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Britney Spears Documentary tackles conservatorship and #FreeBritney movement Britney Spears Documentary tackles conservatorship and #FreeBritney movement

Editorials

5 Shocking and Heartbreaking Moments from ‘New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears’

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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. 

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The Conservatorship

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. 

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Lizzy Buczak is the founder of CraveYouTV. What started off as a silly blog in her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago turned her passion for watching TV into an opportunity! She has been in charge of CraveYou since 2011, writing reviews and news content for a wide variety of shows. Lizzy is a Music Business and Journalism major who has written for RADIO.COM, TV Fanatic, Time Out Chicago, Innerview, Pop’stache and Family Time.

Chicago Med

Did Dr. Zola Ahmad Leave ‘Chicago Med’ Already?

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Did Dr. Zola Ahmad Leave 'Chicago Med' Already?

Chicago Med introduced a new third-year resident to the fold in season 9—Zola Ahmad played by The Wilds’ Sophia Ali.

Ahmad’s character was initially described as “impulsive” and a troublemaker who tends to cause “headaches” for her Gaffney Medical fellows, which we saw play out in real-time when her unconventional approaches rubbed Crockett Marcel (Dominic Rains) the wrong way.

Marcel tried to give Ahmad the benefit of the doubt on numerous occasions, and Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson) even acknowledged that she was taking a big chance by hiring her on a prohibitionary basis given her track record with previous hospitals—but ultimately, Ahmad’s behavior and decisions to overstep and not follow protocol got the best of her.

When Ahmad decided to declare a patient—letting the fact that he wasn’t a good man dictate her reasoning—dead prematurely (and then attempted to justify it), nearly killing him, Dr. Archer (Steven Weber) chose to suspend her. It was very obviously a fireable offense, so it’s a good thing that the series writers held her accountable. Plus, it seemed like the perfect chance for a teachable moment and a redemption arc, not to mention, there was definitely some chemistry with Ahmad and Crockett that could’ve been explored down the line. She had potential as a character at Med, if she just reeled it in a little bit—and that would’ve been interesting to explore on a more granular level.

However, by Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9, it was over for Ahmad. 

Did Dr. Zola Ahmad Leave 'Chicago Med' Already?

CHICAGO MED — “A Penny for your Thoughts, Dollar for your Dreams” Episode 9008 — Pictured: (l-r) Sophia Ali as Dr. Zola Ahmad, Dominic Rains as Dr. Crockett Marcel — (Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC)

The series seemingly listened to the Chi-Hards fanbase as Ahmad paid the ultimate price for her reckless decision; Goodwin very briefly (and in passing) informed Crockett that Ahmad was let go, something he called a “shame.”

And that was that. There was no further mention of it, nor is there any indication that she’ll return anytime in the future. Her final episode of the season was listed as Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 8—and it seems like she’ll just be a blip on the radar of the show’s long-running tenure. 

It’s a drastic decision for the series, especially after hyping up Ali’s character at the beginning of the season. Why wouldn’t they give her arc a proper conclusion? Many of the complaints from the fan base were that her character was written inconsistently—her intentions were good most of the time, it was the execution that suffered—and crammed into an already shortened season due to COVID, so they weren’t able to build her character up in a way that would’ve given her the necessary nuance; her portrayal was overly negative and it was hard to defend her actions or keep her around when each week, she was pushing buttons and creating unnecessary issues without having the tenure to excuse them or back her up, like her predecessors Will Will (Nick Gehlfuss) and Natalie (Torrey Devitto). When those two acted irrationally back in the day, they had a history with Med and Goodwin that allowed them to stir the pot. 

It seems that the writing was on the wall for Ahmad from the get-go—the lack of good character development in the writing sealed her fate prematurely and gave fans whiplash with her quick arrival and departure. 

Would you like to see her return to the series?

Vanessa Morgan Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves With ‘Wild Cards’

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Editorials

Walker Season 4 Premiere Review – The Quiet

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Walker Season 4 Premiere Review - The Quiet

Walker returned to The CW for its 4th, and, likely final, season. 

Despite a 5-month time jump, the focus remained on serial killer Jackal, whom Walker and Trey were pursuing at the end of season 3, and the suspect that previously drove Cap. Larry James into a tailspin, effectively ending his marriage to Kelly before fate gave them another shot. 

Only this time around, Larry’s wife, Kelly, asks Cordell not to drag her husband down this road again—a promise he intends to upkeep, though, knowing Larry, he’ll figure out that his rangers are up to something and have no other choice but to get involved, especially since Trey’s tip for a detective reveals that Jackal, whose trail previously went cold for several months, is gearing up for “something big.”

This will be the overarching mystery of the season, while other weekly cases will also see our rangers getting into plenty of shenanigans, as they did with their pursuit of the Delmonico brothers. Also, props to all of them for taking part in a steak-eating competition and then jumping into a raid. It was bold of them, but it’s how Cordell wanted to spend his birthday, so I’m glad that despite the best-laid plans being uprooted, he was still able to feel the love from those around him.

A lot seems to have changed in the past five months, as evidenced by Walker and Geri’s steamy hook-up. Even when everything is going wrong, we can have faith in their love being a constant, which is what fans have been hoping for since season 1. 

There’s also Cassie, who blows back into town after taking a lengthy leave to go work for the FBI. She’s back with a newfound confidence about her abilities on the job, but she’s also struggling with a personal decision as she’s been offered a spot at Quantico, which means further uprooting her life and leaving behind her loved ones, er, Trey. 

Yeah, Trey and Cassie kind of addressed the elephant in the room—their feelings for each other—but neither of them was honest about it, so we’ll likely get something more truthful and heartfelt in the near future. 

Another lingering storyline is the break-in at Geri’s place that rattled Stella to her core. She hasn’t been the same since shooting and killing Witt, and it’s likely because she also lied to the police about having met him before. The officer who called her and Liam in over a “breakthrough in the case” said that the case was closed due to lack of resources, but the way he watched Stella sign the paperwork (and questioned if that’s “all she knew”) makes me uneasy—there’s definitely more to this storyline. What does he know that he’s not letting on?

As for change, I think that in the midst of all the “I’m Walker, Texas Ranger, you’re under arrest” in case you needed the reminder, we’re also continuing to see Cordell as a flawed human and a father coming to terms with the fact that he’s about to be an empty nester. It’s the next phase of his life—and one that brings about plenty of concern over the “quiet” that will allow his dark thoughts to flourish. Hopefully, Geri will be the light to cut through all of that. 

What did you think of the episode?

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Vanessa Morgan Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves With ‘Wild Cards’

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Vanessa Morgan Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves With ‘Wild Cards’

I meant to write this post when Wild Cards first premiered on The CW, but time got away from me, and before I knew it, the season finale of the series was upon us! 

I’m not a huge fan of The CW’s decision to axe some of our favorite shows in its rebrand, but what does ease the pain of losing the likes of Nancy Drew is the addition of promising shows like Wild Cards

To be quite frank, Riverdale never did Vanessa Morgan much justice. She amassed a huge number of fans, who were mostly hoping to see her character Toni reunite with on-screen love interest Cheryl (played by Madeleine Petsch) in the later seasons, and while she was seemingly considered one of the “core” characters, she rarely got the storylines she deserved.

We knew she could act—but Wild Cards shows us the depth of Morgan’s talents. It lets her shine, dominate, lead,  and even carry the series, opposite her on-screen partner and potential future love interest, Giacomo Gianniotti’s Ellis. 

Morgan delivers with the role of Max, a whip-smart and very charismatic con artist who utilizes her special skillset to help a “down in the dumps” maritime officer get his mojo back—and, spoiler alert if you’ve watched the season finale, his badge and desk back. 

Despite his initial hesitation with the idea of her joining the force as a consultant, even Ellis comes around, amazed by her abilities and the way she’s able to navigate every crime scene and follow the leads to produce results.&nbsp

The two grow very close over the course of the season’s 10 episodes, largely due to Morgan’s delightful on-screen persona and presence. Even when it’s not clear whose side she’s really on (is she fully on board with helping the cops or does she have a larger-than-life plan up her sleeve to pull off her greatest con yet and help her dad George—90210‘s Jason Priestley—snag a “get out of jail free” card), you find yourself drawn to her and rooting for her because of her likable personality. 

Vanessa Morgan Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves With ‘Wild Cards’

Credit: The CW

The series not only gets us invested in Max’s character—learning about her past—and what it entails for her future, but we also find ourselves rooting for Max and Ellis to finally get together… or even test the boundaries of that electric chemistry that they share (a moment that is, sadly, ruined when her husband Olivier (Dewshane Williams) blows into town). 

And it’s the mystery of Max that has all of us begging The CW to renew the series for a second season. We need more Max. We need more Ellis. We need more Morgan and Gianniotti. And we need answers. The good news is that Morgan told TVLine that season 2 of the quirky crime procedural is “very likely,” and trust that we put all our faith in her. 

As for the answers I mentioned we need, well, we need to know who killed Ellis’ brother, a murder that was the catalyst for him to get knocked down from his detective responsibilities in the first place. When he met Max, he was in a hard place, still trying to pick up the pieces of his brother’s death. And though he’s come a long way, surely, the fact that he can crack this specific mystery is one that he won’t be able to pass up. 

At the end of the finale—spoiler alert, again—Max convinced the authorities to help her pull off a heist that was two years in the works, hoping to frame her estranged husband Olivier after he steals a $33 million egg (he’s the one who betrayed her dad and landed him in prison), lessen her father’s sentence, and restore Ellis’ badge. However, there was a piece of the plan she didn’t share with Ellis—she swapped the real egg for a fake egg, and hatched a plan to disappear forever alongside Ricky and her millions. 

She didn’t expect Ellis to figure it out, though, this was one of the weaker points in the episode because she should’ve known him better than that by now, but she figured she’d be halfway across the country and it wouldn’t matter. What she didn’t anticipate in her plan is that Ricky, who was transcribing incriminating recordings from the mob as part of their safety-net policy, would find something on the drive about Ellis’ brother, namely, who murdered him. 

It’s at this moment that we see the biggest change in Max. She’s not the same person she was when the series first started. Her skills have become more valuable to helping than stealing, and she’s grown to care about someone other than herself and her father. She can’t, in good faith, leave with this knowledge and leave Ellis hanging. 

And that’s where we leave off—a promising cliffhanger on a promising series with two very promising leads. 

Your move, The CW.

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