In Defense of Britney/Brittany (Glee)

Okay, I suppose this isn't really about parenting, except to the extent that I'm feeling like a protective mama over one of my favorite shows; but after reading what feels like the 12,000th criticism and being asked by a pal if I agree with one of the more scathing ones, I felt I should weigh-in.

I'm probably going to get lengthy here [what?? Me, long-winded? No way!], so for those of you who don't want to wallow through it all, here's my short answer: I loved it, every bleeping minute of it! I thought it was better than the much beloved Madonna episode, and in fact may be -- gasp -- one of the best episodes to date.

Anyone who knows me or has read this blog, my former WTE blog or any of my tweets knows I love Glee. You may be wondering (or not), though, if I'm just biased toward this episode because of some Britney love. Maybe. You be the judge.

Britney and I have a checkered past. When she emerged, I was 22 years old and in my second year or law school. Hated her voice, hated her look, hated her hype, hated everything about her. I was six years older and in grad school (compared to her high school), and I didn't appreciate the immaturity of all the Britney hype. And I certainly didn't appreciate my then-boyfriend (also 22) and our other buddies from school drooling over her. It was creepy, like on the verge of pedophilia. And she wasn't that cute (still isn't).

Oddly enough, I was Team Christina. Even though they are the same age, Christina had this maturity about her. Her voice was certainly a million times better. Heck, I still get chills when I hear her hit high notes. Also, this was way before Christina entered her skank phase, and she was sort of an underdog. Pre-plastic surgery, no grown men I knew were drooling over this particular former Mousekateer. I wasn't really buying the rest of the teen pop sensations of the late-90s/early-00s either. I had no love of N'Sync (ironic given how much I love JT now) or the Backstreet Boys. Don't get me wrong, I love pop. I just wasn't loving that particular sub-genre.

Enter the Law Revue and Cabaret show.

After the popularity of the Spring show's Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls numbers [the latter was written by my roommate and I. We both liked the Spice Girls, and they get a pass, seeing as they are our age], there was a call for more pop tart numbers. So, I begrudgingly downloaded one of my least favorite songs and proceeded to write a parody to the tune of "Hit Me Baby, One More Time." Somewhere between the weeks of dance rehearsals learning Brit's moves and singing the parody over and over, I actually started to like the song. Still hated Britney, though, and I was not about to jump on the bandwagon.

Fast forward a few years, and Britney became a trainwreck. Now I was intrigued. Honestly, I think I was more interested in the cleanup than I was the wreckage itself. You can't help but root for a mom to get things together for the sake of her kids.

To make an already long story short, I discovered "Toxic," and it became the gateway drug into what is almost Britney fandom. I now own her last few albums and a few earlier singles, but I'm not jaded or tone-deaf enough to attempt to argue that she's a good singer. Heck, I won't even say she's a good dancer (she does have good choreography, though).

So, yes, I am a Britney Spears fan(ish). Is that enough to make me biased about "Brittany/Britney"? I don't know. All I know is that was the best episode of Glee -- EVER. Here's my argument:


1. It's (More) Brittany, Bitch.
Brittany S. Pierce [did we ever know her last name before?? Brilliant!] is one of the best characters on television. I can't call her "underrated," because I think most people are starting to catch on. She delivers classic one-liners with such quietness and earnestness ["Did you know dolphins are really just gay sharks?... Yeah, it's true."]. And, oh, what lines! Just from that one episode, could you pick a favorite from these? I couldn't.

- (in response to the question of whether anyone knows who Christopher Cross is) "He discovered America."

- (after admitting to rinsing her teeth with soda instead of brushing) "I was pretty sure Dr. Pepper was a dentist."

- (at the dentist office) "This room looks like the one on that spaceship where I got probed."

- "Please don't pull all of my teeth. When I smile, I look like a baby... but with boobs."

- "I would just like to say that from now on, I demand to have every solo in glee club. When I had my teeth cleaned, I had the most amazing Britney Spears fantasy. I sang and danced better than her. Now I realize what a powerful woman that I am.... I'm more talented than all of you. I see that clearly now. It's Brittany... bitch."

I can't believe this character almost didn't exist!! [Fun fact I learned from my friend... Brittney]

In addition to finally getting that Brittany fix that was so desperately needed, we finally got to see Heather Morris, the actress who plays Brittany S. Pierce, show off her amazing dance skills. Related to my fun fact above, Heather Morris was a former backup dancer for Beyoncé. She was brought in to teach the cast the "Single Ladies" dance. They liked her, so they created a character.

It is hard to watch the "Slave 4 U" number on "Brittany/Britney" without being absolutely blown away by Heather Morris. She is phenomenal! She's a million times better than the original Britney. And that body! I vote for more Brittany singing and dancing numbers!

2. John Stamos

Oh, Uncle Jesse... I hadn't even realized I had missed you until you popped back intro my life!

I've read several reviews saying that Stamos looks as good as he did on Full House. Are you kidding me? He looks better! For one, there's no mullet. But this man has just aged gracefully. Wowza! I have to agree with Santana that I have never seen a dentist that hot.

Beyond the eye candy that is John Stamos, I was just glad to see Emma Pillsbury moving on. Will Shue needs some time to get over his plethora of issues, and in the meantime she needs a better romantic prospect than the equivalent of another Ken Tenaka.

3. Moving out of the Auditorium

Even though I've read a lot of complaints about the dream sequences feeling inorganic, I loved it. I mean, was that really any more inorganic than randomly breaking into song, having a guitarist and pianist appear who know exactly what you want to sing, and your backup singers automatically knowing their harmonies and dance steps -- all without any practice? Of course not. In fact, a dream sequence is probably more realistic. I get that with musicals, you check reality at the door. That's part of the reason why I love them. But if you're going to willingly suspend reality for what takes place within the school, then you should be able to suspend it for the sake of a dream.

One of the reasons I enjoyed this detour into dreamland is that it allowed so much more creativity and sparkle than your traditional auditorium vocals. I mean, would that boa constrictor have had any proper place at McKinley High?

4. It's (the Real) Britney, Bitch

Another thing some critics have panned, which I absolutely adored was seeing the real Britney pop up for a few seconds in some of the fantasies.

Madonna and Lady Gaga take note: When a television show offers to do an entire episode devoted to you, the very least you could do is shoot a few promos for it. Britney not only did that, she made an appearance on the show and live tweeted about it. That is southern hospitality, ladies and gentlemen.

I thought her random appearances were cute. Who cares if it doesn't further her career (another complaint I read)? Kudos to you, Ms. Spears!

5. The Songs

Last, but certainly not least, I loved the songs. Sure, there were a couple different songs I would rather see performed, but overall, it was pretty solid. I only have one song complaint, which I'll detail below.

Generally, though, I have to say that minus the one blip, I think the song/character choices were perfect. I loved the recreation of the videos, and I couldn't wait to download all of the songs as soon as the episode was over. I even loved the one non-Britney song (Paramore's "Only Exception"), and I don't even like the original artist.


1. Missing Glee Club Members
Um... Where was Puck?? Where?? You cannot have a Puckless episode!

And the new guy who joined the club last week? They showed him in the locker room, but he was nowhere to be found during glee club practice.

And how did Quinn not utter a single line until that horrible scene with Finn at the end [more on that monstrosity later]?

Glaring omissions all around.

2. "Hit Me Baby, One More Time"
Love the song (now). Love Lea Michelle. I was not, however, loving the two of these together. Sorry, it's just not her genre. I get that the whole point was supposed to be Rachel stepping out of her comfort zone, but did she really have to step into a zone that actually makes her vocals sound bad? I can think of other Britney songs Lea Michelle could have easily rocked while still getting the whole Rachel-wants-to-be-bad message across ("Boys," anyone?). This just wasn't the right song. Sorry.

3. The Britney Spears Sex Riot
Usually, I love Sue Sylvester, but this whole thing was just weird and random.

There was only one ugly of "Brittany/Britney," and that was the whole Rachel/Finn drama. I mean, seriously. The whole thing felt entirely forced. Rachel, who craves popularity more than anything and started her relationship while Finn was the star quarterback (and reveled in the status, as I recall) is now suddenly threatened by it? Hardly likely.
And sending Finn's recent ex-gf, with whom he thought for months he was having a baby, to "test" him? Sorry, that's too clueless and cruel even for a gal who sent a rival to "an inactive" crack house in the prior episode. And there is no way Quinn would have ever willingly agreed to that. What's her motive?
I get that there are studies that happy relationships kill shows [I don't agree with them, but whatever], but there is enough drama going on that Ryan Murphy and crew do not need to throw up character-inconsistent road blocks. I can easily think of fifteen different -- and consistent with the storyline -- ways that those two could fight/breakup. The first: Rachel is Rachel. End of story.
Overall, the good of this episode outweighed the bad and the ugly. It was a great hour-long escape from reality and a welcome departure from the usual Glee format.
Do I want to see more artist-devoted episodes? Not sure. I've enjoyed the three that have been done so far, but there's got to be a limit. While I would love a Timberlake-heavy episode -- assuming, of course it's done correctly -- could I really stomach, say, a Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus episode? Goodness no. I'd rather have my eyes gouged out.
In any event, I don't think "Brittany/Britney" deserved all the flack it received. This was easily one of the better, if not the best, episodes. And when you look at the horrible "Grilled Cheesus" episode that followed it [Puck solo aside], it truly could have been worse.
On another note, I want to thank those of you who patiently waited for this repost. Last week, a friend mentioned that she was anxiously waiting to read the defense of "Brittany/Britney," and my response was "Me, too."
As most of you with young children have probably experienced, sometimes the only way to get in your "leisure time" (what blogging is for me) is to keep it confined to the palm of your hand. Most of my posts are written on my trusty smartphone, little bits here and there. So imagine my disappointment when my blogging app deleted all but the first three paragraphs of this original post. I've tried to recapture my instantaneous impressions of the episode the best I could [Would you believe the original post was even longer than this??]. I'll admit, though, that it was a little difficult doing so when I felt "defeated" by the whole loss of text. So, again, I thank you all for you patience while I got over myself. :)
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  1. Anonymous said...

    I loved this episode! I knew that Brittney S. Pierce was awsome when they did Safety Dance. And her best line ever was, "Dolphins are just gay sharks". That was my facebook status for days! I love this show!

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