Ariana Grande just released the video for her hit song “thank u, next” and it’s such a nice time! She spent the better part of this week teasing the video, letting folks know that it would be a candy pink (which is different from millennial pink) fantasia based on beloved, women-centered teen movies from the mid-to-late aughts and thereby would feed the internet’s constant and unquenchable need for nostalgia.
And it’s so fun!
You’ve got your Mean Girls, you’ve got your Bring It On, you’ve got your Legally Blonde and you’ve even got a fleeting 13 Going on 30 moment*. Is there a large overarching narrative connection? Not really. Does it have to do with the song’s central tenet of looking back on past relationships with gratitude while moving forward to focus one oneself? Little bit. Are there fun cameos? Youuuuu betcha.
I’ll leave it to younger, hipper and more energetic minds than mine to list out all of the Gen-Z-esque cameos (I did recognize Troye Sivan! Give me a Snapchat!), but: Comic genius Jennifer Coolidge shows up in a retelling of her iconic bend-and-snap scene. Kris Jenner throws on a pink tracksuit and plays the role she was born to play. And while Gabrielle Union doesn’t make an appearance (booooooooooo), Jonathan Bennett a.k.a Aaron Samuels does, so at least I can partake in my favorite pastime of saying “wow, they’ve aged well” out loud to no one in particular. Also, there’s a very nice 13 Going on 30 wig that deserved more screen time — give us the wig-centric director’s cut we deserve you cowards!!!!!!
Ariana Grande might have succeeded in making the Platonic ideal of a modern internet-focused music video. Feminist-ish, visually appealing, well-produced and a veritable Highlights magazine of references, its goal is to be talked about rather than to say too much of anything. It coyly acknowledges the Twitter dialogue around Pete Davidson’s… attributes but stops short of saying much else about her high-profile relationships (which is entirely understandable). Some may find that frustrating — “sue me if I just want Ariana to marry her form with content!!!” Edith Young exclaimed over Slack — while others may think Let Ariana have some fun! Let us have some fun with Ariana!!!!
Much like the “thank u, next” video there isn’t a thesis to this, just kind of wanted us to all hang out and have a nice time. Share your thoughts! Tell me what I missed! Should we talk about how three of the four movies referenced have been turned into musicals? One with music from Lin-Manuel Miranda?? IDK just something to consider!
*I have to confess I’ve never seen 13 Going on 30 so I thought it was maybe from The Wedding Planner (which I also haven’t seen because I’ve been wasting my life). That thought led me to this scene and wow oh boy if this isn’t some of the best accent work in cinematic history I don’t know what is. It’s like they hired the guy from The Room to do a Marlon Brando impression and used it to dub over that guy from Grey’s Anatomy’s voice. Please watch this clip. Please. Simedar, Jasmin and myself laughed out loud about it for a good five minutes, but we are hopped up on a lot of By CHLOE. sugar.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia.