“On Oct. 3, he asked me what day it was.”
The plot-advancing (though not exactly pivotal) scene in the 2004 comedy “Mean Girls” has become the movie’s unofficial holiday. Protagonist Cady Heron (Merrick’s own Lindsay Lohan) is making mental notes of all interactions with her love interest, Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett), and the one in which he turns around in class to ask her the date has come to have a lasting impact among the cult film’s fans.
Tina Fey’s adaptation of Rosalind Wiseman’s self-help book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” was a surprise box-office hit, with a $24.4 million opening weekend after its April 30, 2004, premiere. For superfans, most of whom were teenage girls at the time, the movie was (and is) so much more.
Fey’s script is funny because it’s true, which is arguably the best kind of funny. Does that cafeteria tracking scene early in the film feel familiar? For anyone who went to high school, it should. It’s that sort of understated humor that not only qualifies “Mean Girls” as a dark comedy, but also what makes the movie so relatable for girls aged 13 to 20.
High school can really be the pits; seeing those relatable social situations illuminated on-screen can help kids cope. They were exaggerated, but they werent far off. And if there is one essential to surviving high school, it’s a sense of humor.
Case in point: The movie’s take on body image. “My pores are huge.” “At least you guys can wear halters — I have man shoulders.” Google “thigh gap” and you’ll see endless blog and photo results glorifying a trait physically unachievable for so many, but that someone — then, many someones — decided was ideal.
But the movie’s true power (besides skyrocketing Lohan’s career) is that it is endlessly quotable. A personal favorite: I cant go to Taco Bell. Im on an all-carb diet! God, Karen, youre so stupid!”
Not nice, but for a film that literally spells out its meanness in the title, nice was always beside the point. Parents know children emulate what they see in movies, and while no one likely wants their sweet daughter turning into Regina George, what’s wrong with wearing pink on Wednesday?
Hopefully, Lohan (as she tries to make both a personal and career comeback) is celebrating the holiday with a Kalteen bar, because she owes a lot to this movie.
In tribute, here are 10 grool things you may not know about “Mean Girls”:
1. It was almost rated R. Director Mark Waters recently revealed he had to fight for the PG-13 rating the movie ended up with, and that meant rewording many of the sexual jokes. (“Amber D’Alessio made out with a hot dog” was more graphic at first.) But Waters said the result was an even better script: “When you’re trying to make a joke obey the rules and not use any bad words, it can actually become seamier, even,” he told Vulture in an interview published in February 2014.
2. Tina Fey credits pal Amy Poehler for the Kevin Gnapoor rap. Fey wrote the adapted screenplay, but “Amy is more of the rap person,” Waters told Vulture.
3. It’s true: Lindsay Lohan originally auditioned to play Regina — and Rachel McAdams wanted to be Cady. What a different movie this would have been. Waters has confirmed the long-running rumor that Lohan was originally cast as Regina, adding that the studio couldn’t find an actress strong enough to go up against her as Cady. Then, when “Freaky Friday” came out, Paramount convinced them that Lohan’s audience wouldn’t accept her as the “Mean” girl, so she was recast as Cady (and disappointed about it). As for McAdams, Waters thought her age — she was 24 — made her too old to play the green Cady, but once Lohan switched to that role, she fit right in. (Waters also told Vulture that Lohan was shy around McAdams, who was so focused that she barely spoke to her.)
4. Lizzy Caplan dated Matthew Perry for about six years. Yup, Janis Ian and Chandler Bing were together from 2006 to 2012.
5. Caplan stars on the Showtime drama “Masters of Sex,” based on the book written by Newsday reporter Thomas Maier. (When she isn’t making wigs out of your mom’s chest hair.) Consider it six — Long Island — degrees of separation between Lohan and Maier.
6. Rachel McAdams wore a wig in the movie. No confirmation on whether Gretchen Weiners’ hair, full of secrets, was real.
7. Daniel Franzese, who played Damian, came out as gay. Considering he sat down with Cosmopolitan and revealed an alternate “Mean Girls” ending in April 2014, we’d say he’s still functioning.
8. Samantha Ronson, whom Lohan later dated in 2008, sings the song that plays during the spring fling. “Built This Way” is also on the soundtrack.
9. In real life, Mrs. George and daughter Regina are only seven years apart. Amy Poehler is 42, and Rachel McAdams is 35. Which actually makes perfect sense, because she’s not a regular mom — she’s a cool mom.
10. Toaster Strudel was (probably) not invented by a man named Mr. Weiners. It can be confirmed that the delicious, superior-to-Pop Tarts breakfast pastry is owned by Pillsbury.