Thursday, September 30, 2010

Glee 2.02: "Britney/Brittany"

“I’m actually kind of happy about it. Now I don’t have to fantasize about what song I’d sing at your bedside if you were in a coma.”

“Britney/Brittany,” the much-hyped Britney Spears tribute episode of “Glee,” didn’t quite live up to the advertisement. The episode ranged from mildly entertaining to bizarre, and not in a good way. One thing I thought was positive was the way that the Britney songs fit into the episode. I thought it was much more organic and creative than both the Madonna and Lady Gaga episodes last season. We also got the introduction of John Stamos’ character, Carl the dentist. That I didn’t like so much because if there’s one thing I don’t like on my television shows, it’s deliberate, artificial blocks to popular romantic pairings. It’s clear he’s just there to keep Will and Emma apart for a while, and I think Will and Emma have the potential to be pretty darn adorable, so I wish we’d get there sooner rather than later.

The episode opens at a glee club rehearsal with Will giving the kids their assignment for the week. He wants them to try easy listening, adult contemporary-type songs, and understandably, the kids are not enthused. Heck, I think it’s pretty lame, too. Kurt in particular wants to sing some Britney Spears, but Will doesn’t approve. Brittany doesn’t like the idea, either. Her full name is Brittany S. Pearce, and apparently because their names are so close, she feels like she’s lived in Britney’s shadow her whole life. Most of the rest of the kids seem in favor of Britney, though. They mention that they “grew up” with her. Which I guess is sort of true, although I think they might have been a little young when he first reached stardom. I was a teenager myself.

Will discusses the situation with Emma, who finds Britney to be admirable because of her comeback. Can they ever have one of these tribute episodes where every character doesn’t constantly suck up to the artist? It’s quite anvilicious. Anyway, Carl drops by while Will and Emma are having their chat, and a bit of a rivalry develops. Emma mentions that Carl wants to do a presentation on dental hygiene at school, and Will says he can talk to the glee club. As part of his presentation, Carl gives the kids those tablets that show you where on your teeth you need to brush better. Brittany’s teeth are the worst out the group. Apparently she rinses with Dr. Pepper instead of brushing. Gross.

Brittany winds up paying a visit to Carl’s office, and she has so many cavities that Carl puts her under anesthesia to do the work. Britney Spears music is playing as Brittany goes under, and she has a crazy hallucination where she is Britney. She sings and dances to “I’m a Slave 4 U,” but instead of mimicking the video, she rocks three iconic Britney looks. There’s the red cat suit from “Oops I Did it Again,” the green outfit with snake look from a live performance of “Slave 4 U,” and there’s the sparkly look from “Toxic.” Yeah, I know a lot about Britney, even though I wouldn’t really even say I’m a fan. I watched a lot of TRL in high school, what can I say?

Most of the Britney performances in the episode are dental anesthesia induced. Brittany brings Santana with her on one visit, and they simultaneously hallucinate a recreation of “Me Against the Music. Rachel hallucinates an especially impressive (in its attention to detail) recreation of “Baby One More Time.” Artie performs “Stronger.” I thought that was kind of ironic since Britney spends most of the “Stronger” video dancing with a chair. On all these performances, I think I found Heather Morris’ work mst impressive, because she is such an extremely talented dancer. Most of the rest I could take or leave, even though I was intrigued by the authenticity of some of the video recreations.

The episode overall was really all about defiantly being who you are. Finn’s still dealing with all the fallout from being kicked off the football team. Two football players take his letter jacket and tear it in two. The only thing that saves Finn from a beatdown is Artie wheeling himself in between Finn and the other boys. Apparently hitting a guy in a wheelchair is a line that the football bullies won’t cross. Rachel, however, is happy Finn is off the team. She feels like she doesn’t have to worry about him so much anymore. Finn gets his own set of relationship worries when Rachel, inspired by her hallucination, starts dressing like Britney and getting a lot of attention from guys. Neither of them feel safe with the other anymore.

Coach Beiste happens to see Finn and Artie being bullied, and I guess she does have a bit of a soft spot, because she lets them both on the team. That was just really freaking random. I’m usually cool with suspending disbelief with “Glee” because it’s a heightened reality, but letting Artie on the team really makes no sense. Rachel changes back t her old style f dress to make Finn happy, and she gets upset when he doesn’t reciprocate by declining the offer to be on the football team. Rachel actually tests Finn by having Quinn go up to him and act like she wants to get back together. Finn passes with flying colors of course.

Meanwhile, the clamoring to do a Britney number reaches fever pitch as each of the kids start finding inspiration through her music. Even Brittany wants to do a Britney number now, claiming that the Britney hallucination helped her see how talented she truly is. Will is still against it though, and Kurt gets in trouble for a particularly bratty response to the decision. Sue has a confab with Will and lets him know that she has heard New Directions might be performing a Britney number at an upcoming pep rally. Because of an incident that involved her finding Jacob Ben Isreal watching performances to Britney songs naked (really random and gross), she urges Will not to let a Britney number happen. She thinks Britney’s music has the power to make people lose control.

Will goes to Carl for some dental work, and they get into a bit of an argument over Emma. Carl tells Will he needs to loosen up. He thinks Will and Emma didn’t work because they were too similar. Carl is more spontaneous, and he tells Will the story of a time he bought a sports car. Will doesn’t quite understand the lesson. He tries buying the exact same sports car and using that to impress Emma. They’re sitting in the car, “Sailing” comes on, and Will happily yells “That’s my jam!” Hate to tell you, Will, but when you play “That’s My Jam,” you don’t choose an easy listening song. That’s just lame. Anyway, if that wasn’t bad enough, Terri arrives to make things worse. She’s upset Will bought the car, because she’s worried he won’t have enough money to send her spousal support. Emma runs off upset.

In his next bid to be more spontaneous, Will tells the glee kids that they’re going to do a Britney number for the pep rally, and he’s going to perform with them. It’s a disaster, as Sue predicted. The group performs “Toxic,” and while Will’s dance moves were pretty hot, the whole thing was really awkward and ends up with a huge riot in the gym. I think my high school principal would have spontaneously combusted had something like that happened at one of our pep rallies. Heck, we’d even get an “I’m disappointed in you” lecture over the PA system on the rare occasion that a food fight broke out in the cafeteria. Sue, being the drama queen she is, threatens a lawsuit over injuries she sustained in the stampede out of the gym. The episode ends on a calmer note, though. Rachel sings Paramore’s “The Only Exception,” one of my absolute favorite songs on the radio right now, as an apology to Finn.

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