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Britney Spears on "Glee" -- all that and less

Posted by Emily Yahr

[This blog post has been updated]

After months of hearing about Britney Spears on "Glee" -- star Matthew Morrison dismissing amusedly the notion that the show was going to do a Britney Spears episode, Morrison taking back what he said about Britney Spears and "Glee," Morrison insisting Britney Spears and "Glee" go together like peanut butter and jelly -- the episode finally aired Tuesday night. What did the 13.3 million of us who watched the episode learn?


Brittany channels Britney on "Glee." (Fox/Adam Rose)

A Britney Spears episode can be shockingly light on actual Britney.

No, not on the music ... oh, did we get music. Five songs, chock-full of Britney Spears-lookalike Heather Morris, also known as cheerleader Brittany, the character who famously informed the world that dolphins are just gay sharks.

Brittany performed in an array of Old School Britney costumes, from the skin-tight red catsuit of Spears's "Oops! ... I Did It Again" video, to the see-through, sequin-encrusted bodysuit of her 2000 MTV VMAs performance.

Spears herself, however, appeared for exactly 30 seconds of screen time. Once, she listened to Brittany tell her how hot she was. Another nano-second she appeared as the teacher in a Rachel Berry version of her "... Baby One More Time" music video. She also quickly chided Tina for dumping Artie.

Show creator Ryan Murphy and writers wove together an episode of Britney tunes with such disparate titles as "I'm a Slave 4 U," "Toxic," and "Me Against the Music" the only way possible: through drugs. Which is to say John Stamos started his guest arc as a dentist currently dating Emma, adding another piece to the Emma-Mr. Schuester love triangle. And in the course of giving the glee club a lesson in dental hygiene, anesthesia ensued, leading to some humdinger Britney performance fantasies.

And, just like he did with "Glee's" all-things-Madonna episode, the leitmotif of Murphy's Brit Brit episode went like this: Britney is more than a pop star; she's about building esteem. Yeah, uh huh. Whatevs.

On the upside, the episode was a great showcase for Morris, who showed off some pretty spectacular dance moves and more than her usual share of lines, delivered with her usual deadpan flare.

Some episode highlights:

Choice quote: A tie between --

Kurt: "See, Mr. Shue? I told you. Britney Spears busted our Brittany out of her everyday, fragmented haze of confusion and gave her the confidence to step up and perform."
Brittany: "I'm more talented than all of you. I see that clearly now."

and

Rachel: (reading an unauthorized bio of Britney Spears) "I look forward to the day the paparazzi provokes me and I attack them."

Best performance: "Stronger" by Britney Spears. Kevin McHale's Artie rocked the song in a wheelchair on the football field, leading a scene more compelling than all of Heather Morris's dance moves and bedazzled bodysuits combined.

Guest star grade:

Britney Spears = C
Her approximately 30 seconds of screen time didn't leave her much time to do anything, but at least she didn't have to try to be funny (See: "How I Met Your Mother," season 3, episode 13.)

John Stamos = B
The former "Full House" star gets props for this exchange:

Santana: "Can I just say you are the hottest dentist I've ever seen?"
Stamos, a.k.a. Carl: "Yeah, I get that a lot."

Set list:
"I'm a Slave 4 U" -- Britney Spears
"Me Against the Music" -- Britney Spears feat. Madonna
"...Baby One More Time" -- Britney Spears
"Stronger" -- Britney Spears
"Toxic" -- Britney Spears
"The Only Exception" -- Paramore

Click here to submit photos and see a "Glee" gallery of readers channeling their favorite pop icons.

...and if they're still stuck in your head, some of the songs from last night:

Artie's version of stronger, with a little help from the football team -- who clearly haven't shied away from singing and dancing, even after last season's "Single Ladies" incident:

Mr. Schue tries to prove he's cool when he joins the glee club with "Toxic" at a school assembly:

Brittany and Santana embrace their inner Britney and Madonna for "Me Against the Music":

In a new take on "I'm a Slave 4 U," Brittany goes through a wide range of famous Britney Spears costumes.

By Lisa de Moraes  | September 29, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Glee  
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Next: Britney Spears on "Glee" attracts 13.5 million people

Comments

I know this is just a TV column, but "delivered with her usual deadpan flare"? I think that "flare" might be a "flash in the (dead)pan."

Homophone alert! Try "flair" instead.

Posted by: nan_lynn | September 29, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

I mean really honestly? Why do we really care? Its more vegetative mindless TV. Its up there with the latest "Who not fat?" or "Who needs 15 seconds of fame?" shows. Its like that dead horse that just wont stay down. She just really needs to go back into her cave and stay there. A great many of us just don't care. Yet even many more still seem somehow attracted to this. We vote for someone like Bush not just once but twice only to leave us with the worst economy since the depression and yet we haven't learned from our mistakes and the same people who watch this crap will go out and vote us right back to where we were 3 years ago. With a republican run majority that put us here to begin with. Its incredibly sad. Shut off your TV's and pick up a book and paper and pay attention to whats going on around you people... please...

Posted by: julianowens | September 29, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Sheesh Julian, give it a break. What is TV but some mindless fun? Sorry, if you wanted intellectual stimulation, you went to the wrong place. Try PBS, or better, read your book. Quit hatin' on the rest of us who find the show entertaining.

Posted by: steveinWashington | September 29, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Santana: "you can drill me anytime"

Posted by: bdean1 | September 29, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Julianowens is a doody head.

Posted by: kbockl | September 29, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Britney Spears actually has a song called 'It's Me Against The Music'? Man, some jokes just write themselves...

Posted by: LP20041 | September 29, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Ummm...I'm a Liberal Democrat, who marched and campaigned against Bush, and is puzzled at those who think "socialism" is a bad thing. I'm also a news junkie, to the point that I can recognize David Gergen's voice from the other room, over the sound of my washing machine. And I love "Glee". Please, do you really think that Tea Party voters are solely responsible for the popularity of a show featuring gay actors, cross-dressing, and a teen pregnancy? Lighten up. Even those of us who fret over the disastrous consequences of returning the GOP to power are allowed some brain candy from time to time (bringing us full circle to Will's plotline from last night!)

Anyone else wondering what happened to the Quinn/Mercedes BFF-ship from last season? More Mercedes, please!

Posted by: vathena | September 29, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Why is this show still on? Who is watching it?

Posted by: forgetthis | September 29, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

jeez, only on WaPo could a review of "Glee" generate two political rants.

BTW, the reason Socialism is bad is that governments are notoriously bad at picking economic winners. It is too far on the side of collective rights, thereby reducing individual rights and freedoms. When too many people rely on the government as a source of goods and services, there is too much power concentrated in government. And I don't mean that in a "Big Brother is evil" Libertarian way, I mean that in the times that government is rendered ineffective due to say, a natural disaster or perhaps a cyber attack, people who are dependant on government aid won't be able to help themselves and there will be no community based sources of help.

Ok, make that three political rants!

Posted by: David90 | September 29, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Wow, vathena, are you me? I could have written every word of that.

Posted by: Janine1 | September 29, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I thought that the WaPo was going to have weekly chats on Glee but I don't see one listed. Did I misunderstand?

Posted by: ConnieCubsFan | September 29, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

It wasn't one of my favorite Glee episodes that's for sure. I honestly have never been a fan of Britney Spears, but I did enjoy Toxic. The best part of the episode was the end where Rachel did the Paramore song.

Posted by: tfisher1 | September 29, 2010 11:46 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 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Something tells me julianowens spends more time each day making hyperbolic comments on forums and news stories than I spend watching TV.

Posted by: jw703 | September 29, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Hang on, is ths the same Britney wotsit who had some song ages ago about being hit all the time? Wasn't she proven to be a dead loss singer on You tube? I wonder if she uses autotune? In any case, I thought she was long gone.

Posted by: davsthoughts | September 29, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Yes, great, but can Brittany Spears still write music? Can she tour? Can she dance? Can she resurrect a career with fans turning to buy Lady Gaga albums?

Brittany and Christina have lost their Mickey Mouse edge. This generation has turned to Lady Gaga. Go back to Louisiana, Spears. Babysit with your sister.

Thomas Chi
Author
Selling Sex with Sarah Palin

Posted by: thomaschiinc | September 29, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The episode was ok. It would be nice if they would identify the song when it starts. Like The Real World does.

Posted by: Iceman_63 | September 29, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Santana + Britney S. Pears -- greatest duo on TV today!!

Posted by: newrussianguy | September 29, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"Sheesh Julian, give it a break. What is TV but some mindless fun?"

In Julianowens defense, too much mindless TV appears to give rise to mindless voters who voted for a mindless president...TWICE!

And now mindlessly ignorant voters, of which there are way too many...are actually entertaining the idea of going back to the greedy mindless policies that snowballed out economy so deep and hard that our current leadership is struggling...and will for a while still...to stop it and reverse it.

Our current President DID NOT cause the loss of over 2 million American jobs in the last 3 months of his predecessor's term!

Go ahead and enjoy your mindless entertainment....just don't vote with the same low level of intelligence.

That is all.

Posted by: postgettingworse | September 29, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Okay, enough with all this elitist snobbery of PBS vs normal television. Over 100 years from now, who knows what will stick to the academic mindset. I recall the Restoration period in English Literature which is ripe with quite a few similar brainless quips and funny zinger that are still being read to this day. I personally enjoy watching Pop Culture.

Posted by: poetblu | September 29, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Brittany? Hilarious.
Britney? Forgettable (as usual).
Britney's "music"? Way too much of a bad thing.
What really rankled was the blatant product placement -- Britney's perfume commercial (after she appears for the first time) and an ad for Corvettes (after Mr. Shue impulsively buys one).
Worst. "Glee." Ever. And I'm usually a big fan!

Posted by: spencer331 | September 29, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Go ahead and enjoy your mindless entertainment....just don't vote with the same low level of intelligence.

That is all."

Fine, we get it. But really, I don't think the "Glee"-watching demographic was responsible for 2000 and 2004. So please go take your lecturing to a "Bachelor" chat or something.

Posted by: Janine1 | September 29, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Julia is right. People who watch this drivel and think and of it matters should not be allowed to vote. And SteveinWashinton: "hatin'" is not a verb or even a word for that matter.

Posted by: retabroad | September 29, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Maybe people who like to waste their time sniping at commenters on chats about a show that they pride themselves on hating shouldn't be allowed to vote.

Seriously, you don't know anything about me or anyone else here. You don't know how much time I spend reading and talking about politics and policy, how much of it I studied in college and grad school, how much of it I've handled in my career, or how much time I've spent working on campaigns. You don't know whether I could talk circles around you on substance. All you know is that I happen to like a little entertainment too, often in the form of a show that's sometimes funny, sometimes sweet, and usually hummable. No one is asking you to like it, but what a sad, bored, angry person you must be to begrudge (and judge) the rest of us for it.

Posted by: Janine1 | September 29, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I always wonder about people who feel the need to post and:

Announce that the subject is lame, boring, irrelevant or stupid.

Ask 'who cares'

Jump all over people to tell them that TV, pop music, or whatever they consider 'beneath them' is what's wrong with America and that people who enjoy it are mindless drones who shouldn't vote.

To those people I say, cram it. If you don't care, don't watch, think it's stupid just carry your a$$ to the section of the paper that you DO care about. You're not winning friends and changing minds; you're pi$$ing people off with your holier than thou attitude.

By the way, the episode rocked and Heather Morris has an amazing body and is a fantastic dancer.

Posted by: onlytheshadowknows1 | September 29, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the 'see-through, sequin-encrusted bodysuit of her 2000 MTV VMAs performance' is from her Toxic filmclip and is one of Britney's most iconic film clip moments. A quick google could have told you that.

Posted by: pinkascanbe | September 29, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

My vote for choice quote: "You have more vests than the cast of Blossom." Sue Sylvester and the singing keeps the show entertaining.

Posted by: CHP33 | September 29, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I feel like Glee is going the way of Popular, the previous show of the creators. Popular started off strong with iconic characters, but was canceled in its second season because those characters were abandoned in favor of whacky plot twists. I don't mean the actors were abandoned, but that the nerdy girl and the popular girl who started out as huge enemies became best friends... and then became enemies again, and none of it happened organically. I'm keeping an eye on Glee to see if they do a similar disservice to the backstories that got them here.

Posted by: crashinghero | September 29, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Glee has been delightful. It was fun to see the stupid cheerleader show such talent. But this particular show was trashy. I'm not interested in that. Britney Spears is not interesting and neither is her music "iconic". If Glee continues in the trashy vein...they'll lose us. We won't watch.

Posted by: ProudAmerican1 | September 29, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

"I always wonder about people who feel the need to post and:
Announce that the subject is lame, boring, irrelevant or stupid."

I can tell you about them -- they have mental issues. Apparently, if you have a bad president like Bush, you are never supposed to watch comedies or musicals again, or god forbid, talk about them if you do.

This ep was not one of my fave episodes of Glee. I don't think Spears has any good music besides Toxic, and just seeing characters recreate her videos didn't do it for me. Besides, the fabulous Lea Michele singing in that awful Britney Spears child-woman style was a waste of talent. Having the students lust after the teacher during an assembly was just too weird. I'd be happy if they are done with these theme shows.

BTW, thank goodness they were doing "Old School Britney costumes" because her new outfits are mostly ill fitting cheetos stained track suits.

Posted by: msame | October 1, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I loved seeing Britney - hope this is the start of a career resurrection. Also, I think the Glee remake of the video for "I'm a Slave 4 U" was a big improvement on the original.

FYI you can watch that video at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFj70tmk-Is

Posted by: sceneontvblog | October 4, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

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