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‘Mean Girls’ Trivia: 12 Fun Facts About the Ultimate ’00s Teen Comedy

The movie is about to turn 20 — and it's still 'so fetch'!


Every decade has its ultra-quotable teen movie about frenemies: In the ’80s there was Heathers, in the ’90s there was Clueless and in the ’00s, of course, there was Mean Girls. The 2004 high school comedy became an instant classic thanks to its charismatic cast of rising stars and hilarious dialogue.

It’s hard to believe, but the film, which debuted in theaters on April 30, 2004, is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary and has already been back in the conversation thank to its recent musical remake. The original Mean Girls feels just as fresh (or should we say “fetch”?) as it did the day it was first released, and it holds up to infinite rewatches. In honor of the big anniversary, we’ve gathered 12 pieces of fascinating Mean Girls trivia.

1. The movie was based on a book

Mean Girls has become such an iconic movie that it’s easy to forget it’s based on a book — and not the kind of book you’d expect! Screenwriter Tina Fey wrote the script as a loose adaptation of Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boys, and the New Realities of Girl World by Rosalind Wiseman, a 2002 self-help book written for parents of teen girls.

The screenplay was Fey’s first, and she admitted that adapting the book was a challenge, telling The New York Times, “It was kind of a bonehead thing to do on my part for my first screenplay — to try to adapt a nonfiction, non-narrative book. I had to make up the whole story.”

2. Glen Coco is named after a real person

One of the film’s most famous lines, “Four for you, Glen Coco! You go, Glen Coco!” comes during the scene in which the characters receive holiday “candy cane grams” in class. Glen Coco himself doesn’t have any dialogue, but the line is constantly quoted due to its catchiness — Fey even said it was her favorite!

The name Glen Coco came from Fey’s brother’s friend. As she joked in an interview, “I was just using random names… Now I’ve ruined his life. He’s really nice about it, but he’s just a dad living here in Los Angeles.”

The real Glenn Cocco (whose name is spelled slightly differently from the character), said he finds his Mean Girls trivia status amusing. As he shared in a Yahoo interview, “My friends and family all get a kick out of it. It’s just the name that gets recognized, not me.” You go, Glen(n) Coc(c)o, indeed!

3. Lindsay Lohan was originally supposed to play a different character

Left to right: Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert and Lindsay Lohan in the cafeteria in 'Mean Girls' 2004
Left to right: Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert and Lindsay Lohan in the cafeteria in Mean Girls (2004)Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Some of the juiciest Mean Girls trivia concerns the cast. Lindsay Lohan was perfect as protagonist Cady Heron, the naive transfer student who falls in with the mean girl clique and gets a crash course in the high school social hierarchy. It’s hard to picture her playing anyone else, but the teen star was originally supposed to be the queen bee, Regina George. After much deliberation, the filmmakers realized Lohan should play Cady and the role of Regina went to Rachel McAdams.

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4. The “cool mom” casting was hilariously unrealistic

Amy Poehler in 'Mean Girls' 2004
“I’m not a regular mom. I’m a cool mom.”Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Amy Poehler is a certified scene stealer as Regina’s self-proclaimed “cool mom.” Poehler nails the comically cringey role, but the casting isn’t very realistic. Poehler was born on September 16, 1971, while McAdams was born on November 17, 1978, making her just seven years older than her onscreen daughter!

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5. The film originally had a different title

Short, catchy and evocative, Mean Girls is the ideal title for the movie. The original screenplay was titled Homeschooled, in homage to Cady’s origin story, which isn’t nearly as fun.

6. The original screenplay was much dirtier

Mean Girls was rated PG-13, which helped it reach a young audience, but it almost got hit with an R rating. As director Mark Waters recalled in Entertainment Weekly, in the original script “Regina George cussed like a sailor. She had more F-bombs than Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.”

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Because of this, Waters said, “We had to go back to the MPAA several times. They kept wanting to give us an R, and we had to kind of keep peeling things back and eventually got to the final version, which made PG-13 by the skin of our teeth.”

7. Janis Ian was a stealth Saturday Night Live tribute

Fey was best known for her hilarious work on Saturday Night Live, and the cast also includes SNL performers Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer and Tim Meadows. The character Janis Ian (played by Lizzy Caplan), a sarcastic outsider who befriends Cady, also serves as an SNL tribute. She’s named for the ’70s singer-songwriter Janis Ian, who performed in the debut episode of SNL in 1975.

Lizzy Caplan in 'Mean Girls' 2004
Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) was the anti-queen bee and an SNL tributeParamount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

8. October 3rd is Mean Girls day

Yep, Mean Girls has its own holiday! October 3rd is known as “Mean Girls day” thanks to a scene in which Cady’s crush asks her what day it is and she responds, “It’s October 3rd.” Every October 3rd, social media fills up with Mean Girls trivia and memes. So, how does one celebrate this special day? By wearing pink and rewatching the movie, of course!

9. The Plastics wore plastic

The mean girl clique is known as “the Plastics,” and plastic even appears in their costumes. In a Vanity Fair interview, costume designer Mary Jane Fort revealed a crucial bit of Mean Girls trivia: she actually used plastic to make the girls’ shiny red miniskirts for their risqué holiday talent show performance.

Left to right: Lacey Chabert, Rachel McAdams, Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Seyfried in 'Mean Girls' winter talent show scene 2004
Those sexy Santa skirts are made of plastic!Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

10. Lacey Chabert can’t escape “fetch”

One of the funniest jokes in the movie is Gretchen Wieners’ attempt to make the slang word “fetch” catch on, much to the dismay of the other Plastics. The actress who played Gretchen, Lacey Chabert, got her start as a child actress in the show Party of Five and became a staple of the Hallmark channel, starring in over 30 of their movies post-Mean Girls, but she’ll still forever be known as the girl who tried to make fetch happen.

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As Chabert explained in an Entertainment Weekly interview, fetch is inescapable: “I was at the pharmacy and I was sick and trying to get medicine, and the pharmacist just looked at me and goes, ‘You don’t look like you feel very fetch today,'” she said. “Everyone knows those lines, everyone knows that film.”

11. Two of the Plastics went on to be Oscar nominees

The Plastics have proven they have serious staying power and acting chops — so much so that Rachel McAdams (who played main mean girl Regina) and Amanda Seyfried (who played the lovably dimwitted mean girl Karen) both became Oscar nominees. McAdams was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 2015 film Spotlight while Seyfried was nominated for the same award for her role in the 2020 film Mank.

Left to right: Lacey Chabert, Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried in 'Mean Girls' 2004
Lacey Chabert with future Oscar nominees Rachel McAdams and Amanda SeyfriedParamount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

12. Tina Fey was once a mean girl

In an interview, Fey revealed a surprising bit of Mean Girls trivia: She was once a mean girl, and she’s not proud of it: “I was the Mean Girl, I admit it openly,” she said. “That was a disease that had to be conquered… in your mind it’s a way of leveling the playing field. Though of course it’s not. Saying something terrible about someone else does not actually level the playing field. If I meet a girl of 14 or 15 today who is that kind of girl, I am secretly, in my body, afraid.”

Fey clearly understood that the mean girl archetype is rooted in insecurity and trying to establish order from high school’s chaos. 20 years later, her creation remains hilarious and forever relevant.

Read on for more ’00s entertainment!

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