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Glee Review: Oops, They Did a Tribute Episode Again

by at . Comments

Don't hate me, Gleeks. But this was a terrible episode.

There was no plot, no flow, no attempt at storytelling whatsoever. Heck, "Brittany/Britney" wasn't even an episode of television. It was mostly just a mash-up of music videos, as various Glee characters did their best Britney Spears imitations.

Brittany S. Pierce

For about 30 seconds, it was very cool and impressive to see how well Heather Morris could pull off Britney. But about halfway into "I'm a Slave 4 U," I realized: I don't wanna see these actors impersonate a famous pop star; I wanna see them act as the characters I've grown to love, singing something that relates to whatever they are thinking or feeling, based on current storylines, relationships, etc.

The best Glee numbers connect the material to the characters in a very personal way. But most of these covers existed solely because there actually was a Facebook campaign for a Britney Spears episode. For perhaps the first time in television history, it's as if the fans wrote an episode - and the result was a mess of musical numbers that never came together at any point.

In its previous tribute episode, "The Power of Madonna," Glee didn't lose track of its storytelling. There were actually a few major developments, most prominently Finn sleeping with Santana and Rachel deciding not to do the same with Jesse. Each song helped to move the plot forward.

But, ironically, Rachel's rendition of "The Only Exception" was the only example of a similar single this week... and it was the only non-Britney cover of the hour! Moreover, every cameo of Britney herself felt out of place and forced.

Still, thanks to one number and a few memorable one-liners, there were some highlights:

  • The group's performance of "Toxic" was one of the show's best to date. Ideally, this would have been the only Britney number. The episode could have kept the premise of Will refusing to take on Spears, only to eventually cave and show off for Emma in the same manner.
  • Sue taught Becky how to make a citizen's arrest? Amazing.
  • Every line out of Brittany's mouth was funnier than the previous one. ("This room looks like that room on that spaceship when I got probed.")

What did you think of the episode? Were you happy to just sit back and let the show pay tribute to Britney Spears for an hour, or would you prefer a more organic feel to songs that fit into the grander story?

Review

Editor Rating: 1.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.2 / 5.0 (310 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Heather morris can't sing. Period. She should just stick to swaying in the background, looking sexy, and stupid one liners. That's her talent. Her voice is flat in EVERY performance she's ever done. I'm sorry, but she has NO vocal talent. She's an excellent dancer, and they should keep it that way, so that people like Amber Riley, who ACTUALLY have talent get to shine. This emphasis on Brittney's character in the second season completely takes away from all the things that made Glee work in season 1. Now it's just commercialized crap, popular songs and cheap laughs with absolutely no plot development.

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Firstly, SHIT you guys write long comments. Secondly, though the episodes premise wasnt gripping, it did have minor plot developments and major character developments. This episode was designed simply to show off Heather Morris' hilarity and dancing skill. It achieved that. This episode wasnt the biggest in plot, but it wasnt nearly the overdone trainwreck you've all made it out to be. I personally loved it.

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Too much hype. Not as good as the Madonna episode.

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i liked this episode a lot! I really liked how the main plot was how the cast were "not allowed" to perform britney songs and then the normal subplots expanded from there. I thought it was sharp how the directors and writers captured that essence of britney spears, the whole angst of not being allowed to watch, listen, or idolize britney and how the writers mirrored that same feeling between the cast and will. Many of the glee assignments and episode plots have to do with our pop culture and current views on society and this episode nailed what was a cultural phenomenon for many of the fans of glee (that fall in between the ages of 20-25 now) Its dance sequences with sex ripping out the seams, its mash up of britney scenes and videos, it all helps to aptly tell the story of that tension of growing up with such a sexually charged icon. Also all the glee members ironically use britney as a source of strength and confidence again commenting on our culture, as most people say she is an inappropriate role model.
Glee, like other number shows is amazing because it uses the show as a vehicle to critique and comment society and culture, and britney is part of our culture, like it or not.
i think this episode was amazing.

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Amadeus is your real name Chris Crocker?
You say tvfanatic should be "more objective" yet you go on about Spears as though she's the second coming. She's released a couple of good songs but she didn't write them herself, doesn't have the best voice and certainly isn't the best dancer in the world.
You are clearly a fan so you're hardly being unbiased yourself, be honest. She probably could have come on set and farted and you'd have praised her for 'being brave'.
It was a weak episode, and a lot of the sub-plots from it could have been easily played out to the same conclusion without the needless fawning over Ms Spears and using her music as some sort of genius song writing (it's one thing having the Glee kids going gaga over Madonna and the huge things she has done for pop music, I'm not a fan of her and even I can acknowledge the legacy she's created, but let's face it Britney hasn't done a huge amount compared to her and other great artists, she didn't create a new sound, start a music revolution or do anything for female empowerment that wasn't already taking place by other more talented artists).
Her songs were irrelevant to what was going on (except Artie's), it was just a PR thing and an attempt to get Britney some good press for a change (rather than commenting on her bad weave or what hideous fashion disaster she's having).
I'm not saying there weren't some funny moments in it (there were, I laughed a few times) but they were easily outnumbered by the dull, badly written moments.
Painstakingly recreating music videos is not what Glee is about, and not adding anything to them either makes it even worse (at least with Vogue there was humour written into it and changing the lyrics to suit the character/situation).
Heather Morris is an amazing dancer, and she has a good voice too but her talent and the most interesting part of her character is her personality and none of that came out through recreating some music videos, she needs better writing to showcase her not this stuff.
And Lea Michele has an amazing voice but her recreating Hit me baby one more time was excrutiating to watch as it was so beneath her. She could have dressed provocatively and pressed Finn's buttons without lowering herself, using a much more suitable rolemodel/artist.
I find it hard to believe most teens these days view Britney the same way the kids in this show did as some sort of musical genius, she is and always was bubblegum pop who as she got older took more clothes off.
I wouldn't defend M.L. House unless they were speaking some spark of truth (I've disagreed before on their reviews of other shows when I feel they're been unfair, I don't think this review IS unfair, for once).

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Well, the writer of this article must've been on a hot date with their platonic love while watching this episode to have missed so manny important points. First of all, it was a tribute episode! For all I know, it could've had ZERO story-telling and still be succesful! Who says that if it's not a good story then it's not good TV?! If you want story-telling, u can go to the next book-reading For your information, TV isn't just story-telling: TV is ENTERTAINMENT! And that's what this episode was: pure entertainment as a homage to one of the greatest entertainers of recent times.
That said, the episode did manage to advance some plot moves. Most importantly it was Brittany's well-deserved catapult into the spot-light. Let us remember that being this an episode mainly dedicated to Brittany (the episode's name was Brittany/Britney), it had to reflect who she really is. Needless to say, Brittany is a rather "simple-minded" character :) Then, there was no point in developing a complex plot line around a character who wouldn't understand it herself. Yet the episode squeezed in a few interesting subplots, the most relevant of them all, in my oppinion, being Rachel's Britney-inspired play on Finn's insecurities, which eventually led to Finn's public affirmation of his love for Rachel, which despite how cheesy I find these two characters, I thought this was nicely done. I for a moment thought Quinn was getting back to her mean-girl days when she approached Finn; but she's obviously grown passed that. LOVED it when we found out otherwise. Well done writers! That was totally unexpected! Anyway, the episode had other highlights, mostly low-key but still inspired by great music, such as Artie's rendition of Stronger: well-done! great vocals and really unexpected (even though I'm also not a fan of the idea of him being in the football team; but for the record, this idea didn't come up in this episode.) There was also Will's finding the balance between the person who he really is and the person who he thinks others (namely Emma) want him to be. Again a move inspired by the music, by Britney Spears music, one that came about by experimenting (which is how we humans find balances in our lives); and boy did he not experiment with that car (LOVED his ex's sudden appearance!) and then his awesome performance of Toxic alongside Brittany and the rest of the cast...
And I couldn't finish this review without dedicating a few more words to Heather Morris, the dancer-turned-actress who plays Brittany. Amazing performance. No, I do not believe she did better than Miss Spears herself. But I doubt that anyone in the future will ever pull off a better imitation of the pop icon that is Britney Spears. Her vocals were actually right-on; her dancing was evidently top-notch; and did anyone notice her facial expressions?! I mean, one of the reasons we've loved Britney Spears as a performer has been the intense charisma and sexual energy she projects. Miss Morris really must've been possessed by Britney Spears to pull off those performances! Brittany WAS Britney! So, congratulations! Can't wait to see more!
Finally, back to those criticizing, and mainly, back to the author of this article. Please be more objective when you open your mouth or write something. Remember that as a main-stream blogger you actually have an influence on people and it is unfortunate that this influence is negatively-charged and it only inspires unfounded skepticism and resentment. People like to criticize for the sake of criticizing, just like they criticize anything Britney Spears related because somehow they think it's the cool thing to do without thinking about what they are saying and the implications it may have. It's like those people who criticize our President, again without good objective reasons, simply because the like to be bitter and criticize in instead of getting involved and trying to help a common end... Anyway... I'll leave it at that.
Congratulations again to the writers and producers of Glee, to Miss Britney Spears for her constant achievements, and to the cast of the show for such great heart-pouring performances. I look forward to seeing you guys week after week, when after a long day of work I go home, sit, relax, and watch an entertaining show that puts a smile on my face... Or rather, makes me wanna sing again, dance, and burst a big laugh!

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Awful episode, epic fail for Glee. For me, this is the bar none the worst episdoe they have ever done. This episode is not what this show is about. Way too much Heather Morris in this episode depsite her dancing ability. Glee is MUCH MUCH better then this, let's hope Ryan Murphy doesn't ruin this show as well.

Buckeyebabe11

okay so i dont exactly agree with this review. yeah it was weird with all the hallucinations but i thought it was awesome the way brittany danced, she made me laugh the whole way through. they needed to breakout her character and what better way to do that then having her dance her butt off to britney spears.
i am a huge fan of finchel and i loved how they ended the episode especially with rachel singing the only exception and the part where finn stops talking to santana and britt to go and walk with her.
i thought it was a hilarious episode, and i cant wait for next weeks.

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I worry for Glee. Being a fan of Heroes and having to endure it's painful demise due to the writers seemingly paying more attention to the viewers than what was best for the show I fear Glee is going the same way.
The Madonna was a great exception to the rule of doing tribute type episodes cos it moved characters forwards and actually had something to say (not to mention it didn't feel as though she was intruding on the show and completely taking over) with this episode it was as if Britney was suffocating everything and the fact that they were all so sick-makingly positive about her and not in the least bit critical made it so hard to swallow, this episode was purely for Britney Spears to get back in the public eye in a positive way by jumping on the Glee bandwagon. I mean she even had to beg on Twitter to make they consider her, it's all a bit pathetic really. She may have had a recent #1 or whatever but the music industry isn't what it was anyway, who knows who's number 1 EVERY week these days?
There were some great one liners in this show and clearly a whole mass of talent in the cast, but throwing almost nothing but Britney Spears's tat into the mix wasn't well thought through at all (Heather's showcasing could have been written much better than just making her recreate some tired music videos, the highlights were msotly her one liners anyway, even if she is an awesome dancer).
The songs had nothing to do with plot or character development (apart from Rachel and Artie's, the latter I actually really enjoyed, although getting on the football team plot was pretty stupid, I liked him trying to show Tina he was moving on and trying to better himself, even if it was by doing something so unrealistic and idiotic).
Instead of just trying to capitalise on her biggest cash cows they could have picked songs that would evolve the plot (and the Britney cameos, while refreshing that they actually didn't make her sing and look a total state next to the talented cast, were just an intrusion on my personal Glee experience dsitracting from the world of McKinley High).
I was most disappointed by '...Baby one more time' because Lea Michele usually slaughters the originals of practically everything she sings and yet in this episode she had become an annoying harpie who was painful to watch trying to mimick Britney who is clearly inferior to her talent-wise. I can't believe of that episode her performance was the one I hated the most, she's usually my favourite.
The writers need to pull their socks up, this was dreadful.

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I look forward to Glee every week. I thought the first episode (last week) was lame - this one was the worst episode of the series in my opinion. The character of Kurt was beyond annoying, Sue - who I adore - was too over the top. Hope they aren't losing their creativity. And I agree with the review, why did they have to do each routine as an imitation of a Spears video...weird and rather boring.