After months of hype, "Glee" fans finally got to witness the Britney Spears tribute episode last night. Unlike previous outings dedicated to Madonna and Lady Gaga, the show not only featured Spears' songs (with reverent recreations of key videos) but also a 30-second cameo by the singer herself. Can the episode and her brief appearance bring Spears a new audience? (Watch a clip of Britney on "Glee")
It contrived to make Spears seem culturally significant: "The big winner of the show was Spears, who hasn't for years seemed as culturally relevant, positively or negatively, as the show made her out to be," says James Poniewozik in Time. Too bad that's unrealistic. "The very notion that students in high school and their teachers would be arguing passionately over Spears — as opposed to, say, last season's theme recipient Lady Gaga — might have made more sense in, say, 2003."
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What a squandered opportunity: The show made ample use of Spears' back catalogue, but Britney's on-screen contribution? "Eh," says Linda Holmes at NPR. "She showed up in a Cheerios uniform, and it was cute and all, but she didn't really do anything. At least the Madonna episode didn't waste an actual appearance by Madonna."
"'Glee' doesn't know what to do with Britney Spears any more than you do"
It boosted Heather Morris's career more than it did Spears': Morris — who plays the enigmatically dumb-blonde Brittany — got to take center stage and stole the show. A former backup dancer for Beyonce, the "hilarious" Morris "can out-dance even Ms. Spears herself," says Chris Spargo at Hollywood Life. "And that body! She may be one of the most toned and in-shape people I have ever seen...!"
"Chris says: Step aside Lea Michele & Charice — Heather Morris should be the new queen bee of 'Glee!"
Spears aside, the episode certainly didn't help the show: Enough with the celebrity tributes, says Jen Chaney in The Washington Post. This Spears extravaganza didn't "exactly feel organic to the [series'] storyline...it felt like [creator] Ryan Murphy and co. had to put their regular show on pause in order to roll out a prime-time Spears tribute," and was "a little over the top, even for 'Glee.'"
"The Britney Spears episode of 'Glee': Is it time to lose the celeb-focused tributes?"