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February 18th, 2012
Todd: Now I do read some of the music blogs, and among the music blogs, "Fifteen" is, by far, one of the most overrated songs I've ever seen. They love this song, I hate "Fifteen" by Taylor Swift. But you know what? Whenever I watch this video, I am not thinking about Taylor Swift. So you wanna know a deep secret? And if you haven't seen the video before, mute this intro, watch the video, then watch the intro 'cause I got a deep secret about it. Now the big thing about doing this was the big monologue I had about...this breakup I say I had and then it turns out I didn't have. But, like, I rehearsed that over and over again 'cause I wanted to get it right. I wanted it in one take, and I wanted it to sound as sincere as possible to set up the joke. And part of the reason it does sound so sincere—and people told me they were completely fooled by it—part of the reason it does sound so sincere is because I rehearsed the hell out of it. The other one? You know the part where I say, "except for the part where none of that ever happened to me"? Most of it happened to me. Like, I was writing about Zack and Kelly's breakup, and I realized most of it, like, mirrors my actual first high school breakup exactly. Like, the only major difference between what I say and what happened to me is that it didn't happen at a dance. Everything else? That's how it went down. And so I am, like, tapping into my deepest, saddest regrets, and I wrote the monologue specifically to ma...to match how I felt at the time and how it happened. So that was me acting. [as the Master Thespian] Actor!
So that's what I remember from it. I actually cut parts out of the review so I could fit the entire monologue in there, and I was...I was really proud of how that turned out 'cause I'm not an actor. I'm not. But I was proud that I was able to fool people. So, um...this is "Fifteen" by Taylor Swift.
Fade into Todd playing "Fifteen" on his keyboard.
TAYLOR SWIFT- "FIFTEEN"
A pop song review
Todd: Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift. I just love this girl.
- Video for "Teardrops On My Guitar"
- Taylor: Drew looks at me
Todd (VO): I love that she writes songs about guys named Drew, instead of Billy, or Bobby, or any of that phony country-music crap.
- Video for "You Belong With Me"
- Taylor: She wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts
Todd (VO): I love that she can't imagine how a guy could ever be interested in a girl who wears icky T-shirts.
- Video for "Love Story"
- Taylor: To you, Romeo, I was a scarlet letter
Todd (VO): I love that she references Romeo and Juliet and The Scarlet Letter in just the right way that proves that she knows absolutely nothing about either of them.
Todd: *laughs* This girl, just... she's adorable!
- Video for "Fifteen"
- Taylor: 'Cause when you're fifteen
Todd (VO): And now, Taylor Swift wants to tell us what it's like to be fifteen. Yes, from the oh-so-high vantage point of being nineteen, Taylor Swift wants to tell us what it's like to be fifteen.
Todd: God bless her adorable little button nose.
- Taylor: It's your freshman year, and you're gonna be here for the next four years
Todd (VO): Uh... I'm gonna be honest... Taylor Swift has lost me already, 'cause, not only am I not fifteen...
Todd: ...I am well past the point of caring what fifteen felt like. I mean, here's what you need to know about being fifteen—nothing you do, like, think or care about matters. The end.
Todd (VO): Sorry, fifteen-year-olds, it's true, and if you don't believe me, wait 'til you're twenty-five. Wait 'til you're nineteen. Wait 'til you're sixteen. Or, ask Taylor Swift, because that's what the song is about. She's too polite to put it like that, but that's what the song is about.
- Taylor: Fifteen, somebody tells you they love you, you're going to believe it.
- [Translation: Fifteen-year-olds sure are stupid!]
- Taylor: This is right before you know who you're gonna be.
- [Translation: I mean, REALLY stupid.]
- Taylor: I didn't know it at fifteen.
- [Translation: Like, pants-on-backwards stupid.]
Todd: As far as messages go, I've certainly heard worse! Still, even so, I'm not so convinced that Taylor Swift knows what she's talking about here.
- Taylor: Hoping one of those senior boys will wink at you
Todd: Wishing to get hit on by creepy senior boys? Yeah, I totally did that.
- Taylor: And then you're on your very first date and he's got a car.
Todd: Date with a boy with a car? Yeah, that happened too.
- Taylor: Sit in class next to a redhead named Abigail and soon enough you're best friends.
Todd: Well I mean, that's just part of growing up, sitting next to a redhead named Abigail and suddenly you're best friends. Yeah, I remember all of this happening to me. Except, of course, for the part where none of this ever happened to me. Boy, that second-person pronoun (when "you're" fifteen) is giving me all sorts of problems here. When Taylor Swift says, "when you're fifteen," what she actually means is "when you're fifteen and you're an attractive blonde girl," and I'm not any of those things, so none of this applies to me, certainly not the part about dating or having friends. I wish she'd just cut the crap and say, [previous quote posted, but stamped over] "when Taylor Swift was fifteen," but I realize that would not have fit the meter.
Todd (VO): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I'm not a girl, so maybe this doesn't mean as much to me. But I really do have to feel bad for all those little late-bloomers out there listening to Taylor Swift, expecting to walk into ninth grade and come out of it with a boyfriend. Yeah, sorry Taylor, some of us have to wait a little while longer.
Todd: Not me! Not me, of course. Well, I mean, I said, with the, earlier, I know I, but, like, I mean when I turned sixteen, I was like...I was like King Romeo of the high school. I mean, there was... [sighs] Can we move on?
- Taylor: And when you're fifteen, feelin' like there's nothing to figure out
Todd: What is she talking about?! I and everyone I know was a seething hormonal mass of inarticulate confusion at fifteen! I mean, I grant that maybe there are some cocky, confident, self-assured fifteen-year-olds out there, but am I really supposed to believe that ugly-duckling, girl-next-door Taylor Swift was one of them?
- [Picture of Taylor Swift: "Ugly duckling is her description, not mine"]
Todd (VO): Oh, oh, this is important, this is the big emotional part everyone talks about.
- Taylor: Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind
- And we both cried
Todd: That means sex, right? "Everything she had"? That means sex.
Todd (VO): I mean, if it doesn't mean sex, then Abigail just gave this guy all her stuff? Well, then you've done her a real disservice, because it sounds like you mean sex!
Todd: And either way, I'm not sure Abigail- who's a real person, by the way [cut from the video of Taylor and Abigail, with 'This is really her' across it] I'm not sure she needs you revealing her most painful secrets! For the record, that's a really degrading way to put that, too. "Gave away everything she had." A woman is more than her body, Taylor!
But, but, y'know, that is a sad story. That's...we've all got our sad stories from high school. I remember, I remember my senior year. Would've been my junior year, actually. My junior year, me and my girlfriend, Kelly, we were... we were going out for more than a year at that point, and she'd been acting all weird and distant and stuff. I didn't know what was going on, I knew something was up, but I didn't know what it all meant. I was just a dumb kid, I didn't know. And there was a big dance coming up, I figured that would solve everything, big romantic thing we could do, she always liked going to dances. We'd go to the dance, and things would be all right. But the dance came, and we got all dressed up, we went, and nothing changed. She was still weird. And I couldn't...I said something, I confronted her on it. I didn't know what it meant, and I wanted to know, I wanted to know. And, um... we went outside to talk, and... and she told me that she didn't think she could be my girlfriend any more... [sighs] Cause there was this other guy. He was some college guy she knew from work—I'll be honest, it wasn't a complete surprise. And, um... we talked some more, uh... Crying happened, and we had one last dance, and then we broke up. We broke up at the dance. And it really, really sucked. And as far as high school goes, that was probably the worst thing that ever happened to me.
Except for the part where none of that ever happened to me! That happened to Zack Morris on Saved By The Bell.
- [Clip from Saved By the Bell]
- Kelly: Zack, I'm so sorry
Todd: Okay, now imagine I told you that story, but it's about my friend Zack now. I think we'd all agree that the story loses some of its impact, right, no matter how sad I am about it. And believe me, I was pretty sad about it. The reason why it loses its impact, is because it's easy to be honest and emotional about something that happens to someone else.
Todd (VO): By all means, Taylor. Spread more of that hot gossip about Abigail, but what happened to you? Weren't you dating some boy with a car?
- Taylor: Back then I swore I was going to marry him someday
- But I realized some bigger dreams of mine.
Todd (VO): That's it? That's all you're gonna share?
Todd: What happened? Why'd you break up? Was he a heroin addict? Did he cheat on you with Carrie Underwood? Was he called back to his home planet? You've just got nothing you wanna say about this, huh?
Todd (VO): And yet somehow, I'm supposed to care that Taylor Swift cries for Abigail?
Todd: That's too distant! I'm not going to be sad because she's sad that Abigail's sad. And I do know that there are people out there who think that this is the most heartbreaking thing in the world, and you know what, good for them. Good for them. And I'm sure they have their reasons, and I'm sure they wanna share their reasons. You know what? Please don't. I can't do anything with that information. I'm not gonna sit here and be sad 'cause you're sad that Taylor's sad that Abigail's sad.
Todd (VO): And let's be serious, that part was always gonna be about Abigail, because Taylor Swift is not gonna write a song where she gives it up at age 15.
Todd: Maybe that trampy redhead Abigail does that, but not Taylor Swift!
Todd (VO): Taylor Swift lives in this perpetual Norman Rockwell world, where she's always just had her first kiss last week, and she has friends with names like Abigail and Gertrude and Mildred, probably. I will be honest—this is pretty far from the worst song I've heard, but it's not universal, and it's not particularly personal. I mean, it does not hold up. Taylor Swift is nineteen! She hasn't experienced anything that matters! Except maybe this...
- [Clip of the 2009 VMA Awards- Kanye West interrupting Taylor's acceptance speech]
Todd: I actually think that Taylor Swift is a very talented songwriter with a lot of potential, but seriously, wake me up after she's had two divorces, develops a drinking problem and starts making some actual country music.
- Taylor: Fifteen.
Closing tag song: My Chemical Romance - "Teenagers"
"Fifteen" is owned by Universal Music
This video is owned by me