Tuesday, January 18

Gleecap - "Britney/Brittany

I told you last week about my love for Brittany, but allow me to tell you again. I love Brittany who one liners just make the show for me - seriously, I didn't write much this week (you'll find out why in a second), but I wrote the words "Hah, Brittany [said something funny]" more times than I wrote, well anything.

This is the much talked about, long awaited Britney Spears episode. The (sort of) third artist episode, following 'The Power of Madonna' and 'Theatricality' (featuring a number of Lady Gaga songs) last series. My question is did we really need another artist episode? And did we need that artist to be Britney Spears? Is she really that iconic to warrant an entire episode filled with her music (personally I felt the Gaga episode sort of jumped on the whole Gaga crazy bandwagon and could of used one Gaga song to prove the 'theatricality' point, alongside a few other dramatic performers). Glee creator Ryan Murphy has said that he doesn't want to do too many artist themed episodes, despite that statement he has suggested that there are plans for an artist theme for the US Super Bowl episode.

Do you think trying to fit so many songs by one artist into a show and catering their songs to the plot line distract a little from the actual episode, as the focus becomes "Which of [insert exciting artist here] songs are they going to do next". Personally, in this episode I think it sort of did.

(my recap, after the jump - contains spoilers)
Ok, so the actual episode. A Britney campaign is put into force by Kurt telling Mr Schue about the (5 person strong) Facebook Group petitioning to get New Directions to sing Britney's songs. Mr Schue shoots Kurt's suggestion down as he thinks that Britney is a bad role model (I'm tired, so can't be bothered to go through the song list to see if they've performed songs by equally bad role models - I think there's an Ike Turner one in there somewhere - but I'm guessing they have).  Brittany, who we discover is also named Britney Spears (or Brittany S. Pierce) supports this decision as she has forever lived in Britney's shadow (hah!). Mr Schue does however suggest some lovely lounge music or his usual 80's soft rock, because he's a bit predictable and doesn't like to go out of his comfort zone. 

Will doesn't like that Emma has a new boyfriend - Carl 'the hottest dentist alive', played by John Stamos - who is nice to her and who helps her to come out of her shell and be a bit spontaneous. So as an attempt to be spontaneous too, he suggests that Carl come in to check the Glee kids teeth, or something. I don't know why that was spontaneous, bu nevertheless Carl does something really quite cool with an ink capsule that makes plaque show up and discovers that Brittany (rinses with Dr Pepper), Rachel (flosses too much) and Artie (can't reach the mirror) don't have that great teeth. This leads to a number of the kids going under anaesthesia and imagining they're performing Britney Spears songs (and gets around Mr Schue's ban on Britney), it also makes the unexplainably theatrical performances a little more explainable. 

As the title suggests this episode gives Brittany some time to shine, so of course the first song goes to the lady herself, with a pretty decent redition of 'Slave 4 U', featuring Brittany in a series of Britney's iconic video outfits - The red bodysuit from 'Oops, I Did It Again', the barely there gemstone encrusted bodysuit from the 'Toxic' video and the 'Slave 4 U' snake charmer outfit. Let's be honest here if you're watching Brittany/Heather Morris perform you're wanting to see some awesome dance moves (she was of course previously one of Beyonce's back-up dancers) and she surely didn't disappoint. Granted she's not the best singer in New Directions, or the world (I've regularly been informed that Rachel holds that title), but let's face it neither is Britney Spears, what she does provide is an incredibly watchable, tight performance and that's what you get here - I just wish there was more Brittany dancing!

Amidst all the drug induced glitz and glamour, Finn is still sad that he's no longer on the football team (Artie is also still sad because he doesn't have abs). Now that he is no longer the quarterback, Finn is bullied even more by Karofsky and the other one, being made to feel incredibly uncool. Rachel admits that she's quite relieved because she no longer has to be afraid of him cheating on her with Brittany, Santana or some other cheerleader. More simply put, Rachel is incredibly insecure, so she needs her boyfriend to feel insecure about himself so he'll need her and make her feel more secure in herself. Healthy and not at all needy or manipulative, no? I was over their needy relationship last week and as you can probably tell, I did not feel like humouring it this episode at all. Are they really going to push this 'Rachel is insecure and is worried that Finn will break her heart' story for the whole series? *Sigh*.

Anyhoo, back to the drug induced fantasies. Santana takes a trip to the dentist (obscure tv reference for all you Veronica Mars fans out there) with Brittany in order to 'get her anaesthesia on'. The pair come prepared with their own music, which leads to a pretty awesome rendition of the Britney Spears/Madonna duet "Me Against The Music". This has got to be my favourite song of the series so far, and possibly in my top five performances of the entire show - I'm probably a little biased, as I said last week Brittany and Santana are my favourite characters, but this song was so perfect for them! I'll be honest, I don't really like the original, but this seriously made me love it a lot more. And again lots of amazing dancing from Heather Morris.

Later, in drug induced fantasy world, Rachel imagines herself in the "Hit Me Baby One More Time" video. Look, I've made my feelings clear in regards to how I feel about Rachel's/Lea Michele's voice and I will admit that sometimes (although it's not a voice I enjoy hearing) it works for the extremely jazz-handy, showbiz songs she normally does. This, however, is not her song. "Hit Me Baby..." sort of defined a time when pop music was very 'bubblegum' and unashamedly, well poppy (you didn't have to be an incredibly talented singer, hello Hillary Duff and Atomic Kitten) - and this song just doesn't work for her so incredibly trained Broadway voice, it came out a bit lackluster for me. Still in that haze, Artie performs 'Stronger' (preceded by a pretty clunky link featuring Ms Spears herself - Pizza and Ranch dressing, ftw!), because he's over Tina and her boyfriend's abs, or something despite him not actually being over it because he still wants to be on the football team. Quite simply, I thought it was a pretty decent version of a pretty awesome Britney song - just not quite as punchy and emotive as the original.

Meanwhile, in the not so hazy present; Sue warns Will against performing Britney Spears songs and calls Britney Spears "a genius pop culture provocateur' (really? genius? Are we calling everyone that now?); We continue to love Coach Beiste as she lets Artie and Finn back on to the football team; Rachel learns' dressing like a 'pretty girl' is the same as dressing like a pervy old man's fantasy in a school girl uniform (although if that Terry Richardson US GQ spread is anything to go by Lea Michele possibly does); And Mr Schue refuses to take the hint that Emma is happy and would like him to stop pursuing her, by continuing to pretend that he isn't uptight, but proving he is in fact creepy by insisting on performing 'Toxic' with the New Directions. I actually quite liked this performance, despite the presence of Mr Schue and the whole 'sex-riot' thing, which I'll be honest I didn't really 'get' - I thought the slower, jazzier version of Toxic was actually quite interesting.

Aaand, that's right, you guessed it. Rachel closes the show with a song I don't know and/or care to know by Paramore - "The Only Exception". I get that Paramore are pretty big right now and the pre-teens love them (in the same way they love Bieber and Twilight), but by goodness if this song didn't sum up my feelings of this episode - tepid and forgettable. Also, what was it doing in a Britney Spears episode? It's not like they'd struggle to find a Britney song to fit this whole story, it's sort of Britney's thing -  'Sometimes', 'Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know', 'Dear Diary' 'Everytime', 'Email My Heart', 'Deep In My Heart'... I didn't hate this episode, (any episode with that much 'Brittana' couldn't be terrible), but I didn't love it either. For me the theme of the episode wasn't just Britney it was 'pathetic', whether it was Mr Schue desperately trying to win back Emma, that whole Finn and Rachel business or the fact that Terri is convinced that her and Will are going to reconcile. It can't be a good sign that I'm already this indifferent this early on in the series, can it?

So, what did you think of this weeks episode? Did it disappoint you as much as it did me or did you quite enjoy it? What was your favourite song this week? Are you hoping for more artist themed episodes or do you want a wider variety of music styles? As always, let me know in the comments!

Next week it's the brilliantly titled 'Grilled Cheesus', excited?



  1. I look forward to your Gleecaps as much as the episode itself!

    I really enjoyed the episode but then again I love Britney so I was never not going to like this episode! My favourite song of the episode was 'Slave 4 U' I could not take my eyes of Brittany! She was amazing (and boy can she dance!) As much as I love Rachel, this episode was not her best. I don't like her when she acts all 'needy' for Finn! (And Lea's lip-syncing is terrible!!) I loved the music and I was still laughing out loud, but nothing really happened in this episode.

    I'm not a big fan of the artist-themed episodes! I much prefer a mix of songs that fit in with the plot line...rather than the other way round, which happened a lot in this episode (particularly with Artie and Stronger!)

    Another brilliant Gleecap! I'm looking forward to next week as I have heard a lot of good things about the 'Grilled Cheesus' episode!


  2. Thank you Little Roo, I'm glad you're enjoying the Gleecaps!

    Although I like Britney, if it came down to it I'd claim Team Christina 'til the day I die. I just don't think Britney's songs offered much to the episode in the same way Madonna's did, those could have been anyone's songs in there.

    I think an interesting theme for this episode would've been songs by people from the Mickey Mouse club or teen stars (Britney, Christina, 'NSYNC, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson etc) as you'd have similar sort of of songs, but with more range and also something to add to the plot as a lot of the teen stars path/goals match those of the Glee club members.

    I agree with you about the plot not really moving along in this episode - all the Britney songs were really fun, but nothing actually got done. We didn't see anything of the new characters they established last week and we still aren't clear on the overall plot of this series.

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Oh, and yes Heather Morris looked amazing this episode - those outfits? Wowza!


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