There are so many ways I could celebrate Britney Spears’s 35th birthday today. I could listen to Glory on repeat (“Love Me Down” is an underrated banger) while consuming nothing but Cheetos and Starbucks caramel frappuccinos. I could watch Crossroads and then spend seven hours watching her greatest moments on YouTube. I could burn my homemade Justin Timberlake voodoo doll and sing along to “Stronger” a cappella.
Or I could analyze this photo of NSYNC — or The Backstreet Boys, I really can’t tell — from Lifetime’s completely unauthorized Britney Spears biopic.
From left to right, that’s Frankie Cena as Chris Kirkpatrick, Connor Paton as Lance Bass, Nathan Keyes as Justin Timberlake, Matt Visser as (a very angry) Joey Fatone, and Zac Vran as JC Chasez. (Your eyes are not deceiving you.)
Seeing as this is Brit Brit’s big day, I’m refusing to acknowledge the existence of those outrageous photos of Australian actress Natasha Bassett as Spears because they do not have the pop queen’s blessing. Instead, let’s talk about our bargain-bin NSYNC here. I’m not blaming the actors here. You can already see the regret in poor Faux–JC Chasez’s eyes. But I do need to have a few words with this casting director because I have questions.
2. No, seriously. Why?
3. Is this satire? I think Faux–Lance Bass definitely thinks this is a satire.
4. Which timeline are we in, and in this timeline is Donald Trump still president-elect of the United States of America? I honestly don’t know which timeline is more bleak.
5. Huh. I guess I have to accept that this is a thing that is actually happening. OK. Who are these people? Because they are definitely not NSYNC.
6. Did the casting director accidentally confuse certain members of NSYNC with members of The Backstreet Boys? Because I’m getting serious Howie and AJ vibes from Thing 1 and Thing 5 on the ends. And Thing 2 kinda looks like a bargain-bin Nick Carter.
7. Where did they find these people?
8. What did Britney Spears ever do to this casting director? She doesn’t deserve this.
9. What kind of gel did they put in Faux–Justin Timberlake’s hair? That is not a proper ramen-noodle curl.
10. Why is Faux–JC Chasez standing so far away from everyone else? It’s almost like he’s trying to escape ...
11. My MTV News colleague Patrick Hosken would like to know: Is this the last thing you see before you die?
12. What are they even pointing at?
13. Who decided that the point-’n-smolder was the definitive pose of the ’90s? (Ugh. Probably Lou Pearlman.)
14. Why is Faux–Joey Fatone gigantic as hell?
15. Why is Faux–JC Chasez so tiny? HE WAS THE TALL ONE.
16. Does Faux–Justice Timberlake’s jersey say “Stinky” on the back? That might redeem him slightly.
17. What is Faux–Lance Bass even wearing? Clearly, I have a few questions for the film’s costume designer too.
18. Are those leaves on his shirt?
20. Sea urchins?!
21. How hard do we think Britney Spears is laughing right now? Justin Timberlake, this is what we call KARMA.