Happy Tenth Birthday, ‘Mean Girls.’ You Taught Me So Much
Maybe it’s exactly the wrong time to admit this, given that today’s the film’s tenth anniversary, but the 14-year-old me totally did not “get” Mean Girls. It was less stylized than Clueless, less sophisticated than Heathers, and 100 times less cool than Cruel Intentions. Mean Girls showed up late to the party with its monogrammed tote bag, and expected everybody to quote it to death. And quite a lot of the time, they did. In hindsight—or more importantly, after watching it with a full-blown, adult-sized hangover—it’s a different story. But at the time it felt like something relatively unremarkable, with the bonus addition of Lindsay Lohan and huge budget.
Before Mean Girls, everyone I knew was happy buying into and lusting after the impossibleCruel Intentions idea that you needed a crucifix full of cocaine to be cool. Then along came the Plastics, who merely required you to not be wearing track pants. I don’t know about you, but my teen self felt let down. Buffy in a school uniform seducing her step-brother was a whole lot more exciting than a bunch of girls wearing Tiffany’s necklaces and Maybelline products. We knew these people already; we went to school with them. Their moms had Mini Coopers with personalized number plates, and they were shitty people. Add that to the fact that Thirteen had come out the previous year—the film made me want to skip out on all the boring high school stuff to take hallucinogens and have my best friend punch me repeatedly in the face—and you can start to see why Mean Girls failed to capture my imagination.