With all the hype leading up to the Britney Spears-themed episode of Glee, and its alleged focus on dimwitted darling Brittany (the terrific Heather Morris), I was hoping to be blown away.
And I was.
But not for a good reason.
All things considered, I thought the episode was tasteless. The use of Spears’ music should have been representative of her as an artist, and as part of the definition of pop culture for the late 1990s and 2000s. That was the argument that the kids were making, after all, and that was what would have made a great show. What it ended up being was the rehashing of the most provocative videos that Spears has done, and overall, a really disjointed episode.
It started out on a high note, with the introduction of John Stamos as Emma’s dentist boyfriend and Will’s rival for the redhead’s affections, Carl. Stamos displayed ridiculously good comic timing, and a geniality that walked the line between totally bizarre and actually genuine, and he looked like he was having the time of his life. His interactions with both Jayma Mays’ Emma and Matthew Morrison’s Will were joys to watch, and I look forward to seeing more of him.
Morris’ Brittany was undoubtedly given the opportunity to showcase not only her incredible dance skills, but also her insane ability to deliver ridiculous lines with a completely straight face. Unfortunately, when all that was given to her as far as dancing was writhing, it was hard to really appreciate what Morris is capable of. Yes, the backstory given to her (“Because I’m Britney Spears, too. I’m Brittany S. Pears.”), and her delivery of said backstory, was priceless. It was nice to hear her sing. But all in all, it wasn’t the showcase that she really deserves.
It’s hard to even talk about this episode, because I’m so sorely disappointed by it.
“I’m a Slave 4 U” was nothing but pure, unadulterated raunch, “Me Against the Music” was uncomfortable, Lea Michele’s version of “Baby One More Time” was terrible, and “Toxic” was inappropriate on more levels than I think can even be counted. If Will Schuester was a real person, and he got up on stage with his glee club and performed to that song? He would have found himself out of a job before anyone could have said “do, re, mi.” The only Spears song that was even passable was “Stronger,” and that was because it actually had some kind of relevance to the story at hand.
When the show decided to focus on the characters and their relationships instead of pushing the envelope – every single time Jacob Ben Israel (Josh Sussman) showed up on the screen, I was physically uncomfortable and kind of nauseous, and his behavior during this episode was even more disgusting than usual – it wasn’t bad. Unfortunately, that wasn’t often. In fact, the highest point of the episode might have been the deliciously vengeful Terri Schuester (Jessalyn Gilsig) and her confrontation of Will at the car dealership.
It was overall just a disappointment. Mercedes (Amber Riley) was way too absent from the episode, as was Puck (Mark Salling). Dianna Agron’s Quinn was seen all-too-briefly, but made an impact when she actually spoke. Her final interaction with Rachel (Michele) was really quite lovely, in a bitter, Rachel-is-overly-paranoid kind of way.
I will acknowledge that perhaps it’s really just personal tastes that have led me to be so disappointed in the episode, but when it comes down to it, for me, there’s really only one thing to say about this.