'Glee' Gay Re-Cap: Santana's Bullying Blows Up
This week’s Glee was all about bullying -- and mash-ups –- but the overarching theme was bullying, and the hottest closeted lesbian cheerleader this side of the Mississippi – or anywhere really – Santana got as good as she gave in the bullying department in the episode entitled “Mash Off.”
When last we got a glimpse of Santana’s love life / sexuality she was inching out of the closet holding hands with Brittany –-under a napkin-- over shrimp cocktail at Lima’s premiere restaurant Breadsticks. This week she got an unwelcome kick in the ass in the coming out department.
Ep. 3.6: Mash Off
Bullying abounds in the season’s 6th episode, beginning with that stalwart of mean, Sue Sylvester, telling bald-faced lies about Kurt’s dad having a baboon heart in her campaign videos, a tactic that’s echoed in Brittany’s slightly dirty pool in her run for class president that includes her spreading the hateful rumor that —gasp! —Rachel Berry is still on MySpace.
Meanwhile, there’s tension between the New Directions and the recently formed all-girl glee club The Troubletones. To quell the fighting Mr. Schue and the Troubletones director Ms. Corcoran hatch a plan for friendly little Mash Off between the dueling glee clubs. And what better way to kick things off than Idina Menzel and Matthew Morrison dueting on a mash-up? As a side note, kudos to Puck (Mark Salling) on his "Hot for Teacher" opening number with Idina’s Shelby as the apple of his schoolboy eye. Nicely played Puck!
McKinley High’s rival glee clubs meet in the auditorium to await instructions from Mr. Schue and Ms. Corcoran, but like the Jets and an all-girl version of the Sharks ala West Side Story, the clubs’ ostensible leaders Santana (Naya Rivera) and Finn (Cory Monteith) face off with Santana unleashing a fury of wonderfully nasty comments about Finn’s pudgy pastiness (not unlike Jack’s continually remarking on Will’s weight on Will & Grace).
Rachel (Lea Michele) attempts to intervene on her boyfriend Finn’s behalf when Santana cuts her off.
“And Rachel, your mustache is thicker than a Middle Eastern dictator’s,” Santana spews just as Mr. Schue and Ms. Corcoran begin their mash-up.
Later, in the hallway, Finn responds to a whale reference from Santana by attempting a slam of his own.
“Hey Santana, you look like an assless J-Lo,” he attempts, as his new buddy, the exchange student from Ireland, Rory tries to back him up with an Irish-specific farming insult that falls flat at Santana’s cheerleading sneaks. Santana’s from Lima Heights, she explains, and nothing they dish out can out nasty her abuela’s insults growing up.
They agree to settle their differences with a round of that old playground torture standard in which only the most adept and evil survive – dodgeball. I think we already know who’s going to win this!
Cue The Troubletones v. New Directions in death match game of dodgeball to a mash-up of Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” and Blondie’s “One Way or Another.” The outcome of the match-up is pretty much clear before the scene begins, but like an arty foreign film, the pleasure isn’t so much in the resolution of the plot but in the images that get you there.
So yes, with Santana at the helm, the Troubletones beat New Directions to a bit of a bloody pulp – literally – when Rory steps in last minute, after Santana’s knocked out Finn, and the Troubletones pelt the new kid with balls (insert Beavis and Butthead snicker here) until he gets a bloody nose.
Ever the peacekeeper, Kurt steps in to admonish Santana’s unbridled nastiness, but still, Santana laughs him off.
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Later, Mercedes, who offers up the smashing idea for an Adele mash-up, manages to step-up and become leader of the group while instructing Santana to lay off Finn, even while putting a smile on Santana’s face. Now, that’s finesse!
But it’s tough for a cheerleader to change her spots, so Santana attempts an apology that goes horribly awry.
“Rachel’s right. I haven’t been fair to you,” Santana begins. “You’re not fat. I should know; I slept with you. At some point I must have liked that you look like a taco addict who’s had one too many back-alley liposuctions.”
But the steam of insults just goes on and on until Santana turns on her heel to walk away.
“Hey Santana, why don’t you just come out of the closet?” Finn shouts, stopping her in her tracks.
“You know, I think I know why you’re so good at tearing everybody else down,” Finn continues with real fighting words. “It’s because you’re constantly tearing yourself down because you can’t admit to everybody that you’re in love with Brittany and she might not love you back.”
He ends up calling Santana a coward, and while it’s true that most bullies are cowards, Finn crossed a line often only breached by tabloid bloggers. Not that Santana didn’t deserve a metaphorical being taken over someone’s knee for her bullying, but the outing was too much...
He finishes his speech by telling Santana he’ll see her at the mash-off.
But karma is a beautiful thing, and essentially, the New Directions listless, so-ironic-it’s-not-funny Hall and Oates mash-up, inspired by and led by Finn, is already a kind of sweet revenge it's so bad (in my not so humble opinion).
Playing on the episode's theme, during a school presidential debate, Kurt decides to run on an antibullying campaign that would ban dodgeball, which inspires Rachel to pull out of the race and encourage others to vote for Kurt Hummel.
Later, Brittany urges an outwardly appearing unfazed Santana to stop making fun of Finn when Becky approaches telling Santana that Coach Sue needs to see her in the office. She arrives there to find Sue, Mr. Schue, Kurt’s dad and Principal Figgins waiting.
“Have a seat Santana,” Sue says, devoid of her generally gleeful rottenness whenever Mr. Schue’s within earshot, and that’s how we know it can’t be good news. Sue begins to wax on to Santana about having used smear tactics in her campaign, but before she clues Santana in on why she’s there, Mr. Schue interjects that they have counselors who can help her, and Mr. Hummel says that he’s been through “it” (whatever it is).
“I’d be willing to talk your family through it,” Mr. Hummel says to a gobsmacked Santana.
One of Sue’s and Mr. Hummel’s opponents got wind from his niece at McKinley that Santana’s cheering for the other team, and Mr. Hummel has his hands on an advance copy of an attack ad that will fully out Santana in an attempt to hurt Sue’s run.
Echoing the sentiment of the hateful pro-Prop 8 ads that ran in 2008, promoting only one kind of family values, the ad goes negative accusing Sue of having no family values for promoting a lesbian to be head cheerleader.
The ad goes on to query –-tongue in cheek I might add—“Why don’t you have a husband Sue? Is there something you’re not telling us?”
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Cut to a sobbing Santana. “I can’t believe this happening. I haven’t even told my parents yet,” she says running down the hall.
But the show must go on despite what could be a painful public outing, and Santana, Mercedes and the rest of the Troubletones come out blazing with their Adele mash-up –- crushing Finn’s mash-up into wee bits.
There’s a moment where it looks like Santana might crumble during the performance but she pulls it together and kills on a visceral interpretation of “Rumour Has It” and “Someone Like You.”
Before the music’s completely faded Santana spies Finn whispering in Rachel’s ear.
“What did you just say to her?” she demands, running over to him. “Did you tell her too? Everyone’s going to know now, because of you!” she says.
“The whole school already knows,” Finn says rather smugly.
“Not just the school you idiot. Everyone!” she shouts, before bitchslapping Finn into another dimension. And bam! Ryan Murphy ends the episode making us wait a full two weeks to find out how it all pans out. Damn the Thanksgiving holiday!
Here’s hoping for a smooth coming out that makes McKinley’s little lesbo happier and a little less vicious with her classmates. Oh, and a little Brittana time wouldn’t hurt either!