Clef Notes: The Wheels on the Show Choir Go Round and Round

Teams were built. Anthems were sung.  Tears were shed, as per usual.

On last week’s episode of Off Pitch, our faithful heroes, the Grand River Singers, stormed the beaches of Pettibone to have some fun in the overcast sun in a bid to lessen some of the tensions brewing about the rehearsal space. Show choirs aren’t just all glitter and jazz hands, honey. 

Anyway, to try to create a more loving and supportive environment, Rob and Tim did some team building exercises. This went as well as anything else attached to GRS as quickly the good vibes dissolved into competition as Rob and Tim made the kids stand in line and sing the National Anthem because two lucky GRS-ers were going to get to perform it at a monster truck rally. Well, we’ve moved from dried cow shit to monster trucks so that’s some version of progress, right?  We ended the episode with new member Steven defending his lack of a sparkly coat at the monster truck gig and perpetually absent member Sam being, well, late.

This week the Grand River Singers make a lovely new purchase while getting a surprising new temporary addition to the group.

We open the episode, after a brief intro of the group finally getting around to doing the trust falls we were asking for last week during their team building activities with Pam Mute Mumm, with Trim driving around La Crosse, swathed in their usual accoutrements of scarves and bitchery as Rob interviews that Tim has gotten them lost in a bad neighborhood because he never looks up directions. Rob seems to fear that somebody is going to come out and shoot them or something like they are traveling along the streets of Compton or New York City or, most dangerously, Cabot Cove, Maine. 

Anyway, this little detour is not for nothing as Rob spots from the distance a school bus for sale and immediately becomes enamored with the idea of purchasing it for the group because at this point “Off Pitch” has dropped any pretense of existing in any sort of on-this-planet reality and has fully embraced the TGIF-style sitcom that it really is. We guess this would make Josh Bell the Cody Lambert of GRS.

Rob excitedly runs onto the bus, saying that it smells like school. So apparently it reeks of angst and Noxema? What a truly pleasant scent to wafting about.

Rob thinks that this whole thing is a sign from God.  “It’s an omen,” he tells the camera without even the faintest trace of even pretending to know the usual connotation of the word.

We drift over the Grand River Singers rehearsal space where we find out that GRS member Drew will be missing a performance. We’re four episodes in, and we love how it seems like it will be nearly impossible for GRS to ever have a gig where they will all be in attendance.  

Speaking of attendance or lack thereof, one of the bonus scenes for this episode is Trim getting rid of Sam because why keep a scene devoted to closing a storyline you’ve been building for the past two episodes. That would be actual plotting, which flies in the face of everything this show stands for. 

So farewell, we hardly knew ye. Mainly because you never showed up. And that’s basically a you-problem. But we’ll never forget you and your performance-missing period.

Back to the actual episode, Marcia takes time out of her busy schedule of crying and messing up choreography to suggest that Rob should join the group for the performance since he knows the routine for Color My World The Song That Shall Not Be Named. This makes Tim scrunch up his face into an incredulous look, both at the suggestion of Rob performing with the folks and, even more likely the main reason, Rob’s total faux “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t” attitude because he knows Rob is dying to be up on that stage. It’s like that girl who always complains about hating to have her picture taken but somehow manages to have a whole folder on Facebook devoted to her duck-faced selfies.

They start rehearsing the number with Rob telling the camera that he’ll “out-perform any of them.” That’s good Rob. Set the bar low so you won’t be disappointed.

We cut from the GRS rehearsal space to Trim’s backyard as the members of GRS have gathered together to hang out. They are sitting around the table with their red solo cups because as if Rob and Tim are going to let any of these children near any of the good silverware. 

As they chat with each other, GRS member Greg notices the school bus coming down the street towards them. It quickly dawns on the folks in GRS that this bus is theirs as Rob and Tim come out of the bus with their very own bus driver named Marvin. Oh Marvin, you’re going to wish you were dealing with obnoxious school children by the end of this, aren’t you? Of course you are.

The group promptly gets to painting the bus, leading us to another moment of:

Josh talking about painting bus: “I like to think that we got the Partridge Family and Village People and if they had a bus together, it’d be that.”

Josh on his love for the bus: “I’d make out with our bus if it would go out with me.” 

Make a note: dress up as a school bus for next Halloween.

The GRS kids start painting each other which leads to Rob interviewing that when you paint a bus, you use oil-based paint and it does not come out. This immediately leads to a shot of GRS member Greg dancing on top of the bus while trilling about doing “paintography.”

The kids decide to name the bus Roy G. Biv, something that Aubrey helpfully explains to us stands for Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet. This is the most educational program involving a bus since we learned about valves.

We move from the school bus to the GRS rehearsal space to see one of GRS’s favorite activities: auditioning for solos. If you cut out the auditioning for solos and the tears from this show, you’d be left with pretty much five minutes of people twirling.

Up first, the boys audition for solos for “Just Around the Riverbend.” Josh really wants a solo. Next up is Greg. Scott Jenks’ beard and Rob have a brief conversation about Greg’s auditioning process.

Rob: Greg, he always auditions after Josh. He does it on purpose.

Malachi does his solo for “Riverbend” and we quickly go through a montage of the girls auditioning for their “Meadowlark” solo. Marcia screws up.  Kayla manages to have a burp more on-key than half of these singers have been most of the season and Molly J. sings Meadowlark with Jon making all types of faces.

After the auditions, Rob says, “If you’ve ever seen 'A Chorus Line,' this is very much like 'A Chorus Line.'” And somewhere the ghost of Marvin Hamlisch is getting ready to step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch Rob in the face.

Malachi gets the solo for “Just Around the Riverbend” while Molly J. gets the solo for “Meadowlark.”

We cut to the only consistent storyline of this series which is Josh Bell desperately seeking employment, to no avail. Nothing says, “Please hire me for gainful employment” like a longboard and a bandana.

He talks about how he if he doesn’t get a job he’ll have to drop out of GRS. He gets teary eyed about the idea of losing his friends. Wait, what? If you’re not in the group anymore do you get shunned? Is GRS like the Amish but with more sequins and weaves?

Rob and Tim interview that they don’t think the kids are really getting the spirit of “Just Around the Riverbend” so they take them to go sing the song on the La Crosse Queen.  “We’ve decided to go method,” Rob excitedly says.  Well it’s good thing for them and society at large then that they aren’t doing anything from “Sweeney Todd.”

And from the La Crosse Queen to two muscle queens, we cut to Tim drilling Rob. About the choreography. Get your mind out of the gutter you disgusting perverts! Rob knows that he cannot fuck up this performance because he’ll never see the end of it. It’s basically just really a cheap excuse to throw Rob into a tank top and watch him dance around. 

It’s one of the more brilliant decisions they’ve ever made on this show.

The group get to performance at La Crescent Applefest. We love they decide to take a bus to the festival that is literally just like five minutes across the river from La Crosse. 

Anyway, the group shows up to perform at Applefest and quickly set up their stage, which happens to be located near the port-o-potties. 

Rob is terrified at fucking up this performance because we know that the one that GRS prides itself on is having performances that run smoothly and are devoid of any sort of screw-ups whatsoever.

We come back from commercials to a hilarious moment of just abysmal editing. Rob is backstage announcing the Grand River Singers with his usual “ambassadors of music” schtick. They are all dressed in their usual Song That Dare Not Be Named ensembles of glittery jackets with yellow shirt as we know that The Song That Dare Not Be Named is the opener for GRS performances.

Five seconds later, the boys appear on stage and are magically not only in different outfits but in a completely different section of the show while Rob is still introducing the opening number on the microphone backstage.

We get that dramatically it pays off a lot more to show the solos of “Just Around the Riverbend” and “Meadowlark” and then see Rob performing with the group as the ender, but you’d think that people would be a little more skillful at editing this total time-shift of things.

Bus Drive Marvin looks at all of this choreography and wonders to himself, “What’s going on?”

We get an array of snippets of performances as we see the Grand River Singers belting out their songs, Rob and Tim interviewing about how well these performances are coming along and seeing various people get up and use the Port-O-Potties located just off to the side. We love that a camera person was probably assigned to keep his or her camera trained on this area for the entire performance.

After all of these performance snippets, we finally get to see Rob perform THAT song you never ever hear these people performing. Ever. Not once in the history of this show. 

Another hilarious bit of editing right here. During the end of the performance, the audience pans out to audience to get the usual WTF reactions that are the bread and butter of this show. We get the below golden moment of total boredom.

This girl looked awfully familiar to us. And then we remembered we had seen this exact same footage but in a different context.

Above is a screen capture from the pilot episode of "Off Pitch" when the group is finishing up singing "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me." Apparently we hadn't seen the last of footage of this girl as it was totally repurposed for this episode. Well, unless she always travels with the same group of people and always makes the same bored expression. And you know, we wouldn't actually completely say no to that being a real possibility.

Anyway, we end the episode with Rob having a genuine moment of reflection about not only doing the song with GRS but also about his time away from performing.

“I didn't really think about myself being twice any of their ages. I just did my thing. You know, once you perform enough it comes back. It's like riding a bike. I am a performer at heart. And I will totally admit, I miss it greatly. I miss it a whole lot."

And then Rob starts belting out "What I Did For Love." Naw, just fucking with you.

See you next everybody!

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