The natural response to hearing that “Glee” was doing a second Britney Spears tribute was “huh?!” There are plenty of iconic artists who deserve to be honored with an episode of their own before “Britney 2.0.” But thanks to corporate synergy (Have you guys heard that Britney’s a judge on “X Factor”?), hilarious writing and an even funnier performance from Heather Morris, the episode turned out to be the best homage since Season 1’s all-Madonna outing.
It would’ve been annoying if the episode had been another reverent look at the pop star, especially since it would’ve seemed like FOX asked them to promote the woman that cost the network $14 million for her “X Factor” post. But after having seen “Britney 2.0,” and knowing that it didn’t gloss over her head-shaving, umbrella-wielding, Cheetos-eating years, it was kind of amazing. We’re talking download from iTunes, watch it on the regular amazing.
Reason No. 1 for its awesomeness? Morris. She’s not the strongest actress or singer (no disrespect, it’s just true), but girl knows how to deliver a punchline. The great part of the episode was that it gave depth to the girl mostly known for her dumb asides. We feel much more deeply for Brittany now that we know she’s a little less cartoonish and a little more like a regular, struggling teenage girl.
“Glee” will never be a completely realistic show — it’s hard to stay grounded when people spontaneously break into song — so the fact that Brittany’s meltdown after being kicked off the Cheerios mirrored Britney’s breakdown was both kitschy and fun. In the previous Britney tribute, it seemed more like an episode-long music video show with little storyline. Here, the story dictated the song choices. It just felt more cohesive and natural, more like the Madonna episode that we may have watched at least ten times.
The most unrealistic part of the episode, actually, was the fact that Kurt and Rachel are getting that gorgeous, gigantic, exposed brick-lined loft for only $1800. Apartments in Bushwick are cheap, but they’re also usually bed bug-infested garbage dumps. We’ll just assume that it’s a good 15-20 minute walk from the subway.
Speaking of the New York storyline, it wasn’t completely shoehorned in. Although the McKinley adventures were more amusing, we’re not going to say no to Lea Michele getting sexy. Plus, after seeing how well Kate Hudson‘s character handled Rachel lashing out, it made us love her and kind of dread that she’s only got one more episode in her arc. Keep Cassie on “Glee!” The only bad part was seeing how disgustingly flexible and in-shape Hudson is after having two kids, and consequently wondering what we’re doing wrong in life.
Although a ton of the songs had to do with the new kids, it was really the old cast members who made the episode. Jake and Marley have a budding romance, cool. That’ll be fun to watch play out. But did you HEAR that acoustic “3” cover? Flawless. And you can’t deny you laughed audibly when Brittany Britney’d her way through “Gimme More.”
A lot has been made of “Glee” getting back to its roots in Season 4, and after seeing the gang mess up at a pep rally, which you’ll recall they did spectacularly with “Push It” in Season 1, it’s glaringly obvious. And very welcome. The first two episodes have had a fun spark that seemed to be missing in a lot of Season 2 and 3 episodes.
Also: Santana! Puck! What fun surprises.
What did you think of “Britney 2.0” — gratuitous Spears tribute, or welcome back to basics? Has your opinion on the new kids changed at all? What was your favorite song?