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October 4, 2015

Review: Glee - Mash-Up

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 22nd 2009 1:40AM
In what might be one of the best episodes of Glee since the premiere, Matthew Morrison was given a true showcase. There was also no Will family drama. Hmm ... is that a coincidence? I don't think so. I clearly have more interest in what Will's doing at McKinley High with the singing and dancing then his marriage.

Mash-ups were on the top of the to-do list. Emma and Ken asked Will for a wedding song mash-up, which was easier said than done when the two songs they wanted were "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady and Sisqo's "The Thong Song." Fortunately, Will didn't sing the former, just the latter.

After appearing in a Princess Di wedding gown that was impractical for dancing, Emma found a Jackie Kennedy dress which was dazzling. When she danced with Will, the music flowed out of Emma. Her singing was a surprise and a delight. She even had a bit of a British accent like Eliza Doolittle. It was one of the high points of the episode.

The glee kids were dealing with typical high school angst, who's in and who's out. You were out if you got slusheed. The Slushee Wars commenced with Finn getting it in the kisser from a hockey player. That meant he and Quinn were no longer popular. It was the "new world order" and they turned to Emma for guidance. With no pamphlets covering popularity, and never having been popular, Emma's advice came down to accessories. Specifically, sunglasses.

Mash-ups were all over the place. Ken and Emma were a mash-up that didn't work, just like their songs didn't work. But what about football and glee? Finn thought it was a mash-up that couldn't work, and when push came to shove, he chose the easy route -- football.

Ultimately, though, after Kurt self-slusheed to save Finn from having to do it to him, Finn realized that he had to become a leader by choosing not to choose. He wanted both football and glee. "I don't want to choose between them anymore. It's not cool."

There were two major subplots. First, Noah and Rachel's romance based on their being Jewish and attractive. Noah's Jewish roots were hilariously outrageous, celebrating Simchas Torah by eating sweet and sour pork and watching Schindler's List. Now that's a mash-up.

But Noah and Rachel weren't going to work out because she's still pining for Finn. Fortunately, before breaking up, Rachel challenged Noah to sing a solo. Puck's tribute to a Jewish musical icon, Neil Diamond, was an unplugged "Sweet Caroline." He was terrific.

Subplot number two was Sue attracting the interest of Rod, an Ohio Ron Burgundy anchorman. Smitten Sue was a new woman; she was happy. And she needed to learn how to dance. Once more we got a chance to see Morrison in action, swing dancing to "Sing, Sing, Sing." Jane Lynch dancing was a treat. Another highpoint.

After Rod disappointed Sue -- who looked so cool in her zoot suit -- Sue reverted to her true, bitter self. She turned on Quinn, cut her from Cheerios, and threatened Will with a tale about adopting a kitty, sneaking into his home at night and punching him out.

I loved that this episode had no Teri and the faux pregnancy. Will's "Gene Kelly charm" was on display everywhere -- he also did "Bust A Move" and "The Thong Song" -- as well as dancing with Emma and Sue.

In the end, he even got the Slushee in the face ... and everywhere else. Yum.

[For more Glee, check out SlashControl.]

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Ok, some people who are watching Glee probably shouldn't be.

My father hates musicals. One time when I was watching "Grease" he watched for a few minutes before he started questioning "Why did they all just start singing? How do they all know the words? How do they all know the dance steps." It's a musical. They just do.

My roommate, who started watching a bit late, asked me why they had a football team at a performing arts school. I told her that this isn't a performing arts school, but everyone can sing, dance and they have an unlimited budget for costumes.

My point is that musicals are not for everyone. They are supposed to be ridiculous and completely seperated from reality. If you start nitpicking minor things, pretty soon the whole thing will dissolve. If you want a show that has at least a passing familiarity with reality, watch something else. If you want a show with big musical productions over-the-top dramas and crazy characters, watch Glee.

November 02 2009 at 8:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The moment teach started singing the Thong Song, I turned off the show and vowed never to watch again. Seriously, people? This is terrible television. These characters are stereotypical at worst, poorly written at best. Please try to find something with at least a little depth and honesty, and isn't just a huge advertisement for song downloads.

October 27 2009 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is this show supposed to be reality? Uh, no. That's clear. Was "Grease" accurate? "High School Musical?" No. So stop complaining about the inaccuracies and the details of how it is different from high school life?

Re: the minority characters-- I, too, would love to see more of them. But a show can't develop that kind of history with some time under its belt. Think about how long it took to develop back stories with shows like Lost, Mad Men, The Office....and they didn't have musical numbers interspersing it! One thing is clear-- if your leads aren't given attention, the whole show will flop. You guys are complaining as if it's 3 seasons in and the minor characters aren't getting time. The show hasn't even hit the 13-minute mark! Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the FUN of this show.....and GIVE IT TIME!

October 23 2009 at 4:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Katers's comment

Er, "*without time under its belt" and "13-*episode mark" --my bad, hasty posting. Sentiment the same, however.

October 23 2009 at 4:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love Glee and don't care that it's unrealistic, campy and auto-tuned.

I see it as no surprise that Puck, Mike or Matt (they do have names, though not many lines) would choose glee over football. Their football team sucks. Not sure how many weeks have passed since Episode 4 (Preggers), but they've won 1 game. This is not Friday Night Lights - these athletes are not playing because they live and breathe football. Puck told Rachel that he was choosing football over glee (though later he switched) because he didn't want to get slusheed every day. It wasn't because "I love playing football".

Whereas with glee, they get a chance to express themselves - he gets to sing Sweet Caroline, Mike gets to pop-and-lock, and Mike and Matt get to chill with Santana and Brittany.

Their football team isn't going to get them (any of them) a football scholarship. Heck, it doesn't even make you that popular! (Santana dumped Puck because his credit score sucked). So what do they get out of it?

The only thing I wished for in this episode was maybe a musical number by the kids... but I expect future episodes to go back to more of them singing (as a group) so it was okay.

October 23 2009 at 12:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was disappointed as well, for some reasons listed above and some others.

The opening was awful—barely any pretense for "hey, let's have Will sing a song instead of the kids." The bit about "I'll do it if you won't" reminded me of musical clichés you'd see parodied in a 1940s cartoon, because they were already trite by then.

Emma's rendition of "I Could Have Danced All Night" was nice, but as with so many of the songs on Glee, the use of auto-tune was incredibly obvious to me. I'm starting to wonder if this cast, despite incredible talent, can hit pitches without software assistance.

Finn and Quinn seeking assistance from Emma was out of character, as was Finn quitting the team he'd said in the pilot "couldn't win without him," Rachel making out with Puck for no reason, Puck picking Glee over the team given his well-established preferences, and other stuff.

It's also starting to wear on me that the Glee Club can improvise a complete four-part to six-part vocal arrangement with keyboards, percussion, and brass on any song that anyone brings through the door, or at the very worst, have all that ready in 24 hours. It's really really hard to believe they're practicing for sectionals when it's been nearly two months and they don't even seem to have selected the one or two numbers they'd be performing, much less practicing.

Yes, I know this is all artistic liberty to get more songs into the show, and I can live with that to a degree, but it's like imagining a school orchestra suddenly all improvising a symphony they've heard before. It doesn't happen. On Glee, the equivalent happens almost every day, and it takes me out of the show. Sorry.

October 22 2009 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A top notch episode. The interest with Noah and Rachel was perfect. Usually that would feel forced in other shows but it was pulled off perfectly with them.

October 22 2009 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Isn't Glee back in 3 weeks, not 2?

The 4 football/cheerleader characters aren't "background mannequins"; they just "sway back there like props"! haha.

I don't think Puck stayed in Glee because of Rachel; he stayed because of Quinn.

The first 30 or so minutes of this episode was amazing.

October 22 2009 at 2:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Best episode? Try worst. Every person on this show was completely out of character. Puck quits football? Yeh, right. Kids going to a guidance counselor for tips on how to be cool? Good grief. A slushie machine in a public school?

You can suspend your disbelief for a dancing football team because this is hyper-reality after all. But when the characters change at random, it's just poor writing.

October 22 2009 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to chrisb's comment

I go to a public school and we have a brand new slushie machine.

October 22 2009 at 5:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Totally agree. It felt like a bunch of weak skits plugged together. The Neil Diamond song was not a mashup, it was just a Neil Diamond song. Breaking into voice over with Puck was totally random. The making out didn't make any sense. Sue was very funny, but still random.

I thought this was a very weak episode with no coherence or believability. Either decide to be like Pushing Daisies and keep everything hyper real with the message buried in the creative layers, or be like degrassi and get deep in the weeds of teen angst. You can't be both at the same time with one character acting like a cartoon and next person seeking some deep emotional gravitas with Will in the middle acting in some strange pseudo adolescent version of Howard Hesseman's character on Head of the Class.

And seriously, a teacher cannot sing the lyrics

"A chick walks by you wish you could sex her
But you're standin on the wall like you was Poindexter"

to a teenage girl while mock caressing her body. It was creepy.

October 28 2009 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, I could not disagree with you all more. This episode had me questioning whether I should continue watching after 2 weeks of so-so.

It has become for me, too after school special.

When Will told Quinn its okay if she gets hit with the icee, cuz everyone else will clea her I wanted to vomit and yell. REPORT THIS ASSHOLE! That is not tolerable behavier in a school.

And the every time puck said anything about jews I wanted to change the channel, it was way too thick.

If next week is good it will likely be a stay of execution for me. If its bad I think I'm done.

October 22 2009 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jeff's comment

I can see your frustration but in the high school world, and undoubtedly in the Glee world, can you imagine what would happen to the QB who sends another athlete to the principal?

Also, I thought Puck's Jewish heritage angle was heavy handed, but it was intentionally that way because it fits his character. He's somewhat blunt, obtuse and straight forward, i.e. "Wanna make out?"

October 22 2009 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this was a really good episode! also, Rachel and Noah are really cute together.

October 22 2009 at 9:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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