I know I don’t have to remind you Gleeks about the last Britney Spears tribute episode of “Glee,” in which John Stamos got everyone high so they could imagine themselves inside Brit’s music videos. (That was me reminding you.)
For reasons many have cynically attributed to an “X Factor” lead-in, the Glee gods decided to further torture… er, broaden our horizons with a second episode featuring nothing but Spears’s work. But this time there were no video recreations and several of the songs were altered for the better.
In case you’re not picking up on it, I’m not a Britney fan. So the fact that I found anything in this episode enjoyable speaks to my dedication to the show.
The main storyline presented a directionless Brittany, who could have been aided by Sue’s voice-over dictating, occasionally distractingly, the stage directions from the episode’s teleplay.
Because her 0.0 GPA set a less-than-stellar example for the other Cheerios, Sue kicked Brittany off the squad, sending the poor girl into a spiral of despair and trans fats. Constant cheer practice left Santana with barely a moment to console Brittany via video chat, and Lord Tubbington joined a gang. Her only source of emotional support was a Pillsbury pamphlet titled, “So You Look Like Crap.”
That is, until Schue realized the way to get Brittany’s mojo back was to have another Britney Week, culminating in a New Directions performance at the pep rally.
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And so the old gang set out primarily to inspire Brittany through Britney numbers in the choir room, while the new recruits got their Spears on elsewhere on campus.
Unique, for example, tried to sing some sense into Marley by performing “Womanizer” while following Little Puck around school as he flirted with every girl in sight, including a quickly scorned Tina.
This number would have been entertaining if not for the glaring wardrobe error of putting Unique in a wig and outfit that were way too frumpy for her age.
But Marley couldn’t help herself and met with Li’l P at the football stadium. She tried to convince him to join glee, and he remained skeptical but proceeded to perfectly harmonize with her. He gave her his jacket and they had a moment, but by the end of the episode new not-as-good-as-Quinn head Cheerio had swayed him to be her bf instead.
And it turned out Schue’s Britney idea worked to motivate our Brittany, just not the way he planned.
First she nearly shaved her head, then she attacked WMHS paparazzo Jacob Ben Insrael with a green umbrella. If that doesn’t sound familiar, perhaps you remember Spears’s infamous performance at the MTV VMAs where she awkwardly non-danced around the stage and lip-synced while backup performers moved around her.
Unbeknownst to the others, Brittany staged the same sort of number for the pep rally, where she ultimately collapsed on the floor in a cloud of Cheetos dust.
Schue was furious about the lip-syncing, aka the doping of the show choir scene, which the whole school discovered was happening. Only Sam figured out that Britney was purposely bottoming out in the spotlight so that she could follow with an epic comeback, a la the other Britney.
And she succeeded! Schue and Emma agreed to tutor her so that she could turn those F-minuses to C-minuses, and that was good enough for Sue to let her back on the Cheerios.
Meanwhile in New York, Rachel ditched her dorm in favor of a ginormous and unrealistic loft apartment to share with Kurt. That’s where Kurt filled her in on her evil dance teacher Cassandra’s past as a notorious Broadway train wreck. Somehow despite her obsession with The Great White Way, Rachel missed the news that July once destroyed an audience member’s cell phone with a baseball bat during a performance. Career. Over.
Kurt also advised Rachel to gives Cassandra what she wanted in tango class, which was sex appeal. Brody, that junior at NYADA who is possibly an alien due to his relentless niceness and good looks, dances this steamy number with Rachel to prove to Cass that she can be a hottie.
Bad news first: The number was “Oops!… I Did It Again,” which is in no way relevant or the sexiest song she could have done. Rachel only picked it because she heard about Britney Week and felt nostalgic.
Good news: “SYTYCD” champ Melanie Moore is in Rachel’s dance class and could therefore keep popping up!
Anyway, Cassandra wasn’t impressed, so Rachel called her a YouTube joke and was summarily dismissed. But it turns out Cass was pretty cool about Rachel’s outburst and ended up explaining that her harsh attitude in class is a reflection of her experience in showbiz, which she wants her students to know about upfront.
She didn’t want to give Rachel a second chance because she didn’t get one, but the school forced her to keep Rachel in the class, and in the end she even let Rachel tango with the rest of them.
And so the transition of Kate Hudson’s character from heinous bitch to irreplaceable mentor begins. At least that’s my prediction.
Oh, and Rachel is starting to realize she has to let go of Finn, which seems likely to be aided by Brody’s profession of attraction to her and Kurt’s hearty approval of said attraction.
Next week – SJP and Vogue!
What else was worth seeing, baby, one more time:
Best musical number – The unlikely trio of Sam, Tina, and Joe gave us an acoustic version of “3” (yep, Teen Jesus praises the power of threesomes) that was impossible to dislike. But I’ll admit I was equally nuts about the newbies’ mash-up of 90s jams “Crazy” by Aerosmith and “(You Drive Me) Crazy” by Ms. Spears.
Best Brittany line, regular delivery – “Sorry I’m late. Someone stole my compass.”
Best Brittany line delivered via voice-over – “I finally know how Jesus feels in his house way up at the North Pole, because I am on top of the world.”
Best Brittany line delivered via presidential quiz flashback – “Glenn Close.”
Best Brittany line delivered via crayon – “The Town Where Math Was Never Invented.”
And what was toxic:
Worst musical number – They had to play “Everytime” over a montage of the storylines wrapping up because even Marley’s lovely voice couldn’t have made that one interesting if we had nothing to watch but her singing it.
Super awful worst potential setup that I hope I misinterpreted – Brittany and Trouty Mouth do not need to get together. Now that he’s been dumbed down even more, it seems improbable that they’d find their way home if they went out on a date together. Plus Brittana 4-eva.