It’s incredibly depressing that we’ve reached a stage in life where I can’t actually remember events of the freaking aughts. I have memories of sitting around my apartment in about 2005 watching Britney videos with my friends (and probably some cocktails), and I THINK it was a DVD she owned? But she thinks it was a DVD I owned? And neither of us knows where it is and yet both of us are positive we never would have thrown it away? MYSTERIES. This was not so long ago! Why do I know the names of random celebrity children but not things that happened in my actual life with people I know and care about? Anyway, it was Britney’s videos and then some special karaoke versions, which… obviously, we did that… and it just put up wingdings during the instrumental bits, which we both at least recall, because our friend Dan SANG the wingdings. Good times. Good, innocent, currently unattainable times.

Anyhoo, one such classic is of course “Toxic.” It’s one of the best pop songs around — apparently it was first offered to Kylie Minogue, and although she has not been hurting without it, I still bet she kicks herself for passing it up — and the video is an action-packed confection:

The Wikipedia page says it was Britney’s idea to do the story of a secret agent, and that she went to the director and was like, “Oh, I also want to join the mile-high club, and wear a diamond catsuit.” And then the bit with Tyson Beckford was inspired by Sydney Bristow from Alias. (Oh, and I will go to my grave convinced that Britney had also watched A View From The Top, because her flight attendant costume is very much the sexpot Halloween version of what Gwyneth wore in that movie when she hit the First Class routes.) The resulting video feels very much like that: a bunch of random ideas Britney thought would be fun, stitched together into an entertaining joyride that’s propelled by how good the song is.

The dude at the end, by the way, is Martin Henderson, who did a short arc on Grey’s and is now on Netflix’s Virgin River, which I know many of you have been streaming. And I enjoy that they took pains to have Sexy Flight Attendant Britney pat an adorable child on the head… right after she had been wiping a spill off a dude’s crotch. I would not argue that these vignettes make particular sense, but who cares? Britney gets to scale a building and pretend to poison someone who has wronged her, and dance-writhe her way through a short hall of lasers. It’s gold.