Glee 4x02 - Britney 2.0

Ugh, I can't with this one...

I'm sorry, but the writing was on the wall the moment this one went into production. Because there are three things we know about the current state of Britney Spears and her last homage on Glee:

(1) You might not know this - it's been pretty discreet - but Ms. Spears is a regular judge on the X-Factor, which airs on...you guessed it, FOX. Clumsy cross-promotion? Do I really have to say it?

(2) The last Britney Spears episode in season two had 15 million viewers, second only to the Football episode that aired after the Superbowl. I am sensing an ulterior motive here.

(3) The aforementioned episode was panned critically and remains one of the worst episodes to this day and one of the first (at the time, mind you) "jump the shark" moments.

So, what does it say about the Glee producers that they went down this route again? Exactly what no one watching this show wants to hear...that they care about viewers and ratings (and as it turns out, downloads given the song list) in lieu of the show's potential quality. And right out the gate, the feel of the show seemed like an ongoing effort to prove to the audience that they can do a Britney homage justice just like they did Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston. That just strikes me as petulant. Face it, Ryan Murphy...the first Britney episode sucked and it was the first strike against the show that was largely impervious to criticism up until then. Your fault, time to move on...

Fail 2.0

The one highlight of the last Britney episode was the reveal that Heather Morris could churn out a high-impact dance number without so much as a second-thought. "Hold It Against Me" was not bad by any means, but it was a far cry from "I'm A Slave 4 U" and the "Me Against the Music" numbers she nailed on the last go-around.

That Darren Criss/Kevin McHale song download mash-up made me scoff at the smell of money (and it was pretty bad to boot). "Womanizer" was decently staged, but made no EFFING sense considering Marley's turnaround three seconds after the song ended and after New Puck stared at her like he was looking for anthrax on her body. "3" was completely forgettable.

I know this is somewhat dismissive on my part, but I don't buy this. For a whole episode supposed to be about Britney, they sure did a lot to drown out the Britney of this song (not to mention, make fun of her downward spiral she endured over the last decade). It's one thing to reinterpret the number and/or mash it up with another number - it's quite another to do a completely different-sounding song who's only connection to the original is a song lyric or four. The Glee version of "Don't Stop Believin" turned an 80's rock song into an acapella number - and EVEN THEN the original was called to mind.

While I can admit that this song was better then her last Britney outing, sexy and sultry are just not the way to maximize Lea Michele's talents. I don't want to push her into a corner of what she can and can't pull off - because out of everyone on the show, she has the most range running the gamut from diva ballads to rapping even - but they should know that this style of song doesn't suit her by now.

Also, that smoke machine guy was tearing ass across the floor. Blink and you miss it - he's my new favorite.

If I wasn't hating this episode with a passion by this point, this song would have just thrusted me over that fence. Because Brittany eating cheetos while lip-syncing and performing was a funny idea, the whole thing turned out to be an uncomfortable DISASTER as their attempt of  farce fell flat on its ass.

Easily the best of the episode (even thought that is not saying much). The staging is cliche as hell, but Marley's voice was a good suit for "Everytime."

As far as the story this episode...meh. The new format of the show took a heavy blow as far as I am concerned. We're two episodes in and Rachel's longing for Finn doesn't have the same punch as it used to do because Finn has yet to have a scene. Santana's scene was bleh and Puck's scene was a contrived mess and more of the same, "I learned how to be a man in Glee club" (Really Puck?). On the one hand, they tried to integrate the graduates, Finn withstanding, as naturally into the story as possible, which surprises me because I anticipated the new format would be "<Insert Senior Here> is back after being gone X episodes and effectively guest starring for the episode before leaving and almost never getting mentioned again." Wasn't anyone a little surprised that Santana and Puck didn't get a number this week or that much camera time?

Have you done your
sit-ups on a park bench today?!
On the other hand, the new kids and returning side characters are not carrying the show all that well. Ryan Murphy's new love triangle makes me nauseous and serves as an all too direct response to Puckleberry shippers by having McKinley High's new Rachel and Puck flirt and long for eachother with new Quinn in the picture. The fact that they already have become a ship so soon is pathetic. And while I don't mind Heather Morris moving to the forefront of main characters, her role as a comedic relief side character gets exhausted way to fast when she is at the forefront. Let her have a few one-liners and a dance number, maybe two, an episode. Let Blaine, Artie, Tina and Sam do the heavy lifting on the home front, with a little Brittany, Joe and Wade on the side (and some Marley and Jake if they are so insistent on happening). All of that serve as a counterpoint to Rachel and Kurt in New York, whos scenes still have untapped potential.

And by the way, Kate Hudson's Patti Lupone-esque freakout was pretty funny on their part and particularly awesome for anyone who got the reference (or at least that is what I think they were referencing).

So yes, I loathed most of the episode...but I am not upset by it considering the fact I correctly anticipated I was going to loathe the episode. It make take some work to edit "Britney Fail 2.0" out of my recollection, but there's still that hope from last week's Glee that they will start churning out great numbers and make a go at having a story that's actually appealing.

Video Credits: MrGleekos7, GleeOnFox on YouTube
Photo Credit: Glee/FOX via Wetpaint.com, TVAddict.com

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