Mean Girls (2004): Leaving the Real World, Entering ‘Girl World’

Even after almost 20 years, Mean Girls is still ‘fetch’.

In Mean Girls, we follow teenager Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), who was educated in Africa by her zoologist parents. When her family moves to the suburbs of Illinois, Cady finally gets to experience public high school, aka Girl World, and gets a quick primer on the cruel, tacit laws of popularity that divide her fellow students into tightly-knit cliques. She unwittingly finds herself in the good graces of an elite group of cool students dubbed “The Plastics.” But, as things begin to unravel, Cady soon realizes how her shallow group of new friends earned this nickname in the first place. 

Mean Girls (2004) boasts an amazing set of actors for its cast, including Lindsay Lohan as Heron, fellow Canadian Rachel McAdams as the HPIC (Head Plastic In Charge), Regina George, as well as Fey, who plays the alleged “pill-pushing” teacher Ms.Norbury. Based in part on Rosalind Wiseman‘s book Queen Bees and Wannabes, the film explores female high school social cliques, school bullying and the damaging effect that they can have on teenagers. (Some inspiration was also taken from the writer Tina Fey’s personal experiences in high school, or as she calls it, “Girl World”, as well.)

Undeniably, Mean Girls has become a cult classic. People still quote the 20-year-old movie almost on a daily basis, myself included. Grool, right? 

‘High school movies’, especially from the 80’s to early 2010’s, have been some of the greats and Mean Girls is still one of my favourites. I’ve watched it too many times to count by now, and still enjoy it as much as I did the first time. It is funny but so dramatic, heartfelt yet cutthroat, and an all-around great watch. If you are one of the people who still, somehow, hasn’t watched Mean Girls, drop what you’re doing and watch it. You can find it on Paramount+. Be sure to wear something pink while watching.

I remember first watching Mean Girls before entering high school and thinking that high school would be the  “Girl World” that it is in the film. Although the movie has mostly unrealistic drama, camp and cattiness, Mean Girls does capture some of the real high school experiences many people will or have endured. The strive to fit in and be liked by others is a major point of this movie that Fey and director Mark Waters capture well. Being part of a group, or clique, truly is something that everyone desires, even if it means bringing others down so you can rise to the top. 

After all, everyone wants to find the right cafeteria table to sit at!

And, on January 12, 2024, the Mean Girls return… this time, as a musical reboot. Based on the hit Broadway musical (and, of course, the 2004 film), Fey is back to write the screenplay, passing directorial duties to Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. Even though nobody was expecting Mean Girls to get a reboot (let alone a musical), honestly, I am excited to see what Fey, Jayne, and Perez Jr. do with it! Although the new film will feature a new cast, it will include a few familiar faces to the original, most notably Fey as Ms.Norbury, and Tim Meadows as Principal Duvall.

The 20th Anniversary of Mean Girls (2004) is available on 4K & Blu-ray now.

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