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How a first-time viewer feels about ‘Mean Girls’ 10 years after it came out

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Mean Girls

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Just recently, I watched ‘Mean Girls’ for the first time. Ever. I have no excuse for not seeing it. I was not living under a rock. The movie came out at the height of my adolescence. It was pervasive in my high school, yet I somehow never saw it.

So how does it hold up to a first-time viewer 10 years later? Surprisingly very well.

The script is so witty in such a timeless way that honestly, I felt like it could have been made now. Would it have done as well, having debuted now? That’s almost impossible to say. Certain movies just strike a chord, coming out at the exact right time and being found by the exact right people. But I still think it could find an audience in 2014 instead of 2004.

That being said, many of the much-quoted lines that have become recurring tumblr gifs didn’t ring for me. Let’s take an example: “You go, Glen Coco.” That line is on t-shirts, mugs… Yet after my first viewing and hearing that this line was incredibly popular (not having known that before), I had to replay the scene to see what that line even referred to. It’s a throwaway line. I doubt it was meant to be quotable. It’s fascinating to see what has since become popular and stood the test of time. That line, for instance, is not one I would have predicted being a raging success if I had watched the movie in a bubble.

I’m also not entirely sure I believe the pivotal scene in the gymnasium. It’s hard to believe that such heart-changing activities could be thought up and enacted on the spot in the span of one afternoon. But this is moviedom. Who am I to argue. It wouldn’t have been a satisfying movie, either, if everyone’s lives simply fell apart and everyone hated everyone at the end, would it?

High school, it seems, hasn’t changed much since 2004. It still has the same problems, same heartaches, same queen bees. And so, even though ‘Mean Girls’ is shockingly 10 years old this year, it feels anything but dated.

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