10 years of Mean Girls: How the film defined a generation - and gave it a new language

Gillian Orr talks to one of the stars of 'Mean Girls' about its lasting appeal

Tonight in Los Angeles, members of the cast and crew of Mean Girls will gather for a special screening to mark its 10th anniversary. It may not be Wednesday, but you can bet plenty of the guests will turn up wearing pink.

Mean Girls is the story of high-school cliques as told through the eyes of Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), a previously home-schooled teenager who joins Illinois's North Shore High only to become the latest plaything of the Plastics, three halter-top-wearing beauties who rule the school with an iron fist.

Written by Tina Fey who appears in the film, and based on Rosalind Wiseman's book Queen Bees & Wannabes, the film was a surprise hit, making $130m (£77m) at the box office having had a modest budget of $17m (£10m).

Ten years on, and the film has become a pop-culture phenomenon. It is a sleepover staple, and an internet meme. Not only is it still discussed on Twitter and blogs, but on Tumblr you can find a photo of just about anything – from a reality-television star crying, to a meeting of world leaders – with a line from the film slapped across it. According to Tumblr, its users have created more than 10,000 posts and 477,000 notes related to the film in the past month alone. And its influence has even crept into academia, where a number of universities discuss it in their sociology classes.

Of course, much of the film's enduring appeal comes down to it being endlessly quotable. In one scene, fed up with Gretchen Wieners' attempts to start a new word for cool, the evil ringleader of the Plastics, Regina George (Rachel McAdams), snaps at her to "stop trying to make 'fetch' happen". Because of the film, though, fetch did happen, and became part of our vernacular. Last August, the White House uploaded on to its Twitter account a photo of the Obamas' dog, ball in mouth, with the caption, "Bo, stop trying to make fetch happen." Naturally, fans of the film made it one of the handle's most retweeted messages so far.

"It's a really clever, really smart film so it stands up to repeated viewing, which I think is key for something becoming a cult hit," says Empire magazine's deputy online editor, and Mean Girls fan Helen O'Hara. "You notice clever lines you didn't notice before. Little jokes that maybe didn't wow you first time around suddenly become the funniest thing in the world. 'You go, Glen Coco!' for example. I don't even remember that from the first time I saw it and now you can buy T-shirts and bags with it on."

Not that the cast had any clue that they were on to such a monster hit. Lacey Chabert, who played Gretchen Wieners (one of the Plastics and the daughter of the inventor of toaster strudel, no less), says that none of those involved could have predicted what an impact the film would still have 10 years later.

"Pretty much every day, someone stops me in real life and quotes some of the dialogue," Chabert tells me on the phone from Los Angeles. "And then on Twitter and Instagram, I get hundreds, if not thousands, of messages every single day. And on Wednesdays, people will send me pictures of themselves wearing pink. I had no idea when making the film that we would be talking about it as much as we are now."

With its enduring popularity, rumours of an official sequel are rife, if unfounded (and the less said about 2011's straight-to-video cash-in, Mean Girls 2, the better). However, two movies based on Wiseman's subsequent books are in the pipeline, including Mean Moms and another that will focus on boys' relationships. Even more exciting, though, is that Fey has confirmed that she's working on a musical version of the film.

But the real question is, do the Plastics still keep in touch with each other? "Not really, I haven't seen the girls for a few years," Chabert says. "Although I do often see Jonathan Bennett, who played Aaron Samuels."

It makes sense that the frenemies would no longer be in contact. But one has to wonder what Regina George would have to say about her former flame hanging out with Gretchen. After all, as Gretchen herself would remark, "Ex-boyfriends are off-limits to friends. That's just, like, the rules of feminism."

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders