’s bestie, Tom, is on a date of his own – although there’s zero chemistry between him and the snoozy lawyer his mother set him up with. So little, in fact, that he blows off the guy’s invitation for a “nightcap.” (Does anyone actually even say that anymore?)

Looking for any excuse to end the dry second-date, Tom answers a call from Julia’s teenage son, Leo, who’s been arrested for smoking pot in Central Park and can’t reach his mother to save his life. You don’t say?

Next thing you know, Tom and his boring beau are at the police station picking up the (alleged) stoner. When his date starts spewing legalese trying to get the kid out of trouble with the law, Tom gets turned on. Maybe there’s something here after all, eh?

Indeed. After getting Leo off (the hook, that is), Tom and his new man get it on. Post-coitus, they share a laugh about how terrible the sex was. Ah, there’s no way you can go wrong with a relationship based on bad sex.

The next day, things go from bad to worse for Ivy when Derek gets pissy with her during rehearsal. Exasperated that she’s not hitting the notes, he calls on Karen to reprise her breathy take on “Happy Birthday” in order to show Ivy how it’s done. But instead of the sexpot version he got late one night on his casting couch, he gets a weak, meek rendition. Still, it’s enough for him to order Karen to school Ivy after class.

But you really think the babe-a-licious ingenue is gonna take it lying down? (Ahem . . . ) Think again. When the two rivals are alone, Ivy puts Karen in her place, telling her she’ll never have what it takes to play Marilyn. Yet Ivy can’t shake the feeling that she’s losing her grip on the role, and she winds up in tears at the next rehearsal after Derek fails to heap praise on her.

It’s kind of apropos that the number she’s trying to perfect is called “Let’s Be Bad,” in which Ivy is decked out as a boozy, pill-popping Marilyn who’s quickly unraveling – just like Ivy herself. When Ivy snaps back to reality and wraps up the song in the rehearsal studio, she’s devastated when Derek walks out. Grab some Dramamine. It’s tailspin time.

After throwing back a few drinks at a bar, she winds up banging on his door and demanding to know why he keeps humiliating her. His answer, in a nutshell: “I’m an artist! Deal with it! Now, let’s make out!”

While Ivy and Derek get it on, Karen works on channeling her inner Marilyn by giving herself a private, chair-straddling striptease in the mirror while singing “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” (Sing it, sister!) Then she slips into a slinky red dress and takes that ‘tude to a business dinner with her boyfriend, after which she seduces him in a limo. Talk about a good girl gone bad!

Meanwhile, a very inebriated – and very married – Michael shows up on Julia’s doorstep to declare his love for his former flame (also married, ‘memba?). While talking outside her apartment, he busts into song to prove just how much he wants her. They wind up making out like the plane’s going down.

What kinds of people start an affair on a busy street for all of NYC to see? Not the smartest ones, apparently – especially since Julia’s son has been hanging out the window watching their tonsil-hockey match take place. Drama: 1. Dignity: 0. Game, set, match.

Last episode: The High Cost of Art


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