The Gleecap: “Mash Off”

November 16, 2011

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The Gleecap is a brand new column dedicated to recap and review the zany antics that occur in each episode of the television show Glee. Blog posts will be released each Wednesday following an episode. Beware, there will be spoilers.

Story Overview

Last week’s episode began with Artie asking Coach Beiste about her sex life. This week’s episode began with Puck serenading Ms. Corcoran’s derrière. Next week? Tina playing strip poker with Mr. Schuester!

I mean, it only makes sense.

Shockingly enough, the episode titled “Mash Off” dealt heavily with themes of conflict and competition. In one corner, there was the battle of Troubletones vs. New Directions, led by Santana “Lima Heights” Lopez and Finn “Whipping Boy” Hudson!

First, aggression was handled in a fiery game of dodgeball. Combatants were annihilated one-by-one until Santana decimated Finn with a very easy throw. As celebration, the Troubletones assaulted Irish import Rory. Santana, not satisfied with just one victory, continued to berate Finn out in the hallways. As revenge, he outed her as an insecure lesbian. Unfortunately, he did more collateral emotional damage than he could have ever imagined: the niece of a congressional opponent of Sue overheard and made Santana cannon fodder for a political attack ad.

In a completely unprecedented move, Rachel continued to value artistic ambition over her friendship with Kurt. Then, after much soul searching, she realized the error of her ways and friendship won once again! Specifically, Rachel threw away her class president dreams to support Kurt.

Finally, Glee continues to high-jump over student-teacher boundaries as Puck continues his attempts to seduce his teacher. Scarily enough, his advances seem to be working.

Characters

Behold the mysterious "White Whale," outer of angry, closeted lesbians. | Courtesy of FoxTV.

Santana – Holy venomous verbiage, Batman. The writers of Santana’s dialogue went to town (or should I say Lima Heights?) this week with her insults. And boy, were they deliciously good. I’m glad we’re finally seeing progress in her coming-out/being-forced-out storyline. Her concerns about her family, her insecurities, and her paranoia during the last scene were completely true to life.

Finn – I should be outraged that Finn outed Santana like that. I should want to beat him up with a flaming rainbow flag of truth and justice. But truthfully, I’m not that angry. Santana, for several episodes, has been going on a rampage that’s been going too damn far. She intentionally caused Rory to bleed, and no one has been stopping her; there was no end in sight.

In real life, I am in no way a proponent of “outing.” It’s wrong. But it could turn out to be Santana’s eventual salvation.

Puck – Keep giving him cute scenes with Beth and fewer scenes trying to make Beth’s sister. Deal? Deal.

Ms. Corcoran – Overall, I really think bringing her character back to McKinley was a smart move. It’s moving Quinn’s storyline (although I do disagree with Quinn’s writing). It’s offering the cutest Rachel moments. It’s making Mr. Schuester less creepy, which is typically nigh impossible. Just less creepy student flirting all around.

Songs

“Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen – I’m not sure this song was necessary outside of the context of the Puck/Shelby storyline, which I still think should be annihilated. The Blaine and Mike crotch-grabbing choreography was unsettling. The Shelby bootyshots were unnerving. The vocals were mediocre. Mr. Schuester’s blind enthusiasm for a creepy song was the frosting on the Cross-the-Line Cake.

“You and I/You and I” by Lady Gaga/Eddie Rabbit – This song worked really well. The lyrics blended excellently together, as did Shelby and Schuester’s voices. The context was well-done. Hurray good choices!

“Hit Me With Your Best Shot/One Way or Another” by Blonde/Pat Benatar – Another successful experiment in pairing new voices together. Finn’s cool autotune mixed with Santana’s raspy edge made for a fun competition song. The background was chaotic and exciting. Quinn’s battlecry was most entertaining.

“I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)/ You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates – I had no idea who Hall & Oates were before this episode. Now I’m of the opinion that they are a singing troupe of rejected 80s porn stars. So many mustaches. Strangely enough, I still enjoyed the mash-off. It was dorky and cute, like that awkward younger relative of yours who always dances at family parties.

“Rumour Has It/Someone Like You” by Adele – Glee’s 300th performance is easily one of their greatest, thanks to a perfect formula. Take Santana’s emotionally-fueled Amy Winehouse voice, add in a dash of Mercedes’ powerhouse pipes, and harness that raw power into a soulful Adele song. Naya Rivera’s acting made it perfect.

One-Liners

“Rachel Berry’s still on MySpace and is unfit to lead.” – Brittany S. Pierce

“Winning is really about the poo flinging.” – Sue Sylvester

“I was raised on insults. It was how ‘mi abuela‘ put me to sleep at night.” – Santana Lopez

“You’re skinny like all the crops failed on your family’s farm.” – Rory Flanagan

Overall Score

This week’s episode had higher lows and lower highs than last week. On one hand, there was far less airtime given to creepy virginity/teacher sex life shenanigans. On the other hand, there was no Mike Chang’s mom.

Sure, the Rachel/Kurt moments were still touching, despite having occurred 500 times. The Puck and Beth moments were adorable. The surprisingly realistic mudslinging campaign ads were hysterical. It’s just that none of those moments moved like some of the best moments have.

Fortunately, none of these moments moved me to barf either. And the music, barring “Hot for Teacher,” was excellent.

“Mash-Off:” B+