From Anna Nicole to Liz & Dick, we’re a slave for Lifetime’s unauthorized celebrity biopics. And Feb. 18 brings the latest edition in this addictive franchise: Britney Ever After, a retelling of the life and times of the early 21st century’s favorite pop princess. Prepare to travel back in time to the heady days of the year 2000, when the Mississippi-born singer’s star went supernova and burned brightly through hit records, high-profile romances, and a surprise wedding to gangly dancer Kevin Federline. But everything that goes up must come down, and Spears spent the back half of that decade battling various professional and personal crises, before regaining solid career footing in the last few years with new albums and a lucrative Las Vegas residency.
While it’ll be fun to watch Britney’s greatest hits reenacted by Natasha Bassett and the rest of Britney Ever After‘s cast, it’s going to be hard for the filmmakers to top the actual footage on display in Britney and Kevin: Chaotic, the five-episode reality show that preserved her whirlwind courtship and marriage with Federline on grainy digital video. Premiering on the now-defunct UPN in the summer of 2005, Chaotic gained instant notoriety as one of the most obnoxious “celebreality” series of all time, with the two lovers filming each other making dumb faces or saying dumb things while traipsing around Europe.
Never released on any streaming service (although a DVD hit shelves in 2005), all five episodes of Chaotic can be found on YouTube (with bonus Italian subtitles). If you’ve never seen it, the series is a revealing — and more than a little disturbing — glimpse into Spears’s life at the height of her fame. Here are the five Chaotic moments we hope the filmmakers remember to include in Britney Ever After.
Britney’s Brad Pitt obsession
Although Spears is excessively touchy-feely with Federline, there’s little doubt about the person she’d rather be cuddling with. On more than one occasion during the course of Chaotic’s brief run, Brit-Brit mentions that Brad Pitt is her celebrity crush, citing his ripped appearance in Fight Club as a favorite look. For his part, Federline smiles tolerantly through it all, but you can tell he’s a bit annoyed at being the Edward Norton in this scenario. How about a Britney Ever After dream sequence in which Bassett enjoys a Beauty and the Beast-like ballroom dance number with a Pitt look-alike?
Mo vs. K-Fed
The most likable person in Chaotic isn’t Spears or Federline — it’s Mo, the beefy security dude tasked with keeping Britney safe from rogue fans. The key to his likability? The fact that he so clearly doesn’t like Federline, marking him as a freeloader from the moment he enters Spears’s life. In Episode 2, tensions boil over when K-Fed playfully smacks Spears’s protector upside the head, and Mo responds by physically wrestling him to the ground, saying over and over again, “Do you quit?” Although it’s edited to be a funny moment, Mo looks dead serious. Later on in the episode, Mo claims to have changed his mind about Federline, but one gets the sense he’s just playing nice for the camera and would be more than happy to take him down all over again.
You can’t tell the Britney Spears story without Felicia Cullotta. The singer’s longtime personal assistant — who has become a minor celebrity in her own right among serious Britney fans — will be played in Britney Ever After by Lindsay Gibson. In Chaotic, Felicia is relegated to the part of lovelorn best friend, who looks on happily — and a little wistfully — while Spears and Federline make goo-goo eyes at each other. She enjoys a moment of triumph in the final episode when she catches the bouquet at Britney’s wedding. Granted, the footage indicates that Spears all but tossed it right into her hands, but maybe it’ll look more spontaneous if and when Gibson and Bassett reenact it.
No more “I love you’s”
Every Star Wars fan knows that Han shot first. And Chaotic definitively establishes that Britney said “I love you” first. She says those words early on in Episode 3, stunning the already-monosyllabic Federline into total silence. In general, Chaotic reveals that K-Fed’s not one for sweet talk. For example, when asked to describe on-camera why he adores Spears, the best he can come up with is: “She just does it for me.” So don’t try and rewrite history like George Lucas rewrote Star Wars, Britney Ever After! Spears deserves the credit for being bold enough to drop the L-bomb.
After the vows are read and cake is consumed, Chaotic‘s wedding-themed series finale concludes with Federline and Spears, along with their respective entourages, hitting the L.A. club scene dressed as pimps and maids. It’s a look that’s supposed to emphasize their coolness, but viewed over a decade later, just comes across as dated and desperate. Nevertheless, it’s probably an essential element to include in Britney Ever After as a transition moment between the euphoria of their rushed nuptials and the challenging realities of married life.
Britney Ever After premieres on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.