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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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BRITNEY VS SPEARS, the Conservatorship Curtain comes to an end

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent



Singer Britney Spears has been in the news for years, for all the wrong reasons, you could say. Her private life has been easy material for comedians and mainstream news anchors alike. But what if everything we thought we knew about her so-called meltdowns is, at the very least, less than accurate.


As a child star on the Mickey Mouse Club, this is a pre-teen brought up in a very strange world of on-demand performances with a history of gutting the lives of many once-famous child actors.


So why should Britney Spears be any different?


Perhaps the new Netflix documentary BRITNEY VS SPEARS directed by two-time EMMY nominee Erin Lee Carr can answer some of those questions, or at least re-frame the mental health issues that have dogged this music icon for the last 13 years?


We tapped Screenmancer in Los Angeles for more on the premiere of this original doc from the streamer.


First watch the trailer, and no trailer jokes





From Screenmancer


When the Oops, I Did It Again popstar Britney Spears found herself the subject of CBS News “Timeline: Britney’s Meltdown” her fate form the then-temporary conservatorship on Feb. 1, 2008 was litigated in the media. It became a permanent humiliation for the next 13 years. Now there is a new release to lift the Conservator Curtain once and for all in “Britney vs Spears.” The official tagline is “No more secrets. No more silence. Britney vs Spears is only on Netflix September 28.”


But Netflix could be seen as a late-comer to the #FreeBritney social media tsunami that swept the sand from fans eyes on what really happened to the child-star turned international icon.


Breakdown Alley


CBS was not alone in 2008, with opening with lines like: “From "Mickey Mouse Club" to sex symbol and single mom, Britney Spears has always been noticed for a bit more than her music. Here are some of her recent perils and pit stops.” Nearly every single mass consumer outlet piled on, not to mention late night comedians, except for Craig Ferguson, who went on the record in 2007 as the lone late night host who refused to trash her. TMZ, Daily Mail, Us Weekly, Just Jared, X-17 Online, Radar Online, they all piled on, even mainstream media blogs, not just paparazzi.



Jokes in the thousands ranged from ‘Why couldn’t Britney call 911? She couldn’t find the 11,” to “Why did Britney Spears jump off a building? Because she thought Maxi pads had real wings.”


The relentless glut of Britbashing went from meme to meme, from the bald-head-umbrella academy to seriously twisted non-stop chat room abuse.


Yet the manufactured social media and consumer media ‘train wreck label’ would not come to a full stop literally until Oct. 15, 2017 when Jodi Kantor and Meghan Twohey called time on one of the biggest Hollywood moguls (who shall remain unnamed) and kicked off a sweeping re-think on how women in Show Business are treated. 


#FreeBritney Saves the Day


But the #FreeBritney movement that finally triumphed this year, 2021, was almost accidentally begun by two actor friends who became podcasters. “In this inaugural episode of Britney's Instagram, comedians Tess Barker and Barbara Gray discuss their reason behind starting the podcast, and they breakdown Britney's video of her painting on her veranda.”


The first episode included their origin story, as “It started when we got tagged a lot on Britney’s Instagram… it’s just like the most fascinating Instagram out there.” Babs and Tess began to dissect Britney’s Instagrams not only out of sympathy, but also to find the truth about a woman who was competent enough to play Las Vegas, but not able to spend her own money.


Described as ‘her only outlet; by the podcasters, they said “This is the place where she harnesses her Britney Spirit in one place.” You can find the episodes dating back to Nov. 2, 2017 here.


Side-eye on Jamie Spears Finally


Almost overnight, the ‘teary-eyed father,’ Jamie Spears, who took away literally his multi-millionaire daughter’s human rights over a decade ago to his own financial benefit, became suspect as the Conservatorship came under the same scrutiny as Britney Spears. 



Except this time? The Conservatorship was ‘batshit crazy’ - a term often attached to the popstar in hit media pieces. Not only did The New York Times spearhead documentary expose “Framing Britney Spears” to debut around the February date of her Conservatorship this year, but they just followed up with “Controlling Britney.”


“Framing Britney Spears” from The New York Times Presents, and FX on Hulu, lost out at this year’s EMMYs to? “Boys State.” Enough said in the title alone.


For now, the new Netflix documentary - which details (spoiler alert) listening devices in sensitive places in privacy violations of the Popstar’s own bedroom and placed there by her father - is the one that may restore the lost decade-plus for one of the world’s most famous women.


Britney Jean Spears… just in time before she turns 40 this year on Dec. 2, having spent 13 long years under this legal form of adult-child abuse.


Next catch the whole documentary here.


Follow #FreeBritney on social media.


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About Quendrith Johnson

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