Study Guide

Mean Girls Cast

  • Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan)

    Cady Heron is a stranger in a strange land. Her parents may be the research zoologists in the fam, but she approaches North Shore High School like a scientist herself. To Cady, each clique is a species, and the students are fantastic beasts with their own rituals.

    As Cady navigates the treacherous social landscape of North Shore, she's not just trying to figure out what to wear and who to date…she's observing the habits of the elusive American high school student.

    When Cady takes her first trip to the mall with Regina, Gretchen, and Karen, for example, she's overwhelmed. This is where the species converge—and where many of their mating rituals take place. As Cady watches her peers mix and mingle and mack on each other around mall fountain, it's a familiar scene, but totally unfamiliar at the same time.

    CADY: Being at Old Orchard Mall kind of reminded me of being in Africa, by the watering hole, when the animals are in heat.

    This girl understands wildebeests better than she does high school juniors, which not only keeps the plot chugging along, but also allows the audience to see things anew, too. Filtered through Cady's gaze, the ordinary day in and day out of being a high school student seems extraordinary.

    The Pull of the Plastics

    Then there's The Plastics. Cady is fascinated by Regina and her minions. Okay, so she's fascinated by Regina—Gretchen and Karen, not so much. Regina's species is unlike anything Cady's ever seen, and their rituals are all-consuming, with superficial rules aplenty, right down to how often they can wear ponytails. It's exhausting, and yet by Cady's own admission, dazzling:

    CADY: Regina's like the Barbie doll I never had. I'd never seen anybody so glamorous.

    It's also ridiculous, and Cady knows it. Take Halloween, for example. Here's how Cady sums up Halloween in Girl World, the nickname she gives to the social niche presided over by queen bee Regina:

    CADY (V-O): In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it. The hardcore girls just wear lingerie and some form of animal ears. Unfortunately, no one told me about the slut rule, so I showed up like this.

    The "this" in this explanation the "ex-wife" costume Cady wears to a Halloween party. It features a bloody wedding dress, long black wig, and gnarly fake teeth. It's a costume that terrifies the other party-goers and, later, Janis and Damian, a fact that would make you—and Cady—think it's an awesome costume.

    As Cady learned roughly 2.4 seconds after walking into the party, it was not. Cady may be a well-traveled math whiz, but when it comes to high school cliques, she has a lot to learn.

    Heron…Cady Heron

    Because she's such a blank slate, Cady's able to move undetected between the "art freaks," a.k.a. Janis and Damian, and The Plastics in order to enact their revenge plot against Regina. Cady's essentially a secret agent, and being a super-spy is hard work. (Just ask James Bond.)

    Both cliques are in a fight for Cady's social soul, and eventually Cady gets so deep undercover with The Plastics that she loses her sense of self. She starts planning Plastic sabotage missions without consulting Janis and Damian. She starts talking like Regina, peppering her speech with irritating "Shut up!"s and "Love ya!"s.

    She starts styling herself like a Plastic, too, with more revealing clothes, bigger hair, and tons of makeup. In short, First Day of School Cady would hardly recognize Second Semester Cady, and it's impossible to tell where the revenge mission ends and "real" Cady begins. This loss of identity happens even to the best spies. (Just ask Jason Bourne.)

    While Cady doesn't realize that she's losing her sense of self in a fog of volumizing spray, she does retain enough self-awareness to know that she's infatuated with Regina—and that it's kind of annoying:

    CADY: I was a woman possessed. I spent about 80% of my time talking about Regina, and the other 20% of the time, I was praying for someone else to bring her up, so I could talk about her more…I could hear people getting bored with me, but I couldn't stop. It just kept coming up like word vomit.

    For Cady—and for Gretchen and Karen, and for most of the population at North Shore, come to think of it—Regina's approval means everything because it means popularity. In other words, if the most popular girl in school thinks you're cool enough to talk to or—gasp—hang out with, you're teen royalty.

    Cady may be new to the social mores of American teenagers, but she's no dummy:

    CADY: The weird thing about hanging out with Regina was that I could hate her and, at the same time, I still wanted her to like me…Same with Gretchen. The meaner Regina was to her, the more Gretchen tried to win Regina back. She knew it was better to be in The Plastics, hating life, than to not be in at all. Because being with The Plastics was like being famous. People looked at you all the time, and everybody just knew stuff about you.

    Those shreds of self-awareness are what set Cady apart from most of her peers. On some level, she understands that a person's worth doesn't have anything to do with how shiny their hair is or what kind of car they drive.

    The thing is, she's still has to navigate high school five days a week, and being popular makes that a lot easier. Cady's stuck. She's becoming a rotten person, and, at best she's in denial, and, at worst, she's justifying it by her need to fit in.

    Rock On, Janis

    Then Janis wakes her up. Fundamentally, Cady is caring and introspective. The fight she has with Janis after she blows off Janis's art show to have a house party and try to cozy up to Aaron, is an eye-opener for Cady. A reality check.

    Here's what Janis says—after she tells Cady that she's not pretending to be Plastic anymore; she is Plastic:

    JANIS: See, that is the thing with you Plastics. You think that everybody is in love with you, when actually, everybody hates you. Like Aaron Samuels, for example. He broke up with Regina and guess what: He still doesn't want you. So why are you still messing with Regina, Cady? I'll tell you why. Because you are a mean girl! You're a bitch!

    Ouch. Janis's words slice Cady to the bone and help her realize that she's been self-absorbed and shallow and generally lost sight of what's important. In other words, Janis is right: Cady has become a full-fledged Plastic, and cold and shiny isn't a good look for her.

    The Evolution of Cady

    Cady treats her first taste of socialization like a sampler platter. She starts out as an observer, a friendly, fresh-faced newb on the outside looking in. Then she becomes a Plastic princess and, eventually, someone that half of her peers think capable of pushing someone in front of a bus.

    Yeesh.

    By the end of the film, however, Cady's become a well-adjusted, level-headed high school senior with friends, a boyfriend, and the ability to wear pink or a ponytail any time she feels like it, thank you very much. Here's how Cady puts it in her own words:

    CADY: I had gone from home-schooled jungle freak to shiny Plastic to most hated person in the world to actual human being. All the drama from last year just wasn't important anymore. School used to be like a shark tank, but now I could just float. Finally, Girl World was at peace.

    Cady's evolution throughout Mean Girls is more fascinating than watching a herd of hippos play water polo. As a character, she bucks the tired comedic trope that says watching female protagonists get to be selfish for once is hilarious.

    Instead, Cady follows a traditionally male comedic arc throughout her junior year at North Shore. She messes up, but then she grows up. She learns to not be a self-centered jerkwad, and she gets the guy in the end.

    Grool.

  • Regina George (Rachel McAdams)

    She may only be a junior, but Regina George rules North Shore High. She's an intimidating trendsetter who's treated like a celebrity by her classmates. Don't believe us? Just ask the student body:

    JANIS: Regina George. How do I ever begin to explain Regina George?

    EMMA: Regina George is flawless

    LEA: She has two Fendi purses and a silver Lexus.

    TIM: I hear her hair's insured for $10,000.

    AMBER: I hear she does car commercials in Japan.

    KRISTEN: Her favorite movie is Varsity Blues.

    GISELLE: One time, she met John Stamos on a plane.

    JESSICA: And he told her she was pretty.

    BETHANY: One time, she punched me in the face. It was awesome.

    Her peers worship her, or at least they worship who they think she is. You'll notice that everything they share about her in the intro above is either about material goods or is a rumor.

    There's nothing of any substance there because none of Regina's classmates really know her…and we get the sense that she prefers it that way.

    Snake Oil Saleslady

    Maybe they focus on the outside because the inside is black and rotten. Regina is a master manipulator; it's a large part of why Gretchen and Karen follow her around like two lost puppies. It's how she wins Aaron back at the Halloween party, too—a dastardly deed that inspires Cady's extensive revenge plot with Janis and Damian.

    Take a look at how it all goes down. It's a long-ish exchange, but it shows Regina's mastery of manipulation in full force. When she finds out that Aaron personally invited Cady to the party, Regina has to think quick:

    REGINA: Well, be careful because she has a huge crush on you.

    AARON: Really? How do you know?


    Again, Regina is thrown for a moment, then recovers.

    REGINA: Because she told me. She tells everybody. It's kind of cute, actually. She's like a little girl. She, like, writes all over her notebook "Mrs. Aaron Samuels." And she made this T-shirt that says "I heart Aaron," and she wears it under all her clothes. […] Well, who can blame her? I mean, you're gorgeous. And, okay, look: I'm not saying she's a stalker, but she saved this Kleenex you used, and she said she's gonna do some kind of African voodoo with it to make you like her.

    AARON: What?


    Cady waves excitedly from across the party.

    REGINA: I know she's kind of socially retarded and weird, but she's my friend, so just promise me you won't make fun of her.

    AARON: Of course I'm not gonna make fun of her.

    Regina kisses Aaron. Cady runs out. Aaron pushes Regina away.

    It's slimy, but it works. Regina completely throws Cady under the bus, doubling down when she realizes Aaron's interested in Cady, too.

    We can't say for certain, but it sure seems like that fact is precisely what sends Regina's manipulation into hyper-drive; she starts complimenting Aaron, and she goes so far as to say that Cady's going to make Aaron like her using boogers and voodoo.

    The thing is, it works. That's how good Regina is. She knows exactly how to hook Aaron, and over the course of a brief kitchen conversation, they're a couple again. Cady's heartbroken, but she probably shouldn't have trusted Regina to put in a good word for her with Aaron in the first place.

    After all, Regina started talking circles around Cady almost from the moment they first met:

    REGINA: But you're, like, really pretty.

    CADY: Thank you.

    REGINA: So you agree.

    CADY: What?

    REGINA: You think you're really pretty.

    CADY: Oh, I don't know.

    Regina essentially gets Cady to say that she thinks she's pretty, and before Cady can figure out what's happening, Regina's on to the next item of business. She may be conniving, but one thing's for sure: Regina George has a way with words. If only she'd use it for good sometimes, like in her English class, student government, or maybe an evil bake sale.

    Regina-Stein's Monster

    When Regina meets Cady, she takes her on like a project. She attempts to mold her in her own image, and it works—at least at first. Cady begins dressing like Regina, styling herself like Regina, and even talking like Regina, but Cady turns into a threat to Regina when she begins to usurp her popularity.

    If that sounds like something out of a historical drama with kings and queens and palace intrigue, it's because it is like that. Regina's queen bee at North Shore, and when Cady takes her place by turning her closest allies against her and throwing a massive party at her castle—er, we mean house—without inviting Regina, Regina knows she's been deposed.

    Check out what she says to Shane on their way to crash Cady's party:

    REGINA: She think she's gonna have a party and not invite me? Who does she think she is?

    SHANE: You're right, hon.

    REGINA: I, like, invented her, you know what I mean?

    We do, Regina. We do.

    Regina knows that, just like Victor Frankenstein before her, her monster's gotten out of control. Or, put another way, the student has become the master—and Regina's not having it.

    When she realizes she no longer rules the school, she goes straight home, and right up to her room and the Burn Book. She wastes zero time enacting her revenge plan against Cady. There's no trying to talk things out. There's no sleeping on it. For Regina, like so many flailing dictators before her, it's scorched-earth all the way, baby.

    The Healing Power of Parcheesi

    There's one big question that hangs over Regina for the entire movie: Why is she like that? We mean, almost every high school kid wants to be popular. Nobody's ever said, "A cute Homecoming date and lots of friends? No, thanks. I'd prefer four years of wedgies and a pretend boyfriend who lives in Canada." The thirst for popularity, we get; but why is Regina the meanest girl of them all?

    We think the answer lies in lacrosse. At the very end of the movie, Cady tells us that Regina's joined the lacrosse team because it's a perfect outlet for her rage and none of the jocks are afraid of her. In other words, Regina's taking her rage out on some of Chicagoland's unluckiest goalies instead of the entire North Shore student body.

    Okay, the entire North Shore student body and the faculty.

    Nowhere else in the movie is Regina's anger problem really addressed. It basically comes out of nowhere in the movie's last two minutes. The closest we get to unrest in the George mansion is when Gretchen tells Cady that Regina's parents totally don't sleep in the same bed anymore. Then there's the relationship between Regina and her mom. Mrs. George is super-thirsty to be "just one of the girls," and irritates Regina like a concrete-chested fruit fly.

    Here's Shmoop's hypothesis then: Regina's so mean because she's lonely and mad at the world. Her parents don't get along. They don't pay any attention to Regina or her neglected, booty-shakin' little sis; all they do is throw expensive toys at them, and Regina's old enough now to resent her mom and dad substituting, well, stuff for actual love and attention. That's why she wants all the attention at school: because she gets nada at home, and that makes her sad and angry.

    Of course, none of that makes it okay for Regina to act like a manipulative monster at school, but it does mean she's isn't an actual monster. She's just a girl who, now that she's older and wiser, might wish she could trade her master suite back for a rad family game night or two.

  • Janis Ian and Damian (Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese)

    Janis and Damian are the two best friends a sixteen-year-old transplant from Africa could ever want. We know that's a pretty specific niche, but we're standing by it.

    This pair of "art freaks" are outsiders just like Cady is when she starts at North Shore, and they quickly recognize one of their own and scoop her up. Acid-tongued Janis gives Cady the lowdown on the social hierarchy at North Shore, and even gifts her with a handy illustrated map of the cafeteria, a veritable minefield of cliques:

    JANIS: Here. This map is gonna be your guide to North Shore. Now, where you sit is crucial because you got everybody there. You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, JV jocks, Asian nerds, cool Asians, varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don't' eat anything, desperate wannabes, burnouts, sexually active band geeks, the greatest people you'll ever meet, and the worst. Beware of The Plastics.

    We don't know about you, but we would've loved that kind of insider info on our first day of high school. Cady isn't intimidated by Janis's hard candy shell, and she immediately proves to Cady what Damian already knows: she's a solid friend.

    Janis Don't Play That

    Janis is filled to the choppy-haired brim with angst, which is fitting since her character is named after singer-songwriter Janis Ian, whose most famous song, 1975's "At Seventeen," is all about the anguish of being a teenage girl in a culture that prizes girls like The Plastics and slights, or just straight-up ignores, the Janises.

    She may be wise beyond her years, but Janis isn't above trying to get her revenge on Regina, who, after it's teased through much of the movie, we find out used to be Janis's BFF until she started a rumor that Janis was a lesbian and in love with her.

    And that was the end of that friendship.

    Ultimately, we learn that Janis isn't a lesbian. She is Lebanese, however, which adds a hilarious punny layer (Lebanese sounds quite a bit like lesbian) to Regina's cruelty. The fact that The Plastics have no accountability for their actions (like starting rumors), and are beloved in spite of them, drives Janis crazy.

    That's why, when Cady turns to the dark side, too, Janis is so disappointed. Check out the confrontation that goes down when Janis and Damian roll up outside Cady's house party—the one she threw instead of going to Janis's art show, and that she didn't invite Janis and Damian to:

    JANIS: God! See, at least me and Regina George know we're mean. You try to act like you're so innocent. Like, "Oh, I used to live in Africa with all the little birdies and the little monkeys." […] See, that is the thing with you Plastics. You think that everybody is in love with you, when actually, everybody hates you. Like Aaron Samuels, for example. He broke up with Regina and guess what: He still doesn't want you. So why are you still messing with Regina, Cady? I'll tell you why. Because you are a mean girl! You're a bitch!

    The truth hurts, and Janis isn't afraid of dropping truth bombs left and right. She is afraid of losing another friend, though. Her words cut deep, in part because she's scared, in part because she's angry, and in part because her tongue has been sharpened by years of teenage torment. Her quick wit and bold appearance are how she survives high school, and uninvited "compliments" like these:

    HUGE GUY: Nice wig, Janis. What's it made of?

    JANIS: Your mom's chest hair!

    It's a safe assumption that Janis is subjected to bon mots like this all the time. That's why her walls are up, and why they aren't coming down anytime soon. If Janis keeps her social distance, she can't get hurt again like she did by Regina, or like Cady threatens to do.

    Too Rad to Function

    The only person in Janis's inner circle is Damian. He's just as quick-witted as she is, and, as an openly gay high school junior (and openly gay in 2004, to boot), it's a safe assumption that Damian's been similarly harassed.

    As a result, he and Janis have their finger on the pulse of North Shore's social order. Here's how they describe The Plastics, for example:

    DAMIAN: They're teen royalty. If North Shore was US Weekly, they would always be on the cover.

    JANIS: That one there, that's Karen Smith. She is one of the dumbest girls you will ever meet. Damian sat next to her in English last year.

    DAMIAN: She asked me how to spell "orange."

    JANIS: And that little one? That's Gretchen Wieners.

    DAMIAN: She's totally rich because her dad invented Toaster Strudel.

    JANIS: Gretchen Wieners knows everybody's business. She knows everything about everyone.

    DAMIAN: That's why her hair is so big. It's full of secrets.

    JANIS: And evil takes a human form in Regina George. Don't be fooled, because she may seem like your typical selfish, back-stabbing, slut-faced ho-bag, but in reality, she is so much more than that.

    DAMIAN: She's the queen bee, the star. Those other two are just her little workers.

    Knowledge is power, and Janis and Damian are able to endure North Shore because they know everything about everybody, including themselves. That's part of what makes Damian in particular such a crisp character. As actor Daniel Franzese, who played Damian, wrote in his own 2014 coming out letter:

    This was a natural and true representation of a gay teenager—a character we laughed with instead of at. (Source)

    Damian and Janis's ability to remain true to themselves, and each other, is their secret weapon for surviving the kill-or-be-killed situation at North Shore.

    Or, to put it another way, Gretchen's hair may be so big because it's full of secrets, but Janis and Damian's friendship is huge because it's full of authenticity, humor, and smarts.

  • Gretchen Wieners and Karen Smith (Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried)

    If you look up "loyal" in the dictionary, you'll see a photo of Gretchen Wieners and Karen Smith. They're like a pair of well-manicured puppies, and not just because they have such shiny hair; they'll follow Regina to the ends of the earth if it means staying popular and socially protected.

    The Power-Hungry Toaster Strudel Heiress

    Gretchen is desperate for Regina's approval, and she's willing to put up with all sorts of ridiculousness and regulations in order to get it. At first, she seems to revel in all the rules that come with being part of The Plastics as she relays them to Cady:

    GRETCHEN: You can't wear a tank top two days in a row, and you can only wear your hair in a ponytail once a week. So, I guess you picked today. Oh, and we only wear jeans or track pants on Fridays. Now, if you break any of these rules, you can't sit with us at lunch. I mean, not just you. Like, any of us. Okay, like if I was wearing jeans today, I would be sitting over there with the art freaks.

    Cut to Janis and Damian. She's putting cold cuts on his face, and he's doing an impression of Sloth from The Goonies.

    GRETCHEN: Oh, and we also vote before we ask someone to eat lunch with us because you have to be considerate of the rest of the group. Well, I mean, you wouldn't buy a skirt without asking your friends first if it looks good on you.

    CADY: I wouldn't?

    Being able to rattle off all of The Plastics' superficial rules shows that Gretchen's part of the club. Once she feels rejected by Regina, however—after the 1–2–3 punch of not getting a candy cane-gram, being pushed to the fringes of The Plastics' "Jingle Bell Rock" choreography, and ordered to "stop trying to make 'fetch' happen"—Gretchen drops the "Yay, team!" façade a bit and gets real.

    She starts spilling Regina's secrets to Cady, and explains to Cady just how rotten Regina really is:

    GRETCHEN: If you even knew how mean she really is. You know that I'm not allowed to wear hoop earrings, right? Yeah. Two years ago, she told me that hoop earrings were her thing, and that I wasn't allowed to wear them anymore. And then for Hanukkah, my parents got me this pair of really expensive white-gold hoops. And I had to pretend like I didn't even like them, and it was so sad.

    Gretchen isn't the blind follower that she appears to be. (That's Karen's job, but more on her in a sec.) Gretchen realizes that, if she wants to be part of The Plastics, part of North Shore's ruling class, she has to make some sacrifices. Sometimes it's a pair of gorgeous white-gold hoops. Other times, it's her pride.

    Let's let Cady explain:

    CADY: The meaner Regina was to her, the more Gretchen tried to win Regina back. She knew it was better to be in The Plastics, hating life, than to not be in at all. Because being with The Plastics was like being famous. People looked at you all the time, and everybody just knew stuff about you.

    Cady has Gretchen pegged. For Gretchen, popularity trumps all. It's not Regina that she wants to like her; it's everybody. Regina's just the best conduit to that. As long as Gretchen stays in Regina's inner circle, she's popular by association. Once Cady's plan to destroy Regina is complete and she deposes Regina, Gretchen drops Regina like a bad habit and is #TeamCady.

    Similarly, at the very end of the film, after Girl World has imploded, we learn that Gretchen's found a new queen bee to follow and has joined the "cool Asians" clique, despite not being Asian. The last time we see her, she's made herself over to look like the rest of the clique and she's gossiping in broken Vietnamese with her girls over lunch.

    Gretchen isn't loyal to Regina, Cady, or whoever the queen of the cool Asians is. Gretchen's loyal to power.

    Meteorologist in the Making

    While Gretchen's a hungry social climber, Karen just wants to look pretty and be told what to do. To that end, she's a realist. She's not the brightest bulb in the box, and she knows it. Check out this conversation she has with Cady:

    CADY: You're not stupid, Karen.

    KAREN: No. I am, actually. I'm failing almost everything.

    CADY: Well, there must be something you're good at.

    […]

    KAREN: I'm kind of psychic. I have a fifth sense.

    CADY: What do you mean?

    KAREN: It's like I have ESPN or something. My breasts can always tell when it's gonna rain.

    CADY: Really? That's amazing.

    KAREN: Well, they can tell when it's raining.

    Karen may not be honor roll material, but she has a positive attitude and she knows how to use her strengths—and we don't mean her "fifth sense." We're talking about her easygoing nature and her looks. They're a natural fit for The Plastics.

    Regina's happy to have a super-loyal soldier who has the right look, and Karen's stoked to have a support system and to sail through the choppy waters of high school being pretty and occasionally treating herself to Taco Bell.

  • Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey)

    By her own admission, Ms. Norbury is a pusher. (No, not drugs.)

    Being a pusher isn't necessarily a bad quality. In fact, for a teacher or coach, it's often a great quality. The thing is, Ms. Norbury's not a very good pusher. As she tells Mr. Duvall (an equally ineffective adult, BTW), she pushed her husband into law school, and now they're divorced.

    Whoops.

    Ms. Norbury pushes Cady to flex her math muscles. First, she tries to get her to join Mathletes:

    MS. NORBURY: Cady, I hope you do join Mathletes, you know, because we start in a couple weeks, and I would love to have a girl on the team, just, you know, so the team could meet a girl.

    Cady blows it off. Next, when she notices that Cady's failing her class on purpose to cozy up to Aaron, Ms. Norbury keeps it real with Cady and tells her not to dumb herself down for some guy. That doesn't stop Cady. Ms. Norbury's tuned into her students and means well, but, as a pusher, she's not cutting the mustard.

    Until the girls go wild, that is. When Regina drops the Burn Book on North Shore, and the junior girls go boom, Ms. Norbury's forced to take charge. She leads the girls in a clique-busting workshop at Mr. Duvall's request, and she even doles out some helpful advice:

    NORBURY: […] You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.

    In true Norbury fashion, though, the workshop is eventually derailed by the students. Janis tells the entire class about her and Cady's plan to ruin Regina's life. Regina storms out of the workshop. Regina and Cady take their beef to the school's front yard. And Regina gets hit by a bus.

    Double whoops.

    Ultimately, Ms. Norbury does get Cady to join Mathletes, and the junior girls' cliques do collapse upon themselves like so many dying, back-biting stars, so that's good. At the same time, she's investigated by the police for dealing drugs and one of her workshop students gets hit by a bus and breaks her spine, so… when it comes to Ms. Norbury's effectiveness as an adult in this teen-dominated Girl World, we're going to be kind and call this a draw.

  • Cady's Mom and Dad (Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn)

    Cady's mom and dad love her like crazy, but, like Ms. Norbury, they aren't very helpful. Don't get us wrong: they've done a wonderful job homeschooling Cady and raising her to be a levelheaded teen.

    Once she's dropped into public school, though, they're kind of lost.

    Her dad in particular seems to have spent the past twelve years not in Africa, but on Jupiter. When Cady reveals that she's failing calculus, he grounds her, after struggling to remember what the world for grounding someone is. Later, when Cady leaves the house despite being grounded, Cady's dad is flummoxed:

    CADY'S MOM: Where's Cady?

    CADY'S DAD: She went out.

    CADY'S MOM: She's grounded.

    CADY'S DAD: Are they not allowed out when they're grounded?

    No, dude. They're not.

    Maybe Cady's dad has never seen a movie or watched a TV show or read a book. But we doubt it. As the parent of a newly socialized sixteen-year-old, he's in over his head. Just like Cady's mom, Cady's dad means well, but he isn't always the most effective parent.

  • Mrs. George (Amy Poehler)

    We see Regina's dad very, very briefly, sobbing as his daughter poses in her barely-there Halloween costume.

    Her mom, on the other hand, is a constant presence, desperate to be "just one of the girls." She's not interested in being a mother, she's interested in being in The Plastics, and she sucks up to her own daughter like she's Bethany, a.k.a. the girl who thought it was awesome when Regina punched her in the face one time.

    Regina's not impressed with her mom's offers of mocktails and "fashionable" sweatsuits. In fact, she treats her mom and her quest for coolness like an embarrassing nuisance and…her mom just takes itL

    MRS. GEORGE: Just want you to know, if you need anything, don't be shy, okay? There are no rules in this house. I'm not like a regular mom. I'm a cool mom. Right, Regina?



    REGINA: Please stop talking.


    MRS. GEORGE: Okay.

    As the most popular girl in school, Regina doesn't need any more friends. She needs a mom, someone who can show her how to make good decisions and instill some solid values in her that don't involve breast implants or sports cars. Regina may put the "mean" in Mean Girls, but Mrs. George's superficial, lackluster parenting seems to have put the mean in Regina.