Much like the 'Power of Madonna' episode last season, this episode is a homage to a famous singer. It's a Britney Spears bonanza! There's a sex riot, a naked sweat patch on a chair and narcotically-stimulated personal empowerments!
Will starts off the Glee rehearsal by asking them who Christopher Cross is.
Nope. Apparently, he wrote some 'iconic chart-topper' that Will is crazy about. The Gleekers are less than enthused and definitely not impressed.
The theme Will has picked is Adult contemporary, easy listening music which, in this day and age of thumping beats, crazy rhythmns and immediate musical gratification, is pretty hard to come by. He's trying to talk about control and restraint to a bunch of high school students. Okaaaaaaayyyyyy.
Some of the deeper metaphors in the song are lost on some of the students *coughFINNcough*.
Kurt has something to say. (He will have a lot of somethings to say in this episode ¬_¬)
He tells Will that yeah, they might not mind too much working on it, but as teenagers it's hard for them to relate to it. Instead, Kurt suggests they take note of his "burgeoning" facebook campaign (it now has 5 members!) that wish to perform a - wait for it - Britney Spears number instead.
That's right. FIVE.
Although the rest of the Gleekers are far more up for this option, Will flatly refuses, seeing as he doesn't think Britney Spears is a very good role model.
The Gleekers look ready to riot, apart from one person - Brittany.
Why no Britney, Brittany?
She reveals that her name is also Britney Spears.
Well, Brittany's middle name is Susan, and her last name is Pears, which makes her Brittany S. Pierce. Having lived her life in the incredibly blonde shadow of Britney Spears, she has no desire whatsoever to pay homage to her in any way, shape or form, seeing as she will never be as talented or as famous. For her, Glee Club is a place where she can finally escape from the horrific torment of continually being compared to Britney Spears, and she asks for them to respect her decision.
The rest of the Gleekers are stunned into silence, though Will is Mr Smug McSmugsmug himself at having found support within their ranks.
Kurt is unsympathetic to Brittany's plight, looking like he's taking it personally. He's beginning to look like one of those crazed Britney fans at the moment...
Brittany is defended by Santana, (in a moment I'm sure is slightly mocking the infamous words of Chris Crocker: "Leave Brittany alone!") but Brittany is grateful.
It's not easy being blonde and not Britney Spears.
Hand sanitizer? A quaint leaflet about the trials of puberty? It can only mean one thing - our favourite germaphobic guidance counsellor is back! Yay Emma!
And surprisingly enough, Ms Pillsbury supports the idea of Britney Spears as a role model:
Emma: I know that Britney's had some issues in the past, but I actually think it's quite admirable the way she's gotten her life back together. I mean, hasn't she had what, like, three number 1 hits in the past two years, she's a single mom raising two kids - I think she's the perfect symbol for the possibility of rebirth.
Will is not swayed by her argument and Emma tells Will his problem is that he's too uptight.
I'll second Will's raised eyebrows and add in a disbelieving stroking of the chin.
He points out that she's the one who buys hand sanitizer by the barrel, and she admits to having had control issues in the past, but her new boyfriend Carl (i.e. the guy who is not Will) has been helping her with her issues.
*purrs* Oh, rrrreally now? How so?
Well, apparently, by making her do things like buying the red and green grapes and then mixing them all up in a bowl and eating them! Just like that! Emma seems swept away by the pure craziness of it all. They're rebels without a cause, I tell you. No good will come of mixing grapes.
Will's not as impressed, but then again, he has weird standards. I bet he hasn't even used hand sanitizer in the last 20 minutes!
Emma is not even put out by his mockery - she doesn't care, see, because it's a start. And one that she's grateful for (yeah, see that Mr I'm-too-afraid-to-properly-commit-to-you-even-though-I-basically-divorced-my-wife-for-you-Will?!)
At that moment, the man himself walks in. Can I present you dentist, current beau of Emma, and rebel rousing grape mixing - Carl!
He's come to surprise Emma and take her for lunch and plants a smacker on her lips.
Oh, Will, how awkward for yooooou.
Carl introduces himself to Will (yeah, right, like he didn't know who he was when he walked in and started dishing out the PDAs)
"Hi! I'm current beau of Emma, because she decided she was too good for you!"
"Hi! I'm ex-beau of Emma who would like to kill you and reclaim my place!"
I'm just kidding. They didn't really say that.
I really kind of wanted them to, though.
Carl tells Will that Emma has told him Will is the cutest guy in school.
I know, right? Way not to make the situation way more awkward.
But before the awkwardness can continue, sweet relief comes in the form of Carl's pager (I think that's what it's called? It was before my time) or phone going off telling him that another teenager has a root canal. Carl's unimpressed by the amount of sugar that the teens eat and has been trying to get the school to let him do a seminar on dental hygiene.
Um. Okay. I don't know if that the type of hygiene I would prioritise when talking to teenagers, but if it means halitosis levels go down, I'm all for it.
Will (for some strange reason) decides to prolong the awkwardness and asks Carl to come and speak to the Gleekers.
Emma thinks it's brilliant and Will mentions that he's usually really tight on the Glee Club's schedule but he's going to "loosen the reins a bit" for Carl. Bwhahaha! Is that his idea of being less uptight? Dental hygiene talks? I love it!
There's some more laughter and some bro-punching too. Aw, they're all so darn grown up about it. There was no fighting or tearing of vest sweaters as I had originally envisioned.
They cheesy grin and laugh and stuff. The awkward levels are actually making my toes curl.
Elsewhere, in McKinley High, Finn is once again being tormented by the same two football dudes (seriously, what's their problem?! And I swear the guy on the right used to be on the hockey team...)
Since Finn is no longer on the football team, they decide to take his football jumper/sweater back and rip it in two, which apparently represents the 'duality in [Finn's] sexuality'. Issuuuuuuues.
To be honest, if a jumper was so cheap that it tore that easily, I wouldn't want it anyway, but Finn goes mad, almost in a Hulk way...
He attempts to throw a punch, misses, and smashes his fist into the locker instead.
The two blockheads decide this is him asking for a fight and start taking off their jackets and everything - it's all about to go down when they are interrupted.
No, I didn't post a random picture of Artie. Artie interrupts the fight to apologise to Finn for getting him kicked off the football team (and probably to prevent him getting excluded for fighting).
Turns out the entire thing was seen by Coach Beiste who, by the look of her set jaw, is going to do something.
Back at Gleekers headquarters, Carl is giving his talk to the Gleekers, as well as little blue capsules. When you chew them, they stick to the plague in your teeth and turn it blue. Not quite Name and Shame....Dye and Mortify?
Santana interrupts his talk to tell him he's the hottest dentist she's ever seen. Carl doesn't deny it - in fact, he says he gets that a lot.
Emma literally preens. I think that look means Will's blood just curdled.
Then again, my old dentist's forehead was always peeling, so when he leant over my mouth, my 'ahhhh!' was steeped in terror of falling forehead skin flakes *retches*.
Before chomping commences, Kurt wants to point out that there's another member on their facebook group dedicated to a Britney Spears performance, which must mean they've got about six now.
Kurt looks like someone just shot his dog.
So, who are the guilty plague bearers?
Rachel (even though she flosses between classes),
Artie (who thinks he'd have better dental hygiene if he could see himself in the mirror),
and Brittney, who doesn't brush her teeth - she simply washes her mouth out with soda after eating, because she though Dr Pepper was a dentist.
Thus, dear Brittany ends up in the dentist's chair. With the worst teeth Carl has ever seen.
Some hardcore dentistry is needed. So he revs up the general anaesthetic and puts on the radio, which immediately starts playing a Britney Spears song.
Brittany: Oh no, not Britney...
What with the Britney music, and the mild narcotics in the anaesthetic, Brittany has a Britney Spears themed fantasy where she covers Britney Spears 'I'm a Slave 4 U' and the people in the show get to show off how much exactly Brittany look like Britney:
But best of all, you get to see her dance. The actress who plays Brittany, Heather Morris, is a professional choreographer who has been a back up dancer for Beyoncé, but she usually gets stuffed in the background somewhere. Not here. It's AMAZING. The Youtube videos don't do it justice.
Anyhooo, Brittany wakes up and seems relatively unchanged, asking Carl if she can have a blue toothbrush and if he's a cat.
Finn asks Rachel how she feels about him no longer being a member of the football team, and she honestly tells him that it makes her happy because she no longer needs to fantasise about what song she'd have to sing at his bedside if he fell into a coma.
Creepy but he sees her point.
She's just being honest, but it's also a bit like all her social awkwardness with everyone from last season is now squeezed into this one relationship with Finn.
At which point, Santana saunters past, telling Rachel she dresses like one of the bait girls on 'To Catch a Predator' and Brittany adds that she's more talented than Rachel.
Finn doesn't even snicker - he just full out laughs.
Rachel's hurt and says he could have defended her, but Finn's still irritated and replies that Santana has a point, and ooh, he's just being honest.
Santana has gone to Carl for a check up, and even though he declares her teeth are perfect, she still insists she gets put under the anaesthetic - she has the insurance to cover it, but mainly it's because she also wants a Britney-induced fantasy.
As they prepare to go under, they both log into the Britney-mainframe in order to cover Madonna and Britney's 'Me against the Music'.
While Brittany reprises her role as Britney's representative..
Santana takes Madonna's part.
And then Britney herself makes an appearance:
Gleeker headquarters and Will is still on about Christopher Cross, who won a lot of prestigious awards, but still nobody knows who he is. At which point, Brittany puts her had up and demands all to have all future solos in Glee Club.
Disgruntled + threatened = Rachel at this moment at time.
Obviously, Will is confused, but Brittany reveals that after her amazing Britney Spears fantasy, she's realised how dang amazing and powerful she is.
At which Kurt pipes up again about how amazing Britney Spears is and how she has helped empower Brittany.
At which Kurt flips and goes into a rant about Will not listening and they all really want to do this, and Mercedes is his loyal nodding head next to him, resulting in him calling Will "frigging uptight all the time!"
At this point, my face looks like this:
Will tells Kurt to go to the principal's office (which I assume is to signify that he's in a boatload of trouble).
After which Will goes to see the dentist. As in Carl. As in his love rival.
Will tries to continue the pleasantry that they've been having lately, but Carl puts a stop to it, and decides they need to talk it out "bro to bro".
Carl's solution for Will's teeth is...sweets?! Wait, as a dentist, isn't that a bit counter productive?
He says what everyone else has been saying so far - Will need to loosen up, saying that maybe the lack of impulsiveness between Will and Emma is why their relationship He advises Will to be more impulsive, using an example of himself - randomly buying a Corvette car one day, just for kicks.
On his way out, Will sees Rachel waiting for her appointment. She's reading the unauthorised biography of Britney Spears for inspiration.
We can see where this is going. A rendition of 'Hit me Baby (One More Time)' is on the cards!
Hey! Don't we know you?
Rachel wakes up a bit disorientated after her Britney ephiphany and with a line that is a little homage to David After the Dentist.
Nesxt day at school, Rachel basically turns up in the outfit she was wearing in her fantasty.
No, not the cropped top, this one:
Finn's face is like this:
He tries to cover her up with his hoodie, which Rachel takes to mean he doesn't approve of her new look.
Finn points out all of the male attention she's receiving, which he's obviously threatened by. Rachel tells him that she's doing what he told her, and it's still her - just a hotter version.
When the JockBlocks make a comment, Finn tries to use it to make his point (though his confusion of the words 'objectifying' with 'personifying' may have meant his point was dulled somewhat).
He attempts to point out the hypocrisy of her feeling better with him not on the football team, but her making him feel uncomfortable by wearing these flashier clothes.
She says that he was right - they shouldn't try and control each other, and that he has her blessing to join the football team again.
Jacob attempts to 'buy' Rachel from Finn at possibly the worst moment in time ever, offering up his house for a potential exchange, even if it means killing his parents.
(And then he says two words that I'm sure are pretty rude, and related to an activity that boys were told could make them blind).
In order to be more impulsive (and thus, impress Emma) Will bought a car.
The same car as Carl, in fact.
But in yellow.
Although he tries to spin how his old car was a metaphor for everything holding him back, Emma doesn't look too convinced.
Will tries to go on a romantic drive with Emma, but they are stopped in their tracks by Teri. Yes, as in ex-wife-who-faked-her-pregnancy-Teri.
She demands Will takes the car back, since he won't be able to send her spousal support cheques if he blows all his money on a car. They start to have a blazing row and Emma leaves. Romantic Mood - SHUT DOWN.
She also says that she doesn't want all their savings blown for when they inevitably get back together.
Rachel's appearance gives Kurt yet another opportunity to get on his high horse about Will's flat refusal to let them perform a Britney number, and how Britney's empowerment has changed her inner values.
But before they can get too Dr Phil deep, Sue interrupts their discussion to have a word with Will.
Whilst in the library, she discovered Jacob...um, doing a certain something that directly relates to the words he previously uttered (begins with a 'w', ends in some pretty unreadable books).
She drags the unclothed and terribly indecent teen to her office for a Sue-style interrogation.
He claims his actions were due to Rachel's new style of dressing (yes, Jacob, because you weren't a depraved little monster at all before this incident [/sarcasm])
Will tries to blame it on teenage hormones, but Sue thinks he's blinded by the events (or lack thereof) in his private life.
Sue: I also understand that you bought a brand new car to impress her [Emma]. You're flailing William - and I'm secretly hoping it's a midlife crisis, which means you're halfway to an early death, affording me a blissful, demented convalescence when peeing on your grave.
I know she's mental, but how can you not love her?!
She tells him not to let his problems fool him to the fact that Britney Spears is a "genius pop culture provocateur" that may be the fuse to the explosiveness of the rampant teenage impulses if the high schoolers are allowed to be exposed to her (they obviously don't have Youtube in their area).
She may also mention a sweaty butt stain. Just....ew.
In short, Will has been warned. Is he going to take Sue's advice?
Is he heck.
Whoa, why is Britney Spears telling Brittany and Tina to put ranch dressing on pizza? And telling Tina she was a fool for letting Artie go? And Tina apologising to Artie, but Artie claiming he's stronge - Oh, it has to be another fantasy!
To round it off, Artie is in American football gear (just in case you were not completely aware of the fact he was dreaming), rolling onto the field for a whole team rendition of 'Stronger' by...well, Britney Spears, of course.
After the obvious empowerment of the Britney Spears fantasy, Artie goes to chat to Finn about getting on the (American) football team.
Obviously, after what happened last time, Finn is less than eager to put his butt on the line for a burning from the Beiste. Artie tries to persuade him that if he can just get a chance to show Coach Beiste what he can do, then it'd all be gravy.
At which point Coach Beiste herself walks in.
Artie explains that he wants to try out for the football team and Finn tries to distance himself, but Coach Beiste tells him to help Artie put on some gear and get ready for training, hut!
The boys excitedly wheel out to get prepared and Coach Beiste smiles to herself.
Aw, she's all heart.
Gleekers headquarters, and Artie is explaining to the other stunned Gleekers that there's actually no rule against him playing - and that Britney Spears gave him the courage to ask Coach Beiste if he and Finn could join the team.
Rachel's head whips around - Finn's back on the team as well?
Apparently so, and just to rub it in, Santana eyes him up, claiming that he's suddenly hotter in her eyes.
Will walks in, and guess who immediately shoots their hand up in the air?
However, before Kurt can say anything, Will cuts him off (thank goodness!) and tells him that he's no longer standing in their way if they want to perform a Britney number in front of the entire school. They celebrate.
Rachel goes to see Finn in the boys changing rooms (EW!) and he notes that she's changed her clothing back to normal.
To cut this long explanation into a short one: She's no longer confident in their relationship now that he's back on the football team, saying that their relationship only works if they're both losers and she gives him an ultimatum: He has to choose her or football.
DUM DUM DUM!
Anyway. Day of the performance. Will is still going forward with deciding to tae part, mainly because he thinks that doing something so risqué will show Emma that he's loosened up and have her jumping straight back into his bright yellow car.
Becky also informs Sue that Glee Club is doing Britney. She is, predictably, furious.
(I know this is an aside, but I'd like to point out that Brittany has the first solo in this. Yay Brittany!)
The Gleekers perform a version of Britney's 'Toxic' that has the crowd going wild.
As in, literally.
Well, I know they don't look wild in that still, but they're loving it. In fact, some people a bit too much.
Jacob, overcome by - you know, I don't think it's fair to blame this on teenager-dom - his own, primal sexual urges, grabs the bottom of the person in front of him...
Which turns out to be a guy...
Sue, who has been increasingly nervous throughout the entire thing, declares "It's a Britney Spears sex riot!" and turns on the fire alarm.
Thus causing a Britney Spears sex riot.
In the confusion, certain people seem to be attempting to get fresh with other and it all gets a bit disturbing and I can literally smell the assault charges from here.
(There were some hilarious bits though, with certain teenagers grabbing their chests and looking maniacal.
I don't know who he is, but in the 1.3 seconds you see him, he's amazing)
Sue goes to confront Will about her 'sex-riot related injuries', though Will points out she pulled the alarm and caused the riot, Sue still claims that he will be hearing from her lawyer for compensation.
Will goes across to try and explain himself to Emma (who is wearing the cutest cardigan).
Sue: I'm going to sue the pants off you Will. I'm going to take your house, your car, your extensive collection of vests - I mean seriously, you wear more vests than the cast of Blossom. I'll see you in court.
She tells him that she just wanted him to relax - not change himself completely. She doesn't understand why, since he's a pretty amazing person, he would want to change.
Will replies that it's because the person that he was/is wasn't good enough for her (well, that and the commitment problems, and the constant making out with other people, but we'll let that slide for the moment, because he looks a bit sad) before heading off to return the yellow Corvette.
Quinn steps up to Finn at his locker and basically proposed that, now she's head cheerleader and he's back on the football team, they should get back together. WHAT?!
Oh, and to make it even better, an anguished Rachel looks on from down the hallway.
Quinn then informs Rachel, who actually set this whole stupid scenario up, that Finn rejected her request, and must really love her.
Brittany: Finn can fly?
Brittany: Wait, I thought I was the only getting the musical solos from now on. Next week, I'm gonna be performing a musical number by Ke$ha..
In dedication to his respect and obvious commitment to their relationship, Rachel covers a song that relates to the previous assignment of 'adult contemporary music': Paramore's 'Only Exception' which is one of my favourite songs ever. The words and meaning of the song also seem to affect Will too, though in a different way, because he's obviously thinking about Emma.
All in all, I think the way the writers wrapped it up at the end made it a pretty amazing episode. I'm glad we didn't see much of Coach Beiste in this episode, since it would have felt a bit much after her exposition in last week's episode, and I'm especially interested to see how they develop the plot line now that Artie's on the football team. Since I've never really understood the constant need to be popular, the lengths they'll go to to achieve 'popularity' confuses the hell out of me.
I think gaining a deeper insight into Rachel and Finn's relationship definitely helped me not get so annoyed by them this week - Rachel's fears may seem selfish, but in light of what happened in Season 1 (Finn running off with Santana when she was considering dating Jessie, and the pressures that the pursuit of popularity had put on him as a person alone) they're definitely relatable. I have to say, I felt SO bad for Quinn and don't understand why she would do what Rachel had asked her to do - I mean, what would have happened if Finn had said yes?! However, the resolution at the end was sweet and heart-warming and also a discernable contrast to what's happening in Will's romantic life, because his status as a new-divorcee certainly doesn't look easy (especially with an ex-wife who simply can't let go).