We all know the best things about the early 2000s include double denim (and the Britney/Justin era), blue eyeshadow, flip phones and, most importantly, teenage rom coms – Katherine Heigl and Kate Hudson were queens of their very own kingdom.
God bless Ariana Grande for bringing that all back. After dropping her latest single “Thank U, Next” out of nowhere and the following week-long teases of what could possibly be the best music video of our times, the piece of art finally hit Youtube last night.
In the video Grande jumps into four of the most iconic teenage drama queens of the Noughts – Regina George (Mean Girls), Torrance Shipman (Bring It On), Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) and Jenna Rink (13 Going On 30).
The video opens with an intro inspired by Mean Girls, in which fellow “high schooler” share the stories they heard about Ari. It includes original actors Stefanie Drummond and Jonathan Bennett (as the ever-sexy Aaron Samuels), as well as singer Troye Sivan and Youtuber Gabi DeMartino, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Grande.
In true Mean Girls fashion, Ari shares her darkest thoughts with the Burn Book, which includes pages on some of her ex-boyfriends (Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez and almost-husband Pete Davidson). The video also features the iconic Jingle Bell Rock dance routine, filmed by none other than Momager of the Year Kris Jenner, who truly was born to play the role of “cool Mom” (played by Amy Poehler in the original). Jenner also delivers my personal favorite moment of the music video, right at the end.
The video includes a plethora of cameos by Grande’s colleagues and friends, including her former Victorious co-stars Elizabeth Gillies as Cady Heron from Mean Girls, Matt Bennett as Cliff Pantone in the teeth-brushing scene from Bring It On, and Daniella Monet as a fellow cheerleader, also for a Bring It On sequence.
It further features Jennifer Coolidge, who reprises her role as Paulette in Legally Blonde, who performs the iconic “Bend and Snap” with Grande. More re-created scenes from Legally Blonde include Ari studying Immigration and Refugee Law in a sparkling bikini (because far be it from Grande not to make a political statement when she has the chance to) and sweating away on the cross-trainer.
The final role she jumps into is Jenna from 13 Going on 30, and we see Grande (with a shorter cut she previously teased on Instagram) with Jenna’s old doll house just like in the original movie. Mark Ruffalo tweeted his congratulation right after the music video dropped, saying he’d be “having some razzles” in her honor.
Whether it was the music video’s clever use of nostalgia or the way Ariana had built up to the release we won’t ever know, but the world was HERE FOR IT. Thank U, Next not only broke Youtube Premiere’s record for the most-watched premiere since the featured launched, it also broke the platform itself. Youtube reported that so many people accessed the music video, it slowed down commenting and resulted in delayed posts.
If you grew up in the early 2000s and therefore alongside the heroines that Grande portrays in the video, this one will have hit you right in the feels. We’ll be re-watching this masterpiece all through 2019, all the while perfecting our Bend and Snaps and doodling into our Burn Books.
God truly is a woman – Ariana Grande.