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In Semi-Defense of Britney

I watched the first episode of Britney and Kevin: Chaotic with baited breath. I am an admitted pop culture whore. Though I probably watch most of the shows I claim to adore with a condescending measure of ironic distance, I still enjoy them on a very basic level.

I read in one review that the show is like a very slow car crash: completely boring but somehow mesmerizing. Nothing really happens. Britney prances around her hotel suites, asking her entourage over-excited questions about sexual positions and more importantly, her hair. The car crash metaphor is an apt one, mostly because it’s so painfully obvious to everyone but Britney that Kevin, as my roommate would put it, is riff raff.

At one point her rotund bodyguard expresses his discontent with this Federline character. “I didn’t like anything about him. I didn’t like his face his shoes, anything.” It seems that Britney is mostly enamored of her man because K. “baby daddy” Fed is a “good dancer.”

Britney is about two and a half months older than I am, and halfway through the show I realized why I find her so endearing: she’s exactly like a lot of the girls I went to high school with. I think about the people I graduated from my public school with, and I’m sure some of them are married now, and having babies.

There is one in particular of whom Britney reminds me. I played field hockey with this girl; I had my first sleepover at her house when we were five. She was certainly not the brightest sweater in the drawer, but she was so aggressively well meaning, it was hard not to like her.

When you’re a little kid, you can be friends with anyone, regardless of future goals and plans or somewhat limited vocabularies. I remember looking at her sometime during hockey practice when we were much older. She had hiked up her skirt so it would be even shorter than the rest of ours. She went to the tanning salon, so even in November her upper thighs were a burnished brown unlike our pasty white. I remember looking at her with a mixture of condescension, jealousy, and benevolence. She was a good girl.

I wonder what would have happened if this girl was thrust into super stardom at the age of 15. I’d imagine she would end up as Britney is now: a sort of reformed party girl who likes to have a good time and just wants to have babies. I doubt she would have made any better choice in a mate.

Which in the end, is the nice thing about Britney. Though she claims to be so worldly, and says that part of what she likes about Kevin is the fact that he hasn’t seen as much as she has, she seems unaffected by the ridiculous levels of her fame. She is still, deep down, a simple girl from deep in the country. She’s sweet and shiny. We like. And she sings a damn good pop song.