Smash isn't really pretending to be much more than a bit of fluff - that couldn't have been clearer than in 'Let's Be Bad', which saw teenage irritant Leo almost get arrested for smoking pot and the culmination of Michael and Julia's naughty flirtation.
Leo hadn't annoyed me too much up to now, though I'll admit that in this instalment he was irritating, and his trouble with the police seemed to exist solely for the purpose of furthering other storylines - getting Tom's fledgling romance back on track, derailing the adoption - rather than for its own sake.
And I've gone back and forth with the Michael-Julia flirtation, which has been both annoyingly obvious and enjoyably awkward. This episode mostly continued with the more entertaining side, with Michael ill-advisedly and drunkenly going to see Julia.
But I could have done without the climax, which saw Michael singing 'Song For You' (ugh) and then doing the cliché of walking away before rushing back to kiss Julia. And because that wasn't quite enough, we got the sledgehammer of Leo seeing the smooch from his window.
Much more interesting is the business of Marilyn itself. I'm intrigued about Julia's struggle with the script - and although some viewers seem to find Ellis unbearable, I'm looking forward to seeing how his apparent alliance with Eileen (who's worried about the show's progress) will work out.
The more we get Ivy and Karen on screen together, the better, as their rivalry continues to be brilliantly entertaining. I've really been enjoying Megan Hilty's portrayal of Ivy, and the fact that even though she can be an absolute horror - as in the scenes where Karen desperately tries to appease her - it's really because she's so insecure. I loved the scenes where she struggled in rehearsals, or performed and then had to wait nervously for everyone's verdict.
My favourite scene of the episode might have been the moment when Ivy, drunk like Michael, stormed over to Derek's apartment to confront him about the way that he'd been treating her in rehearsals. But yet, Ivy is so frustrating - you know that when Derek asks her if she's staying she will just acquiesce and sleep with him again. She's clearly the most interesting character in Smash at the moment.
That said, I don't dislike Karen as much as some people - she's not perfect, no, but then she's not meant to be. We see some development with her, too, as she starts embracing her sexuality (in an interesting performance of 'It's A Man's Man's Man's World') and using it to get the information she needs (in this case, to help Dev in his bid for promotion).
But I like that this is an act for Karen. While she's taking control, it's clear that she resents the idea that men are more interested in her sexually than intellectually, and her brilliantly blunt little speech to Dev's rival crystallises that well.
It's a shame we had to have the contrived jealousy plot as Karen begins to show the green eyed monster over Dev's journalist friend RJ, though, and I could have done without the weird kissing session in the car, which just felt awkward.
Smash could still do with some tidying up, then, but the best bits of the show are always worth sticking around for and the cast continues to have great chemistry (Julia and Tom remain great fun, while Derek's brilliantly bad.) I'm still on board - are you?
- I'm thrilled that we got to see some more of Marilyn itself, with a fabulous performance of original song 'Let's Be Bad' - complete with lines, production and some great dancing. Good stuff.
- That said, surely we're going to run out of original numbers soon?
- "I'm not going to wind up with a lawyer. And he says 'wow' a lot."
- "She does seem crafty." (I might have groaned at the tired jealousy storyline, but this line was the best thing about it.)
- Tom setting Leo's worries about his mother's reaction to music was good fun. ("...something something toking.")
- I really enjoyed the moment where Derek makes Karen sing 'Happy Birthday' (especially as he says he's seen her do it before, making all the other producers realise they must have had a private session). Not only was Karen uncomfortable, but it intensified the great Karen-Ivy rivalry.
- Also, Megan Hilty does angry-singing so well.
- "I made salad."
- Tom and John giggling over their rubbish sex was absolutely adorable. ("I've had worse." "I'm not sure I have.")