Will Chase and Debra Messing

Jeers to Smash for taking this week's title, "Let's Be Bad," literally.

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After a promising pilot, NBC's much-ballyhooed drama has become more unstable than Marilyn Monroe, the subject of its musical show-within-the-show. With its fifth episode, it hit rock bottom, throwing in way too many clichéd and random subplots: Julia's son, Leo, got arrested for smoking pot in Central Park, only to be bailed out by Tom's new lawyer love interest, while Karen's boyfriend Dev pursued the job as the mayor's press secretary. Meanwhile, Michael put the moves on his married ex-lover Julia and made out with her on the front stoop, while Leo watched aghast from his bedroom window. What will this mean for Julia's plans to adopt? More important: What does any of this have to do with the making of a Broadway musical?

Smash (or perhaps NBC) seems so afraid of turning off a "mainstream" audience by becoming the show it should be — a soapy, catty behind-the-scenes theatrical drama — that it's jarring when the story occasionally returns to the rehearsal studio. And it feels downright surreal when the characters break into song. It's so determined to be conventional primetime fare that it lacks the essential ingredient for any great musical: glee.

What do you think of last night's Smash?

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