Glee recap: 'Mash-Off'
I think I kind of love that “Mash-Off” was a bullying episode that snuck up on us. With both the Troubletones and New Directions heading to Nationals, things were becoming quite heated between the students, particularly Finn and Santana. On a bigger scale, Sue was stoking that aggression fire as she pummeled Burt with some outrageous TV ads. The whole thing had a very mean spirit about it underneath the usual breeziness. It was against that backdrop that the first annual McKinley High Mash-Off occurred and Santana’s life changed.
Meanwhile, the “very charming and surprisingly sweet” Puck declared his love for Shelby but sort of straddled the fence by implying to Quinn that he was still on board with the whole steal-Beth-from-Shelby plan. And while we cleared up the issue of his age (18, so it wouldn’t be illegal), Shelby was right that at the very least she’d get canned for messing around with Puck. But to be honest, I can see how hard it would be to withstand the full-scale onslaught of Pucktasticness, like the seemingly un-rebuttable argument for why they should be together: “You’re hot. I’m hot. Beth needs a father.” He even went so far as to reveal Quinn’s plans to sick Child Protective Services on the single mother. Yet again, Puck had the perfect amount of edge and sweetness.
Even before Puck volunteered that information, Shelby trusted her gut when Quinn asked to join the Troubletones. She didn’t immediately welcome her in and would later have a very hostile confrontation with the untrustworthy blonde. Even though Quinn threw Shelby’s own teen-mom history in her face, the teacher remained firm about casting Quinn out of Beths life for now. Trusting her gut also came in handy for Shelby when she had a lovely mother/daughter moment with Rachel, who was seeking a killer letter of recommendation for college. It was a lovely moment of maternal support and love. It was also a chance to see all that Shelby has to offer young Beth that she may not have been able to offer Rachel when she was younger.
Shelby’s spirit of of honesty and fairness led to her joint idea with Schue to have the two glee clubs face off in spectacular mashups. But one of the Troubletones was all about making trouble, particularly for Finn. Santana just could not get enough of antagonizing the jock. When it came to the insults, he was no match. (She was raised on insults. You can almost see her grow as if she were feeding on them. Yum.) They had a dodgeball face-off that had the Troubletones totally owning New Directions. After a final blast of insults, Finn called Santana out in the middle of the hallway, cluing her in that it’s no secret around the school that she’s in love with Brittany. And he called her a coward for not living her life honestly. I know that this will be divisive because he essentially outed her, but I don’t think it was done out of meanspiritedness (yes, Finn is still the complicated “hero”) and I do think everyone in the school does know of their “special” relationship.
NEXT: Kurt and Rachel make niceWhile the Troubletones took on Adele, Finn pushed for Hall & Oates songs for the New Directions, you know, the group famous for their cool puffy hair and that dude’s awesome ‘stache, and the fact that they never broke up. Finn continued his passive aggressive behavior against Blaine by singling out Rory for solos in the piece. But could you love Blaine any more for how he handled it, wholeheartedly endorsing the move to spotlight the newest member?
Sue had decided to play dirty in her campaign against Burt Hummel with ads that claimed he possibly/probably had a baboon heart transplant (and not the angioplasty he actually had) and could be married to a donkey. While her ads were outrageous, she wasn’t nearly as vicious as Sue has been known to be in the past. I believe that whenever the show is planning to lay a big heavy lesson on us, particularly on bullying or LGBT issues, Sue is toned down and actually ends up being a voice of reason. So when one of her opponents made an attack ad that very publicly outed Santana, Sue joined forces with Schue and Burt to counsel and comfort the teen. But she freaked out and ran out the room crying that she hadn’t even told her parents yet. Then at the end of her stellar performance during the Adele mash-up, her paranoia and rage spewed out at Finn and she smacked him for outing her.
Before we got there, it became evident that things were taking a turn during the campaign speeches in the gym, when candidates like Rick the Stick got to lobby the “robust” crowd. Small in numbers though they were, they managed to be quite vocal when Brittany vowed to protect McKinley from the murderous rampage of tornadoes… and to go topless on Tuesdays, which was met with wild applause by just about everyone but the adults, including Becky.
Despite Sue’s advice, Kurt decided to keep taking the high road, the same one that had him running a clean campaign and standing up for Rory when dodgeball turned darn near deadly. Kurt decided to take a stand on dodgeball, which he likened to a stoning. After his clear concise speech — not to mention the Shelby’s comment that Rachel had more than enough accolades to stand out for the school of her dreams — the young overachiever withdrew from the race and threw her support behind Kurt. The two recemented their friendship and balance was restored to that particular section of the Glee universe.
Random question: Am I the only one who thinks that Emma’s flowy yellow nightgown makes her look like a miniature Big Bird?
NEXT: We rate the performances and go through the notable quotes.Performances
‘Hot for Teacher,’ Van Halen: This was such big fun and the backup guys (Mike and Blaine, along with drummer Finn) really helped amp it up. A-
‘You and I,’ Lady Gaga/ ‘You and I,’ Eddie Rabbit: This was a really well-done mash-up, elevated by Edina Mendel’s voice, as most things really are. B+
‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot,’ Pat Benatar/’One Way or Another,’ Blondie: Did this remind anyone else of the old Glee commercials? B
‘You Make My Dreams Come True’/’I Can’t Go for That,’ Hall & Oates: Not much to say beyond that I loved the hair and ‘stache homage. B
‘Rumour Has it’/’Someone Like You,’ Adele: Yes I loved it but I was also mesmerized by Santana’s fake lashes and the anguished look on her face. A
Puck: “Don’t judge me, I’m 18. It’s legal. Besides, the age difference isn’t that crazy. Just look at Ashton and Demi, Indiana Jones and Ally McBeal, Woody Allen and that Chinese girl.”
Kurt: “Do you know that 20 percent of voters actually believe my dad has a baboon heart?”
Sue: “It’s not personal, Porcelain.”
Brittany: “A vote for Brittany is a vote for root beer water fountains and robot teachers. … And also, listen. Rachel Berry’s still on Myspace, and thus unfit to lead.”
Santana: “Oh and guys, go get some moist towels. We have to keep Finn wet before we can roll him back in the sea.”
Santana: “Rachel, your mustache is thicker than a Middle Eastern dictator’s.”
Finn: “Hey, Santana. You look like an assless J. Lo.”
Rory: “You’re skinny like all the crops failed on your family’s farm.”
Santana: “That is the lamest thing I didn’t understand a word of.”
Santana: “I’m from Lima Heights. I was raised on insults. It’s how mi abuela put me to sleep at night, and she is not a nice lady. You know she tried to sell me once? And it wasn’t til I got to kindergarten that I learned my name wasn’t Garbage Face.”
Brittany about Adele: “I love her. She sounds like what banana cream pie sounds like when it sings.”
Brittany on Mercedes’ move to be president of the Troubletones: “I’m not impressed by your campaign. You didn’t put any posters up.”
Santana to Rory: “Shut your potatoe hole. I’m here to apologize…. Please stick a sock in it. I’m trying to apologize to Lumps the Clown.”
Santana to Finn: “At some point I must have liked that you look like a taco addict who’s had one too many liposuctions. …. I am sorry, Finn. Sorry that you have no talent. Sorry that you sing like you’re getting your prostate checked. And you dance like you’ve been asleep for years and someone just woke you up.”
Brittany: “I think you need to stop making fun of Finn. You’re being really harsh.”
Santana: “Manatees have really thick skin.”
Sue: “I set the tone for this campaign. And now it appears my slanderous chickens have come home to roost.”
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Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.