Study Guide

Mean Girls Genre

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High School; Satire

Mean Girls isn't just one of the most quoted comedies of all time; it's also a scathing satire of the kill-or-be-killed culture created, maintained, and endured by teenage girls. The film's comedy can be broad, like when Cady falls head-first into a trash can. It can also be subtle, like the fact that Janis isn't a lesbian, she's Lebanese.

What makes it satirical is that Mean Girls' comedic laser is focused squarely on the ridiculous, cruel, and often ridiculously cruel ways that teenage girls like Cady, Regina, and Janis treat each other in order to draw attention to how messed-up that behavior is.

To this end, the humor is often hyperbolic, which is a hallmark of satire. The characters are exaggerated, too. Take Regina, for example. She's such a master manipulator that she convinced her parents to give her their bedroom. Can you imagine that happening in real life? Yeah, us neither.

There's also the little matter of her getting hit by a bus.

All of Mean Girls' comedy, satirical or otherwise, is set against the backdrop of North Shore High School, and, in many ways, Mean Girls sticks to the traditional high school movie script. There are cliques. There's a "small get-together" while parents are away that magically turns into a massive rager. T

There's even a school dance, just like in 10 Things I Hate About You and Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Napoleon Dynamite and Sixteen Candles and She's All That and Teen Wolf and… well, you get it.

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