Thursday, May 1, 2014
10 Years of Mean Girls
No, I didn't see Mean Girls 10 years ago when it first came out. I do remember it popping up in all of the little pre-tween magazines that I used to hoard, but I never saw it until it popped up on TV one day in 2007. I recorded it off the TV on one of those gigantic fossils we used to call videotapes. Unfortunately, the first three minutes cut out of my recording, so I never saw those first three minutes until I bought it on DVD a year later. Yet, I didn't need those three minutes. Mean Girls was, and forever will be, my favourite high school comedy of all time. Hell, probably even my favourite comedy of all time. Why?
Because 7 years since I first saw it, I'm pretty positive there hasn't been a day go by that I haven't quoted it in some way. Like seriously, there is a quote for every life situation:
When someone does well with something: "You go, Glen Coco!"
When someone asks someone else why they're white: "Oh my god Karen, you can't just ask people why they're white."
When you're a mother: "I'm not like a regular mom, I'm a cool mom."
When it's raining: "There's a 30% chance that it's already raining!"
When you don't want to go out with someone: "I can't go out *fake coughs* I'm sick."
When someone annoys you: "Boo, you whore."
Possible valedictory speech: "I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me...but I can't help it that I'm so popular."
When needing to do a rap: "Yo yo yo all you sucker MC's ain't got nothing on me! From my grades, to my lines you can't touch Kevin G! I'm a mathlete, so nerd is inferred, but forget what you heard I'm like James Bond the third, sh-sh-sh-shaken not stirred - I'm Kevin Gnapoor! The G's silent when I sneak through your door. And make love to your woman on the bathroom floor. I don't play it like Shaggy, you'll know it was me. Cause the next time you see her she'll be like, OOH! KEVIN G!"
Literally the entire script is quotable. The entire thing.
But why is it that Mean Girls stands the test of time and feels as fresh as it did 10 years ago? Why is it that we can quote it on a daily basis even after all of this time? Because Mean Girls is still very real. You may think that a film with such overdrawn caricatures such as a plastic surgery obsessed mum, the regulation gay best friend and the dumb blonde couldn't be aiming for realism in the slightest. However, it is the simplicity of the characters that makes this movie work so well. Each character is exactly who they are. Regina is the bitch. Gretchen is her loyal follower. Karen is the one who is too dumb to know what's going on. And Cady is built up by this.
Cady, for better or for worse, is the epitome of a teenage girl. No matter what people tell you, you can't be yourself at high school. Unless you're completely sure of what you wanna be. Cady is the one that gets gobbled up and spat out by everyone around her. Yes, this is a comedy. But it is also painstakingly true.
Oh, and let's not forget that it is based on a non-fiction self-help book. Just as everything is quotable from the script, everything also has a certain shred of truth to it. I'm not sure how much help it would provide as a survival guide for navigating cliques at school (my school wasn't even big enough to have a clique problem), but I'd say it is a pretty good place to start. It shows you the people to avoid, the mistakes to avoid, and how to tell if you have ESPN or something.
I could wax poetic for years on why Mean Girls is the best thing that ever happened to 12 year old me who stayed home sick from school one day and first saw this grace her TV screen. And it is still about the best thing that happens to 18 year old me watching it for the fiftieth time on a rainy afternoon in Christchurch. You know those movies that you grow up with? Mean Girls has left an indelible mark on my life in ways that I can't really explain. And even though I'm out of my high school years, I can honestly see me watching this movie for another ten years and my view wouldn't have changed.
All I can say is thank you, Mean Girls. Thank you for the quotes. Thank you for launching the careers of people like Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried and Lizzy Caplan. Thank you for giving us Lindsay Lohan's best performance. Thank you for keeping it real.
But lastly, here's a question: how many of you have felt personally victimised by Regina George?