Friday, October 23, 2009

Glee 1.08: "Mash-up"

“Are you questioning my badass-ness? Have you seen my guns?”


This week, it looked like the show’s two romantic triangles, Quinn/Finn/Rachel and Will/Emma/Ken, might finally come to a head. These plots took center stage instead of the ridiculous fake baby plot, but by the end of the episode, it was like spending the past forty-five minutes treading water. Glee seems to move quickly with smaller sub-plots (Kurt coming out and Mercedes’ crush on Kurt), or small pieces of bigger plots (Finn and Rachel kissing in the second episode), but the big overall plots remain stagnant. Despite this criticism, there were still many small moments to enjoy about “Mash-up,” and one especially exceptional musical performance.

This episode used an interesting framing device- a hand holding a Slushie. You never knew if the person holding it was going to throw it in someone’s face or give it to somebody to drink. The first Slushie-ing happens to Finn at the hands of a hockey player. Finn and Quinn (who witnesses the debacle) realize that they aren’t quite the “cool kids” they used to be. They decide to go to Emma for advice, because they think she’s seen a lot of cool kids in her life. Emma inadvertently gives them the idea to wear sunglasses, because she’s trying to cover for the fact that she said “sunglasses are so sexy” after seeing Will in sunglasses out in the hall.

Meanwhile, Ken and Emma have (another) very bad idea. They want Will to choreograph their wedding dance. They can’t decide on a song. Emma wants “I Could Have Danced All Night,” and Ken wants “Thong Song.” As an adopted Baltimorean, I appreciate the shout out to Sisqo, but that’s just kind of gross. They’re going to try to do a mash-up of the two songs. Oh, and did I mention they want dance lessons from Will, too?

At Glee rehearsal, Will has an assignment. He wants the kids to come up with a mash-up that includes “Bust a Move.” None of the kids are all that enthusiastic, so Will performs it himself. As much as I love watching Matthew Morrison dance, the song is kind of inappropriate for school. Kurt is especially horrified, with is adorable and hilarious at the same time. This assignment is kind of random except for the fact that it falls within the “things that shouldn’t go together” theme of the episode.

The first dance lesson between Will and Emma is also awkward. Emma decides to wear her wedding dress, and it’s a replica of Princess Di’s dress that once belonged to her Cousin Betty. It’s huge. The song they decide to start with is “Thong Song,” and although it’s nice to see Matthew Morrison sing a little in addition to rapping, the whole thing is just uncomfortable as Will dances around an Emma who is standing still. The one time Emma moves, she falls…on top of Will. Ken sees this from out in the hallway, and he is not at all pleased. Frankly, I think he ought to know what he’s getting into considering he proposed to a woman whom he well knows is in love with someone else.

The non-Glee football team members are giving Finn a lot of crap for singing in Glee, and it escalates to a fist fight. This combined with Will moving in on Emma takes Ken over the top. He’s usually pretty chill, but now he’s at war with Glee, too. He schedules a practice for the exact same time as Glee rehearsal, and he expects his football players to choose between football and Glee.

Puck actually gets a bit of a story of his own this episode, too. His mom is desperate for him to date a good Jewish girl, so he’s set his sights on Rachel. As Puck put it in one of his always-entertaining voice overs, “Rachel was a hot Jew, and the good Lord wanted me to get into her pants.” He starts by asking her if she wants to work on the mash-up. Mash-up practice turns into making out, but Rachel then has second thoughts, even if they are “a couple of good looking Jews.” Rachel says if Puck has the guts to sing a solo in front of the Glee club, she’ll consider going farther with him. Puck responds with what is my absolute favorite part of this episode. A wonderful performance of “Sweet Caroline” at the next Glee rehearsal. This particular song takes me back to a karaoke bar in Biloxi, Mississippi. Long story, perhaps for another time.

The Slushie wars escalate. First, Finn and Quin get slushied by a whole line of Finn’s football teammates. One of the football players threatens the pair that it will get much worse if Finn chooses Glee over football. Puck doesn’t escape the flying Slushies, either. Rachel’s there to clean the Slushie out of his Mohawk, though, and Puck tells her that he can’t take this kind of treatment-he’s choosing football over Glee (and Rachel). Rachel understands, because she has had to live that way for years and wouldn’t wish it on others.

Despite Will promising Ken that he’ll do better at discouraging Emma’s advances, Ken still refuses to cancel the football practice that conflicts with Glee rehearsal. Will goes ahead and gives Emma another dance lesson, this time while she’s trying on a new, less elaborate wedding dress. Yeah, Will isn’t exactly doing a good job at discouraging Emma (which is okay by me because I think they’re adorable). They dance to Jayma Mays singing “I Could Have Danced All Night,” and she has a surprisingly lovely voice.

On Thursday at 3:30, the non-football members of Glee anxiously wait to see who will show up to rehearsal. If anybody chooses football, they won’t have enough members to compete. The football players who aren’t Finn and Puck show up just long enough after 3:30 to create a little suspense, but not too long. Their girlfriends happily hug them for their choice. Next, to everybody’s surprise, is Puck. Rachel is overjoyed. Finn, however, is the no-show.

Things are back to status quo by the end, though. After a heart-to-heart session of playing catch with Will, Finn talks with Ken and guilts Ken into canceling the Thursday practices. The fact that Kurt slushied himself to make a point to Finn probably didn’t hurt, either. Rachel and Puck don’t fare as well, however. They realize that they each really have feelings for Finn and Quinn respectively, and they therefore wouldn’t work together. Rachel tries to be nice about it, and Puck tries to put on his usual jackass exterior again.

In other news, Sue actually has a heart. She falls for the anchor at the news station where she does “Sue’s Corner,” and he wants to take her to a swing dance competition. She takes a page out of Ken and Emma’s book and gets dance lessons from Will. Their swing dance scene is a lot of fun. Happy Sue can’t last, though. Turns out the anchor has quite a few girlfriends, and when Sue finds out, she’s heartbroken and resumes her war on Glee. Starting by kicking Quinn off the Cheerios.

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