Let’s get one things straight: pop culture has always been graced with funny women. Lucille Ball, Betty White, Julie Louis-Dreyfus, etc.
Arguably, though, Mean Girls was the first pop culture phenomenon to move funny women like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler front-and-center of this generation’s consciousness, not to mention a handful of young, ambitious actresses.
The film follows the naïve Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), newly arrived from Africa, as she navigated her way through high school after being homeschooled for years. She’s then recruited by art freaks Janice Ian (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese) to bring down the school’s most popular girls, the Plastics: the manipulative Regina George (Rachel McAdams), the gossip Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert) and the ditz Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried).
For the record, I was 13 when the John Waters-directed, Tina Fey-penned comedy first hit theatres in 2004. I must’ve watched the film a dozen times when I was in grade nine — partly because my friends couldn’t stop quoting the film (yes, this was before Tumblr and GIFs) and partly because my high school’s hip english department were as equally obsessed with the film as we were. They even justified showing the “racy” PG-13 rated film in a catholic school because it was about bullying.
Fast-forward to its 10th year anniversary, and I’m still in love with film. I may have even scored 47 out of 50 in a quiz about it. To celebrate, here are five amazing stories from behind-the-scenes of the teen comedy classic. They’ll no doubt make watching Mean Girls on DVD for the billionth time that much more fun.
The “Oh, so you agree? You think you’re pretty” line is based on a true story
While writing the script, Tina Fey had to revisit her own high school behaviours. The lines that follow Regina George’s (Rachel McAdams) backhanded “You’re really pretty” compliment actually happened while she was in school, she told the New York Times. “That was a bear trap,” she says.
Amy Poehler wrote Kevin G.’s infamous Christmas rap
The script might’ve been Tina Fey’s doing but she gave the reigns to her SNL buddy Amy Poehler when it came to that rap. ”[Tina]’ll actually give credit to Amy for this, because Amy is more of the rap person,” Waters told Vulture.
The original rap was also much dirtier: “My rap originally had a line that was great; I loved it. It was: ‘It ain’t no trick/ I am this slick/ All the 9th grade ladies/ Wanna suck my — WHAT’ [laughs], and they cut that out,” Kevin G. actor Rajiv Surendra revealed to EW.
Fey, Poehler and Lohan helped to shape Kevin G.’s performance by giving actor Surendra a video of them rehearsing the rap in a hotel room.
Director Mark Waters and Tina Fey almost had to cut out the “wide set vagina” line
Fey’s original Mean Girls script (titled “Homeschooled”) was edited down pretty heavily to avoid getting a R rating. Apparently, Regina George “cussed like a sailor.” “She had more F-bombs than Joe Pesci in Goodfellas,” said Waters. The Burn Book also claimed that Amber D’Alessio “gave a blow job to a hot dog” instead of making out with a hot dog before the final edits.
There was one joke Waters didn’t want to give up: “… But I can’t help it if I got a heavy flow and a wide-set vagina.”
The ratings board, the MPAA, wouldn’t give Mean Girls a PG-13 unless they cut that line, but Waters and co. fought back.
“We ended up playing the card that the ratings board was sexist, because Anchorman had just come out, and Ron Burgundy had an erection in one scene, and that was PG-13,” he recalled. “We told them, ‘You’re only saying this because it’s a girl, and she’s talking about a part of her anatomy. There’s no sexual context whatsoever, and to say this is restrictive to an audience of girls is demeaning to all women.’ And they eventually had to back down.”
Daniel Franzese (Damien) came up with the “I want my pink shirt back!” line
Actor Daniel Franzese came up with the line during rehearsals for the end of Cady’s party scene. He originally wanted to say, “I want my pink shirt back, bitch!” but repeated the line twice instead on suggestion from Waters.
“When people yell, “I want my pink shirt back!” to me, I get excited because I know that’s one of the one few lines I came up with,” he said.
They had to re-ask “Beautiful” songwriter Linda Perry if Damien could sing the song for the Christmas talent show
According to Franzese, the studio was having trouble acquiring the rights to Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” Fey had given him a list of songs like “[Whitney Houston’s] ‘One Moment in Time’” to choose from. They couldn’t help but re-ask songwriter Linda Perry if they could use “Beautiful” after Franzese came up with idea to do a dramatic look away while Damien says, “Don’t look at me.”