How Tina Fey Invented The Word ‘Fetch’ For Mean Girls

Mean Girls Rachel McAdams and Lacey Chabert sit with Lindsay Lohan at lunch

Certain pieces of movie dialogue, and in some cases the slang made up for said dialogue, will never die. Just ask the people who brushed off their Sacha Baron Cohen impressions when the “very niiice” news that a Borat sequel was happening dropped. But another line that has carried on outside of the 2000s, and through the ages, was from a moment when Lacey Chabert’s Gretchen Wieners first uttered the Mean Girls catchphrase that would make history. And as Tina Fey recently confirmed, the invention of the term “fetch” pulled a formerly fake term from a very real source.

During a recent Mean Girls reunion held by Katie Couric, via her Instagram, the topic of the 16-year-old movie was discussed in great length. Part of that discussion was, naturally, where in the world Tina Fey’s mind plucked this specific mind grape from. Fey herself explained the origins of “fetch” as follows:

I did some research and I sat down with some neighborhood teens, and I was asking them about slang and I just started thinking, ‘Oh, whatever I put in the movie now, by the time the movie gets made, it will be over, so just make up something fake.’ Fetch just short for the word fetching was appealing so I just made it up.

Admittedly, trying to keep up with the trends of moviegoers on the whole is a fool’s errand; doubly so if you’re trying to keep up with “the kids.” The scores of people who created and/or watched The Emoji Movie know that for sure. Which means, like Tina Fey did during her Mean Girls writing spree, you have to get creative. As “fetching” has been on the cultural market for some time, and the term hadn’t worn out its welcome, “fetch” actually did rightfully happen.

The running gag of Lacey Chabert’s character trying to “make fetch happen” was a disaster in terms of the in-world usage that Mean Girls showed on the big screen. Much like some of the greatest cultural successes in cinematic history, what failed in Tina Fey’s written universe became a success in reality. “Fetch” happened on everything from official merchandise to various internet memes inspired by Mean Girls’ events and phrases that took hold in fans' minds. To this day, referencing that line will still make people laugh, which all started in the moment seen below:

Through Gretchen’s determination to make fetch happen, the world soon learned through the insane popularity of Mean Girls that ultimately, you can’t make fetch happen. Fetch is a natural state of being that has to catch on its own, kind of like an idea in Christopher Nolan’s Inception. So, you could say that Tina Fey’s writing was an inspired piece of fetchception; a term we’re sure will make it into the musical remake of Mean Girls.

In the meantime, we’ll keep reporting the happenings of that project, and the rest of the movie world, here at CinemaBlend. At least, until the “fetchception” merch money starts rolling in. For now, you can see what’s headed to theaters throughout the rest of 2020, and what’s on the books for 2021, courtesy of the respective release schedules for those years.

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Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.