The One Mean Girls Note Lorne Michaels Gave Tina Fey

Tina Fey as Ms. Norberry

If people seem especially mean lately, it's because it's a national holiday for some movie fans. October 3rd has been dubbed Mean Girls Day, as it's the date that Aaron Samuels asked Lindsay Lohan's Cady for during Tina Fey's iconic comedy. In the decade and change since Mean Girls was released, the film has stayed at the forefront of pop culture, with the movie becoming an instant classic. Every line of dialogue, scene, and costume has become iconic, and it turns out that Saturday Night Live head honcho Lorne Michaels had a hand in that. Tina Fey explained this, revealing Michaels helped give Mean Girls its signature style by encouraging its characters to look cool.

When I first pitched it to Lorne, I was thinking I'd like to write a movie about what they call 'relational aggression' among girls. He was like, 'Okay, but could they also still have cool cars and cool clothes?' And I was like, 'Oh, for sure!'

After working with Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live for years, Lorne Michaels obviously trusted the writer/actress' vision. So instead of asking a ton of questions and giving Fey notes about the film's contents, he simply made sure it was going to look good, and hopefully make money in the process. That's show business.

While Lorne Michaels' comments to Tina Fey may seem shallow, the overall styling of Mean Girls is actually key to the film's premise. The Plastics are shiny, fake, hard, and beautiful. They've got perfect looks and cars, with lifestyles that seem to exceed their means and ages. This puts Cady is stark juxtaposition to the powerful clique-- at least when Mean Girls starts. Because as Cady's popularity grows, so does her look.

Tina Fey's comments to EW show what the beloved movie is actually about: social politics. High School is infamously nasty, with tempers and hormones rising, causing the student body to act out aggressively with each other. And while Mean Girls may focus mostly on the interpersonal relationships of the beautiful people, the movie also paints high school in a broader brush.

Mean Girls succeeds in creating the world of a high school by having ton of awkward characters to inhabit it. People form the school are referred to as their full name, and smaller roles get their chance to shine and even narrate to the camera. And during Ms. Norbury's workshop with the girls in the gym, the audience is shown each clique's issues. All of this deeper stuff comes in later in Mean Girls' runtime, and are earned by first introducing audiences to the plastics, and their glamorous and deadly social warfare.

Mean Girls continues to be played on syndication, and was recently adapted into a Broadway musical, with Tina Fey writing the lyrics and book. Check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies, and our 2019 release list to start planning next year's first flicks.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.