In advance of Britney Spears releasing her album Circus in 2008, MTV broadcast Britney: For the Record, a one-hour documentary that attempted to reestablish Britney in the wake of her much-publicized breakdown and ensuing tabloid infamy. Last night, MTV put out the much shorter special Britney Spears: I Am the Femme Fatale, and while the first documentary was a puff piece — after all, it was executive produced by her longtime manager Larry Rudolph — the even fluffier Femme Fatale made it look like a hard-hitting attack job commissioned on the sly by Christina Aguilera. Still, if you looked past the fawning interviewer and mild behind-the-scenes footage, there were some subtle reveals. Here are five things we learned from watching I Am the Femme Fatale.
Britney may have gotten somewhat better at face-making.
Two of the most dismaying things about Britney's recent "Hold It Against Me" video were her dead eyes and narcotized "they only let me out on Saturdays" expression. To judge from the behind-the-scenes footage from her upcoming clip for "Til the World Ends," things have improved: She gives an angry face into the camera at one point, and it is an actual expression done on purpose! Then again, don't expect too much out of her — days later while dancing onstage in Las Vegas, her face is again as blank as Adrianne Palicki's in the first still from Wonder Woman.
Britney definitely needs help on stairs.
As we've noted before, Britney's current choreography routine mostly consists of standing and shimmying while other dancers help her up and down staircases. Brit-Brit has relied on staircase escorts as far back as her notoriously weak performance of "Gimme More" at the MTV Video Awards in 2007, and as I Am the Femme Fatale shows us, she needs them in real life, too: When walking a staircase backstage at her concert, she's clutching a member of her entourage, and when she has to descend a perilous foot-high wall to enter will.i.am's studio, there is a man on each arm and a chair brought over as an intermediate step.
Britney looks like Kim Zolciak now.
There is only one path for blowsy women addicted to fake blonde hair, and it runs through Atlanta.
Sway is a terrible interviewer.
Though Carson Daly warned us about Britney's Über-restrictive PR machine, the extent to which Sway assiduously avoids asking her about anything controversial — instead throwing out topics like "Your music video ... " and "You were at Starbucks today, how was that?" — is ludicrous. (To be fair, one of his non-questions does coax a gem out of Britney when she describes her music video's set thusly: "It felt like there was poop everywhere when there really wasn't.")
Britney would kind of rather not be a pop star.
The documentary's most revealing moment may come at the very end, when Sway asks Britney if, like Madonna, she can see herself dancing and singing at age 50. "I hope so," she says weakly. "Yeah. Or maybe just doing nothing, I don't know."