"This is a man’s world," Katharine McPhee sings to herself in the mirror while stripping down to a lacy bra and tap pants in the fifth episode of NBC’s Smash, appropriately titled "Let’s Be Bad." Every character’s romantic issues come to the forefront during this angst-filled hour, which features lingering shots of Christian Borle’s upper torso and McPhee’s midriff. Highlights?
Most Awkward Theater District Dates: While Tom (Borle) shares a distracted dinner with a hot lawyer at Pigalle, Julia (Debra Messing) pretends not to be interested in Michael Swift (Will Chase) over apple pie at the Westway Diner. This "work session" causes Messing to miss calls from teen son Leo (Emory Cohen) who’s been arrested in Central Park on a pot charge. Asked later by his harrumphing mom if he has ever smoked marijuana, Leo replies, "I’m 16 and I live in New York City. Next!"
Directorial Double Dis: Leave it to dour director Derek (Jack Davenport) to figure out how to put down two actresses with a single comment: As Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) belts out "Let’s Be Bad" in the rehearsal room, Derek interrupts with a note on Ivy’s lack of a breathy Marilyn-esque vibrato. "Karen, show her how to do it," he says, pointing to McPhee in the chorus. "Stand up and sing 'Happy Birthday' as Marilyn. I’ve seen you do it." Snap!!
Weirdest Reason to Get Tutored: Ivy tells Karen that she "knows what she brings to the party" and then explains that she is not at all (no, never!) humiliated to be receiving vibrato lessons (!) from a chorus girl. Why? "Because Marilyn did it." Okkkkayyy. Is this why Karen decides to strut her stuff in a sexy dress at Dev's work shindig? Sure is. Marilyn did it indeed.
Most Unbelievable Form of Communication: Does anyone besides Tom have a cell phone that works on this show? Julia misses important calls from her son (see above), Karen shows up on the courthouse steps while Dev is busy not flirting with a hot new Times reporter, and Ivy and Michael down a few beers and decide to bang on the doors of their objects of affection (Derek and Julia, respectively). Really? Michael goes all the way to Brooklyn without sobering up about this half-baked idea? We long for the good old days of drunk dialing.
Worst Sex/Best Kiss: The episode ends as it began, with the romantic travails of Tom and Julia. Tom and his hot lawyer have inexplicably bad sex. ("I’ve had worse," says the lawyer; "I’m not sure I have," retorts Tom.) Meanwhile, Julia succumbs to Michael’s rendition of the Leon Russell ballad "A Song for You" by giving him a passionate kiss on the sidewalk—with Leo conveniently hanging out the window to watch. Bad times three!