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Senior Year Ending Explained (In Detail)
Senior Year, starring Rebel Wilson, sees its protagonist returning to her senior year of high school. We break down the ending and real meaning.

Senior Year Ending Explained (In Detail)

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Senior Year

Senior Year ending explained in detail. The Netflix comedy stars Rebel Wilson as Stephanie Conway, a high school senior who, after a cheerleading accident, winds up in a coma for two decades. The film, which is Alex Hardcastle’s feature directorial debut, harkens back to the days when high school was the center of Stephanie’s entire world.

The end of Senior Year finds Stephanie in a bit of a bind. Her friends, Seth and Martha, are frustrated with her because she continues sidelining them in a bid to regain popularity and become prom queen at last. After Brie Loves, a social media influencer, bows out of the race for prom queen, much to her mother Tiffany’s chagrin, Stephanie secures the crown and realizes that being prom queen isn’t actually the most important thing. She makes amends with Seth and Martha and graduates with her GED.

Stephanie went through a lot during the film, but she figured out quite a few things about herself before it was all over, revelations that informed her growth. Here is the ending of Senior Year explained, along with the answer to why the film has an entire segment dedicated to Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy” music video and what Stephanie’s journey really means.

Why Stephanie Really Wants To Go Back To High School

Upon waking from her coma, Stephanie’s first thought is to return to high school to complete her senior year, win prom queen, and graduate. After losing decades of one’s life, returning to high school might not be the first thing to cross one’s mind. However, Stephanie is adamant about returning precisely because she’s lost that time in her life. She remembers high school fondly; it was a highlight of her life, an era she felt she was finally excelling at. It’s also the last thing she remembers and, with so many unfulfilled moments, Stephanie wanted to see things through to the end. What’s more, Stephanie felt rather lost after waking up from a 20-year coma. She didn’t know what it was she was supposed to do to begin with. High school was the one thing she understood. It was also her comfort zone in a world that no longer looked the same for her anymore. Making new friends who helped her navigate this new world was key to understanding all the changes in social media, pop culture, and technology in a relatively safe space. And considering Stephanie still had the mentality of a 17-year-old despite being 37, returning to high school was something that made a lot of sense for the lost adult.

Why Stephanie Remakes Britney Spears’ Music Video

Senior Year is full of moments that see Stephanie envisioning herself doing something — mostly dancing in a really cool way — different in her mind than what she is actually doing in reality. When Stephanie first arrives at her high school as an adult, she’s imagining a grand entrance, slow-motion hair tosses, and everyone stopping to look at her in awe. The same thing happens when she and her friends are suddenly shown reenacting the music video for pop singer Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy,” along with the choreography. It seems rather abrupt in the film, but when it’s confirmed it’s just another moment in Stephanie’s mind, it makes much more sense. This is because Stephanie sees herself differently than how others view her. She’s lost in the fantasy of being popular and everyone respecting her as such. And so everything she does always looks a lot cooler than it is. Dancing around the living room with her friends is suddenly made more glamorous while also calling back to the time period of Stephanie’s high school years.

What Stephanie’s Future Looks Like After Graduation

At 37 years old, Stephanie still has a lot of catching up to do in terms of her life. Now that she’s officially graduated from high school, she’s completed at least one thing she missed out on because of her coma. Stephanie can finally think of her future instead of looking back at her past. As of Senior Year’s ending, Stephanie’s future and potential career opportunities aren’t mapped out, but that’s also beautiful in its own way. Stephanie has so many options ahead of her — she can choose to go to college, she can opt to find a job, or she can take some time off to rediscover herself and what it is she wants now that high school is officially in the rear view mirror. Considering how well she clicked with the teens of Harding High, Stephanie could even become a high school counselor if she wishes.

Every Reference To 2000s Pop Culture Explained

Senior Year capitalizes a lot on nostalgia, especially since Stephanie was a high schooler during the early aughts. The music makes up a big part of the era’s pop culture throughout the film. Mandy Moore’s “Candy” plays a few times, as does Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Moment Like This,” both of which are a part of the cheerleader’s dance routine. Stephanie being a cheer captain is somewhat reminiscent of Bring It On, as is her fall while doing a routine. At one point, Tiffany says that she is “MTV” while Stephanie is more along the lines of “VH1” when it comes to popularity. The plot of going back to high school is a callback to Never Been Kissed starring Drew Barrymore. Having a younger mentality while stuck in an adult body is also similar to 13 Going on 30 starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo. And of course, there is also the “(You Drive Me) Crazy” segment, which replicates Britney Spears’ famous video down to the way it’s edited.

What Senior Year’s Ending Really Means

Stephanie sought popularity and the title of prom queen for so long that she didn’t realize what her life meant or was without these things, or even what her future looked like beyond fulfilling these goals. Senior Year’s ending ultimately made her realize she had sidelined her real, true friends for superficial titles and meaningless relationships. Stephanie was finally seeing what was in front of her and realizing she had loyal friends in Seth and Martha, as well as the new friends she made in high school, who were always going to be there for her and genuinely cared for her wellbeing. Rebel Wilson’s character realized she didn’t need to be wrapped up with high school nonsense when she could be building her true relationships and working on herself in other respects. The ending of Senior Year ultimately opened Stephanie’s eyes to the real deal of her life, allowing her to move forward in a genuine way that was not linked to anything that wasn’t fulfilling or meaningful.

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