A man with tousled hair gazes up at a woman in a beret, who gently touches his face, in a dimly lit,...

Ariana Grande Goes Full You On Penn Badgley In Her New Video

She out-stalkered the stalker.

Joe Goldberg has finally met his match: Ariana Grande. In the pop star’s new music video for “The Boy Is Mine,” she out-stalks the ultimate stalker by sneaking her way into the home of a beleaguered politician played by none other than You star Penn Badgley. It’s clear Grande must be a fan of Badgley’s twisted Netflix series, because her video is full a subtle nods to You, as well as a few other clever pop culture references.

“The Boy Is Mine” stood out to Grande fans even before its release, both for sharing a title with Brandy and Monica’s iconic 1998 collab and for its supposed clapback at the rumors swirling around Grande’s love life. Sure enough, the groove about a complicated crush definitely seemed to be inspired by her rumored romance with Wicked co-star Ethan Slater. The Broadway actor doesn’t show up in the music video, though. In his place, Badgley portrays a city mayor named Max Starling, who plans to control a rodent overpopulation by releasing stray cats into the streets.

Grande’s character is scarily obsessed with Max, to the point where an entire room of her home is covered in pictures of him. It’s quite similar to how Badgley’s character Joe Goldberg behaves in You, and there are a few nods to that show throughout the video. For instance, Max’s mayoral address calls to mind how Joe watched his rival Rhys announce his campaign to become London’s mayor in You Season 4.


And when Grande pins Max down and tries to force him to drink a love potion, it’s a very similar scene to Love poisoning Joe in the You Season 3 finale.

But the references in “The Boy Is Mine” aren’t limited to You. The most obvious reference in the video is the superhero Catwoman, which Grande dresses as to sneak into her crush’s home. Halle Berry, who played the feline thief in 2004’s Catwoman, was quick to give her seal of approval: “Get it, Ari!,” she tweeted. “Living.”

The most fun cameo came at the beginning of the video, though. As a sign of respect for their song of the same name, Grande cast Brandy and Monica as newscasters in the video.