Well, MTV, it was a long, hard struggle but you finally did it – you have plumbed the depths of pop culture and won the title of Supreme Trainwreck Transmitter. I don’t know who on earth can top the disaster that was Britney Spears at the VMA this weekend but I’m sure someone out there is already gnashing their teeth in envy and trying hard. However, right at this moment, this instant? You win, MTV, you win.
If any of you've just returned from an extended vacation spent in, I don't know, the Amazon jungle? The Alaskan wilderness? An expedition to the South Pole? Like completely disconnected from the outside world then you might be surprised to know that Britney was the opening act at MTV’s Video Music Awards. Just like a couple of years ago, remember? When she was making hit songs and practiced Kabbalah and Madonna was her make-out partner?
Yeah, this was going to be just like that except she doesn’t have any songs out there, hit or otherwise, she’s divorced, has two kids, there’s no Madonna or Kabbalah in sight and… let’s be real here for a second, shall we? There’s one reason and only one reason why Britney was invited to open the VMA this year and that reason was not to give her a “second chance”. The reason why she opened the show (Kanye “Please Stop Whining” West, kindly pay attention) is because MTV knew people would tune in to watch the latest low in the life of an ex-pop princess. And so they did and the VMA, fighting a ratings slide, won big time.
As a million others have already written in the past few hours, Britney at the VMA was pretty darn awful. Here’s what the Associated Press had to say:
As in most train wrecks, it was hard to focus on just one thing as the Britney Spears disaster unfolded on MTV’s Video Music Awards. There was just so much that went wrong. Out-of-synch lip-synching. Lethargic movements that seemed choreographed by a dance instructor for a nursing home. The paunch in place of Spears’ once-taut belly. At times she just stopped singing, as if even she knew nothing could save her performance.
And that’s one of the kindest reviews out there. I don’t think even Britney bashers, and there are quite a few of those out there, expected things to come to this pass.
Camp Britney was on the defense almost immediately afterwards with fans on Breathheavy and X17 suggesting that she was thrown off her stride when she heard comedian Sarah Silverman (who presented an uncharacteristically boring monologue) riff on her kids during rehearsals. Silverman apparently refused to cut the offending material when she went on air and called the two little boys “the cutest mistakes” she’d ever seen.
What?! Silverman thinks itty bitty babies are legitimate fodder for her comedic mill?
That ferocious roar you hear in the background is the sound of righteous indignation gathering strength as it… rolls right over fact. You see, Silverman wasn't saying she thought the kids were mistakes (or maybe she does, who knows?), she was poking fun at Britney who supposedly once told her kids in a (drunken?) rage that she regretted marrying their dad (Kevin Federline) and that the two of them were mistakes. I don’t know how much of the “insult” the kids understood or cared about either time given that they’re both toddlers, but whatever.
Britney fans can try to spin it all they want but the fact is Britney had to have known she was a prime target for cracks like that. And this isn't the first time she's faced controversy or put herself on a stage. She chose to put herself in that position.
It’s so easy to laugh at this… except it stopped being funny a while back, you know? Now it’s just sad. And I’m not even a Britney fan.
When I was a little kid, I used to think it must be wonderful to be some kind of child prodigy. I guess Britney isn’t exactly a “prodigy” but she did achieve fame at a young age and she did it the old-fashioned way — by working. Let’s give her that much. She isn’t famous for absolutely nothing like some others I could mention and she doesn’t hang out on MySpace all day writing bitchy little notes to other famous people her age. No, she’s too busy having a nervous breakdown in public.
It’s a bit surreal to realize that while she and I are around the same age and she’s achieved considerably more than me in terms of work, recognition, and money, I might still have ended up with the better deal simply because I got to transition from my teens to my twenties the normal way.
I wasn’t some corporate product by the time I was eighteen, portraying myself as the ultimate virginal slut to sell records to the maximum possible demographic. I got to lose my baby fat at my own pace and when I pigged out after my big breakup and gained some unsightly pounds, I had to live with the scrutiny of my mother and friends, not the international media. I sometimes think my emotional baggage could rival Mt. Everest but I don’t think it would ever include reports of a restraining order against my mom, wild speculation about my private life up to and beyond wondering whether my ex-husband and my mother are secretly having an affair, and the lack of any friend at all who’d come drag me off to vegetate a bit in peace if my life got even half as dramatic as hers sounds.
Take Britney out of Hollywood and she’s just another woman going through a difficult patch in her life. She’s in fantastic shape for a normal woman and by that I mean Jane Smith down the road who’s just had two babies in quick succession. But she’s not your average woman. She’s Britney and how dare she not look 16 anymore?
Of course, she does do some pretty weird things, no question. But those seem like acts of opportunity rather than acts of deliberate planning unlike, say, what that other famous weirdo of our time, Michael Jackson, would do.
Listen to me, I sound like a demented Britaloony standing up for her idol no matter what! But that’s how bad I feel for this girl.
Nobody knows what to do with Britney now she’s all grown up and not virgin-slutty anymore. She doesn’t know who she is because she’s never had to bother herself with those questions; someone else always thought it out for her. The corporations don’t know what to do with her because she was so perfect in her original role and now she’s this … thing… and they don’t know how to market it. And we don’t know what to do with her because when pop stars reach the stage she’s reached, they’re supposed to just disappear until 20 years later someone will ask, “Hey, remember Britney? She was hot! I wonder what happened to her?”
Except we live in the world of constant information now and we just aren’t allowed to shut our eyes to what happens in those long years the has-been spends away from us.
… And Drives a Fan to Tears