TV & Movies

10 Things I Noticed Rewatching Mean Girls In 2022

Get in loser, we’re revisiting a pop culture classic.

'Mean Girls' (2004). Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Mean Girls doesn’t need an introduction. You know when Cady, Janis, and Damian are talking about “Jingle Bell Rock” and Janis says, “Everybody in the English speaking world knows that song”? Well, Mean Girls is like “Jingle Bell Rock,” but with more bus accidents.

Since its release in April 2004, the flick about a home-schooled student who’s thrown into the deep end at a cliquey high school has become a pop culture touchtone. Even after nearly two decades, people still think Mean Girls is “so fetch” — largely thanks to Tina Fey’s sharp, endlessly quotable screenplay. I mean, name a movie from the last 20 years that has more one-liners. I’ll wait. (That being said, I think there’s another reason for its staying power: a lot of people know exactly how it feels to be victimized by other students. Maybe the best way to get over our collective high school trauma is to laugh about it.)

In honor of the movie’s return to Netflix, I’ve taken it upon myself to revisit North Shore High School and deliver my findings. Below, some thoughts I had while rewatching Mean Girls in 2022.


Cady should have kicked this girl’s ass.


I know it’s a movie and everything is dramatized, but are teenagers actually this cruel to one another? Case in point: When Cady walks into class on her first day and approaches a student, she’s immediately told, “Talk to me again and I’ll kick your ass.” Honestly, Cady is the one who should’ve delivered an ass-kicking.


Did this student put peanut butter cups on her burger?

During the cafeteria montage, the camera pans to the “Girls Who Eat Their Feelings” clique and shows student Emma Gerber adding two peanut butter cups to her hamburger. Bon appétit?


Cady eating lunch in the bathroom is absolutely foul.


You know the phrase “don’t sh*t where you eat?” Well, Cady is eating where she sh*ts — and I think that’s gross. Thankfully, this stall at least looks cleaner than my high school’s bathrooms, which basically required hazmat suits to enter.


I miss landlines!


Nowadays, I literally won’t answer the phone unless I’ve scheduled a call well in advance — like, days in advance. But I miss the time when friendships were born on group phone calls — not least because a lot harder to trick someone into talking sh*t about you over Zoom. (Also, look at those landlines! Relics from another era!)


Regina’s mom isn’t that bad of a parent.


Sure, self-proclaimed “cool mom” June George (Amy Poehler) cares more about being liked by Regina than setting boundaries, but not all of her maternal instincts are irresponsible. For one, she’d rather her daughter’s friends drink in the house than somewhere unsafe. And speaking of safety, she even offers Regina and Shane Oman a condom when they’re hooking up in her room. Could be worse!


Bless Karen’s heart.


Also, why are the “dumb blonde” characters always the ones to fool around with their cousins? In Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Michele is revealed to have lost her virginity to her cousin. Why?! This isn’t the royal family!


The “You could try Sears” line read is SAVAGE.


Arguably the shadiest comeback in Mean Girls is delivered by the sales associate at “1-3-5” — a fictional clothing store that only carries sizes one, three, and five. When Regina asks her for the next size up, she tells Regina to try the allegedly unfashionable department store chain. It’s brutal, not to mention fatphobic. But wow, was that a thrilling read!


This ensemble is the best ‘fit in the movie.


This minidress Cady wears at her house party is unironically the best look in Mean Girls. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely some dated styling that should’ve been laid to rest in the early-aughts (The flippy hair! The pink and black!) — but overall, the dress fits her like a glove, it’s age appropriate, and she looks great. It’s a toot for me!


How did The Plastics’ talent show routine bypass school administrators?


On the one hand, women should feel empowered to embrace their sexuality — but on the other hand, these are teenage girls, not women. And it’s suggested that they perform this same routine every year, meaning they’ve done it when they were even younger... and no one on school staff thought it was over the line.


Cady’s “Mathlete” monologue is better than her Spring Fling speech.


Cady’s junior year culminates in two major pseudo-deep realizations: one at the spring fling, when she “shares” her Spring Fling Queen tiara with her classmates, and another at the Mathlete state finals. I feel like people remember the Spring Fling speech more, but I’d argue that her Mathlete voiceover is better — it’s then that she realizes how making fun of others will only give her momentary gratification, and won’t change a damn thing in the long run.