Glee Review: Oops, They Did a Tribute Episode Again

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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?


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+.


what i didnt like was how 90% of the songs were dream sequences. I hate dream sequences and it would have been much better if they were actually singing the songs.


I do not believe this review. The episode was amazing , one of the best so far , way better than the Madonna one. I LOVED IT!!! plus the last song really borred me and even if I love Lea Michelle I hate how she has to squize her face so hard to make a tear come out, she was trying too hard to look emotional during this song and i really didn´t like that part


I enjoyed this episode (but also admit I love Spears). In a way, this episode was an answer to some criticism that the Lady Gaga episode hardly contained any Gaga. It makes me wonder if the growing up to Britney comment wasn't true of the actors and actresses of the Glee cast, who may have all campaigned to do this song or that song (since you're right that they did seem to select the most iconic to recreate like dress-up). If you think about it, songs like "Crazy" or "Sometimes" or "Lucky" or even "What U See (Is What U Get)," "Don't Go Knockin' On My Door," or "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart" all would have more easily lent themselves to a more tied-in blend of song and story-line. In a way, due to controversies with social issues in the past, this episode may have been a kind of test of how to blend music and just enough plot to keep it going. And there were some plot moments handled very well, almost in effective shorthand metaphors (like the change in Rachel's dress and a boyfriend's reaction and his wanting back on the football team and Rachel's almost Terri-like self-interest; I liked that Kurt pushed Mr. Schue's buttons, sort of like a real teacher's buttons might be pushed, and got sent to the principal). What I didn't like was the "looks like a Jewish cloud" reporter guy who was creepy and gross. It wasn't bad what they did with him last episode, especially clever way to start the new season with a kind of recap ... but just because there might have been some positive fan comments on him last year doesn't mean he should be so obnoxious to the weekly story-episode this year.


i'm absolutely amazed by this review, i came here to read all the compliments they should have made to the episode, instead i see the reviewer gave it 1,7/5 stars, this is ridiculous
glee is about the music, i have been complaining about the lack of plot for a very long timeand i gave up last week when i saw things are not gonna change, so why being critical now? at least this week brittany cracked us up at least 10 times, the music was great, everything was extravagant and fun, and we still had plot developments(even if we cannot help but rolling our eyes everytime a character gives us a moral lesson, as if we were too stupid to get that just by the character's actions)surrounding will(worst character on the show IMO)rachel and artie.
first time i give a 5/5 stars. keep it up glee


I thought it was a great episode. They kept the new characters to a minimum (and come on, who doesn't love John Stamos?), the music was great, and Brittany was hilarious. No, there may not have been a whole lot of plot, but that was fine. It was a fun episode.


I do agree too.
I like Britney Spears (no die hard fan though) because most of her songs are fun and catchy and I just feel like moving whenever I hear them but I didn't need to see those renditions that had no real "glee touch" compared to the original and not to mention the ridiculous cameos.
Of course Heather Morris is an AMAZING dancer but there are so many other ways to showcase her talent.
Don't tell me "if you don't like it, don't watch it" because I really truly like Glee and I have faith in what they can come up with but I cannot praise for the sake of it when with all the potential (possible storyline, talented actor, unique concept) they do so little. As a fan of the show I would wisely advise the writers and creators to STOP listening to us... The 13 first episodes were the best and they shot them before receiving fans'feedback


@ML House: I see your point that the songs were mostly Britney videos, but that was kind of the point. They were supposed to be each kids fantasy under anesthesia. It wasnt supposed to be a plot developer like some other songs in past episodes or "Only Exception" at the end of this one. Also, on the Artie/football team thing: Clearly it's not logical for a kid in a wheelchair to be able to play football. But why does that mean he cant be on the team. Just b/c they have some idea of him being a "battering ram" or something, doesnt mean he will actually have any play time. Artie has the same mentality that Becky does for being a Cheerio: Just b/c they are handicapped doesnt mean they have to be excluded. They want to be part of a team. All in all, I really liked this episode. I loved the dancing and dialogue from Brittany. It was awesome! I want them to do a boy band episode, and pick 1 song from each of the famous boy bands from the past. Maybe Justin Timberlake can do his cameo on that episode :)


I love Britney and I love Glee. Sure, this wasn't the absolute best episode ever and I do agree that they should have at least found a plot, but it was a very fun episode to watch. Brittany had NEVER been funnier, Spears looked absolutely stunning, and come on, James Stamos was awesome! I feel they put one too many Spears songs in and it's why they didn't have enough time for "acting" and a "plot" but honestly, again, this was a very fun episode to watch!


Toxic was great but that reporter guy in the brown shirt needed to shut it. he kind of ruined the number for me with his gross remarks. and what was up with his scene in the library? was he listening to a recording of rachel or was she actually there...? and i agree, the dentist thing was a little far fetched, but i am glad i got to see brittany dance finally because she was awesome.


Ah, I totally forgot to mention the comparison to the second episode of season 1, you know, "Push it"? Seeing Mr. Schue doing Toxic (which was suuper hot, I'm totally in love with him now. And that number, Puck and Mike where smokin'!) with the club really made you realize what a slut he's become, lol! But my point was seeing how the season progresses along the same line as season one. Is episode 5 going to be invitationals?
Also, kudos to Emma and her grape line: "We just mixed them in a bowl together and just ate them. It was madness, sheer madness!" Jayma Mays is awesome.

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Glee Season 2 Episode 2 Quotes

Will: Who can tell me who Christopher Cross is?
Brittany: He discovered America.

I love that look of instant panic each time I try to change your routine.