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Gleeview: Britney/Brittany

Rating:  PG for language

Spoiler Alert!


Last night's episode of Glee wasn't the most dramatic, or the most moving, or even the funniest, but I had the most fun watching "Britney/Brittany" than any of the other episodes.  It just made me smile a lot.  I even got exactly what I asked for after last episode, more Rachel/Finn conflict.  And, I think it accomplished exactly what it set out to do, which was to pay tribute to Britney Spears, warts and all so to speak.  The anesthesia-induced Britney fantasies were completely unbelievable (read: not to be believed), but I think they totally set the mood for the episode, which didn't take itself too seriously and even made a little of the Glee producers in the process.

Since this was mostly about the music, I'll get to that soon.  But, in case you missed it, I want to recount the events, as I understood them, leading up to this Britney-themed episode because I think the way they used them in the episode was the best part.  Sometime after the Madonna episode last season, and around the time that the Lady Gaga episode was in the works, Britney Spears or her manager, or both, began to lobby publicly for a Britney tribute episode.  The Glee producers seemed a little reluctant at least to commit to doing one, and Matthew Morrison, aka Will Schuester, seemed to voice the reasons behind the reluctance when he said that he hoped that they wouldn't do it because the Glee music should always fit around the story and the characters, not the other way around.  I don't how much direct contact there was between the two camps at this point.

Meanwhile, there was a segment of Glee fans that really liked the idea of a Britney episode so they set up a Facebook page.  This page attracted a relatively small number of people, so small that other segments of the Glee fandom made fun of them.  Well, as of today, there are still only 701 people who "Like" Get Britney Spears on Glee on Facebook, which is not a lot.  However, it seems a some point around the end of last season, Ryan Murphy, showrunner and co-creator, confirmed that there would be a Britney-themed episode.  The only question at the time was would she actually appear, something neither Madonna nor Lady Gaga actually did.  The answer?  Yes, in three roles by my count.

And while the music did seem to overshadow the story a bit, there were a few major plot points for the episode:

  • The Rachel/Finn relationship:  As mentioned, there was major conflict between these two during this episode, and while Rachel was mostly to blame for pulling a Terri Schuester and trying to control her boyfriend, and she apologized in the end, there is one more major obstacle for these two (besides some intangible things, in my opinion) should the producers decide to address it.  Namely, Finn gave up his virginity to Santana in the Madonna episode, and he lied to Rachel about it.  They weren't dating then so he wasn't cheating, but she's apparently still under the impression he is a virgin.  So, I would be interested to see how they might address that.  Also, as an offshoot of this storyline, Quinn helped Rachel to prove Finn's commitment to her.  Will there be a friendship forged between these two now?  It seems to me they've been on the edge of that for a while, but I don't expect it to happen real soon.
  • The Will/Emma (non-)relationship:  John Stamos as Emma's dentist boyfriend, Dr. Carl, was pretty funny.  It's hard to take Mr. Stamos seriously anyway because he always seems to be making fun of himself in his guest roles.  I can't put my finger on how; he just does.  Anyway, I liked how they moved this storyline along.  We got to meet the new boyfriend and how puts up with Emma's crazy and how Will is still trying to figure out how much he's willing to do to get Emma back.  Terri even made an appearance to at least confirm to Will that he's done with her.
  • The #1 plot point:  Brittany got a last name and, as a bonus, a middle name:  Brittany S. Pearce (this is how Britney herself spelled it on Twitter).  Heather Morris was excellent in this episode, especially in the scene when she revealed her name.  There has been probably an unhealthy amount of speculation about when Brittany would get a last name and what it would be (most hardcore fans I know of went with an unpronounceable Dutch name).  I think this was very creative and hilarious solution to this puzzle.

In keeping with the theme, my quote section will be all about Brittany Susan Pearce:

Will:  Who can tell me who Christopher Cross is?
Brittany:  He discovered America.

Brittany (after revealing her name):  ...I hope you'll all respect that I want Glee Club to remain a place where I Brittany S. Pearce can escape the torment of Britney Spears.

Brittany (to Santana):  Thank you for understanding.  It's been a hard road.

Brittany:  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.

Brittany:  This room looks like the one that spaceship where I got probed.

Brittany (coming out of anesthesia):  I petted a snake.

Brittany:  I would just like to say that from now on, I demand to have every solo in Glee Club.
Will:  What?
Brittany:  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 I truly am...I'm more talented than all of you.  I see that clearly now.  It's Brittany, bitch.

Brittany (hand on JewFro's hair):  Looks like a Jewish cloud.

Quinn:  I was pretty sure Artie's legs don't work.
Brittany:  Did you get a leg transplant?

Artie:  And I have Britney Spears to thank.
Brittany:  You're welcome!

Brittany:  Finn can fly?
Kurt:  Really?
Brittany:  Wait.  I thought I was the only one getting the solos from now on.  Next week, I'm going to be performing a musical number by Ke$ha.

Musical Rundown:
This is a good time for me to address the issue of Autotuning, which many Glee critics and some fans use to criticize the producers.  In the case of artists like Lady Gaga and Britney Spears (and some others), they have to use Autotuning because otherwise the music no longer pays tribute to the original artist.  I think they do a good job of using it sparingly even in these cases.  There's really no way of knowing how much they use it to actually correct the pitch in other songs.  I suspect they use it most for Cory Monteith in the high register of his voice, but I have no way to prove that, and I don't think it's a huge factor.  He can sing.  It's just that he's not a trained singer.

Britney's music:
"I'm a Slave 4 U"--Autotuned or not, I like this.  Heather Morris can at least carry a tune, and I can actually hear her voice in this music.  It's not just a Britney Spears impression.

"It's Me Against the Music" (with Madonna)--Again Autotuned or not, this is has a distinct Glee flavor.  We know Naya Rivera (Santana) can sing, and her voice is very distinguishable here.  I really like this, including the glee clubbers' cameos.

And, Santana's father is a doctor.

"...Baby, One More Time"--This is my favorite.  I know, duh!  It's Lea Michele as Britney Spears, and it's not just about the singing, if you know what I mean.  The singing was really good, though, and, to add another Glee touch, they made the song even more melancholy than the original with the editing.

"Toxic"--Matt Morrison does is usual good job in this song, and the addition of Lea Michele, Naya Rivera, and the ensemble makes this a solid performance.  Plus, Lauren Zizes and Jacob Ben Israel yelling out in their frenzy was an example of Glee's usual straddling of the line between brilliance and going over the top.

And, the non-Britney song:
Paramore's "The Only Exception"--I hope the inclusion of this song wasn't disappointing to hardcore Britney fans.  I think it oddly fit, bringing Finn and Rachel to a tentative resolution to their conflict, and, of course, Lea did her usual beautiful job.