It’s only the second episode of season two and we have what seems to be becoming a Glee institution: the celebrity tribute episode. And this time it’s Britney, bitches! Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.
Inevitably, the events at McKinley High become shooed in around the Britney songs. Britney herself makes an appearance via anaesthesia-induced fantasies brought about by Emma’s new boyfriend, Carl The Dentist, played by John Stamos.
That’s not to say the plot is entirely absent. Somehow writer Ryan Murphy turns the Britney theme into a riff on self control and self expression – as we see Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) break out a sexy schoolgirl style and we see both Emma and Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) challenged to loosen up a little. All of this clearly doubles as a comment on Britney the ‘artist’ *cough* versus Britney the whacked-out paparazzi fodder.
There are failures aplenty too though – for every fantastic Britney number with Heather Morris at the forefront, there’s a terrible cover version too. Giving Rachel Berry the lead on Baby One More Time backfired badly. Even Spears at 16 had more raw magnetism than Lea Michele in that video remake, and her voice grates terribly on the song. I also hated Artie’s version of Stronger which felt awkwardly crammed in and sounded awful. And Shuester giving himself a lead in the Glee club’s homecoming performance? Self-indulgent. On many levels.
It’s not that Spears doesn’t have enough good songs for a tribute, it’s that they were poorly executed. Heather Morris shines in her sequences. She’s gorgeous to watch and she’s one of the best dancers on the show. That, and she becomes a dead ringer for Britney in both her fantasy sequences. However, it’s fair to say that the script overdid it a little bit with Brittany’s one-liners this week. Much as we all love her idiotic outbursts, if we get too many, it dilutes their effectiveness.
Final note: Much as this was enjoyable fare, I’m kind of glad they got the celebrity episode out of the way early in the season. Hopefully Glee won’t make a habit of it, because there aren’t too many artists who lend themselves to this kind of saturation. And it’s embarrassing to watch the cast’s many overt “Isn’t Britney Ace” remarks. Stop the madness, Ryan Murphy.
Quotes from Britney/Brittany
- Schuester: “Who can tell me who Christopher Cross is?” Brittany: “He discovered America.”
- Schuester: “Oh you’re calling me uptight? The woman who buys hand sanitiser by the barrel?”
- Santana: “Can I just say that you’re the hottest dentist I’ve ever seen?” Carl: “I get that all the time…” Santana: “No like seriously, you can totally drill me whenever…”
- Brittany: “I was pretty sure Dr. Pepper was a dentist.”
- Santana: “I went with her and I had a Britney fantasy too. Although now I think about it, I’m not sure how our fantasies combined…”
- Kurt: “This club regularly pays tribute to pop culture, and Britney Spears is pop culture.”
- Santana: “Well Rachel congratulations. Normally you dress like the fantasy of a perverted Japanese businessman with a very dary, specific fetish, but I actually dig this look.”
- Sue: “Now I’m secretly hoping it’s a mid-life crisis, which means you’re halfway to an early death…”
- Rachel: “I always thought the boy’s locker room would be all sexy, but actually it smells like feet in here.”
- Sue: “It’s a Britney Spears sex riot!”
- Sue: “I’m gonna take your house, your car, your extensive collection of vests. I mean seriously, you wear more vests than the cast of Blossom.”