Study Guide

Mean Girls Fandoms

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Mean Girls is the great unifier. It brings people together, and we're not just talking about popcorn-fueled viewing parties on Mean Girls Day (which is October 3rd because that's the day it was when Cady asked Aaron what day it was).

No, we mean that the film is part of the internet's connective tissue. Take a quote from Mean Girls and slap it on an image of something else, and you have an instant meme. Just ask President Barack Obama, whose most famous use of a Mean Girls quote (yes, there was more than one) saw the White House ordering the Obama's dog, Bo, to stop trying to make fetch happen.

Mean Girls is simultaneously relatable and very, very quotable. As a result, it practically invented the remix culture of the internet that we just described. Add Mean Girls to Mad Men pics, and you've got Mean Mad Men, for example. Mix it with The Hunger Games and you've got Mean Girls of Panem. Add a dash of magic, and you have Where Harry Potter and Mean Girls Collide. It's not just pop culture that's ripe for Mean Girls mash-ups, either; Mean Girls of Capitol Hill skewered American politics, one repurposed quote from North Shore High at a time.

Mean Girls is one of the first online fandoms because it had perfect timing. When ithit multiplexes in 2004, the internet was a way of life for teens and twentysomethings, but it was pre-social media. No Twitter. No Snapchat. No Facebook. If you wanted to communicate with friends, fans, trolls—you name it—message boards were where it was at, and they were the perfect format for memes and gifs.

Mean Girls fandom isn't confined to the web, though. Ever wanted to see what Mean Girls would look like as an 8-bit video game? That exists. For a brief time, there was a Mean Girls mobile game, too.

What's interesting about that isn't that it existed, but that it came out over a decade after the movie was released. That speaks to the power of the Mean Girls' popularity and the sheer number of people who feel about the film the same way that Bethany felt when Regina George punched her in the face one time. In other words, it was awesome.

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