It’s Britney/Brittany, bitch. Apologies for the rough language, but such a monumental television event seemed to require it: Britney Spears and Glee have finally collided! As well as dentistry and ass sweat! Only on Glee!
Tonight's episode of Fox's sophomore hit was definitely one of its most hyped, so it’s only natural that there’s a slight disappointment lingering in its aftermath. While there were definitely moments of great Glee jukebox juice, parts of the hour felt forced. In my mind, the best Glee episodes occur when the music comes out of the storylines and fuels the plot; tonight's episode felt much more like Britney Spears' songbook getting shoehorned into a pre-existing script outline.
Now I still enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong. (In my mind, even the lesser Glee episodes are a rush.) But "Britney/Brittany" didn’t feel as iconic or exhilarating as, say, the last Glee pop-star homage, April’s ridiculously amazing Madonna hour.
The entire episode revolved around the club’s desire (or specifically Kurt’s) to incorporate some Britney Spears tunes into their assembly performance. But surprisingly, it was Brittany (the amazing Heather Morris) who protested the homage. Apparently, the Cheerios airhead's full name is Brittany S. Pears, and she's suffered from having to live in the shadow of her more famous (sorta) namesake. “It’s been a hard road.” Indeed!
We then met Emma’s new love interest, Carl (the ageless John Stamos), who just so happened to be an anesthesia-happy dentist. He gave quick checkups to the glee kids, and the dentally lax members (Brittany, Rachel, Artie) headed to his office for some drug-induced Britney hallucinations. Cue the music-video recreations!
Except here's where I have problems: Glee is soooooo much more than a gimmicky, second-hand music video show. (If you don’t believe me, then try to think of a current series that’s addressed issues of teen homosexuality more movingly.) And so while I still got giddy during the more loyal Britney Spears recreations (looooooved Rachel’s “...Baby One More Time”), I couldn't stop myself from wondering where was the unique Glee perspective? The show's best recreations are the ones that are able to twist the original scenario, like Jane Lynch’s brazilliant “Vogue” video. I sorta felt like tonight's first two Spears fantasies (“I’m a Slave 4 U” and “Me Against the Music”) fell flat. It could be that while Heather Morris is an insanely funny comedian and crazy-good dancer, she’s not a standout vocalist. Then again, the added emphasis on Brittany did yield a bounty of repeatable one-liners, my favorite being her description of Jacob’s hair, “Looks like a Jewish cloud.” (Fret not, we'll count down more of Brittany’s witticisms at the end of this recap.)
On the flip side, Artie’s hallucination and cover of “Stronger” felt to me like the best way of incorporating Spears’ music into the show. It was a song that worked for the character and his storyline of wanting to be on the football team and impress Tina with his athleticism. Plus, it had a tinge of sadness to it, because you knew this was something that Artie actually would dream about.
Meanwhile, Will attempted to compete with Carl for Emma’s affections, but couldn't match his rival's impetuousness. So, he decided to loosen up and buy a sports car which, unfortunately, lured out evil shrew Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig). True, she called Emma “crazypants,” which I enjoyed, but this character has not been missed. I vote Terri off the island. You?
NEXT: Rachel and Finn debate the merits of the reindeer sweater.