GLEE Recap: 'Mash Off' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

GLEE Recap: ‘Mash Off’

November 16, 2011 by  

Following an episode filled with WEST SIDE STORY and sorta-sex, there was surprisingly still much story to be told in “Mash Off.” More character development for Santana, progress in the student council elections story, Quinn/Beth drama and most importantly, the new love/crush arc between Shelby and Puck.

Last week left off with the Shelby/Puck kiss (I am told that their official name is Shuck. I personally am fond of Puckelby :)), which gleaned a variety of reactions from viewers. (Mine was some combination of “OMG,” “WTF,” and “They went there?!” A friend of mine’s was “I called it.”) There is no dilly-dallying to be had with this story line, so we get right into it with Puck’s inner monologue telling us he is indeed hot for teacher. Then, a classroom daydream which leads to, naturally, a rendition of “Hot For Teacher.” Mike, Blaine, and Finn rock out with him, and Mr. Schue is so impressed by the performance, oblivious (as always) to the inappropriateness of the subject matter. If you ask me, it should have reminded him of a certain “Endless Love” duet he had with a student a while ago, and raised a big red flag. But no matter. My biggest concern was that Kurt and Artie were left out of this boy number. Not going to entertain reasons or conspiracy theories as to why. Just going to say, as I’ve said many times before: Artie is underused.

Sue Sylvester’s political ad claims that Burt Hummel has a baboon heart, which gets Kurt all riled up because 20% of all voters in Gullible, Ohio believe it’s true. Sue fires back that poo-slinging is the only way to win a campaign, and points out to him how badly he’s losing against Brittany. Kurt refuses to play dirty, but agrees that he needs to find a cause to win the election.

Will and Shelby chitchat in the teacher’s lounge about the three girls who moved from New Directions to the Troubletones. Shelby promises she didn’t recruit them. Will says he knows that, and that it’s his fault they left. Shelby assures him that it’s not his fault, and that the girls just want to shine in their senior year. It’s so refreshing to see two adults in this school be humble and rational and mature, for once. They decide to find some way to prevent the rivalry from getting nasty, and come up with the “FIRST EVER McKinley High Mash-Off”…besides the girls vs. boys “Halo”/”Walking On Sunshine” and “Confessions”/”It’s My Life” showdown…right? They sell their idea by singing a mash-up of “You and I” and…“You and I.” Admittedly, I’m not familiar with the Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle version, so I wanted it to be all Gaga, for sing-a-long-able purposes. But as far as I can tell the two songs mashed up quite well together. Shelby sang the line “my lipstick on your face” just as she locked eyes with Puck, and the expression on his face was priceless. It was at that point that I realized it would be difficult to care about much in this episode besides this pair.

Puck approaches Shelby when she is alone in her classroom, and he doesn’t mince words. He tells her he wants her. Instead of sitting him down and singing “Don’t Stand So Close To Me,” Shelby responds calmly and honestly with “You’re charming and surprisingly sweet. That kiss was a mistake.” But Puckerman persists. His list of reasons why they should be together: “1) You’re hot. 2) I’m hot. 3) Beth needs a dad.” I personally can’t argue with any of the above.

When deciding on an artist for their mash-up, N.D. members shout out suggestions: “The Clash!” “The Police!” “R.E.M.!” “Spice Girls!” “The Jonas Brothers!” Finn objects, pointing out that the group needs to feel united right now, and all those groups they just mentioned have broken up (which I imagine led many young viewers into a Googling frenzy to make sure that the Jonas Brothers were still together.) Finn thinks Hall & Oates is an optimal choice in terms of togetherness, and while I agree, I am having a hard time believing that Finn Hudson knows so much about the history of Hall & Oates. He also offers the solo to Rory in what could be interpreted as a passive aggressive diss to Blaine. But the once-and-always-Warbler is unfazed. He remains the epitome of class, saying it’s a great idea, and that Rory will do great. Blaine does not do petty. Blaine does not do drama. Blaine does no wrong.

As a part of her epic scheme to steal baby Beth, Quinn goes up to Shelby and asks to join the ‘Tones. Shelby, continually proving her shrewdness and all-around awesomeness, says she’ll have to think about it. You can’t get one over Ms. Corcoran that easily.

Finn tries to teach Rory about trash talk. Rory thinks trash talk is discussing garbage. Finn demonstrates by calling Santana an “assless J.Lo,” which I thought was one of the funnier lines of the episode, even if not entirely insulting. (I’d take J.Lo’s face at the cost of an ass. Just saying.)

Rachel brings a recommendation letter for Shelby to sign, since having a recommendation from the coach of a national-winning glee club is good for her chances at NYADA. Also, I believe, because she secretly wants any excuse to hang with birth mom. The way Shelby swiftly signed the letter without hesitation was a great gesture towards Rachel, and a testament to how much she cares about her and believes in her. I always love their scenes together.

The two glee clubs try to settle their differences on the dodgeball court. (A game which, apparently, has origins very closely linked to stoning. Who knew?) In another attempt to reduce the Rory Flanigan character to merely a brainless, stuffed-toy-come-to-life with an Irish accent, the writers have decided that Rory has “never heard of this game of dodging balls.” I mean at the very least, he didn’t have to word it so obscurely. “I’m new to this dodgeball thing” would have sufficed. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”/”One Way Or Another” was a predictable yet appropriate mash-up for this scene. But the most poignant moment for me was Rachel telling Kurt she misses him. I may be missing something, but I don’t know what Rachel did to deserve such anger from Kurt. It’s not like she sabotaged his chances. She just decided to run for president, fair and square. I didn’t see him getting mad when Brittany decided to run.

At rehearsal, Shelby’s girl group discusses their upcoming performance. Mercedes also nominates herself for president of the group, and subsequently gets voted president of the group. That’s some democracy they’ve got going on. Santana talks about how much she enjoyed beating the sh*t out of New Directions at dodgeball. The rest of the group frowns upon violence and animosity, and urges Santana to stop the violence. In fact, Brittany (Heather Morris) sing-whispers “stop the violence” to Santana (Naya Rivera), provoking what appears to me to be an unscripted giggle, and officially the most adorable moment of the episode.

Santana “apologizes” to Finn, managing to use the phrases “potato head,” “ship yourself back to Scotland,” “taco addict,” “you have no talent,” “you sing like you’re getting your prostate checked,” and many others that I didn’t catch, as ammo at Rory and Finn. The tirade made Sue Sylvester’s Schuesterisms look weak in comparison. As Santana walks away, Finn fires back through the hall “Why don’t you just come out of the closet?” He accuses her of being a coward. This would be officially the “Whoa!”-est moment of the episode.

The New Directions sing their Mash-Up of “You Make My Dreams Come True,” and “I Can’t Go For That.” It’s a fun mash-up, but I’m disappointed that “I Can’t Go For That” is barely recognizable. The bass line in that song is (for lack of a better word) sick. It’s a completely different feel from the other song, so I guess that’s why it was difficult to give it equal value in the same mash-up. I don’t know what I would have wanted instead. A medley instead of a mash-up maybe? While Damian McGinty makes Cory Monteith look like Justin Timberlake, dance-wise, he delivers vocally on the song. I love the mustaches. I love the pink shirts and blazers. That having been said, I had a feeling the Troubletones were going to crush that performance. (And I was later proven right.)

The presidential debate ensues, with our friends Brittany, Kurt, and Rachel running against some tool called Rick the Stick. Brittany gives a hilarious speech on how she promises to ban tornadoes and to be topless on Tuesdays. Kurt straightforwardly pledges to fight bullying, first by banning the very violent sport of dodgeball. Rachel Berry, in her Rachel Berry way, wins the day by withdrawing from the race, and pledging her vote for Kurt Hummel. She tells him that she should have withdrawn when she made the lead in the musical, since Kurt would need the extra juice on his NYADA apps. Just when people think Rachel is evilly ambitious, she without fail shows that her loved ones come first. Rachel and Kurt are friends again and everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.

Quinn visits Shelby, and Shelby is uneasy about her being around because Puck had earlier revealed Quinn’s true intentions. Shelby tells Quinn she doesn’t know the first thing about being a mother because she doesn’t understand putting the baby’s happiness and health before everything else. Quinn calls her a cash whore. (For being a surrogate, I presume. I still don’t understand why they refer to Shelby as “giving up” Rachel, since I see offering to be a surrogate completely different than getting knocked-up then giving a baby up for adoption.) Shelby then kicks Quinn out of her house.

I’d like to take this opportunity, before I wrap up, to write my love letter to Idina/Shelby. I’ve implied throughout this recap that she is a welcome addition to the series, but I can not stress it enough. Idina plays Shelby so well and so authentically. She tugs at my heart strings and is more believable as a human being than many of the main cast, let alone other guest stars. Not that I have anything against Kristen Chenoweth or Gwyneth Paltrow. Cheno brought a delightful energy, and her musical numbers were amazing, but she was more of a caricature than anything. Gwyneth was… funny the first time, tolerable in subsequent appearances.

But Idina is not only an amazing singer, which makes the musical numbers she’s in pure joy to watch, she is a great dramatic actress and brings believability to the character. I believe that Shelby is a smart woman, who hasn’t always made the right decisions in her life, but is making a conscious effort to do right by everyone now. And the Shelby character brings out the best in other characters. She brings out the best in Will, who can be a petty, inappropriate man-child at times, but around her he is rational and teacher-like. She brings out an interesting vulnerability in Rachel. The conflict between Quinn is intriguing.

And now this Puck thing. Whatever it is, I am digging it. Some might say a teacher-student relationship is inappropriate. I think a barely-deflowered Artie Abrams urging his WEST SIDE STORY cast to lose their V-cards for artistic purposes, and also giving Coach Beiste dating advice, is inappropriate. Just saying. This Shuck pairing has been the most interesting one in a long time, and there’s no denying their chemistry. Plus the complications of him being the biological father of her child.

The best thing about this episode is that it’s unclear where she stands. She says one thing, but hasn’t reprimanded him for his flirtatious comments, and still allowed him in her home after he revealed his feelings. That only hints that there are probably feelings on her side as well. We all know what the right thing to do would be (at least, I hope we do): she CANNOT be involved with him, he is her student, and he’s barely an adult. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be some great story told there. And possibly an epic duet.

Anyway, back to the episode. Someone overheard Finn telling Santana to come out, and unfortunately that certain someone is running for office. Said candidate includes it in his campaign ad against Sue Sylvester, and now Santana’s sexual orientation is broadcast on television. Horrible. She hasn’t even come out to her parents yet. Cue the incredible mash-up of Adele’s “Rumor Has It” and “Someone Like You.” These two songs were combined so smartly. Flawless. Amber Riley kills it as usual, and Naya sounds better than than I think she ever has. I sometimes find her facial expressions unwatchable while singing (don’t know what it is) but this time was different. Perfect, subtle emotions. I felt her angst. When the song ends, without missing a beat, she marches into the audience and asks Finn what he’s whispering to Rachel. He says he just told her that the performance was great, but Santana is full of rage, and slaps Finn across the face. End of episode. Boom. I like this cliff-hanger-esque style of ending episodes they’ve been using lately. Better than just a group song, then credits. It helps the plot flow from one episode to the other, and/or build suspense.

Well, that was a long recap, but like I said, there was lots of story in this episode.

To sum up:

  1. You’re hot
  2. I’m hot
  3. Beth needs a dad
  4. Stop the violence

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Is your mind still reeling from that Adele-icious Mash-Up? Shuck: Yes or ew?

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One Response to “GLEE Recap: ‘Mash Off’”

  1. gleefan on November 16th, 2011 7:54 pm

    music was great not the episode. Not interested in trash talk and insults as an hour’s worth of entertainment. What a absolute drag. It sucked. Not the kind of episode that makes me Gleeful.