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TV Review: Glee – “Mash Off”

On this week’s episode of FOX’s Glee, “Mash Off,” Will (Matthew Morrison) and Shelby (Idina Menzel) vow to keep their groups from fighting by staging a McKinley Mash Off. Santana (Naya Rivera) isn’t thrilled, finding it impossible not to start an argument with Finn (Corey Monteith). Growing tired of her taunts, Finn plays dirty, accusing Santana of hiding in the closet. Unfortunately, someone connected to Sue’s (Jane Lynch) Congressional opponent hears, and features the slur in an attack ad. Kurt (Chris Colfer) keeps his own campaign for class president clean, leading a lonely and chastised Rachel (Lea Michele) to abandon her run, throwing her support behind him.

Mash up episodes of Glee are always special, featuring wonderful music, and “Mash Off” is no different. This time, Hall & Oats and Adele are the featured artists who get this treatment. The Troubletones slay Adele’s “Rumour Has It” and “Someone Like You” with the power of Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Santana. Santana is very raw, emotionally, in the moment, and it lends the song real weight. The New Directions go a bit more classic, using “I Can’t Go For That” and “You Make My Dreams.” While Finn does sing lead, many of the supporting players, such as Rory (Damian McGinty) get focus, too. The result is a beautiful tribute to fantastic music. Neither group can be declared the winner, because both are excellent.

Of course, this showdown is not the only singing in “Mash Off.” Will and Shelby mash two songs called “You and I” in a fun and interesting way. It’s also nice to see them play well together, making Shelby an ally, rather than an enemy, this time around, despite what may be going on with the fractured glee clubs. Breaking that spirit, the Troubletones and New Directions go for “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “One Way or Another” during a charged dodge ball fight that is quite effective. Puck’s (Mark Salling) “Hot for Teacher” is a bit weird, feeling a little outside the typical realm of Glee in the staging and choreography, as well as the subject matter. But that doesn’t prevent it from being pretty darn enjoyable.

Puck’s storyline itself, while understandable for the character, is unfortunate. He is a good guy who deserves happiness, and thinks he can have it with the woman raising his baby. While this certainly makes sense from his logical perspective, it isn’t a good situation for Shelby. Puck is eighteen, so the relationship is legal, but she is a teacher at his school. True, she doesn’t regularly teach him, but it could still cost her her job, as well as huge public humiliation. Shelby is smart enough to know not to act on a horny teenager’s impulses. But in her loneliness, it’s easy to see how she could consider Puck’s offer, as wrong as she knows it is.

When the Puck / Shelby pairing first pops up, it is a shockingly wrong. However, as it unfolds, it feels authentic and sweet. This is a testament to Salling and Menzel, who both commit fully to the situation. It is still wrong, for a number of legal and ethical reasons. Yet, it’s hard not to root for the two to be together in the end. If only Puck would cool down his pursuit until June.

Or, even better, bring back Zizes (Ashley Fink)!

Puck’s feelings lead him to expose Quinn’s (Dianna Agron) attempts to frame Shelby as an unfit parent. Shelby is rightfully furious, accusing Quinn of still being just as ugly as she starts the season, despite restoring her hair color and losing the piercings. And she’s right. Quinn is no longer a likeable character that one can feel sorry for. Her single-minded mission to get custody of Beth is ridiculous and cruel. Quinn is still a monster, and needs some serious professional help if she is to recover from this very bad place that she is in.

The election for class president is heating up. Brittany (Heather Morris) chooses a platform of unrealistic things, like banning tornados and going topless on Tuesdays. She would not even be allowed to declare the latter in a real school, and she would be laughed away for the former. However, somehow, in Glee world, her words are popular. Plus, she’s hot. One other nameless candidate doesn’t speak at the so-called “debate,” in which no questions are asked, and another is even crazier than Brittany.

About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com