Britney Spears, and more importantly, her conservatorship, is getting a lot of media attention following the premiere of the New York Times Presents: Framing Britney documentary.
After an in-depth look at the ups-and-downs of her life and career, the narrative surrounding the 39-year-old pop star is finally beginning to change in her favor.
The documentary takes a look at her mental struggles and public breakdowns, the media scrutiny she’s been forced to endure and how it played into her downfall, and the #FreeBritney movement, which believes that Britney is being held hostage and has been advocating on her behalf to free her from her father, Jamie Spears, who controls her finances and estate.
While the information in the documentary isn’t groundbreaking for Britney fans who have followed her career for years, it reinforces and brings public attention to the question they’ve been asking for years: when will Britney finally get control over her being and her life?
Where’s Her Dad?
While Jamie is very much involved in Britney’s life now as he’s been in charge since 2008 when he was appointed co-conservator alongside a lawyer named Andrew Wallet, that wasn’t always the case.
Kim Kaiman, senior marketing director of Jive Records from 1998 until 2004 recalls Britney’s mother, Lynne Spears, and her longtime friend and assistant, Felicia Culotta, being around in the early years of her career. One of the moments that truly stuck out the most, was when the executive said the only time she ever spoke to Jamie was when he said that his “daughter’s gonna be so rich, she’s gonna buy me a boat.” mAnd that was after all his money troubles came to light.
It’s not entirely surprising, in that case, that the documentary asserts that Britney does not want Jamie in charge of the conservatorship anymore and prefers an independent professional.
She Was the Boss
Britney’s backup dancer up until 2004, Kevin Tancharoen, assured fans that Britney was very much in charge of her own career and making decisions.
“She was definitely in control of a lot of decisions,” he explained. “That idea that Britney is a puppet who just gets moved around and told what to do is incredibly inaccurate. When I was involved in all of those years, we would present a lot of ideas and she would have to like them, she would have to approve them. She was very creative. She was the one who knew what she wanted to do, or her people would make [what she wanted] happen for her.”
“She was the boss,” he concluded.
The “was” is chilling considering many fans don’t think Britney has much control over anything these days including her Instagram, which is brought up briefly in the documentary as fans believe she’s using the social media platform to send cryptic messages and cries for help.
Britney vs. Justin
The world was infatuated by Britney and Justin’s romance, but the moment they broke up, she endured vile attacks as everyone took his side while he painted her as a cheater and washed his hands of any wrongdoing.
Former MTV VJ Dave Holmes says Justin “weaponized the idea” that Britney was the “school slut” for “Cry Me a River.”
Tancharoen echoed the sentiment calling the video, which featured a Britney lookalike cheating on him, as a “pure male revenge fantasy.”
The docu-series doesn’t hold back as it even features a clip of Justin doing an interview where he jokes about sleeping with Brintey. Justin willingly destroyed Britney to save himself.
It’s a Man’s World
Numerous interviews that have lived on Youtube for years now have become a primary focus as the documentary illustrates how the media fed into a problematic narrative about Britney.
Earlier interviews take digs at Britney as a woman and a sex symbol as she fields questions about her virginity.
However, Diane Sawyer is taking most of the heat for an interview that she did in 2003 in which she unfairly asks her what she did to break Justin’s heart.
It only got worse from there when Britney was hounded after welcoming her first child and scrutinized for hold baby Sean on her lap. At the time, Matt Lauer asked her about her feelings about being called a “bad mom,” to which she replied: “That’s America for you.”
The press, paparazzi, and the misogyny surrounding her break-ups exacerbated her mental health struggles. And at the time, the conversation surrounding mental health was “toxic” and words like “crazy” were thrown around to describe Britney’s behavior including shaving her head and attacking the paparazzi with an umbrella.
If you don’t believe it, just take a look at Family Feud, which made Britney’s meltdown a category in 2008. In the clip, contestants are asked to name “something that Britney Spears has lost” with contestant answers ranging from husband/marriage to her hair and eventually, her mind.
The documentary questioned how a woman who was capable of learning choreography and performing nightly sold-out shows was deemed incompetent to take care of her own life. (Her father and the conservatorship was praised for how great she was doing and turning her life around.)
A conservatorship is designed to protect the conservatee, but in Britney’s case, it raises questions about human rights and how they can be easily stripped from someone placed in a vulnerable position.
Many who spoke out in the documentary believe Britney is being exploited and the conservatorship doesn’t have her best interests at heart, especially when Andrew, the co-conservator, requested more money after Britney began raking in more dough during her Las Vegas residency.
In fact, Adam Streisand, the lawyer Britney initially tried to hire to represent her in the probate proceedings found that she was fit to make such a decision, and yet, the judge said she was unfit to retain her own counsel. Streisand said this was his opinion, but added he never saw the medical report that the judge cited to back up his decision. He emphasized that at the time of speaking to Britney, she was aware she couldn’t avoid the conservatorship but was adamant that she did not want her father in charge.
Despite Britney’s best efforts and all those activists in her corner, the conservatorship has been extended until at least September.
The conservatorship is currently run by Spears’ care manager, Jodi Montgomery as Jamie was removed for “personal health reasons,” but in November 2020, a judge declined to remove him as head of the estate and co-conservator. The judge said they would consider further petitions for removal.
But it seems as though Britney is finally firing back, standing her ground, and fighting for what she wants, especially as she stated she is “afraid of her father” and will “not perform again if her father is in charge of her career.”
And shortly after the release of the documentary, Britney’s boyfriend, Sam Asghari, put out a statement slamming Jamie for trying to control their relationship.
“Now it’s important for people to understand that I have zero respect for someone trying to control our relationship and constantly throwing obstacles our way, he wrote, adding, “In my opinion, Jamie is a total d—.”
The buzz from the documentary is promising, the reactions are strong and unified, but will it be enough to ensure productive discussions and a change in the long-run particularly for Britney? We can only hope.
The 2021 Emmy’s: A Night Dominated by the same Rotating Nominees: ‘The Crown,’ ‘Mare of Easttown,’ and ‘Ted Lasso’
The 2021 Emmy’s returned in a limited capacity with an attendee count of around 500 compared to its typical several thousand, while also managing to keep its winners capped to the same rotating titles: The Crown, Mare of Easttown, and Ted Lasso.
It was a successfully smooth event with predictable winners, among some important victories for people of color.
Opening the award show paying homage to Biz Markie, Cedric the Entertainer sang and rapped a remix of “Just A Friend” with cameras panning to guests in the audience who contributed their own lines and melodies.
The comedy category was easily dominated by Ted Lasso while dramas were split between The Crown and Mare of Easttown, with the former edging out the latter with nearly double the wins.
Regardless of Cedric the Entertainer’s initial praise about the number of Black nominees, it felt like a shout into the void as many of the categories were still dominated by white actors, writers, and directors.
But, Michaela Coel’s win for her brave and empowering drama, I May Destroy You, was a win that needed to happen, not only for the Black community but also for sexual assault survivors.
“Write the tales that scare you, that make you feel uncertain that isn’t comfortable. I dare you. In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves and to in turn feel the need to be constantly visible, for visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success. Do not be afraid to disappear from it, from us, for a while and see what comes to you in the silence,” Coel said.
In another triumph of the night, Debbie Allen (Fame and Grey’s Anatomy) took home the Governor’s Award. Celebrated for her perseverance during her early career as a Black dancer discriminated against due to the color of her skin, it was a deliberate step forward made by The Academy.
Interspersed throughout the evening was a handful of references and jokes about COVID and its impact on television. And in a seamless split, many of the British show nominees including Gillian Anderson and Olivia Colman accepted their awards in London in a separate Emmy’s party.
Later on, Leon Bridges performed a special tribute to those in the industry that passed away during the last year. Some of which include Larry King, Alex Trebek, and Michael K. Williams.
In a highly anticipated award for the final victor of the night for a limited series, it was awarded to Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, in a surprising win over Mare of Easttown.
In a year where TV continued to shine, despite COVID’s impact on the world of entertainment, the 2021 Emmy Awards didn’t realistically honor the amount of amazing content that was put out. Instead, it relied on the crutches of the four or five repeated nominees: The Queen’s Gambit, The Crown, Mare of Easttown, Ted Lasso, and Wandavision.
How Will ‘The Resident’ Write Off Nic?
The halls of Chastain will see quite a shift when The Resident returns for its fifth season.
Emily Van Camp, who plays the beloved nurse practitioner Nic Nevins, is scrubbing out after four seasons on the FOX medical drama.
While it isn’t unheard of for an actress to leave a show, the timing is unfortunate from a storytelling perspective considering Nic and Conrad Hawkins (Matt Czuchry) recently got married and welcomed a baby girl.
In real life, Van Camp also welcomed a baby girl with husband Josh Bowman, so she obviously has to do what’s best for her and her family. We also have to assume that the struggles of working during a pandemic impacted her decision, as did her potentially expanded role in the Marvel universe.
But there’s absolutely no denying that it’s a huge bummer for fans of the series, many of whom only tune in because of their attachment to the couple affectionately dubbed #CoNic.
We’ve seen the couple go through their fair share of ups and downs, but the fact that the writers chose to introduce a baby means they likely thought she was coming back for the upcoming season and had more a happier storyline in the works.
While I have ultimate faith in the writers, it’s understandable that fans are worried about how her departure will be addressed.
Nic is a crucial part of the show; some might argue that she’s the glue that holds everything together.
Her exit must be handled with the utmost care and respect in order to preserve the integrity of the character.
Since her character is a dedicated wife and mother, it’s unproductive to mess with the relationship by introducing a cheating storyline or a new job since it isn’t believable.
We know Nic would never prioritize anything over her new family, not even a new gig. Even suggesting that as an alternative dishonors the kindhearted character Van Camp has built.
So, this is where it gets concerning.
All signs and breadcrumbs point to Nic not surviving the premiere.
There are a few indications that the writers are going to kill her off and pursue the “Conrad is a heartbroken and widowed single father to baby Gigi” storyline.
The official season 5 poster pointed to tragedy as Conrad was seen alone in a defeated stance. His back was turned to the camera and the words “healing stars within” were written on top.
We think this will hurt us more than heal us, but we're always in.
— The Resident (@ResidentFOX) August 5, 2021
A follow-up trailer titled “Everything Will Change” opens with an ominous montage of CoNic’s happiest moments. It then shows Conrad standing alone in his daughter’s nursery before cops come to his door to deliver some news. Since it’s never a good sign when cops show up at your house in the middle of the night, many fans to theorized that Nic was involved in a tragic accident.
The gossip Instagram account, Deuxmoi, seemingly confirmed that theory via an anonymous tip.
“I can 10,000 percent confirm she’s leaving The Resident early in the upcoming season, but her character will die in a car accident,” a source told the account, though, these can be hit or miss so take it with a grain of salt!
It’s a frustrating approach considering Nic just survived a stabbing along with pregnancy complications last season, but it’s really the only way to handle it while keeping the character intact.
It also presents plenty growth opportunities for Conrad’s character.
Much like the fans (and probably, the writers), he never anticipated that he’d be a single father, but life threw him a curveball and now he has to step up to raise his daughter, likely with the help of his friends at Chastain.
And while we typically see the plight of working mothers, this would offer the series a chance to dig into the hardships of balancing a thriving career in the medical field while also being a present father.
The only other option on the table is that the accident causes Nic to go into a lengthy coma, which would also leave the door open for any potential guest appearances from Van Camp should she so choose to be involved.
The latter would allow for the character to come back, while also allowing the writers to explain her off-screen existence with a storyline about how she gave up her career to stay at home with Gigi in the aftermath of the accident.
However, Elkoff seemingly confirmed that Conrad will be a single father to TV Line, noting: “He’s really good at it. He’s just going to be the best dad you can imagine.”
He also explained that the season will pick up with a nine-month time jump, which explains why Gigi is so big in the promos already.
FOX entertainment president Michael Thorn told Deadline that it will be an emotional departure.
“The audience is going to be surprised and emotionally engaged with how we handle Emily’s departure and the way that it affects all of the other characters,” he said. “And yes, we will be introducing some new characters as we go along, but I think it’s going to be another excellent season. Amy Holden Jones does an incredible job,” he added.
While everyone involved with the series is staying mum on how Van Camp will be written off, they are convinced that fans won’t be disappointed by what they are calling a “potentially game-changing, development.”
In the wake of her exit (along with the exit of Shaunette Renee as Mina last season and Morris Chestnut as Barrett Cain), the series is also adding new cast members to fill the void and ensure the upcoming season has a robust ensemble.
Miles Fowler will join the medical drama as Billie Sutton’s (Jessica Lucas) estranged son, Trevor. If you’ll recall, Billie opened up to bestie Nic about being raped at 13-years-old and giving up the baby for adoption. While she didn’t want to meet her son, he’s been reaching out hoping to get to know his birth mom.
Regardless of how the series tackles this unexpected cast shake-up, be prepared for an emotional journey ahead.
The fifth season returns on Tuesday, September 21st at 8 pm ET/PT on Fox.
You can catch up on all of our The Resident reviews HERE!
‘The Chair’ Review: A Humorous Commentary on the World of Academia
An entire show focused on a dilapidating university English department had the very real potential of being extremely boring and niche with its heavy ode to literature. However, Netflix’s original series The Chair, starring the fabulous Sandra Oh, is a humorous commentary on the world of academia, cancel culture, ageism, sexism, and transracial adoption.
The bulk of the humor rests on the shoulders of Ji-Yoon (Oh) and Joan (Holland Taylor) the only women in the department alongside Yaz (Nana Mensah). Ji-Yoon is the first woman department head to take the position just as enrollment is crumbling by 30%.
What’s meant to be a momentous moment in her career turns into a shit show when she’s tasked with putting out daily dumpster fires.
In the short six episodes, we’re quickly introduced to the complicated lives of Ji-Yoon and her colleague/lover Bill Dobson, one of the younger professors who’s under intense scrutiny for making an insensitive and ignorant reference to nazis.
There’s a strong balance between personal and professional lives as the underlying tension displayed immediately between Bill and Ji-Yoon ignites a budding romance, amid the dean’s increasing pressure for Ji-Yoon to let Bill go.
Ji-Yoon’s a powerful woman who isn’t afraid to stand up against university systems that oppress women and women of color. And despite her ability to properly handle her work life, her home life seems to be teetering.
Her daughter Juju is a spitfire who is ready to speak her mind at any moment. Whether to diss her halbi, cross personal boundaries scaring off babysitters, and telling Ji-Yoon how she feels about her transracial adoption.
The real dynamic duo is Juju and Bill. As Bill’s healing from the loss of his wife and empty-nesting after sending his daughter off to college, he finds comfort in taking care of Juju while he’s on suspension.
Juju’s lack of connection with Ji-Yoon is saddening, as it stems from Ji-Yoon’s absence due to her tireless job. However, by the end of the season, the growth between mom and daughter is emotionally beautiful.
Yes, I shed a few tears.
The decision to use an English department as a commentary vessel is ingenious. Historically, academia is full of jaded tenured professors who are generationally out of touch. But, an English department is stereotypically overrun with crotchety old pretentious men.
Some of whom are definitely ready for retirement.
Yaz is a Black professor whose class has quickly become the most popular in the English department. With her classes yielding the most students, this causes jealousy among the other educators, putting her tenure track in harm’s way.
When she’s denied the distinguished lectureship and begins to feel helpless as a woman of color at Pembroke, she considers taking an offer from Yale. However, Ji-Yoon’s desperation to rebuild the department full of diverse women convinces Yaz to stay.
Yaz’s character doesn’t receive as much screentime as she deserves. Most of the attention is placed on Dobs and the rest of the professors fighting desperately to hold onto their power.
Furthering the theme of sexism, Joan’s office is displaced in the basement underneath the gym. As a professor who’s been with the university just as long as her male counterparts, she finds her situation outrageous and greatly sexist.
Yet, by the season finale, after Ji-Yoon’s been ousted as the head of the department, she strategically chooses Joan to replace her. This feels like a win for the women and especially Ji-Yoon, as her vision of change continues.
While there hasn’t been any official word about a second season, Season 1 paved the path for deeper topics to be pursued. Especially the romance between Ji-Yoon and Bill. So I can’t imagine the show won’t receive another green light.
If you’re someone who shutters at the idea of being immersed in the academic sphere even fictionally, don’t worry. The Chair is a show you can enjoy on the pure basis of humor and emotional family drama. And of course Sandra Oh!
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