“You’re afraid of anything below the neck,” Derek tells Karen early on in Episode 5, “Let’s Be Bad.” He’s taking the episode title far too literally—but don’t worry! He’s good at his job… so he gets to do what he wants? Man, this storyline wasn’t great in 2012 and it’s definitely not great in 2020. (But what is great in 2020, amirite?) That’s just an appetizer for Derek going on to humiliate Ivy Lynn and Karen both in rehearsal, when he insists Karen show Ivy Lynn how to do Marilyn’s vibrato.
Meanwhile, Tom is on a date with Hot Lawyer and I have never identified with anyone as much as watching a theatre professional checking Theatre Emergency Texts on a date. (Yes, they’re real.) Then his phone, like Chekhov’s gun, goes off and it’s time to bail Leo out of jail. (Leo is Julia’s son; you’ve probably forgotten.)
Julia is on a date too—oh, sorry, a Script Meeting with Michael Swift. During which she eats whipped cream from his plate with her finger. Absolutely normal Business Behavior. Like watching Dev flirt with a New York Times reporter in front of his girlfriend!
I take it back—Eileen yelling at her computer about her password is what I most relate to in life. Or is it Tom backing away from a discussion about sports? No, it’s Ivy Lynn telling Karen, “I’m a grownup. I have a pretty good idea of what I bring to the party.” Same, girl.
But after that big speech, can you blame her for mentally collapsing during rehearsal? Derek is undermining her, she feels threatened by the woman who almost got her role… I wouldn’t want to dance and belt in front of everyone, either. But then, oh then! The glory! We get one of the all-time great Smash performances with “Let’s Be Bad.”
“You’re fabulous, Marilyn!” Change it to Ivy Lynn and strong agree! This is a perfect example of a song sequence working both as a Some Like It Hot song and as commentary on Marilyn’s fragile state while making the movie—plus Ivy Lynn’s own uncertainty. Then it ends with two men literally treating her like a doll. More foreshadowing!
Karen doesn’t escape either: Dev literally tells her to wear something sexier because he’s “got a hot girlfriend and wants to show her off.” What is with the men on this show?! Karen has just told him that she always looked down on girls who were sexy all the time because they seemed “desperate,” which is also not great in 2020. Then… she sings “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” in her underwear. Sometimes I get whiplash watching Smash.
Ivy Lynn is feeling it too because her boyfriend is mean to her at work, but then turns it off in private. This is gaslighting, Ivy Lynn! She sticks around for sex though, because everyone is super horny in this episode: Karen’s all over Dev in the back of a town car; Tom and Hot Lawyer are in bed together (though their time together was “terrible” according to them both); and Michael Swift shows up drunk at Julia’s and somehow ends up having dinner with her and Leo. And what do you do if you’re trying to seduce a married woman outside of her brownstone? You sing “A Song for You” of course. That’s textbook. It works, at least, because Michael Swift kisses Julia on the street… while Leo watches. I know this isn’t the takeaway from that moment, but he doesn’t have a screen on his window! I immediately worry about a bird flapping in. Leo is probably worried about how this kiss might affect that adoption, though. Oh, Leo.
“Let’s Be Bad,” “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “A Song for You”
No one new this week…
1 (Ivy Lynn)