Once upon a time, a few short weeks ago, we started recapping the VH1 series "Off Pitch," a series following comedic exploits of La Crosse's very own Grand River Singers. And in that time we've experienced auditions, festivals, tears, sequins, bow ties, jazz hands, blades, scarves, music videos, and more performances of "Color My World" than we think it's humanly possible for one person to stand. And now we come to the end of our recapping journey with the final two episodes of "Off Pitch."
|If you don't know the difference by now, you never will.|
Episode 7, “Polka Face”
We kick off the episode with Rob timing the girls and their costume change. Naturally, Marcia manages to get through this with her usual amount of grace and poise. Which is none.
This whole episode is devoted to the magical drunk-a-thon that is Oktoberfest. The kids all show up to the tapping of the Golden Keg. And speaking of things we wouldn’t mind tapping, Honey Bon Jovi excitedly tells us how awesome Oktoberfest, describing it in his usual eloquent way:
“Oktoberfest is huge here. It’s like double-d, Marcia’s boobs, huge. Yes that nice and that awesome.”
“This is my first tapping of the keg. But this isn’t my first Oktoberfest so I have like a half-cherry to bust.”
Aubrey tells us that she got to the bars at 6 in the morning and was drunk around 7:30, which sounds like a cry for help. Oh no, not to stop drinking but to step your tolerance up, honey. Anyway, she explains that her grandma was Mrs. Oktoberfest back in the 1980s while the crew asks her about her family tree, leading Greg to wonder if Audrey says she’s part bohemian, does that mean she’s got family from the Bahamas? IT’S LIKE LA VIE BOHEME never happened folks.
Kayla to Greg: “Why you always saying stupid shit?” Hey now Kayla, that, that is a . . . fair point. Never mind.
Malachi, swathed in a scarf, asks Aubrey if she has some Black in here and Aubrey helpfully replies she wouldn’t mind some black in her. The fact this directly transitions to Audrey hugging a friend named Randy seems like the most genius bit of editing since they had team builder Pam Mumm standing around silently when the group was in-fighting.
Honey Bon Jovi’s erection interviews to the camera that Audrey looks amazing in her dirndl. Aubrey: “I just flashed my vagina.” It’s like she already knows what her post-Off Pitch entertainment career prospects are.
We transition over to the GRS rehearsal space where Rob and Tim trot out new lederhosen and dirndl outfits for the group. The outfits are, how shall we say, a little porn-y like they are all suddenly going to be starring in a movie called Oktober-fuck.
“If you had given Aubrey a beer stein and a stripper pole, she would’ve been at home that night,” laughs Tim.
GRS member Erin says she wants to make sure the outfits are respectful since she’s been part of the Oktoberfest royal family provoking eyerolls from not only the fellow members of GRS but the whole country as well.
Thankfully, this leads us to a great moment of
“I’m not a mom, I’m not a grandma. I’m gonna look the way God wants me to look. And that’s hot.”
We come back from commercials with GRS scrambling around and doing media appearances, still trying to make “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” while even at a country station. The gang goes as far as putting on cowboy hats for one of their appearances with Greg serving Brokeback Show Choir realness for the cowboys.
We transition to the Grand River Singers performing at the family friendly pavilion. Vanessa is applying makeup to Greg:
Josh: Why are you putting makeup on?
Vanessa: Why AREN’T you putting makeup on?
Josh: Because I’m a dude.
Greg: I am too.
Josh: And I have perfect complexion.
Greg: No you don’t.
We cut from this to GRS performing, which is it’s usual mix of questionable vocals, forgotten choreography and flying microphones. So at least they are consistent. The performance ends with Rob and Tim letting the kids know they will be performing in the Oktoberfest parade. Greg helpfully tells the camera: “The parade is the peak of Oktoberfest and everyone is shitfaced. Everyone.” Vanessa begs to have her costume shortened.
And from that performance, we see the kids sitting on the bus, busting out a surprisingly decent rendition of “Celebration” while Kayla questions everything that is her life while slumped down in her bus seat. God, it’s that level of derision that makes us fear that Kayla is going to start her own recaps of this show. Magically the kids hop off the bus IN COMPLETELY DIFFERENT OUTFITS than they were in like five seconds prior. More on that later.
Anyway, they arrive at the beginning of the parade and Rob discovers that Vanessa has had fellow GRS member Erin cut her outfit to be a little shorter. This leads a completely and totally sober Rob to say, “If anybody ever cuts one of our costumes ever, I will cut them.” The argument continues on the bus with Vanessa humbly saying that nobody is going to be paying attention to the bottom of the outfit anyway but to her moneymaker and her twins.
The crowd goes over to a local watering hole to get themselves a shot before a parade. Only in La Crosse would a plastic cup filled halfway be considered “a shot.”
We cut to a montage of the group getting ready for the parade including Nick teaching Eric and Greg the proper way to pageant girl wave from the float: “Wrist, wrist, wipe a tear.”
Completely and totally sober Rob gives the group a pep talk about how Oktoberfest is a place for them to get the best exposure they’ve had all year. He says while a film crew from VH1 films this.
The Oktoberfest parade route is two miles long, Rob tells us, and the group needs to keep their energy up. In a better world, this would lead to all of them throwing back some caffeine pills, Jessie Spano style.
Rob warns the group to never point their microphone towards one of the speakers. Aw, some good old-fashioned foreshadowing.
The group starts their parade route with their polka medley, but since it’s at the beginning of the parade route, there is barely anybody there. So you know, they’re at least in familiar territory when it comes to their performances.
So then we’re to a lot of polka.
|The love that dare not polka its name|
The group starts performing “Born This Way” with the microphones squeaking. This leads us to single best moment of:
“I felt so bad, I tried to fix things. Nothing I could do bring that squelch down. And that was just Josh.”
We have little to no doubt flinging insults about their GRS performers is one of Rob and Tim’s versions of foreplay.
The parade ends with a performance of The Song That Will Not be Named and Rob telling us that they didn’t get a trophy for their float. Womp womp.
Episode 8: Top of the World
We open the episode with some GRS footage clearly taken from the pilot episode as it is their performance at Riverside when they announced the new members. But you know what, whatever. This is the last episode and the hilariously awful continuity on this show has almost become a cold comfort to us here.
Anyway, Marcia steps into one of those magician boxes that makes you disappear. And because it’s Marcia, she gets trapped inside her closet.
Which, if you know how this episode plays out, Marcia being trapped in a closet could be seen as foreshadowing Jon Brown’s storyline.
We open with Rob discussing their upcoming Mall of America performance.
Rob: “You understand that the Mall of America is the Broadway of the Midwest.” No, no it’s not, and I’m going to need you to stop saying that like it’s true. You're performing in the rotunda of a really big shopping center. That's what it is. Chanhassen Dinner Theatre is closer to being the Broadway of the Midwest than that.
Rob let’s everybody know they are doing a new number in the form of Imagine Dragons’ “Top of the World.” The boys will be dressed as football players. The girls will be cheerleaders. Marcia and Erin will be in band costumes and playing instruments. Marcia will be playing the cymbals because that seems like a totally safe idea. One false move, and she could decapitate the whole front row of MOA shoppers.
Vanessa; “Is my mdriff going to be showing? Am I going to look like a Cheerio? Am I going to look like a prissy little white girl?” As if those two things aren’t one and the same.
Marcia seizes on this and complains that she isn't going to be a cheerleader due to the fact that her midriff is like jelly.
|CAUSE JAM DON'T SHAKE|
Tim tells us that there will also be two drum majorettes.
Kurt Greg immediately asks if he can be a majorette and is shot down.
Jon Brown gets excited over this performance. “The only sport I ever played in high school was show choir.”
If you don’t know where all of this building too, congratulations on finally getting around to watching a television show for the first time ever.
We see Jon and GRS member Liv going out to dinner together so Jon can come out of the closet because nothing inspires embracing your sexual orientation quite like needing a storyline for an episode. Jon tells his parents that he’s gay and they take the news very well and it’s all very Trevor Project fabulous.
And then the Grand River Singers surprise everybody at the restaurant with a flash mob performance of “Born This Way” to celebrate the occasion. Okay, they don’t but wouldn’t that have been amazing? Of course.
Jon tells his dad he hopes that coming out of the closet will get him out of bear hunting. Nope, you’re just going to be hunting a different type of bear.
We come back from commercial with the Grand River Singers arriving at the Mall of America. Arriving, we might add, in the exact same ensembles they were rocking while singing “Celebration” the previous episode while they were allegedly on their way to the Oktoberfest parade route.
|On the bus singing "Celebration" allegedly during Oktoberfest|
|The group arriving at the Mall of America.|
This show consistently bends the space/time continuum more than an episode of "Dr. Who."
The kids check into their hotel rooms and talk about how nervous they are about their upcoming performance at the Mall of America.
We then cut to GRS showing up to the MOA, walking in slo-mo. It’s a skill they perfected at the cow chip throwing festival in episode 2. The boys reveal their football outfits.
Rob says, “Now that we know the football costumes fit, we can continue prepping for the show.” Wait what? You’d wait all the way until you get the Mall of America to see if the costumes fit correctly? That is . . . Surprisingly not a shock at all at this point.
|A tender #Trim moment|
And as per usual, the show continuity is totally and completely fucked as we see the Grand River Singers warming up in their “Color My World” ensemble.
But magically they appear on stage in a completely different outfit and section of the show while being introduced by Rob.
Like even the people editing the show aren't here for "Color My World."
tortured treated with fairly lengthy clips of the Grand River Singers performing at the Mall of America including Greg taking a solo turn at the ever popular song “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked.”
|Greg in the way back, serving demonic face realness.|
Up next, the group sings “Top of the World” in their brand new outfits while Rob and Tim talk about how much of a family they’ve all become leading us to some Trim tears.
We close the episode with Imagine Dragons’ “Top of the World” playing and one final moment of
"I don’t think anybody can hold us down. We’re the grand river singers. That’s why before every show we chant, GRS IS the best because we are the best. We perform the shit out of everything we do. We bring 100 110 percent not just 100 percent. Not just A, A, and A-plus. You get A-Plus double plus.”
And that my friends brings an end the long crazy journey that has been watching and recapping “Off Pitch.” And as always, may the jazz hands be with you.