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Posted at 8:15 AM ET, 09/29/2010

The Britney Spears episode of 'Glee': Is it time to lose the celeb-focused tributes?

By Jen Chaney

The Britney Spears episode of "Glee" gave us the full "Hit Me Baby, One More Time" routine Tuesday night. And as the Post's Emily Yahr notes in her full recap of the episode, it delivered lots of Britney music, and even more of Brittany (Heather Morris) and her deadpan loopy dialogue, but not much face time from Spears.

As "The Power of Madonna" did last season, it also raised a question: is it in "Glee's" best interest to focus entire episodes around a major musical and celebrity icon?

Based on the Madonna and Britney episodes, I'd say no. It's one thing to trot out Neil Patrick Harris or Carol Burnett in a cameo that will -- presumably, in Burnett's case, since she hasn't appeared yet -- be an integral part of the storyline.

But when all the songs and much of the dialogue are forced to focus on how awesome and transformative Britney Spears is, it doesn't exactly feel organic to the storyline. As a matter of fact, it felt like Ryan Murphy and co. had to put their regular show on pause in order to roll out a primetime Spears tribute. And while I love a hot dance number and a Mr. Schue-induced sex riot as much as the next person, it all seemed a little over the top, even for "Glee."

With that single-artist focused Super Bowl episode on the horizon -- one that will, as EW's Michael Ausiello reports, most likely zero in on the music of either Michael Jackson or Bruce Springsteen -- do you think it's a good idea for "Glee" to continue paying hour-long homages like this? Vote in the poll below.

By Jen Chaney  | September 29, 2010; 8:15 AM ET
Categories:  Britney Spears, Celebrities, TV  
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Comments

I generally enjoy Glee, but am far from a gleek. As I watched this with my wife we both commented that this episode was very light on story and way too heavy on Britney. I hate to sound like a grumpy old man, but the content seemed slightly inappropriate for an 8pm show. My wife is a 3rd grade teacher and there are a lot of kids at her school who watch Glee and she felt that this was a bit over the top.

We did, however, enjoy Brittany and Kurt's reaction to some of the things coming out of her mouth were priceless. Focusing on a single artist in such a blunt way may quickly push Glee into shark-jumping territory which would be unfortunate.

Posted by: Ebola_22039 | September 29, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

If the songs are appropriate to the storyline great. But here, it was a case of shoving story out of the way to sing Brit songs. The only story we got was that Rachel is really insecure.

As for Britney Spears herself only appearing for s second - that is more than Madonna and Lady GooGoo got combined. Plus, with Brit, TPTB probably didn't trust her to keep it together long enough to deliver more than 2 lines.

Posted by: epjd | September 29, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Having to endure an entire episode of Britney Spears songs makes you appreciate Madonna. Or even Lady Gaga.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 29, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Theme episodes like last night are why I stopped watching the show. I fell in love with it not because of the music, but because of the story they were telling. It was an interesting story where people happened to occasionally sing. However, it too quickly became people singing and then occasionally they'd stop singing to pretend there was still a plot to the series. Eventually it went from appointment television, to catching up on DVR, to piling up on DVR, and now the season pass has been canceled.

Posted by: thurdl01 | September 29, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Oh that was Glee? I thought Fox was airing a really old episode of American Idol.

Posted by: vypergts | September 29, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

That episode was a disservice to both Gleeks and to Britney. What a pile of nonsense. I almost stunned by how terrible it was. Was there even a plot?

Posted by: jljardon2 | September 29, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I am a full fledged Gleek and I wasn't looking forward to last night's episode. I'm not a fan of Britney Spears or her music. But I was really impressed with Heather Morris last night - she's got some pipes and she can really dance. I could have done without Rachel's rendition of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" or Artie's "Stronger", but the Toxic performance at the end that caused the sex riot made me laugh. I do think they need to move away from the one artist themed show though and stick to plots. The only one I've enjoyed is the Madonna episode, and that's only because I grew up listening to her music in the 80s.

Posted by: luvlydawter | September 29, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Never mind a single-artist-themed show, they should focus on a single song.

I'm thinking "Bike," from Pink Floyd's 1967 debut, "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn."

Posted by: byoolin1 | September 29, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

What a dissapointing episode! No wonder Glee didn't get any Emmy Awards this season. Why stage most of Britney’s songs as copycat remakes of the original videos? The storyline was all over the place. C'mon guys, are you losing steam?? Have a look at this article where a Tv producer suggests that show creator Ryan Murhpy might be the weak link in the whole Glee enterprise.! Wow, that hurt!! lol http://www.remotepatrolled.com/2010/09/quick-take-glee-britney-brittany/

Posted by: Roggiep | September 29, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I feel sad for anyone that watches Glee for the story lines. There are so many other good shows that blow away Glee on story lines, and even some mediocre stuff that is much better. I watch Glee for the musical numbers, and therefore don't mind episodes that focus on one particular artist. The story line is just a way of moving from one song to the next.

Speaking of which, I think you're glossing over one of the better episodes last season - the Lady Gaga episode. Doesn't totally count since the boys did a KISS number, but that one was a lot of fun.

So maybe the answer is you can have episodes focus on one artist, but throw in a song or two by someone else if it works within the framework for the episode.

Posted by: thurminator | September 29, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The Will Schuester character came off as much more- well- nerdy and out of touch than usual. The stuff about Christopher Cross and Michael Bolton? Child, Please.....it was a noticable change in the character who has previously seemed much more in tune with the kids and reality. And the ex-wife showing up- What?
And the man is too young to be having a mid-life crisis. Sure be sad about "losing" the girl- but Matthew Morrison needs to do a better job emotionally here-Jon Stamos was great as Dr. Feel Good Dentist- They are trying to fit too much plot around their theme numbers- better to do one or two longer songs and several short- it's very disjointed. And what's with Lea Michele having her own dancers for Hit me One More Time?

Posted by: poppysue85 | September 29, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Granted, story lines generally aren't Glee's strong point. But I was especially annoyed by (1) the unusually forced structure (Anesthetic dreams? Really?) and (2) the video remakes. Glee works best when the performances are adaptations, not literal copies. I thought the performance at the assembly was the best part (though it was strange to have the teacher as a star performer -- and one of his dance moves with one of the girls, toward the end, would probably get a real teacher suspended or fired).

Posted by: Janine1 | September 29, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I really enjoy Glee, and look forward to watching it with my 16-year old football-playing son and my 15-year old daughter (it is very difficult to find shows we can all watch together.) Heather Morris did a fantastic job but the plot line was terrible; normally I love Lea Michele but though her voice was not suited to the song she performed; and I had a problem with actors who are supposedly portraying high school students doing such provocative dance numbers. It was a very bizarre episode. I think they do better when they perform a variety of songs that fit in with the plot line and the general theme of the show.

Posted by: VStrochak | September 29, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I like musicals: gLee sometimes, but not so much all-the-time.

The Britney / Heather Morris episode... meh.

Guess that makes me a metrosexual, just not a FLAMING metrosexual:
http://bit.ly/9kvrRg


-jjg
Gravelle.us

Posted by: jgravelle | September 29, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Theme episodes are some of the many reasons this show is flaming big and on a clear trajectory to flame out quickly. At this point, we now know that each episode (theme or not) features the same thin and tired devices:

* Finn can't dance
* Finn and Rachel dance by walking in circles around each other
* Rachel pouts
* Brittany says something odd
* Mercedes wails some ridiculously high note 'cause she can
* Sue makes a contrived, too-cute-for-words insult about Will's hair
* Will smiles and pretends he's 16.

And the rest of the cast appears sporadically in the background because they're apparently supposed to be in a "club" of some kind.

Repeat and throw in an overproduced musical number now and then where everything is so slickly done you really don't know who can really sing and who can't. I'm kinda done already with "Glee".

Do I sound as bored as I am? I mean it's fun to watch a new rendition of "Sweet Caroline" or whatever, but the novelty wears off after a while. But I'll still catch it on Hulu when I have time.

And I wouldn't let my kids anywhere near the TV when "Glee"'s on. No way. While the writers may be equal opportunity with their racial and social insults (in a humorous way, granted), the show is definitely for a grownup audience.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | September 29, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Just when you thought they couldn't get more 70s AM radio with "Run Joey Run", they pull out Christopher Cross as inspiration.

Really?!? I'm amazed they didn't just go right to Debbie Boone.

Actually, now that I think about it, that may have made for a better show if they'd stuck in a chorus or 3 of "Arthur's Theme."

Posted by: wadejg | September 29, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

wagejg, you had me at "70s AM radio." Now THAT is a theme episode I could get into. Start with "Patches" (Puck) add "My name is Michael, I got a nickel" (Kurt) and end with "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" (Tina, et al.).

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | September 29, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Rather than artist-theme episodes, I enjoy the eclectic shows where the theme is a topic that draws on music from a variety of generations and styles (sort of the old "something for everyone" Ed Sullivan school, I guess). Very few artists have a wide enough variety of oeuvre to sustain an entire hour of "Glee," although I've mentioned Dolly Parton before as a possibility (or 2).

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | September 29, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

There are enough Journey, Madonna & Bacharach hits to fill an episode without pausing the storyline. But Britney & Gaga don't have enough of a hit repertoire to carry the story, especially when they deconstruct a song a la Poker Face. The Glee version was so bad. If they want to focus on a single artist, make sure there's enough of a library so we aren't treated to "Paolo & Nikki" showstopper (LOST fans will remember).

Posted by: doobrah | September 29, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

wadejg did NOT just diss Run, Joey, Run! I'll have you know I have that song on vinyl - a 45 no less.

The story I enjoyed the most last night was actually the anesthesia fantasy bits at the dentist, but they were really a side plot. The Rachel plot line was a little over-used. And her dancers? I couldn't take my eyes off the gal on the right (Rachel's left) with the amazing abs. Not sure that's what they intended.

Posted by: BMore_Cat_Lover | September 29, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

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