Fans of Saturday Night Live got a special treat this week when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returned to host the show. The hilarious pair was promoting their upcoming movie Sisters, and during the episode, they even reprised a few of their best SNL roles as Weekend Update anchors and political figures (aka Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton). Another memorable part of the night? Fey and Poehler spoofed Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" video by introducing "Tina & Amy's Dope Squad." Akin to the Weekend Update desk, this symbolized a sort of returning to their roots — but not in the way you'd expect. Instead, they continued their trend of taking digs at T. Swift.
Let me start by saying that I think Fey and Poehler are comedic goddesses. They're brilliant, funny ladies who can carry a sitcom like nobody's business. But for some reason, they have a history of making fun of Swift and I don't understand it. I know, I know — it's literally their job to tell jokes. Still, I think they're too hard on the 26-year-old singer. While, of course, the "Dope Squad" sketch was amusing and timely (and even featured an Amy Schumer cameo), it was a bit of a low blow, especially given their heated history with Swift.
If you'll recall, back at the 2013 Golden Globes, Fey and Poehler poked fun at Swift's dating history. While hosting, Fey joked, "You know what Taylor Swift, you stay away from Michael J. Fox's son," implying the singer would chase after any available male with a pulse. Poehler said, "Or go for it!" to which Fey responded, "No, she needs some me time to learn about herself." Not to make a mountain out of a molehill, but that comment wasn't cool. It even verges on slut-shaming, I'd say. Just because Swift publicly dated multiple stars, that doesn't diminish her as a person. If anything, I'd think Fey and Poehler would be two of the first people to cheer on a woman's agency and ability to date whoever she chooses.
Of course, I don't think they were being intentionally hurtful, but when someone's feelings get hurt, it should be time to reassess the situation — not keep pushing it further. Later discussing the incident, Swift told Vanity Fair ,
You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people, because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved that said, "There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women."
I think Swift's reaction was warranted, given that she's dealt with plenty of of backlash for her dating habits, to which she's spoken about in interviews, saying, "There was a bit of a reputation for having a lot of boy-bashing songs. Which is a sexist way of saying heartbreak songs. To trivialize someone who’s heartbroken is really cruel." It must be hard to be the poster girl for dating around and have songs about your feelings be viewed as whiny.
Luckily, Poehler later apologized for the whole situation, telling The Hollywood Reporter,
Aw, I feel bad if she was upset. I am a feminist, and she is a young and talented girl. That being said, I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff.
Poehler inadvertently raised a great point. She and Fey are huge feminists — feminist icons, if you will. They're two women killing it in a predominantly male industry and unapologetically themselves. Just look at Poehler's Smart Girls, an entire group dedicated to empowering young women. But considering all of that, isn't it a bit hypocritical to repeatedly diss Swift? Even after their apology, they poked fun at her again the following year as Golden Globes hosts. When Poehler took home an award for Parks and Rec, Fey joked, "There's a special place in hell for you," clearly referencing Swift's comment. Yikes.
While it's easy to dismiss the "Dope Squad" video as lighthearted fun, knowing your audience is important too. Given the fact that Swift didn't take their jokes well in the past, the "Bad Blood" spoof was a bit much. Plus, many people (myself included) consider Swift's "squad" as an empowering group of women supporting each other. Stars like Selena Gomez have even thanked Swift "for making us and all beautiful women feel beautiful." Why poke fun at a group of young women who aren't being catty or belittling each other?
Since Fey and Poehler are usually all about girl power, it's confusing that they're so hard on Swift, who vocalizes support for the same cause. Wasn't it in Fey's movie Mean Girls that her character Ms. Norbury says, "You all have got to stop calling each other 'sluts' and 'whores.' It just makes it OK for guys to call you 'sluts' and 'whores'"? Sure, she didn't call Swift and her friends "sluts" or "whores," but that underlying message of not hypocritically tearing one another down definitely applies here.
I love you, Tina and Amy, but let's do better — don't become the mean girls you made an entire movie fighting against.