Sorry it’s been awhile since I wrote something. I’m trying to put at least one thing up a week for you all. But well school for me started up again so I just needed to adjust to my new schedule and the like. But you don’t want to hear me chatter away about college classes and the like. So let’s get started!
Glee is a show of hits and misses, ons and offs.
I still stand by my theory that glee at its basest level is a tonal show. The show itself is a teenager, an metaphorical entity of those growing pains and awkwardness unto its own being. Right now in the fourth season, glee has found a good balance like a senior in high school where it is balanced, a little bit crazy but wholly has found itself. Now if they (writers and producers and all that put into this) can keep this up is something yet to be seen.
Like I say, this is the Season of Cautious Optimism.
In the past, not so much, season one was solid in the first half but a bit rushed on the back nine, and while season three had several extremely strong episodes the whole season was a mess. So the fact that season four has found something then it’s a good thing.
There are some things that are stupid in season four but on the whole? I think this has been the best season of glee yet.
However, we had to go through a lot of shitty episodes to get to where we are now. Which is how this series came to be. Because to truly appreciate the goodness of what we’ve been given now you need to look at the really really bad stuff.
Now glee comes in two flavors of bad in my opinion. The first flavor is the so bad you just need to find it absolutely hilarious because of how utterly bad it is like a campy mess. The second flavor of bad is the times you wish the show was a person so you can punch them in the face of the utter garbage you just wasted on hour of your life watching.
We’ll be covering both in this series which I am currently calling “Bad Glee Theatre” to make it sound classier than I’m sure this series will be. I’m predicting it ending with me in a cursing mess by episode for the so bad you need to punch someone ones or the cackling I get at the end of the so bad it’s awesome ones.
So let’s get this party started shall we? Today on “Bad Glee Theatre” we’ll be covering the first Britney Spears tribute episode. Both of them were bad but this is the worst and it’s so bad I want to punch someone in the face.
Tribute episodes on glee are comprised of hits and misses.
Most fans would prefer that the tribute episodes would just stop. I am not one of these people. When Glee does a tribute episode in the right way, it can be very well done: “Glease” (season four episode six) “Dance With Somebody” (season three episode seventeen), “Saturday Night Glee-ver” (season three episode sixteen), “Rumours” (season two episode nineteen), and “Power of Madonna” (season one episode fourteen). Now not everyone would agree with me on this list but I’ll stand by it. These episodes were doing something right in paying tribute to the music while have a solid story or somewhat good character development. I’m not saying that they’re not flawed in some way but on the whole they aren’t painful to watch nor do they fall into the so bad its good spectrum for me.
What does baffle me though is that out of all the people they could have done one tribute episode (let alone two) to they decide to do it with Britney Spears.
Now I am not going to bash on Britney here or her fans. It would be hypocritical of me. It would also be mean and I try not to do that here. I was a Britney Spears fan in my younger days. I saw her in concert when I was like nine or ten. (The memory though is tinged with awkwardness since my Dad took me there.) I had all her CDs. I was a fan of Britney Spears in my younger days. I like some of her newer work at twenty-one. Even though my taste runs alternative now, I will still say that I have several of her songs on my iPod with minimal embarrassment.
That speech aside…really glee? Britney Spears.
This is going to hurt isn’t it?
Alright so the first Britney Spears tribute episode is, as previously stated, so bad that I just want to punch someone in the face. And again it’s not the music. I liked the music (okay everything except Baby One More Time) covered in the episode.
No. What really, really hurts this episode here is the plot.
It doesn’t really have one.
Oh sure it has moments that are like a plot. Maybe even if you string them together and try to glue them with bits of string it would resemble a plot.
I am speaking as an English major here. Someone who looks at plots willingly and often.
“Britney/Brittany” is more like a vehicle to recreate past music videos then using the music to actually further a story.
Okay let’s give a refresher to those of you who don’t remember the plot.
According to the laws of Facebook, McKinley High (and by McKinley High I mean five people who made a Facebook group) want New Directions to perform Britney Spears at the Homecoming Assembly. Kurt is the biggest proponent of this measure. However, Mister Schue does not want to do this for ill defined reasons. I think it’s because Britney Spears in her younger days was pretty much jailbait personified and doesn’t want to oversexualize his students. Since though this was not clearly explained it remains a theory. Brittany also doesn’t want to do Britney because she feels since they have the same name: Britney Spears – Britney S. Pierce (clever wordplay) she will be judged in the pop singer’s shadow.
Meanwhile Mister Schue is having problems of his own because Emma is still “getting her cavities checked” (if you know what I mean) by her dentist boyfriend: Carl Howell played by John Stamos.
Having an extremely sexy dentist leads to Will to have some sort of bizarre midlife crisis even though I think he’s like thirty-two. He buys a little yellow Corvette (and gets yelled at by his ex-wife Terri) and has Uncle Jesse…I mean Doctor Howell come in to give a talk about oral hygiene to the class. Using some special mouthwash that shows who has a dirty mouth, Doctor Uncle Jesse gets three new patients: Brittany, Artie and Rachel.
…Then things start getting weird…
So Doctor Uncle Jesse drugs the kids with his magic laughing gas and since Britney is on the brain they start hallucinating singing Britney Spears songs. …I don’t think laughing gas works like this.
Anyway through these drug induced hallucinations, they start thinking it’s a good idea for them to perform Britney Spears at homecoming. Oh and also decides its a good idea to start dressing like this.
So basically this is Rachel trying out New!Rachel two seasons early.
Because honestly you can’t take a look at this photo and say that it’s not something New!Rachel would wear now.
Meanwhile, Brittany decides after two of these drug fueled hallucinations (one shared with Santana) that she wants all the solos in the glee club.
While Artie and Finn get back onto the football team with the power of Britney Spears (because she is clearly some sort of blonde female Jesus in the glee universe) and Artie has one of the only Britney songs that is not blatantly ripping off one of her music videos.
So because Britney is empowering these kids. It makes mean old Mister Schue (who is still probably flashbacking to last year’s “Push It” disaster) the bad guy in this scenario because well he hates on Britney. (I’ll get into the defense of Mister Schue in a bit.) This Britney hate leads to a catty outbreak from Kurt because Mister Schue is just so totally unfair and won’t let them do Britney!
And since Mister Schue is apparently having some sort of breakdown/mid-life crisis, he decides that yes totally the kids are right. However, he wants in on the insanity because that is what sane rational adults do right?
He’s totally not using New Directions to lure Emma away from Doctor Uncle Jesse and his magic music video making laughing gas and into his arms. (Seriously Matthew Morrison what the hell did you do to make the writers hate you so much?)
But whatever, it’s the homecoming assembly and this happens.
A full scale sex riot and the resulting outcome of this is Sue suing Mister Schue for damages. Oh and Doctor Uncle Jesse is still with Emma.
Yeah this was a really really great idea Kurt. Especially since you’re not feeling any of the consequences.
Oh and New!Rachel retreats back into Rachel to slumber until her summoning in New York by Kurt and Sarah Jessica Parker. She also sings the only non-Britney song in the episode and proves that Rachel should never, ever sing alternative rock.
So…what did we learn?
Not one goddamn thing.
Now look…I don’t mind an episode not having a moral. But honestly it was like the writers of glee just wanted to do a bunch of Britney music videos with the cast. Fine but don’t try to shoehorn in character development in your episode. Least of all for Mister Schue.
Okay before we start on characters, I’m going to refer to my assertion that there is no plot to episode because there isn’t one there.
When tribute episodes are done badly, it is like a series of music videos showed with some dialogue inbetween. This is what happened here in “Britney/Brittany”, they were focusing too much on the music of the performer rather than using the music to move plot threads and character development forward like its supposed to. None of this stuff happened in a meaningful way. Now I get for a tribute episode the artist that they are paying tribute to does get feedback on the episode (which is what we’re going to discuss next time in the second Britney episode). It’s clear here that Britney was definitely very eagerly participating in it. This is a perfectly reasonable excuse for the lack of the plot here because everyone is going on about how amazing Britney’s music is they can’t any meaningful character development or any real plot that is built around it.
Fine. Make this a throwaway episode, a standalone. We get to relive our 90’s nostalgia. You get to sell some songs and stuff. Everyone is happy.
But you just had to throw in an attempt at character development didn’t you guys? Not even a very good attempt at character development considering it reads like you’re bashing your own characters.
So let’s start with my main grievance: Will Schuester in this episode.
It’s really hard to be a Will fan guys. Yet I still stick by the man because well he reminds me of all my favorite teachers in high school growing up and he’s played by Matthew Morrison, who is one of my favorite Broadway performers ever. Now I won’t get into why I like Will and the like right now because it will be too long and I plan on starting up a character retrospective series soon enough. What I will say about Will is that I like him, I think he’s a good teacher, and I think he’s unappreciated as a character. So maybe the next part will make me seem bias which I do try to avoid but even friends who aren’t huge Will Schuester fans agree that they feel like his character got the shaft in this episode.
Now I get that this is high school. I remember high school. I graduated from high school in 2010. It hasn’t been that long for me. I remember going from loving teachers to hating them at the drop of the hat. However, I was pretty even with most of my teachers they had to do something like really douchey to make me go from liking to hating them. Vice versa for the douchey teachers they had to like do something really really really nice to get me from hating to liking them.
However, Will Schuester is like all my favorite teachers rolled into one. He cares about his students. He wants them to do better. He’s even friends with a few of them. Yes he needs more adult friends but…have you seen the other teachers at McKinley? I’m not surprised he doesn’t have many. (Although I do miss his and Bieste’s epic friendship of awesome.) But unlike teachers like say Holly Fucking Holiday (I am not getting into her right now), Will does know when to be the goddamn adult and sometimes kids you just need to shut the hell up and let the goddamn adult be the goddamn adult.
This whole episode is like a freaking character assassination.
First off, the Wemma romance aspect of it. Okay so Wemma exists and while not a huge Wemma fan I can’t hate the coupling not because I hated Will with Terri more. However, just having Will chase after her like some lovesick guy? Really glee? Yeah Will fucked up but he’s still not a bit mad over Emma calling him a manwhore publicly and listening to Sue Sylvester over common sense last season (season one episode seventeen “Bad Reputation”)? I mean I get that he apologized to Emma at the end of the episode but dude she still called you a manwhore and listened to Sue! Plus you know she is dating someone else! Even when she was with Tanaka you weren’t so rabid dog there because you were married but yeah take some time to be single! This whole thing just reeks of desperation and just makes it so very very awkward to watch him try to one up John Stamos.
Second, the whole midlife crisis thing to keep up with Doctor Uncle Jesse. What the fuck guys!? Seriously! Will has been shown to be fulfilled in his job and happy and comfortable with himself. But suddenly Emma has a hot dentist on her arm and you send him out to buy a shiny new Corvette?! Like Terri says he has ALIMONY to pay! You just made me agree with Terri, glee! I officially feel unclean. It just makes him look so so desperate. Plus when he performs Toxic with New Directions? Even more of air of desperation that is just offensive to me as a Will fan and to non-Will fans just validates that stupid pedo!Will meme.
Third, let’s talk about the circumstances that led to Toxic. Now in the past, I agree that Will has tried to force his choices on his students like Le Freak in episode two of season one “Showmance”. Which may I remind you led to this stunt and major repercussions for Will and New Directions.
So I think that Will didn’t want to do Britney not because he didn’t the “soul” or what the fuck ever behind her music. He did it to avoid THAT! But wait you say wasn’t he trying to force Christopher Cross on the kids? Okay that was a major step backwards for him as a character! After the “Push It” incident, Will did not try to force songs on the kids anymore. Hell he let them perform Lady Gaga. Friends in high school would have given their right arm to perform Lady Gaga in choir and I’m not just talking friends at the private school I went to, friends of mine from public school would have done that. So it’s not like he doesn’t listen to the kids anymore. Having him try to force Christopher Cross on them when they want to do Britney is a step backwards for him as a character by trying to get him to fit into this stupid contrived plot that would have probably needed a good rewrite or two. But it didn’t because I think Matthew Morrison ran over someone’s dog or something prior to season two.
Now let’s talk about my second main grievance for this episode.
Let’s talk about Kurt and his attitude to Will in “Britney/Brittany”.
Now I really do like Kurt. Really I do. Which is why this episode pains me so much because Kurt is such a freaking little brat in this episode. He’s gotten better from the slightly spoiled, a bit bratty and hard kid from season one. He’s much more mature and endearing and I love him to bits and pieces.
It was a process for me to love Kurt in bits and pieces.
“Britney/Brittany” almost had me not liking Kurt anymore because his attitude in this episode was just awful to me. Now I understand that Kurt is not that close to Will and that their relationship on the show is…strange to me. However, I do have an inkling on how Burt Hummel raised his son. If he found out that Kurt lashed out to Will like that, his teacher, then there would have been some form of hell to pay at the Hummel house. As a child of a single father, I can attest to this. If I did what Kurt did my Dad would have grounded me for like a month.
And really? You’re getting upset over not performing Britney Spears Kurt? Because of a Facebook group of a grand total of five people (one of whom is probably yourself) said that you should perform Britney then it’s automatically the best idea ever? And yelling at your teacher to do what you want isn’t the best idea in the history of ever.
Kurt: Geesh! Let loose will ya! STOP BEING SO FREAKIN’ UPTIGHT ALL THE TIME!!!!
Will: Kurt, I will see you in the principal’s office.
And yeah Kurt is sent to the principal’s office, which is a totally valid thing to do here.
Also Kurt: He let you do Lady Gaga. Like I said Will as a choir director is pretty loose in terms of what he will or will not let his students perform. After the teachers I had (twelve years of Catholic private school trust me I’ve had someone pretty uptight teachers), I would have loved to have a Mister Schue in my life.
However, this is never mentioned again. You think Kurt would get detention or something. However, no he gets what he wants. It just continues to cement a trend in New Directions that annoys me to do this. If someone screams and stamps their foot and acts like a brat, then they are rewarded.
So how could the writers have salvaged this scene?
It’s pretty simple. Here I’ll write it for you.
Kurt: Mister Schue, why can’t we do Britney Spears?
Will: Kurt, I have several reasons for not wanting you guys to do Britney Spears and these are the reasons.
Seriously! One scene like that!
Teachers can be reasoned with. Will is one of those teachers (most of the time). He lays out his reasons why they shouldn’t perform Britney at the assembly. Kurt explains why they don’t want to do adult alternative and that he promised last year not to force stuff on them that they don’t want to do. Will and Kurt find a compromise.
Now maybe that’s not “dramatic” enough but it could have been a growing moment here.
But no. Will’s character gets assassinated. Kurt looks like an utter brat and gets away with his outburst. And I just want to punch someone in the face.
And let’s not even touch Rachel.
Well if my captions say I should talk about this then let’s do this.
She looks slutty. It’s honestly a precursor to her current look now in season four.
However, I will say Rachel in “Britney/Brittany” pisses me off a lot less than Rachel in “Britney 2.0” (season four episode two)
Rachel’s makeover in “Britney/Brittany” stems from her own insecurities about her relationship with Finn due to their differences in the social scene. She makes herself over so that in some way she can be on the same level as her much more popular boyfriend. Teenage girls do that. I think she looks slutty and I really did not need to see her red bra but whatever you know I can understand that.
Rachel in “Britney 2.0”, however, does a soft core porn table dance that makes me want to clean myself when she’s done with iron wool. But I’ll get into that on the next installment of Bad Glee Theatre.
So is there anything good about “Britney/Brittany”?
Yes. There are a few good things in this episode.
I like how we started to see the big softie that we all know and love as Coach Bieste in this episode start to come out. She accepts Finn and Artie onto the football team when she realizes that Finn suggested Artie because he wanted his friend to feel good about himself, showing her huge heart. That is good character development.
I liked the music. I didn’t like how they performed the music on the show. But the covers were decent enough except “Baby One More Time” and “The Only Exception”, I’m sorry…Rachel’s voice is just too Broadway and polished for alternative rock in “The Only Exception” for me and her hallucination of “Baby One More Time” was just the most underwhelming of the recreating Britney’s music videos. Sorry this is things I liked.
Okay I thought “Me Against the Music” was just an awesome cover. Santana was rocking that pimp cane like whoa and Brittany was just doing all those slick dance moves. It was sexy.
I liked “I’m a Slave 4 U”. I thought the song was a weird choice but it showed off Heather Morris’ skills as a dancer plus the image of her rubbing her body on Uncle Jesse from Full House is hilarious to me the same way that Bob Saget (a.k.a. Danny Tanner from Full House) is a raunchy stand up comedian is funny to me.
I find weird stuff funny.
“Stronger” I liked because is wasn’t a recreation of a music video and Artie was just selling it.
Despite finding the circumstances leading up to it weird as all fuck, I do like their cover of “Toxic” a lot because they actually changed the song’s performance in a very cool way (also if you want another awesome cover of “Toxic “then check out Melanie Martinez’s cover). Plus I’m weak I just really like Matthew Morrison’s voice and I can forgive a lot if I get to hear him sing.
I thought there were some legitimately funny moments. They mainly had to do with Santana being Santana, Brittany turning into a ditzy diva and the reactions of the student’s during “Toxic”.
Now as stated, I think the writers were boxed in because Britney Spears did have input on this episode. She was even featured in several of the fantasies.
However, like I said it doesn’t excuse the lack of the plot or how the characters acted here. This needed one or two more rewrites, which I think all the shitty episodes of glee need. It makes me mad as an English major and writer because I know this show could be better if they just reworked a couple of things here and there.
So that’s it for Bad Glee Theatre! I hope you guys enjoyed it.
NEXT ON THE GLEE REWATCH PROJECT: Character retrospective, another song list, or I tackle Britney 2.0 not sure yet.
Notes: So did you guys like “Britney/Brittany”? Hate it?
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