25 Sep

Mean Girls

Back-to-High-School

The Setup

I (Leanna)  loved Mean Girls in high school. As an adolescent lady going through some similarly dramatic times (though not quite “full tilt jungle madness”), it was, in a way, relatable. The book it’s based on, Queen Bees and Wannabees, was actually given to me by my mom as a way of helping me understand and cope with the trials of teenagerhood. At the time, the book was a somewhat helpful resource. It made me feel like the drama and challenges I faced were just a part of this stage of my life, and it was justifiable and survivable. But the bullies were still going to be at school the next day.

We even had a similar all-day workshop experience when I was in 8th grade. They pulled all of the girls into the choir room and lectured us about why we were treating each other so badly. We watched a video, we may have broken out into small groups, I don’t remember much. It was a long time ago, and it was entirely ineffective. It wasn’t a secret that our VP of Student Life thought we were the worst class she’d ever experienced, and I’m sure the entire administration breathed a sigh of relief when we graduated and split apart to go to different high schools.

And so, Mean Girls premiered at an opportune time for me and many of my peers, but the real question for the blog was whether it could stand the test of time, especially since it would be a first viewing for Ben who wouldn’t have any nostalgic ties to many of the well-known quotes from the movie. I hadn’t watched it in a few years myself, and was excited that we decided to include it in our Back to High School series. I mentioned this to my mom, and much to my surprise, she immediately declared she hated that movie. I was shocked given that she had suggested I read the book it was based on, but now I guess I see her point. Oh, sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s eat dinner first.

The Food

We here at munch pour blood, sweat and calories at ourselves for your benefit, and this time around we took some time to prepare ourselves for the upcoming task at hand. It was not easy, but we took a page out of the book of Regina George and crafted a meal that followed her strict all-carb diet.

We started out with a simple baguette. During one of the classic three-way-call sabotage scenes, Regina rightfully chooses to snack on a baguette over some fresh fruit.

Better yet, she slices a piece off and proceeds to then eat the remaining loaf. Carb goals, you guys. We imagine was trying to be considerate in leaving the slice for someone else as she ate the rest of the loaf.

Earlier in the movie before Regina starts her diet, her lunch tray just holds a simple salad and a diet soda. Fast forward to halfway through and she’s loaded it up with a baked potato, Doritos, cookies, a dinner roll, and a classic Coke.

Nailed it.

Although most of this meal was served cafeteria style, we went all out for the baked potato. We cooked some bacon first that we later used as a topping, then drizzled the leftover bacon grease over the thinly sliced potatoes. We’re a fan of the Hassleback baked potato technique as it allowed you to wedge ample amounts of butter and other toppings into the slices for a more even distribution of toppings and crisper edges. We attempted to eat the full Regina George Lunch Special, but found ourselves defeated, unable to finish it all in one sitting. Regina George is a champion of the all-carb diet, and we are mere mortals.

For dessert, we closed out with some homemade Kalteen bars. Made with Nutella and pumpkin seed protein powder, we were confident that these would totally make up for the massive dinner we finished earlier. That’s how Kalteen bars work, right?

Right. But we’ve yet to see these bars actually burn up all of our carbs and leave us with all muscle. Guess we’ll just have to keep eating them…

The Drinks

We made ourselves a humpday treat, cool mom style. Although Regina’s mom was responsible enough not to serve her drinks with alcohol, we’re all of legal drinking age so we indulged a little more. Besides, we were at home, so she probably would have been okay with it.

The Cool Mom

  • 1oz Cranberry Juice (not cranberry cocktail, honest-to-goodness sour cranberry juice, we used Starvation Alley)
  • 1oz Vodka
  • Roughly 4oz Hibiscus Ginger Beer
  1. Shake cranberry juice and vodka together.
  2. Pour in glass
  3. Top with ginger beer. And, garnish with a slice of orange.

The Rules

  • Drink whenever someone says the word “plastics.”
  • Drink whenever Regina’s diet is referenced.
  • Shots whenever a group call is made.

The Movie

Mean Girls is a story about a girl named Cady (Lindsey Lohan), who is starting at a new school after moving to the United States from Africa. She makes friends with the weird art kids at school, who ask her to infiltrate “the plastics.” The plastics are the “hot,” popular girls at school who think they’re better than everyone else, lead by the dictator Regina George (Rachel McAdams). Regina perfectly encapsulates that queen bee every school has: she is beautiful but unhappy with herself, and she is going to make sure everyone feels worse about themselves than she does. Everyone seems to hate her but they all secretly want to be her.

After Cady infiltrates the plastics, through equal parts luck and naiveté, she finds that she enjoys being part of the popular group, and starts to act more and more like them. When a rift opens between her and Regina, Cady finds herself using Regina’s own demeaning tactics against her. Cady enjoys a brief moment where she is the most popular girl at the school, but when she realizes how she got there and how she used and abused people to get there, she was ashamed of herself.

The movie did a great job of portraying how high-school-aged kids act and operate at school, and the hell they endure from other kids. It speaks to the bullied by showing how petty their bullies really are; and it speaks to the bullies by showing them how they might be becoming someone they don’t want to be without even realizing it, much in the way Cady did.

Mean Girls manages to teach those important lessons while still being incredibly funny. Written by Tina Fey, Mean Girls has a distinct style of humor with some great lines, making it one of the most quotable movies of all time. Some of our favorites include:

“Don’t have sex, ‘cause you will get pregnant…and die.”
“It’s like I have ESPN or something.”
“There’s a 30% chance that it’s already raining.”
“On Wednesdays, we wear pink.”
“Is butter a carb?”
“Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen. It’s not going to happen!”

As a movie, Mean Girls has aged well enough. The message didn’t hit us as hard as it used to, but then again, we aren’t dealing with high school bullies any more so it doesn’t relate to our lives in the same way.

The Reviews

André: Like, totally fetch. I liked Mean Girls. I think there were some important messages in here for high school kids, girls especially, and feel as though it was necessary that someone made this movie. I’m glad that Tina Fey was the one to do it, because she was able to package up a relatable story about bullying in such a funny way.

Leanna: 2 candy canes out of 4 (and none for Gretchen Weiners). Although I still had fun watching the movie and could quote it probably a little too well, I found myself cringing a lot more often and questioning some of the lessons learned in this movie. I used to think this would be one of those movies that I could always come back to and watch, but I think I might be done now. It served its purpose during my teen years, and there are better movies to be re-watched.

Ben: 50%. Well I didn’t hate it. Not that I thought I would. Ever since high school I had heard this movie referenced on multiple occasions, more or less knew how it ended, and had heard a couple of the more popular lines over the years. But when it came time to watch it I found that the humor didn’t hit for me, and that the general pace and tone of the movie merely mediocre. It is a movie that you have seen in many different ways over the years but this time it is wrapped up in high school wrapping paper with a bow that is just different enough from the rest of them. As for my enjoyment of the film, it may be a situation where it would have had a larger impact had I seen it during high school, or with friends that could quote lines with. But as I sat there I found the movie as enjoyable as a group project in a humanities course that was set up so that you were working with people that were not in any of your classes (yes, that really happened).

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