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Why ‘Mean Girls’ 2024 Doesn’t Quite Work

The film adaptation of the Broadway reimagining of the original “Mean Girls” movie is a cautionary tale in more ways than one…

Dane O'Leary
9 min readJan 20, 2024

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Generated using Midjourney with additional work by Dane O’Leary.

The reason that the original “Mean Girls” (2004) is so important to millennials is because we were at the very same age — with all its awkwardness and social trauma — as the characters in the film.

I don’t doubt that younger generations have discovered and enjoyed the iconic original over the years, but it’s hard to believe Gen Z-ers can truly appreciate “Mean Girls” having never known life without conversations being regularly peppered with brilliant quotes like:

“You can’t just ask people why they’re white.”

“I wanna lose three pounds.”

“Nice wig. What’s it made of?” “Your mom’s chest hair!”

“… unfriendly black hotties, …”

“I’m a mouse… [points to mouse ears] Duh!”

“You go, Glen Coco!”

“The limit does not exist!”

“That was the ugliest effing skirt I’ve ever seen.”

“Boo, you whore…”

“I saw Cady Heron wearing army pants and flip-flops so I bought army pants and flip-flops.”

[“Amber D’Alessio made out with a hot dog…”] “Oh my god, that was one time!”

“She doesn’t even go here!”

“On Wednesdays we wear pink.”

Bottom line: If you were in high school in the early aughts, then you remember “Mean Girls” slamming into pop culture like a speeding bus and giving our lexicon an immediate glow-up. But what if I told you that out of those quotes, more than half were removed for the new version?

As I’ll show in this critique of “Mean Girls” (2024), there was one singular mistake that resulted in a cascading series of problems, leaving us with shallow, clawless plastic.

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Dane O'Leary

Designer & Creative Strategist, 10+ Years Building Brands & Digital Experiences | Covers Design, Marketing, Tech, Education, Entertainment & Business