As I was coming home from work today, I (as usual) had the radio on, and I heard the 2007 song “Love Song” by Sara Barielles (played by Kelly Clarkson). As I sat in traffic, I started thinking about the lyrics (always a big mistake), and I’ve decided to add this to my list of decade-defining dysfunctional relationship songs (along with The Pina Colada Song and Breakfast at Tiffany’s).
Young Sara (Taylor Swift) is having a rough day. Ever since she was a little girl (Demi Lovato), she’s dreamed of being a mermaid (merperson? person of mer?). But this morning she found out that her mermaid audition was a complete flop because, in the words of the interviewer, she wasn’t “gilly enough”. (Even she knew that, but a girl can dream!)
This setback has put a crimp on her relationship with her boyfriend. He went to a great deal of trouble to take the spare bedroom and flood it for her to practice mermaiding, but now she’s not sure about the relationship, in part because her scale-covered lower half makes her unusually hard to hold onto, and he keeps dropping her.
Now, this isn’t all her fault. Rather than pointing out her air-breathing nature, everyone, including her boyfriend, have been saying things to Sara (Katherine McPhee) that she wants to hear, and now the cold slap of reality just hurts, and has left her high and dry.
But now she’s lashing out, claiming that she only wanted to be a mermaid because he thought Daryl Hannah was hot in Splash. (Disclaimer: he’s right.) Having said this, Sara (Miley Cyrus) storms out, after making him promise to leave the light on.
When she returns the next day, there’s another problem: in order to flood the guest room, her boyfriend borrowed a substantial amount from some shady characters, and now they want their money. Having cashed in his 401(k), and having an inordinate attachment to his kneecaps and thumbs, swallows his manly pride and approaches Sara (Christina Aguilera).
Boyfriend: Honey, I’m in a bit of a pickle. I took out a loan to pay for waterproofing the den, and the first payment is due. I know we were counting on your mer-ing salary to cover this, but we’re gonna need a backup plan, or I’m going to have to enter the Deadbeat Protection Program and go into hiding. Your tail thing doesn’t have knees, but I do. So I had an idea. You’re mostly Carrie Underwood. Maybe if you wrote a love song, we could sell it and use the money to get out of debt. What do you think?
Sara (Natasha Bedingfield): I can’t do that! I was planning to write you a love song for your birthday, as a spontaneous expression of my love for you! I’m not going to write you a love song because you ask for it. Not even if you need one! If I just up and write you a love song now, and you stay, then what am I going to get you for your birthday? I can’t afford a gift, what with all the money we spent on the merroom! So I’m gonna need a better reason, or else I’m not going to write you a love song. At least not today.
Boyfriend: But… but…
Sara (Joss Stone): I’m sorry, but no. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go write a song about this entire crappy situation.
And she never saw him again. Sara (Selena Gomez) now lives in a giant jukebox/peepshow somewhere in Nebraska.
(Author’s note: The role of Sara in tonight’s production will be performed by Jennifer Love Hewitt.)
(Disclaimer 1: I am not sure any of these women really exist. My knowledge of female musical artists is limited to distinguishing between Bangles and Go-Gos. None of these women are in either category.)
(Disclaimer 2: After the feminist apocalypse, men will be required to care that these are all different women. Assuming they are.)