”Britney and Kevin”: Talking their love to death
So long, love. Goodbye, vulnerability. Farewell, boundaries. You’ll all be missed. Along with anger, rebellion, hurt, and a whole slew of other words that pretty much got flushed down the crapper on tonight’s episode of Britney & Kevin: Chaotic.
Of course, the English language was bound to take a hit the moment Britney and Kevin decided they might have something profound to share with the world. Unfortunately for them (and for us), the couple’s running dialogue is so inane it makes the deep thoughts on love that Tom Cruise spewed between his fist pumping and furniture humping on Oprah sound like an excerpt from a think piece by the Dalai Lama.
Britney, for her part, is cursed with acute diarrhea of the mouth, and no one in her entourage seems willing to give her the unpleasant diagnosis. Witness her telling the camera that she has ”the worst temper in the world,” then proving it with a ”rampage” that involves … donning boxing gloves and sparring with her bodyguard? All with a benign smile plastered on her face? Oof. Worse than her futile efforts to project a sense of sass and humor, however, is Britney’s burning need to convince the world she’s a deep thinker. ”All we do is live in a bunch of different moments,” she tells Kevin. ”You’re the first person that I have, like, had a lot of belief in moments.”
The fact that Britney takes her pop philosophizing so seriously makes her Chaotic’s vaguely tragicomic leading lady. Kevin’s thinly veiled smirk, on the other hand, indicates at least a limited awareness of just how grotesque this videocam exercise is getting, but he plays along anyway, happy to be kept — as long as he’s kept on camera. ”I think you’re scared to love me … and that makes me scared … to love you,” he mumbles, pausing deliberately, as if reading from a script that Britney has never seen.
Not that I have any kind of sympathy for the lip-synching pop tart. In fact, it becomes downright infuriating to watch her and Kevin bouncing from European capital to European capital without finding anything more interesting to film than the inside of their hotel room. Britney and Kevin are so busy gazing at their navels and filming up their nostrils, in fact, that they don’t even bother to open their curtains and view the sites of Vienna and Dublin from their window. It’s enough to make a person wonder: Couldn’t the majority of this show have been filmed anywhere in the world at any point in the last six months? Just drop in some stock footage of Austria and Ireland, splice in some highlights (and I use that term loosely) from the Onyx Hotel tour, and — voila! — a series is born.
Except you know any middling Hollywood scriptwriter would’ve challenged the show’s star couple with a varied set of obstacles and settings. (Witness how, say, watching the minutiae of Newlyweds’ Nick and Jessica hiring a housekeeper or taking a trip to the Kentucky Derby elevates their dumb-blonde-and-long-suffering-husband shtick from insufferable to intermittently engrossing.)
The closest Britney and Kevin come to situational comedy is a convoluted conversation in a car about whether or not they’d stray from each other’s skanky charms for a night of passion with, respectively, Brad Pitt and Halle Berry. (As if!) ”That is Brad ass Pitt!” Britney yells, delighted with her faux bawdiness, while Kevin informs us his new woman likes to ”test boundaries.”
Sadly, with only three episodes to go, I don’t think Chaotic is going to achieve the level of brilliance that it might have if only it had added a certain seasoned sitcom actress, namely Moesha’s Shar Jackson, mother of K-Fed’s two children (one of whom was in her womb while Chaotic was being shot).
Try envisioning Britney’s very first ”I love you” to Kevin, only this time with a pregnant Shar hanging out on the tour bus, too. I bet Ms. Jackson’s presence would cast a different light on Kevin’s theory that love ”is not easy, but nothing worth having ever is,” or Britney’s complaint that ”a lot of America is quick to judge” her. The problem is, if you’re going to turn the camera on yourself and call it ”reality TV,” then you’d better not try to edit out your warts and bumps and ugliness. And if Brit and K-Fed want us all to tune in for a second season, they’d better be ready to handle that truth.
What do you think? Are you getting claustrophobic? Bored? Can Britney and Kevin truly tell their story without showing Shar and the kids?