Beyoncé and Ke$ha are, of course, different personalities with vastly different aesthetics—Beyoncé poised, regal, and diligently gracious, Ke$ha spontaneous and bawdy. But Life is But a Dream and what we've seen thus far of My Crazy Beautiful Life find them doing many of the same things: traveling, rehearsing, performing, primping, giving interviews, and talking (sometimes embarrassingly melodramatically) about making music, being in relationships, and the nature of celebrity.
Life Is but a Dream depicts Beyoncé doing all of these things with grace, generosity, and overwhelmingly successful results—a combination that feels at best heartwarming and at worst smug. Nauseated, first-trimester-pregnant Beyoncé makes it through 48 straight hours of rehearsals without complaining and apparently doesn't miss a step, then steals the show at the Billboard Music Awards. Heartbroken Beyoncé overcomes the tragedy of a miscarriage by stepping into the studio, singing from her heart, and laying down what she calls the best song she's ever written. Tabloid-maligned Beyoncé disapproves of the fact that celebrity pregnancies are gossip fodder, but she's risen above it. And when bad things happen to Beyoncé, they are never Beyoncé's fault. They are, without fail, external disturbances that Beyoncé can and does overcome with her trademark I'm-a-survivor fortitude.
It's not that Beyoncé's moments of triumph aren't inspiring. They are. But without any visual evidence that sometimes Beyoncé fails, or flubs up, or says something she'll regret, or isn't the wisest, most noble person in the room, her glowing win-after-win montage starts to blur into one megawatt superhuman highlight reel of a life that's too victorious to bear any resemblance to those of her mere mortal fans'.
My Crazy Beautiful Life, on the other hand, makes clear early (and often) that Ke$ha wins some, loses some, and doesn't always take the high road.
Sometimes, Ke$ha's failures are the kinds she laughs at. In the first five minutes of the premiere, Ke$ha attempts a cartwheel onstage and botches it spectacularly. She then loses her balance and flails to the ground again while merrily retelling the story backstage, then snorts at the memory when she reads about her tumble in a New York Times review the next morning. Later, she shares an oh-poor-us chuckle with a friend when a hot guy whose eye they've been trying to catch fails to notice them.
Other not-so-proud moments aren't as cute, or as easily laughed off. Upon returning to her old neighborhood in Los Angeles, Ke$ha insists on taking a stealthy night drive past the home of her ex-boyfriend Harold. She makes a vomiting noise as she explains bitterly that Harold lives there with his new girlfriend, expresses dread that he's making out with her right there inside the house, and sighs, "Well, that was unsuccessful," while driving away. She's failed to move on—a humiliating, sadly familiar experience that unites us all.