Clef Notes: A Very Off Pitch Christmas

Happy Holidays, dahlings, and welcome to a very special edition of “Clef Notes: Recaps in the Key of Shade.”  Earlier this year, we had the displeasure honor to recap episodes of the La Crosse-based VH1 series “Off Pitch,” a reality show following the completely producer-driven quirky misadventures of La Crosse’s very own adult show choir, the Grand River Singers.

Over the course of eight episodes, the Grand River Singers sang and dance their way into the hearts of snarky bloggers America as they performed at venues big and small like the cow chip throwing festival, Applefest, a racetrack and ending the series season performing at the Mall of America. They laughed, they cried, they knocked over microphone stands.

In honor of Grand River Singers (and because we’re utterly shamelessly when it comes to trolling for views of our blog), we’ve decided to put together a special yuletide parody of “Off Pitch,” having watched and recapped every episode. So yes, we are writing this from a therapist’s couch if you were wondering. So sit back, sip on some eggnog, and get ready for all the seasonal shade that you can handle as we present “A Very Off Pitch Christmas.”

We open the episode with the Grand River Singers performing at a senior citizen facility as Rob and Tim, nestled comfortably on a couch, tell the camera that there is nothing they love more than cashing a VH1 check giving back to the community. This is why GRS is entertaining some elderly folk during the holidays. To the surprise of no one who has seen an episode of the show, this is not going all too well because that much unbridled delusion enthusiasm in the face of crotchety elderly folks just is a disaster in the making.  
If reusing footage was good enough for the show, it's good enough for us.
 Marcia, in full-weaved out glory, tries working the room by getting the old folks to join her in the round of “The Name Game.” The first old lady she encounters purses her lips and simply says:

Undeterred, Marcia moves onto the next old person, putting a microphone in his face.
Marcia: What’s your name?!
Old Man: Wheezing noise.
Nurse, helping the man as he collapses out of his chair: Ma’am, you ripped out the tubes from his oxygen tank.
"Still one of the better audience interactions I've had while in this group."
We see more snippets of performance footage including Nick twerking all over the room. Below, a dramatic re-enactment for all of those who missed it:

Wheelchairs, IV drips, his booty even was rubbing up against a canasta game.
"Sorry, sometimes you can't control the twerk; sometimes the twerk controls you."

 We are back on the bus with the GRS kids as they sit and talk about how they thought the performance went.
Honey Bon Jovi: "I think it went really well. We killed it."
Kayla, while adjusting her sunglasses: "And one person."
Molly J.: "Technically it was a massive stroke that killed him."
Nick: "I told you, people will do anything to avoid hearing 'Color My World.'"

The Grand River Singers filter into their rehearsal space, decked out in Christmas lights and tinsel as Rob and Tim tell the camera how much they enjoy the holidays.
Tim: "We just love Christmas in our house. We’ve already exchanged gifts. I gave Rob this new scarf."
Rob: "Isn’t it gorgeous?"
Tim: "He chokes himself with it while he masturbates."
Rob: "IT'S TRUE!"[giggles and puts hand over his face]

The GRS kids mill about eating snacks. Aubrey and Molly K. smack a cookie out of Greg's hand. They tell the camera that Greg has put them in charge of helping him survive the holidays and all of the sweets that come along with it.

Greg whines while picking up a sugar cookie. "You guys are so rude. It's just a cookie."

Aubrey counters, "You wanted us to do this for you. You're the one trying to get fit."

"You make it sound like I overeat," Greg says. "I think I have some sort of food allergy that makes me gain weight."

"Is this like when you thought you were allergic to gluten," Molly K. sighs, "but it turned out you just didn't like the taste of brioche?"

"They are always making fun of me, but they don't know my struggle. Only Oprah does. 
Or maybe Rob Kardashian."

Rob and Tim have the kids sit down so they can make a big announcement: they are going to be performing at the first annual French Island Wreath Festival.

"This festival is going to be huge for us. Like Mendota Sweet Corn Festival huge."

Rob and Tim tell them that the ladies will be auditioning to do a new song for the festivities, “Underneath the Tree” from Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” Christmas album.

Marcia and Vanessa immediately shoot each other looks. As other start doing their dance stretches, they walk off together in a completely natural, not-staged-at-all conversation about the solo. Marcia sulks a bit, telling Vanessa she knows she barely beat her out for the “Fireworks” solo, but she really wants this solo even more.  

“Oh Marcia,” Vanessa says while patting her on the shoulder. “As they said to Mary and Joseph at the inn, there is no room for you. Why don’t you and your vocals go find a manger somewhere.”

"That's not the holiday spirit, Vanessa!" Marcia shouts, folding her arms against her chest.

"The only holiday spirit I like comes in a chilled glass, and it's at least 80 proof. Sorry 'bout it."

As the group begins to practice, Rob and Tim ask them what is on their on Christmas wish list for the year. 
Nick: "Hairspray. Definitely hairspray. If not that, world peace."

Honey Bon Jovi:  "A lifetime supply of tissues. And a new bandana."

Justin: "That no future casting director ever sees this show."

It's the next day and the Grand River Singers have gathered, yet again, in their rehearsal space as they prep for the showdown battle between Marcia and Vanessa for the new solo. Sitting casually in the back is Kayla, reading a book. When asked why she wasn't getting involved in the diva-off, Kayla told the camera:
"Um, because I have an audition for 'The Voice' in like three weeks? #TeamChristina."

Marcia gets up first to perform.
"I just kept telling myself to relax and sing. 
And don't fart. 
Especially the last one because I had a walking taco for lunch."

She was then followed by Vanessa. 
"Some people think of me as this hyper-competitive bitch with a pretty face and a great voice. 
I'm obviously more than that. I also have amazing legs. You're welcome."

Out in the hallway, Marcia cheerfully says to the camera, "I think I knocked it out of the park."

Vanessa says, just out of camera range, "Are you talking about your audition or what you do to microphones during performances?"

We see footage of Rob and Tim consulting each other before they return to the group to tell them their decision.
Rob: "Marcia, you did a great job. Vanessa, I wish I had a uterus so I could give birth to you and your talent. So the choice is obvious. We're going with Marcia."

Tim: "People who don't believe the struggle is real have never tried to teach Marcia choreography. So we're going to give her a mic stand and a solo and hope she doesn't hit anybody. 
Our insurance premiums can't take another hike."

We cut to the Grand River Singers rehearsing away in the rehearsal space over the next couple days. Honey Bon Jovi approaches Aubrey, chewing on something, asking her for a kiss for the holidays. Aubrey sighs and says sure, go find some mistletoe. 

“I did,” he says, pointing to his mouth. 

“You’re supposed to hold it over your head, not eat it.”  

“How are you supposed to have good breath when you kiss a girl?!”

An emotional looking Rob and Tim come into the room and have the kids sit down on the risers. They tell the group that they are no longer going to be performing at the first annual French Island Wreath Festival. The organizers, at the last second, found an act they preferred.

GRS: Who?!

Marcia: "Are you telling me we got booted for the 'Duck Dynasty' guys? Can't we at least be their opening act?"

Rob, through his tears: "They found somebody for that, too."


Cut to Nick and Marcia, talking to the camera.
Nick: "Personally, I love Peaches. Nobody wields a 2x4 in a tutu better."
Marcia: "That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. And I sat through two seasons of Basketball Wives LA."

It's now the next day and there is a podium set up on the front lawn of Rob and Tim's house. They've decided to drum up support for getting them back at the festival and, according to Rob, they've invited all the local press. The camera scans the front lawn, showing a large STAND WITH THE GRAND RIVER SINGERS banner hanging from an awning, and shows that there is only one lone teenage girl with a notebook standing there, making this press conference about as successful as a "Britney Jean" single.

Not one to be discouraged, Rob opens the floor to questions.

Girl: So when is Anna Kendrick showing up?

Rob, leaning into the microphone: "That's 'Pitch Perfect.'  We're 'Off Pitch.'"

Girl, tapping a pencil on her notebook: "So what're you telling me is that you're NOT going to teach me how to do the 'Cups' song? Fuck you, assholes."

Marcia to Rob and Tim: "It's over. Let's just go inside. Our stage manager isn't even here."
"The Duck Dynasty guys were giving a masterclass in beard maintenance. I can't miss that." 

Rob: "We weren't going to let a little negativity get us down."
Tim: "It's all about keeping an upbeat attitude about things. It's why we never Google ourselves."

We next see the trusty GRS bus pulling up to the parking lot while Rob voiceovers that they are going to take their cause directly to the masses by doing another flash mob performance.

"Unfortunately, we are no longer permitted on the premises of Festival Foods so we're going to do a flash mob here at our local Walgreens," Rob cheerfully says over footage of the Grand River Singers spreading out among the aisles.
"GRS, the time has come for you to show choir for your lives. Good luck. 
And for God's sake Marcia, don't fuck it up."

Over the Walgreens sound system starts piping the music of "We Need a Little Christmas" from the musical "Mame."

Well sort of pipes into the store. GRS can't get into sort of groove as the sound system keeps being interrupted as they call people over to the pharmacy department to pick up their medication.

Honey Bon Jovi even ends up dropping Liv because he hears his name.

Liv, struggling to get up from the ground: "Where are you going?"

Honey Bon Jovi, sprinting through the store: "I got to pick up my medication for my ear infection!"

Rob: "These kids are giving me so many migraines. I might have to start using Botox for it."
Tim: "Sure, you use Botox to 'cure your headaches,' 
and I like to wear black latex because it's a slimming fabric.".

We cut to the Grand River Singers sadly piling into Rob and Tim's home, collapsing onto various couches as Rob and Tim shuffle in behind them. Some start crying because it's not an episode of "Off Pitch" until there are a boatload of tears.

Rob looks around the room and says, "Listen, does it suck? Absolutely. But it'll be fine. There's always another festival, right? Come on, let's sing a Christmas song folks. If doing this show has taught me anything, not having an audience at all doesn't me we have to stop performing."

The group gathers together as Rob takes the lead singing Dolly Parton's "Hard Candy Christmas."

Nick surprises Marcia with an early Christmas present, something he was going to give her at the Wreath Festival.

Marcia: "It's a Carrie Underwood as Maria Von Trapp doll!" 
Nick: "If you crank the right arm, she sings; if you crank the left one, she acts."
Marcia, after cranking the left arm for a moment: "It's not doing anything."
Nick: "See? It really does capture her acting."

We end the episode with the sounds of GRS singing along while a light sprinkling of snow falls outside the living room window.

And because he's the closest thing we've got to Tiny Tim, we close out the episode with a message from Honey Bon Jovi.
"You know, we're awesome. We'll knock your fucking socks off. Like BAM! Where did my socks go? Oh they're across the room. The Grand River Singers must have just performed. And that's who we are, doesn't matter what anybody thinks because we know, deep down inside, that GRS is the best."

As always we like to thank Grand River Singers for being such willing victims good sports!
And to everybody else:

And don't forget to purchase your tickets for the Grand River Singers' very un-"Off Pitch" burlesque show, happening December 20-22 at the Batavian Building. 

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