ALL THINGS GLEE
Glee, Laughing Gas and Britney Spears
The latest episode of Glee was jam packed full of Britney Spears- or, Britney Spears as induced by laughing gas. New Horizons' ditziest member Brittany enjoyed something of a breakout performance, though she retained plenty of her famously daft one-liners to keep things comical.
Yes, leave it to the nitrous oxide to pave the way for Brittany's breakout show. In the dentist chair, administered by guidance counselor Emma's BF Dr. Carl (played by John Stamos), she goes into a stupor, hallucinating that she's in the shoes of Spears' most memorable outfits. They were all there: the nearly see-through VMAs gown (with snake, I might add), the skin-tight red plastic getup... that showed up too. And might I add, it's refreshing to see Brittany getting some solo time for once. While it's no surprise, she's got a really great voice as well.
So the Britney/Brittany episode goes. All of a sudden, Britney Spears appears in the waning haze of another character's hallucination, imparting a few nuggets of wisdom before dissipating again. Naturally, the club doesn't want to pay tribute to Britney, and Kurt gets especially loud with Will. Later, when Will gets in the dentist chair, Dr. Carl breaks it down, asking him to back off Emma. They reach an understanding, and Dr. Carl tells Will to loosen up, offering him a jar of candy and saying that's probably the reason he never made it with Emma.
Of course, Rachel gets in on the fantasizing fun next, taking a stab at Britney's "Baby One More Time." Unfortunately for Lea Michele, she's a little too heavy on the pout and not savvy enough with the dance moves. I had hopes that the episode wouldn't get swept up in another Rachel-centric fury, since the new voices are a breath of fresh air. But... it looks like Rachel is adopting a Spears wardrobe and upping the sex appeal, so I guess we can throw that out the window. So far the episode seems to be revolving around the mesmerizing effects of dreamboat John Stamos and the underlying desires that Spears provokes. And where's Sue Sylvester?
Next Will takes some of Dr. Carl's advice and tries to woo Emma with a shiny new corvette, but all of a sudden his ex-wife shows up! Telling him not to splurge on pricey items he can't afford, she ultimately tells Will he'll come crawling back to her, and when he does she wants him to have some cash left. Typical.
Meanwhile, Rachel's Britney Spears fantasy causes her to open up, and New Directions, along with much of McKinley High, takes notice. Sue finally makes her presence felt, as she catches the geeky, afroed Jacob pleasuring himself in the library to thoughts of the sexually liberated Rachel. After sitting reprimanding the naked Jacob in her office, she takes her displeasure out on Will, warning him of what Britney Spears does to adolescents. Here we get another classic Sue Sylvester line:
"Don't let your own recklessness blind you to the fact that Britney Spears is a genius pop culture provocateur and a gateway drug to every out of control impulse ever created. This school is a powder keg of sexual deviance, William, and in my office I have a chair with a naked butt sweat stain to prove it... It's like an ink blot test. Stare into it, and go out into the world." Not many mess with Sue Sylvester, but in this case Will goes back to the club and gives them his blessing to tackle whatever Britney Spears songs they like.
Next we finally see a male interpretation of a Spears tune, as Artie sings "Stronger" after hearing the pop superstar tell Tina that she was foolish to break up with "such a sweetheart." The effort is good, but compared to the season opener, the songs in tonight's episode don't feel as connected to the plot, except for the fact that they're all taking place inside the confines of laughing gas fantasies. Artie's hallucination gives him the courage to ask Coach Bieste to reconsider him for the football team. She agrees, and oddly is now ok with the idea of using Artie and his wheelchair as a battering ram against opposing teams.
And it wouldn't be an episode of Glee without Rachel acting like a total diva. She confronts boyfriend Finn after he's invited back onto the football team, and forces him to choose between her and football, saying the only way their relationship will succed is if they're both losers. Not cool, thinks Finn.
The episode wraps up with a truly awesome climax, as New Directions takes their Britney act to the school's auditorium. Principal Figgins warns all students who ate the ravioli today and aren't up to date on their tetanus shots to see the nurse immediately. The club then does a full ensemble version of Toxic, and the crowd goes wild. The crowd goes buck wild, and Jacob, overwhelmed, grabs the ass of the dude in front of him, and then gets punched in the face. A melee ensues, prompting Sue to lose her cool. "It's a Britney Spears sex riot," she cries. Later, sporting a neck brace, she threatens Will with a lawsuit. These two make such perfect enemies.
Finally, Quinn tries to get back with Finn, saying they'd be shoe-ins for Homecoming King and Queen. However, it was all just a ploy by Rachel to see if he really cares. After she realizes he does, she opens up to the club and sings a bittersweet take on Paramore's "The Only Exception." In the closing montage, we see Dr. Carl and Emma cruising off in his corvette, and Will is sad. Things look perfect for Rachel and Finn also, as they keep being super lovey-dovey.
Overall a solid episode, yet it would've been nice to see Britney Spears involved a little bit more aside from the laughing gas delusions. Although, the liberal use of nitrous oxide allowed for the writers to generously play off internet memes like David after Dentist.
NEXT WEEK: Glee finds religion. Finn makes a grilled cheezus, and somehow Kurt's dad ends up in the hospital.
Justin Starling for Citadel Digital © 2010