OPINION: Why ‘Mean Girls’ is the voice of a generation

The Plastics are such a lovable group. (Courtesy photo by Paramount Pictures)

“On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was.”

“On Wednesdays, we wear pink.”

“That is so fetch.”

Few movies from 2004 are as quotable as “Mean Girls,” the comedy classic written by legendary actress Tina Fey. But what makes it so notable 14 years after its release?

I think “Mean Girls” speaks to the millennial generation in a deeply personal way. Tina Fey may have been born in 1970, but she knew exactly what girls and guys our age would go through as we grew up in the 21st century.

For those of you who haven’t watched “Mean Girls” in your lives: just, why? Go do it. Right now. Take your eyes away from these words I wrote for you and watch it any way you can — rental, streaming, gas station DVD sales or whatever. I’ll wait.

All right, you poor soul. Did you watch it? Has your life been enriched with laughter and, like, the rules of feminism? Perfect.

If you can’t watch it (or you want to isolate yourself from your civilized peers for tax reasons), “Mean Girls” is the story of a girl who infiltrates her new high school’s mean girl clique to destroy them from the inside, only to contend with the realization that she’s becoming one of them. It’s outrageously funny, occasionally heartwarming and speaks to truths of teenage life that many stories sweep under the rug.

While not everyone is as witty or bombastic as the characters in “Mean Girls” typically tend to be, it hits a lot of beats that every millennial can relate to.

Interpersonal espionage, backstabbing “friends,” heartbreaks over the phone and weaponizing mistakes are all things our generation has to deal with in high school and beyond.

Hell, the lesson that your mistakes can be used against you by your enemies is something especially important for everyone to remember in the Information Age of social media and digital records. Add incredibly sarcastic dialogue and winning performances from all the leads, and you’ve got a recipe for a generational touchstone.

I’m not sure what movies “spoke” to my parents when they were younger. Maybe “The Breakfast Club” or “Birth of a Nation” or something. But generational touchstones are definitely something we should all cherish when we find them.

So, what should you be doing this Wednesday? Wearing pink. And what day is it? It’s Oct. 3.

Kyle Hampel is a community editor for the Collegian and a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Kyle Hampel
Those words you just read were written by me, Kyle Hampel. I am a 2019 graduate in English. I have strong feelings about barbeque pizza and the Oxford comma. I am a former copy chief, community editor, feature editor, designer and deputy multimedia editor. Beloit, Kansas, is proud to call me their own, along with several other towns I've lived in that aren't as special to me.