You know what? I was nervous about this Britney Spears-centric episode of Glee. I was among those who thought last season's Gaga-rific "Theatricality" was a messy handjob of an episode and I didn't know if the Glee universe needed to take another hour to treat a pop star like a living saint.
But last week's solid episode wasn't a fluke. Despite what the haters are saying I'm calling last night's
For so many reasons.
Everything I want in a Glee episode was on display last night. First, the adult-oriented poignant stuff that I thought were being excised was front and center. Will's personality crisis and coping with the potential loss of Emma was more mature stuff than Glee was handing out at the end of last season (I'm not saying it's Six Feet Under, but it's something). It was great seeing Will trying to charm, sing and dance his way out of discomfort and having it all land with a thud. His sparkly optimism and boyish grin have become sort of old hat and that was refreshing. Part of the reason this storyline worked so well was that the writers finally seem to know what to do with former problem-characters (and personal favorites) Emma and Terri. Emma was more than the sum of her tics this time out, shifting from a doormat of a character to someone acting like an adult. For her part, Terri wasn't the screechy bore she became pretty quickly in season one, but a villain with some panache. I dug it.
Um, also, fucking John Stamos. That guy owned every scene he was in. I didn't think of Uncle Jesse once all episode.
So yeah, I'm super glad all that stuff was happening but nobody really tuned in to see Will crying in his car. This was The Britney Spears Episode and Britney had to be in effect. Thanks to nitrous oxide everyone is having Britney dreams that mirror her music videos shot by shot. I went back and forth between loving this gag and getting tired of it. Like, I was totally into Brittany's first dream and Santana joining her for "Me Against the Music". Then Rachel was in "Baby One More Time" and I was like "ehhhh" and then Lea Michelle fucking owned like she always does so I'll allow it. Then Artie had his super-awesome version of "Stronger"! Remember last season when I thought they'd run out of ways to use Artie? Me either! He's obviously the football team's singing battering ram. Mike Chang and Tina's Asian fusion has given him purpose again.
Having almost all the musical numbers take place in dreams let Glee be even more over-the-top than usual and it was great. Plus all the auto-tuning that they do finally didn't sound as out of place. And "Only Exception" was a killer ending number.
I also was worried that giving Brittany more to do than a few choice lines would be a problem but that ruled too. The way she deadpanned lines like "It's Brittany, bitch" was out of control.
So yeah, I'm gonna stop spooging all over and throw it to you. I was all about this episode but other people on the internet seem divided. Was this the Glee that you want to see? What about those shot-for-shot video remakes? Was there not enough Britney or too much? Does the Emma/Will stuff bore the shit out of you?
Stray notes and quotes
Glee is the only show on television to mention Christopher Cross in the last decade. I'm sure of it.
Hey, those annoying bully characters showed up for a second. They were used pretty well, too, I thought.
"I'm a Slave 4 U" is the most underrated Britney single.
"How can you get caught between the moon and New York City? They're like a hundred miles apart!"
Proper wiping: Easy as 1-2-3
I Still Breastfeed... But How Old is Too Old?
Wow! There's a Hair Down There!
"When I smile I look like an adult baby but with boobs."
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!