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The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


‘Mean Girls’ comes back to popularity with a new look

Leah Chapman
The new “Mean Girls” movie and musical has many similarities and differences with the original.

“Mean Girls,” a 20 year old story released on April 19, 2004, has just been adapted to a modern day version–as a musical. The new movie musical came out on Jan. 12, 2024. The original was praised for representing life as a teenage girl, including topics like bullying, trying to be perfect, social hierarchies in high school and a lot more topics that are faced in the daily lives of teenage girls.

“Mean Girls” revolves around a transfer student from Africa named Cady that moved with her mom, who meets two of the “weird” students, Janis, an art loving lesbian, and Damian, who is friendly and “too gay to function.” Moving through the story, the celebrities of the school are introduced as “The Plastics,” that are both loved and hated by other students: Gretchen, Karen, and the “Queen” Regina.

During a “mathlete” competition in the 2024 “Mean Girls,” Lindsay Lohan, the actor that played Cady in the original “Mean Girls,” played a cameo as the host. Another reference to the original movie is seen where Tina Fey and Tim Meadows both play the roles of teacher and principal again.

To include nostalgia, the new movie included some of the same outfits that were in the original such as Cady’s dress at her party and Janis’s suit for the dance.

However, there were also many big clothing changes in the movies, such as for Janis who wore less accessories and more casual clothing in the newer film. The first outfit Regina is seen in has a punky style which doesn’t fit the average “popular girl” stereotype. On the other hand, Cady’s outfits throughout the movie become more revealing and trendy, such as crop tops and short skirts.

The new movie starts out with Janis and Damian in a garage introducing the story while singing, then it moves on to Cady in Africa. Some parts of the story were added or changed to make it more dramatic and heartfelt, such as Cady having an honest conversation with her mom.

The first scene in the original movie starts out with the camera view looking like a baby’s perspective looking up at its parents. Which we then see is not in fact a baby, but Cady when she is about to leave for her first day of high school. Cady also doesn’t seem to interact as much with her family in the 2004 “Mean Girls.”

Most of the same concepts were kept, only changing some details in the original. Cady has a dad in the original while she doesn’t in the new version, and Janis was not lesbian unlike how she is in the newer movie. In the original, the math teacher and principal seem to have a little crush on each other while in the new movie they are “secretly” dating.

The 2024 “Mean Girls” is a musical based off of the Broadway “Mean Girls” musical. But the songs in the original musical were more theatrical style while the movie’s songs are in a more hip-hop style.

In the 2004 “Mean Girls,” the closest thing to a musical song was in a Christmas act where they sang “Jingle Bell Rock.” In the musical movie, this wasn’t sung, instead, the original song was played.

The latest film tries to steer clear of any racial lines or scenes unlike the original where they include lines with topics such as Cady coming from Africa but not being Black. Many famous lines from the original movie were still kept, such as the famous “Get in loser, we’re going shopping” and “grool,” a combination of great and cool.

Many events were kept the same, with mostly only tiny details that wouldn’t make big changes. Some of these discarded details added humor to the movie, such as Regina’s mom having implants.

The newer movie seems to add or remove parts to make the movie more heartfelt or ethically right. In both movies, Cady was framed for harming Regina near the end of the story. In the first movie, she was praised, but in the new movie, Cady was hated on.

In the latest movie, Cady’s redemption is more apparent, she apologizes and tells the truth to more people. One example is when she told the truth about how her mom’s vase broke. Another more apparent redemption is seen in Regina, who tries to change how she acts and be more kind.

Many of the changes in personalities of the characters were amplified in the newer movie. Cady turning into the popular stereotype is clearer than in the original. Before Regina’s character development, she was a lot more emotional and expressive in the 2024 movie than in the original.

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