Breaking the wishes of many by going back on earlier promises to do away with artist-specific episodes, Glee revisited the songbook of Ms. Britney Spears for the second time on Thursday night. While 2010's "Britney/Brittany" was billed as a tribute to the accomplished superstar, "Britney 2.0" can't necessarily say the same thing.
In an hour that focused on Brittany S. Pierce's fall from Cheerios grace, Ryan Murphy and his faux suburban brood filled our ears with hit after hit (including a few unexpected mashups—we're looking at you, Aerosmith). Yet at times the portrayal of Spears' recent struggles—specifically the head-shaving, umbrella-throwing—as seen through a high school student's meltdown ultimately felt like the group was all laughing at the inside joke Brit Brit had become.
Specifically, the decision to reenact Spears' 2007 MTV Video Music Awards performance with a bowl full of Cheetos:
'Twas a moment that has yet to be forgotten, and remains pivotal to all those—myself included—who sat there, mouths agape, wondering what happened to the girl (not yet a woman) who once did 1000 crunches nightly and wore matching denim outfits with Justin Timberlake. Needless to say, Spears diehards were not happy:
Didn't catch all of @gleeonfox last night but not too thrilled with some of the clips I'm seeing. I love @britneyspears unconditionally.
— Britney.com (@RealBRITannica) September 21, 2012
LOL! "Glee"'s tribute episode to Britney Spears was so bizarre! I mean, what kind of tribute was that? Ts! No wonder she din tweet about it!
— Gui! Micheletto Lima (@Gui_Mic_Lima) September 21, 2012
They were making fun of britney spears on the new episode of glee yesterday#somean #notcool
— catherine skurski (@caff_skurski) September 21, 2012
I didn't like last nights episide of #GLEE it was poorly written and making fun of Britney Spears like that made me want to bitch slap some1
— Goddess Of ⚓he Sea (@JeronLamour) September 21, 2012
The content of last night's show also ignited a flame deep within Access Hollywood co-host Billy Bush, who discussed the "low blow" on his Friday episode. "Did Ryan Murphy and the creators decide it's time for her to be able to laugh about this? Who knows," he said, perplexed over the decision to go with such material minutes after Spears appeared on The X Factor.
"There's no way that FOX didn't know," he explained. "[But] the Britney camp had no idea that this thing was coming." Apparently we now know Bush stans for Spears—or at least her longtime manager Larry Rudolph. "I can tell you this, Britney's manager Larry is livid. Yeah, he's not happy," Bush revealed. Mmm. The awkwardness permeating through the FOX halls right now is tangible.
We certainly haven't shied away from pointing out Britney's evolution over the years—we're sorry, JT!—and these very public incidents have since been immortalized thanks to the power of camera and video. Conversely, the hour-long episode did acknowledge her current bank-ability, as seen in her new gig alongside Simon Cowell, as well as gave a shout-out to the ultimate Britney defender, Chris Crocker. But for Britney's sake, should Murphy and his staff have toned it down? Is FOX at fault for failing to protect another member of its family? Was Brittany S. Pierce's cheesy take on "Gimme More" even funny? Let us know what you think.