'Glee's' Britney Tribute: A Masterpiece or a Total Mess?
'Glee's' Britney Tribute: A Masterpiece or a Total Mess?
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
After spewing my unequivocal love all over my recap of last night's Glee Britney episode, this morning I woke up to a string of emails from friends arguing over the highs, lows and relative merits of the tribute episode.

Even for Glee's most die-hard fans (I would definitely count these friends among that group, since, as I mentioned, we maintain an active Glee email list-serve), the hour was divisive on a number of levels.

While everyone agreed that Heather Morris stole the night, some worried that letting her star shine too brightly, and too many one-liners, could result in a Brittany overdose. Some found the hallucinations to be pure, enjoyable fun, and were thrilled (and, in Jacob's words, "titillated") by the replica Britney music videos. Others called them contrived, and wanted more original, and better integrated, songs that fit into the storyline. (Which then begged the question: What storyline?) And that whole thing with Will acting like a clueless, demented teen? It may have set up a killer performance of "Toxic," but at what cost? In my friend Thayer's words, "I actually liked Will singing for once, although I wanted to stab his character."

We've got plenty of BuddyTV users on both sides of the fence about the Britney tribute as well. Some of your comments on the recap so far: "It was trying too hard." "Brit killed it!" "I can't process the episode yet." "Extremely hot Santana saved it for me."

Where you stand on the Britney-inspired hour seems to depend on a few factors: How much you relate to Britney Spears' back catalog; how much you love Heather Morris and her character, Brittany; whether you were willing to forgive the set-up and sacrifice plot to make way for the kids' Britney vision-videos; and whether you judged those performances to be spectacular enough to make up for the lack of rhyme, reason or rhythm in the storyline.

If you felt neutral or negative about any one of these factors, you probably came away from the episode feeling confused, like you'd just been tossed around in a Britney tornado and lost your Glee bearings in the process. If you felt negative about all four, you probably hated it--as so many critics have come out and said this morning, and as is to be expected after an hour of essentially no story and no character arcs. This is still a TV show, not a karaoke musical revue, and it still needs to make sense.

We're allowed to, and should, level these kinds of criticisms at our favorite shows. One of the great things about Glee is that it's able to be so many things: A musical that can stage big, elaborate tributes to pop icons; a comedy full of hilarious and referential one-liners; a teen drama that explores what it's like to be an insecure outsider. Last night's hour attempted to do it all and fit in three Britney Spears cameos, and it was just too much. We have high expectations, because we've seen Glee do so much more with so much less. Even so, and even though I noticed all the flaws, I still enjoyed the crap out of it--and that's a feeling I get so rarely that I am willing to forgive the rest.

And, not that I'm willing to argue that it was intentional, but on my second viewing of the episode, I actually found myself thinking of it as a Britney tribute on a meta-level: All style, no substance. They don't call it "bubblegum pop" for nothing.

There's plenty to say about last night's jam-packed episode, so tell me down there in those comments: Where do you stand on Glee's Britney Spears tribute?