North Shore High School, Evanston, Illinois
It doesn't matter if you're the new kid or if you've been going to school with the same people since kindergarten: high school can be brutal. For many, those four years are a minefield of test anxiety, atomic wedges, and all-consuming crushes.
Mean Girls' fictional high school, North Shore, takes the difficulty setting of the average American high school and cranks it up a few notches. The student body flirts, fights, and casts their Spring Fling votes in an affluent bubble. Chew on this: the real-life mansion that served as the George family's house was on the market for $14.8 million in 2015. (Source)
That's a whole lot of candy cane-grams.
The fact that Mean Girls isn't just a high school comedy, it's a clever satire, is aided by the fact that it's set in a wealthy Chicago suburb. The Plastics have spare time, and they have virtually unlimited resources. That deadly combo gives them power.
While we'll give it to Regina that she is a master manipulator, her greatest asset is her dad's bank account. That's what funds her hair, wardrobe, and car. That's what boosts her popularity. That's what lets her rule not just any school, but one of the wealthiest. In other words, Mean Girls' setting is the perfect tool to exaggerate Regina and The Plastics' awfulness in all its bedazzled glory.