Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Spiral Effect of Britney 2.0

Heather Morris reenacting Britney's doomed VMA performance.

Sitting behind the judges table on "X Factor" with her legs crossed and stiletto'd foot twirling, she was the fidgety off-stage Britney Spears the world has loved/hated for the last decade. I saw this Britney with her little black dress, fresh blond dye job and Sally Field face and thought 'this is the perfect segueway into Glee's Britney 2.0 episode" airing after "X Factor."

The episode "Britney 2.0" makes the 2010 "Glee" episode "Britney/Brittany" look like amateur hour. While that one was a forced dentist-themed episode with its own charms, Britney 2.0 is seamless. Ryan Murphy and his team finally use Britney's iconography to tell the story of loneliness, sexiness and comebacks. The "Glee" character Brittany identifies with Britney the most and acts out Britney's fall from grace. When Brittany is cut from the cheerleading squad for poor grades, she's sees this as her chance to fall into a downward spiral of unkempt blond hair, cheetos, cigarettes and jumbo-sized Starbucks coffees. It's what I call the Britney fetish.

Jake Puckerman (Jacob Artist) is the bad boy of the school and when he starts dating the mean girl cheerleader Kitty (Becca Tobin), it's clear that Jake is living Puck's old life and destined to make the same mistakes. There's something eerie about how life repeats itself all the time. I remember when the blond goddess of 11th grade stopped in the hall to talk to her freshman self, a taller blonde. The torch was past down. Once people graduate from high school there will always be people to carry on the tradition. It's a spiral effect and clever of Ryan Murphy to use the cycle of life as the theme of "Britney 2.0" all the way down to the title. It implys a revised version of the past. Brittany acts out the life that Britney Spears already lived and thankfully learns from Britney's mistakes. It's funny, Jake reminds me of a guy I worked with on a temp assignment with who had the same button brown eyes and close haircut as Jake, but was white. He also was a bad boy with a bad relationship with the law. The past always floats it's way into the present and the future.

 I found myself singing along with joy when the Glee characters performed Britney's songs and when doing this I thought back to the Britney in a little black dress on "X Factor" and thought she really will always be a star because her catalog is so big and memorable. The girl she shares the judges table with, Demi Lovato, tries to be Britney 2.0 with her pop songs, bottle-blond hair and public breakdowns, but Britney made her magic in another time, in almost what seems another life, and that magic will never die.

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