'Glee' Season 3, Episode 6 Recap & Song List - 'Mash Off'
"Glee" is making me nervous.
There were parts of "Mash Off" that were really enjoyable, the kinds of dramatic moments that have made the show what it is today, keeping a balance with the often goofy fun of the musical numbers.
But there were also parts that seemed very season two-ish, as if the show is teetering on the edge of falling back into familiar bad habits. I know, I should trust more. But I've been burned by "Glee" before. Burned bad. I... I just don't know if I remember how to trust...
Here's a prime example: the episode starts off with a musical number that many of us probably saw coming a mile away, but that's only because it was a great choice for the moment. Last week's episode ended with Puck kissing Shelby, and this one starts with Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher." Of course! It works because Puck is feeling an emotion that needs to be expressed through song. And we get some 80's-style classroom fun that mirrors the music video, which is a little unoriginal, but we'll call it an homage.
But then we cut to Puck performing the song--along with Finn, Mike and Blaine--for the rest of New Directions. Gah! Why? Is there a reason Puck decided he needed to bring this song, which will never be performed again, for this club that really should be preparing for sectionals? No, other than to have some dialogue about it that really doesn't tell us anything we didn't just learn from the song.
Puck is really into Shelby. Yeah, we know, we heard the song. We don't need meaningful glances afterward. If you're going to start the song in a fantasy realm of sorts, then keep it there. It's much easier to buy a fully-rehearsed production that way.
What's harder to buy is the "mash off" that happens later, as Will and Shelby try to keep the two clubs from clawing at each other by having them each perform a mash-up. As much as I love Hall and Oates and the fun, goofy mood of the performance, as soon as you set it in reality like that, there are questions. Questions like how do they afford those matching outfits, wigs and mustaches for everyone for this performance that they're going to do once (and not even for an audience), when they're complaining about their budget all the time?
Yeah, I know, it's fiction. But you have to stick with the rules of your universe: they can either have a funding problem, or they can have elaborate sets and costumes. They can't have both, or we're left to wonder how they can complain about not having any money and then blow it all on these outfits and sets.
Another bad habit is the inclusion of these scenes in which someone walks into the practice room and says "you guys, I have the perfect idea for our mash-up" or something along those lines. Skip the scene and perform the song. Every time they start talking about why they need to perform a particular song, I instantly fall asleep.
However, the moment with Finn giving the solo to Rory when Blaine clearly thought Finn was talking to him was interesting. Guess there's still some bad blood there. Also kind of a nice parallel for what's going on outside the reality of the show, which is that the "new guy" Darren Criss has pretty much come in and heartthrobbed his way right past Cory Monteith. Does anyone even care about Finn/Rachel anymore?
Other good moments (good habits) include Sue's attack ads, which accused Burt of having a baboon's heart and marrying a donkey. Sue (and Emma, for that matter) has been conspicuously quiet of late, so it's good to see her back. And it's good to see that Sue's actions have real consequences, as the reltaliatory attack ads out Santana in horrific fashion, leading into a particularly emotionally charged performance of the Troubletones' Adele mashup.
A side note: that was the 300th musical performance on "Glee," and was performed in front of an audience and members of the press. So if it felt especially charged (and it was, with a fantastic performance from Naya Rivera), that's why. If you want to see it again, watch it here.
In an episode that was marked with some particularly charged moments like that one, the "slap heard round the world," and Quinn calling Shelby a "cash whore" for giving Rachel up at birth for money (ouch, dude), that left the rest of the emotional moments a bit flat.
The class president debate, for example, was a bit of a yawner. I had forgotten why Kurt was even mad in the first place, which is a bad sign. But it's good that Rachel withdrew, as it should clean up that storyline a bit. The dodgeball scene was fun, but the random barrage at Rory seemed unmotivated, and Kurt's reaction was a bit much.
But at least things aren't all sunshine and rainbows every episode, as it seems like they were last year. There's some real emotion going on over the types of things that high schoolers might actually deal with. Let's just avoid those "I'd like to share this song with the group" moments. Bad habits.
This week's numbers:
"Hot For Teacher" - Van Halen - Puck
"You and I"/"You and I" - Lady Gaga/Eddie Rabbitt - Shelby and Will
"Hit Me With Your Best Shot"/"One Way Or Another" - Pat Benatar/Blondie - New Directions/The Troubletones
"You Make My Dreams"/"I Can't Go For That" - Hall & Oates - New Directions
"Rumour Has It"/"Someone Like You" - Adele - The Troubletones
Brittany Line of the Week:
"Is this what having a stroke feels like? Because I like it."