MOTW: The Five Best Lines from "Mean Girls"

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Adapted from Rosalind Wiseman's book "Queen Bees and Wannabes", this teen comedy drama launched Lindsay Lohan's career in 2004. As 16-year-old Cady Heron, her character has just moved to an American suburb and enrolled in a public school after having been home-schooled in the African boondocks. She first befriends two misfits, but soon joins the three most popular girls in a group called the Plastics.
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
September 18th, 2013

MOTW: The Five Best Lines from "Mean Girls"

"Mean Girls" is a funny 2004 movie directed by Mark Waters and written by Tina Fey. It follows the exploits of Cady Heron, a teenage girl who has been largely raised in Africa and now must navigate the murky waters of high school in the United States. There are many wonderfully funny and occasionally touching lines in the film, but here are five of the best.

Mr. Heron: "This is your lunch, OK? I put a dollar in there so you can buy some milk; you can ask one of the big kids where to do that."

Cady, played by Lindsay Lohan, has been homeschooled pretty much her entire life. It wasn't because her parents wanted her to learn only from home, but because they had spent most of Cady's life traveling throughout Africa. Cady's parents (played by Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn) are anthropologists who are finally settling into the US after Mr. Heron gets a plum job teaching at a university. This will be Cady's first day at a real school, and the two proud parents are more than a little nervous about it. In fact, they are more nervous about it than Cady, as evidenced by Mr. Heron telling her to ask the big kids at school where to buy milk. It's a funny and touching line that shows how loving yet unconventional this family is.

Karen: "If you're from Africa, why are you white?"
Gretchen: "Oh my God, Karen, you can't just ask people why they're white!"

Once Cady arrives at school, she realizes that many of the people there have been going to school together for years, some since kindergarten. She encounters Karen (Amanda Seyfried) and Gretchen (Lacey Chabert), two of the plastics, a group of popular girls who rule the school along with head plastic Regina George (Rachel McAdams). Cady tries to explain that she was raised in Africa, which is why nobody in school had ever heard of her before. Karen then asks why Cady is white, mistakenly thinking that everyone in Africa is black. Gretchen tries to be more culturally sensitive by correcting her, but the damage is already done.

Gretchen: "I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me ... but I can't help it that I'm so popular."

In one sentence, Gretchen basically sums up everything that is wrong with the plastics. Not only does she think that everyone is jealous of her (when in reality many of the girls actually hate her), but she doesn't realize how ridiculous she sounds saying it. She utters the line without a hint of irony because she truly believes everything she is saying. It's a hilarious line that is also very telling about how deluded the plastics are.

Cady: "Half the people in this room are mad at me, and the other half only like me because they think I pushed somebody in front a bus, so that's not good."

Cady becomes one of the plastics, at first just to report back to her friends Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese) about what she learns. As she slowly buys into the plastic way of life, she eventually becomes like them. She then hurts Janis and Damian inadvertently, while purposely hurting Regina, causing a lot of emotional and physical damage. When Cady says this line, she pretty much sums up her short tenure as one of the plastics.

Cady: "Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George's life definitely didn't make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you."

This is uttered near the end of the film, in a voiceover that Cady is doing to clue the audience in on what she has learned from her adventures. It's a heartfelt set of lines that feels a bit like an apology, because Cady really did sound upset at the mayhem she helped create among all the girls at school. She had successfully plotted and hatched a plan to make Regina gain weight, lose her boyfriend, and become unpopular for what was probably the first time in Regina's life. Though the plot was a success, it made Cady feel terrible, and this line is basically her way of taking stock of the situation and realizing how wrong she had been.