Girl power gone wrong

Girl power gone wrong

31 days of cult classics | Modern Mrs Darcy


When Mean Girls came out in 2004, it was aimed squarely at teen girls. But I was a grown-up then, and I still loved it.

Screenwriter Tina Fey wasn’t surprised: “Adults find it funny,” she said. “They are the ones who are laughing. Young girls watch it like a reality show. It’s much too close to their real experiences so they are not exactly guffawing.”

To create the film, Fey added a fictionalized storyline to the bestselling advice book Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World. Rosalind Wiseman’s book isn’t light reading (at least not to parents of teen girls, or anyone who’s been one), but Fey manages to conjure a comedy out of the serious subject matter while nailing the Queen Bee dynamic.

Mean girls

Lindsay Lohan turns in her best performance as homeschooled teen Cady Heron, who moves with her parents from Africa to Chicago and enters the caste system known as the American high school, which she describes as “a stressful, surreal blur.”

On the first day of school, Cady eats her sandwich in the bathroom stall so she doesn’t have to deal with the tribal rites of the cafeteria. But everything changes when she’s adopted by the A-list clique known as The Plastics (so called because they look just like Barbies).

Mean Girls has been called a cross between Heathers (which I’ve never seen and never will) and Clueless (which I love), for mixing the darkness of the mean girl dynamic with the brightness of a Jane Austen rom com.

This smart and funny film earns its cult classic status with its long list of quotable quotes, its numerous fan clubs, and its 802 themed items available for sale on Etsy. Even if it didn’t quite make “fetch” happen.

Have you seen Mean Girls? Love it, hate it, or quote it in comments. 

*****     *****     *****

This is the third post in a series, 31 Days of Cult Classics. You can click here to see a list of all the posts, updated everyday in the month of October.


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  1. Jennifer H says:

    Loved Mean Girls and Clueless. Heathers is quite dark, and it wasn’t my favorite, maybe because I was still close to being a teen when I saw it (see your Tina Fey quote).

  2. Mandie says:

    I’ve never sen Heathers. It’s been a while since I watched Mean Girls, but now I want to rewatch! I was much closer to high school when I saw it & am interested in how I’d feel about it now. 🙂

  3. I was in college when Mean Girls came out, and I hated it. Too, too close to my real life (not in college, but earlier). I went to see it with a friend about my age, and we weren’t laughing. (But oh, I do love Clueless. So fun, and much more redemptive than Mean Girls.)

  4. Stacey says:

    I loved Mean Girls, and I’ll still watch it every time I spot it on TV. Clueless was another one I liked, mostly because it was hilarious. I remember watching Heathers when I was in high school, and it’s never been my favorite, because it’s so dark and weird!

  5. Erica M. says:

    I never watched Mean Girls, but then again, I was a teenager at the time, so I think I looked at it, thought, “Oh naw, I deal with this enough as it is!” and forgot about it.

    I feel like I should watch it though, if for no other reason than I see numerous Harry Potter memes mashing the two together in a very hilarious way. 😛

  6. Krystal says:

    It’s October 3rd! Did you post this today on purpose? 😉 There’s a scene when her crush turns around and asks her what day it is. “It’s October 3rd.”

  7. Ana says:

    LOVE Mean Girls (and Tina Fey in general)…I saw it as a full-fledged 30-something adult (childless, at that), so it was hilarious. Also loved Clueless (but of course! Emma!). Watched Heathers as a teen and remember it was kind of dark, but don’t remember much else about it. I figured it was the inspiration behind “The Ashleys” on the cartoon Recess years later, though.

  8. Leigh Kramer says:

    Loved Mean Girls! I had already read Queen Bees & Wannabes to supplement my fieldwork placement/grad school studies and thought Fey handled the very real issues of bullying and cliques with a deft hand.

  9. Karianna says:

    Loved Mean Girls… I started teaching high school in Chicago the year it came out and it was interesting to say the least! Two summers ago I read “Queen Bees” and was kind of afraid to send DD1 to school! The sad thing, the Queen Bee thing persists into adulthood- I see it on the playground at school among the parents. Sad. I saw Heathers when I was way too young- I remember it being dark and Christian Slater being hot. 😉

  10. Amy says:

    I love Mean Girls! I think I was in the target demo when it came out, because neither my mother nor my younger sisters understand why it’s so great. So quotable!

    Also, It’s October 3rd. Perfect timing!

  11. Crystal Rose says:

    I wasn’t a big Mean Girls fan. I watched it. It was entertaining but I didn’t laugh that much. I guess I didn’t think it was that exciting or original. I ADORED Heathers growing up. It was one of my teenage theme movies. That’s probably why this didn’t do it for me. Compared to Heathers Mean Girls didn’t seem original enough.

  12. Aurelas says:

    I haven’t read the book, but did see the movie. I liked the general theme but overall did not like the movie. While it was realistic in some ways, it was over the top in others, and to me did not really go far enough in showing how badly girls treat one another. I also hated that Lindsey Lohan ended up with the guy in the end–he looked okay, sure, but he didn’t really have much else going for him. He seemed to be perfectly willing to take any girl who came along. She should’ve gone for something better.

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