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It’s Brit-Glee, Bitch!

January 15, 2011

(Originally written and published here on 5th October 2010)

Homo heads exploded around America and Australia alike last week with Glee’s much-hyped Britney Spears spectacular. So how did it all pan out?

Set off by a school visit from sexy new dentist in town Carl (the ever ageless John Stamos), the Glee-Clubbers one by one experienced a series of nitrous oxide-fuelled hallucinations featuring the one and only Miss Britney Spears herself.

In turn, I’m A Slave 4 UMe Against The Music…Baby One More TimeStronger and Toxic got trotted out, to varying degrees of success (as did, oddly, Paramore’s Only Exception.)

Here’s Me Against the Music:

Unlike last season’s near-perfect ‘Power Of Madonna’ tribute, the Britney numbers this time round came off as forced and contrived. Sure, having them primarily stem from a series of medical-grade drug misuse was a subtly inspired dig at the popstrels own past adventures in recreational pharmacology, but almost none of the set pieces progressed any of the storylines, leaving the episode all stunt casting, no substance.

Saving the episode from total failure, however, was the incomparable Heather Morris as Brittany, who not only rocked the famous red catsuit with aplomb, but made the most of the new focus on her character. The revelation that she shares (almost) the same name as the popstar was a truly inspired joke, as was the amazing excuse for her poor dental hygiene “I don’t brush my teeth. I rinse my mouth out with soda after I eat. I was pretty sure Dr Pepper was a dentist.”

Elsewhere, Mr Schu scrambled to prove that he could be spontaneous and carefree to try and win back the Uncle Jesse-romancing Emma by buying a bright yellow sports car and then, finally, joining the Glee Club in a stripped back, highly sexualized version of Toxic. Actually that performance, and the ensuing “Sex Riot” proved to be highlight of the night and underlined how much stronger (no pun intended) the show is when the numbers happen organically, like at the aforementioned school assembly performance. The increasing over-reliance on hallucinations and fantasy sequences risks turning the show into less of a deftly-written musical dramedy and more of a B-Grade MTV by way of Saturday Night Live.

Only Artie’s football field rendition of Stronger really showcased the delicate mix of invention, pathos and whimsy that has made Glee a pop culture phenomenon. Or, as Kurt so wonderfully puts it “This club regularly pays tribute to pop culture and Britney Spears IS pop culture.”

Speaking of, The Real Britney Spears looked like she was having a blast in her three dream sequence cameos and the sight of her in full Cheerio’s garb advising Brittany and Tina to try adding Ranch Dressing to their pizza toppings was worth watching the episode for alone.

Here’s to hoping that the publicity-baiting ‘tribute’ episodes are done for the season and Glee can get back to it’s (amazingly perfect) normal groove next week. Anyway, more importantly, does anyone else remember when Mike Chang got so freaking hot???

Best Song – Toxic by Will and the entire Glee Club. The one song that actually benefitted from it’s Glee-ification. A stripped back, simmering group performance that then exploded into a full throttle hyper-sexualised dance number that led to a whole auditorium of students breaking out in what Sue Sylvester hilariously proclaimed a “Sex Riot.” Nice to see Mr Schu get to join the club on stage for once without busting into one of his patented awful white boy raps. Bonus points for Emma so appropriately telling him he looked “like a cast member of Kids Incorporated.”

Best Lines –

Brittany (touching Jacob’s hair) : “It looks like a Jewish cloud.”

Sue: “Don’t let your own recklessness blind you to the fact that Britney Spears is a genius pop culture provocateur and a gateway drug to every out of control impulse ever created.”

Santana (to Rachel) : “Well, congratulations. Normally you dress like a fantasy of a perverted Japanese business man with a very dark specific fetish but I actually dig this look. Yay!”

Sue (To Will) : “You wear more vests than the cast of Blossom.”

Finally, here’s a montage of the Best Of Brittany thus far:

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