Monday, October 26, 2009

Glee: Season 1, Episode 8 – Mash-Up (2009) - Review

Mash-Up is an episode about relationships – how we deal with stereotypes, power, and love, what is expected of us. The characters must find their place within the evolving dynamics of their world (which is never easy, and to the writing staff’s credit, they make it though for them). Glee has been a show built on spectacle, much like shows centered around high action or other purely external, if not superficial, emotional connections, rather than a deeper more meaningful nexus of viewer and program, and this was the where the show faulted early one in the season. However, lately the episodes have developed the dramatic interactions of the characters, which allow viewers to connect and take stock in not just a show with fun musical numbers, but a show with characters we care about, an absolute key to the success of any story. And it is here, that Mash-Up succeeds. While there are still five musical numbers (some working better than others), the drama, the viscera, has taken center stage, and the musical numbers, as they have been to a degree in past episodes, emote the feelings of the characters and drive both the narrative and character relationships forward, and are not their just for spectacle. The technical aspects of the show were a little up and down, with the camera working well sometimes and other times feeling awkward or forced, which can pull viewers attention, but overall the camera paced the action well, told the story, and created the narrative for the characters to live in (the use of both camera and score to chapter divide the story was a nice touch, with pleasant pay-offs along the way). The score of the show is used quite well in this episode, as the style assumes the form of Flight of the Bumblebee. The cast is really starting to come together and give engaging performances, Jayma Mays is wonderful in the episode. Mash-Up is the strongest episode of Glee to date, not musically (Hip-Hop does not seem to be the Glee Club’s forte), but dramatically, the ability to not only sustain the viewer’s attention with effective storytelling, but make them care about the characters. 9/10 

Glee can be seen Wednesday nights on Fox; episodes also available on

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