I think everyone my age can agree that “Mean Girls” was the movie that defined our generation. John Hughes did it in the 80s with “The Breakfast Club” and Tina Fey did it when she decided to write a movie script about teenage girls and just how awful they can be. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since my mom wouldn’t let me go see “Mean Girls” in the theater when it first came out.
This is not going to be a list of the best “Mean Girl” moments, a love letter to Kevin G., or even a rant about how much I love the movie. No, this is more of a thank you to “Mean Girls.”
As I have stated time and time again, “The Breakfast Club” changed my life. After you see that movie the world just makes sense. Teenage life made sense to me. Teenage life and the fact that it was OK to be crazy just made sense to me.
“Mean Girls” did something else for me. It warned me and, in a lot of ways, prepared me for life as a teenage girl. The movie came out a few years before I was in high school, but after re-watching it the entire rest of my life I think it’s safe to say that it prepared me a lot for my future high school life.
I went to a small Catholic School in Austin Minnesota where I’m from and let me tell you, Tina got it right. She captured everything about what it was like to be a teenage girl in that 90 minutes.
Teenage girls are mean. They talk shit. They make burn books. They decide who is cool by who has a boyfriend and who is wearing cute clothes. They will always talk about you behind your back and if someone is a little bit nice and smart every other girl on the planet will hate you.
No one in my high school ever tried to get me expelled or called my mom to try and get me in trouble. No one ever cut holes in my clothes and put foot cream in my lotion (that I know of). No one stole a boy from me (Wait. This one might be debatable depending on who you talk to.). But in high school I did know my share of Regina Georges. And I have no problem with admitting now that at some points in time I was probably the Regina.
“Mean Girls” showed the idea (in a really funny and really dramatized way) that girls are always in competition with each other. We can never just be happy for someone else, at least in high school. When I look back at my high school life now I cringe. I cringe at the person I was. I am much healthier and happier now. My life has much more direction now. I have a purpose and I now have friends that I love and trust. If anything, “Mean Girls” gives you a look at how much you will learn from being an idiot in high school. There are the occasional few people (and believe me I can name about 10 off the top of my head right now) that you knew in high school that will probably never grow up. They are stuck in that simple way of thinking forever and that’s sad and all, but I am so glad I got out of that world and found the person I was meant to be at Drake University. “Mean Girls” taught me how to act like a real lady and how to respect people. But I also would have never learned that if I hadn’t experienced my own life with mean girls in high school.
This movie also holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first things I got to witness that featured really good comedy. It’s funny, witty, and smart. That’s of course all thanks to Tina, one of the best comedy writers there is. Around the time “Mean Girls” came out I was just starting to watch, understand, and fall in love with “Saturday Nigh Live.” Back then it was Tina and Jimmy Fallon running “Update.” They were my first comedy idols. They made me laugh even when I was sad and didn’t want to.
That first found love of SNL continued when I discovered Tina was a writer like me and she had given my generation the brilliance that is “Mean Girls.” There are a lot of things about Tina I can relate to. If you’ve read her excellent book you know that she was a nerd like the rest of us growing up and somehow she made it to New York and Studio 8H. She was also able to tell the story of awful teenage girls that ultimately ended up being OK.
All throughout high school I let SNL and Tina’s movie tell me that eventually I would be OK. Eventually I would get out of the stifling world of high school and I could finally be myself without having to worry about mean girls. And you know what? Tina was absolutely right.
Thank you Tina!