Britney Spears Britney Spears

There is a begrudging tone to Britney Spears' public persona of late. When she shows up to sing or perform or sit for an interview with MTV, as she did in last night's I Am the Femme Fatale documentary, you get the feeling that she just got done sighing and murmuring, "Time to make the donuts."

MTV's 30-minute Femme Fatale special (referring to it as a "film" would be a stretch) featured a visit to the set of Britney's  "Till the World Ends" video, behind-the-scenes and onstage footage of her recent Vegas performance and a sit-down interview with the unstoppable Sway. Both of them spoke so slowly to each other, they sounded like they had either made a joint pact to enter a coma, or were out to induce one.

Watch the best part of I Am Femme Fatale.

The thing was joyless, from Britney's inert performances to her pause-filled declarations ("I was just like...really really creative and just really just, y'know, like that," said Spears on her childhood). Granted, it was hilarious that when describing her video set, she said, "It felt like there was poop everywhere when there really wasn't." But for the most part, the goofy Britney of the past was nowhere to be found. We learned very little outside this brief list of things she says she likes or loves: 

  • - Tea
  • - Vanilla candles
  • -
  • -'s production on Femme Fatale's "Big Fat Bass"
  • - Choosing songs that empower people and make them feel good about themselves
  • - Songs that she records
  • - Her assistant's heels
  • - What she does

Watch Britney having some fun (for once!) in a Jackass stunt.

Why so languorous? Last week on Showbiz Tonight, Dr. Drew Pinsky weighed in on Britney's state of mind, saying that if rumors of bipolar disorder are true, the medication she's potentially taking to treat it could leave her stiff and robotic. That speculative explanation doesn't make Britney's awkwardness any more bearable. One of the last questions Sway asked her regarded whether she thought she'd be still working at age 50, like Madonna. Britney is no fortune-teller, so she couldn't say, but she did mutter that it's a possibly, as is "maybe just doing nothing." Watching her, you can't help but wonder if the latter possibility is the light at the end of her tunnel.

What do you think? Is Britney acting strangely to you?